Water Circulation In A Planted Aquarium

This is something that I discuss with customers time and time again but in all honesty a lot of hobbyists don’t realise how important it really is. Water circulation in a planted aquarium is really important.

Picture this – your aquarium is heavily planted, you infuse CO2, add excellent fertilisers like AE Design Aqua Nourish and Aqua Nourish+. You have good lighting and perform regular large water changes but…you only have one filter pushing around the water, CO2 and fertilisers. And for some reason you have algae – anyone been in this situation?

The reason you have algae is insufficient water distribution. Whilst you get full marks for everything else, in a planted tank that is CO2 infused, you have to get everything right otherwise, algae grows. If you only have one filter pushing water around and you probably have wood/rocks so there will be quite a few dead spots or certainly areas that don’t get much if any water flow due to the deflection they cause. Water flow is the life blood of the system – it carries nutrients and CO2 to the plants and if circulation isn’t up to scrath, your plants don’t get what they need and algae responds. When diffusing CO2 into your tank, you literally have to see the bubbles everywhere and if they’re not in every nook and cranny, you can bet the plants will be struggling in that area.

Water circulation pumps don’t need to be particularly large, in fact some are quite small and powerful. Let me introduce you to Hydor Pico Evo Mag 650. This amazing tiny piece of equipment moves 650L of water per hour and it’s only 4.5x3x6cm which means that it can sit in your tank and barely takes up any space. It contains a magnetic suction cup so you place it anywhere and the idea is to direct it towards the areas in your tank, which don’t get enough water movement. If you have foreground plants, you would need to direct this onto them – in fact this is one reason so many struggle with them. Because they are at the bottom of the tank, they don’t get much water movement and therefore not much CO2 and fertilisers. By pointing a Hydor Pico Evo Mag 650 towards them, it will push the necessary water, fertilsers and CO2 onto your foreground plants forcing them to sway in the current (perfect!).

Ensuring you get your water movement just right, removes so much stress from your planted aquarium. If you want to see our other range of water circulating pumps then visit this link here.

If you are having problems with your aquarium, why not ask a question on this blog and I will respond.

In addition I have managed to find an excellent image of a larger planted aquarium in which world class aquascaper Mark Evans demonstrates perfectly why a circulation pump is required.

Synthetic Aquarium Plants

Not everyone has the time to be able to commit to a planted aquarium in terms of maintenance – after all we know how long it takes to perform water changes, trim plants, feed and so on and with today’s busy life styles, sometimes we run out of time. From a commercial perspective it’s not possible to look at a planted aquarium everyday (this is what CO2 infused one’s really need especially at the beginning). Lets take www.aquariumdesigngroup.com who are market leaders in the USA. They set up and maintain aquariums for wealthy clients. What is interesting is that many of their clients have aquariums where the plants are synthetic. This is for 2 reasons:

  1. They don’t want the tank maintainers to be in their house every day checking up how things are going
  2. You can create amazing aquascapes even without real plants, as long as the quality of the plants is of high standard.

Let me introduce to you Superfish Plastic Plants. These have been produced to really high standards and once in the aquarium you would be hard pushed to tell they were actually different from live plants. The range consists of different sizes of plants to ensure what ever type of aquascape you want it is possible. To make an aquarium really work which uses plastic plants, we recommend that you use real rocks – something like mini landscape rocks and sumatra driftwood. By using a combination of these natural products with synthetic one’s, the impact can be incredible and the maintenance almost zero.