Water flow for SPS and mixed - concerns about too much?

Discussion in 'SPS Corals' started by confusedxx, Jan 2, 2015.

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  1. confusedxx

    confusedxx Plankton

    Aug 10, 2013
    Hi All,

    I am planning out a 400g main tank aquarium with another 80-90 gallon as a sump/refug underneath. I am looking at a mixed reef with SPS as well as LPS. Likely Soft corals are not going to be part of this.

    I understand the LPS need about half the water flow of the SPS. So how do you go about mixing them? I was thinking that the SPS could be placed higher up in the aquarium (helps with the lighting) and then maybe try to use some Vortec pumps to give more flow to the upper area of the aquarium than the lower area. But how does such high flow affect LPS as well as reef fish like (lionfish, clown fish, and others)?
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  3. PghSteeler

    PghSteeler Tassled File Fish

    Feb 7, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Most fish do not mind high flow!! My clowns and flame angel actually always road the surf which was very entertaining. Not sure about lionfish ask renee or greg from lionfishlair but they are usually not reef fish. Not because they eat coral, but they eat all the other reef fishes and snails lol.

    As for mixing sps and lps, there will be plenty of nooks and crannies where high flow doesnt quite get to and that will be where the lps will thrive. It can be difficult to mix as you have an idea of where a coral would look best but the lighting and flow dont always match your desires for placement. Most lps can take a good bit of flow and as the sps grow and mature they will block a lot of the flow anyways. An lps should have constant movement but not be so blown away that it is being battered and ripped up my rockwork and its own skeleton.
    Billme and mdbostwick like this.
  4. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

    Jun 6, 2010
    Chesapeake, Va
    You have to realize just how strong the ocean's currents are too. As long as the polyps aren't being battered and torn there's no such thing as too much flow. There are plenty of interesting articles about flow in the ocean vs our tanks. Most people's tanks don't even come close to replicating natural tides, swells, and currents.

    Vortechs are wonderful pumps because they can really move some water, but it doesnt have to be constant flow. you can set it on all sorts of different options to create lulls and periods of low flow. Just because SPS are found in areas with over 100X turnover rate doesn't mean they need that all the time. Their polyps like to catch food too, imagine trying to catch your favorite food item in a tornado. lol. The opposite applies to LPS too, they definitely appreciate periods of high, random flow. It will clear any detritus trapped in or on the coral, bring new food particles to them, etc. Your placement of corals seems good, most SPS up top, LPS towards the bottom. In a 400g tank, you have room to create coves and "protected" mini reef zones in your tank.

    It should be mentioned that not all SPS like high flow, and not all LPS like slower flow. For example, chalices tend to prefer lower flow, and LPS like acans and sun corals definitely grow better with periods of high flow.

    As for your fish, they will find areas of lower flow, and will also "play" in the higher flow from time to time.
    Billme and mdbostwick like this.
  5. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

    Aug 13, 2012
    very informative post Va :)