ducing chaotic, inconsistent flow throughout the tank,
gyre flow uses less equipment to produce better and more
consistent water movement in the aquarium. One of the
best ways to encourage gyre motion is to place flow outlets near the water surface, pointed so they move water
from one end of the tank to the other. In my opinion, the
surface layer is the best place for flow outlets because it
has the least amount of resistance due to a lack of friction from the tank walls, the decoration and the corals.
As the surface layer of moving water builds up on one end
of the reef it will sink and displace the water in front of
it and then flow back along the bottom in the opposite
If your reefscape is more a peninsular-shaped design,
gyre flow can be achieved by encouraging water to flow
around your reef pinnacle or bommie structure. The key
is to get half of your water-flow devices to move water
in one direction alternating with the other half to move
water in the opposite direction. (The new generation of
pump controllers can accomplish this with ease.) Gyre
flow also helps to produce laminar flow that aids in measuring water flow. By inserting some relatively light flake
food or small pellets into the gyre stream, you can time
how long it takes for a particle to travel a certain distance. Voila! You have a concrete measurement of your
water flow in a clearly understandable metric of inches
or centimeters per second.
LOWER COSTS, SMALLER FOOTPRINTS
It isn’t my intent to turn this article into a buying guide
for aquarium products, but honestly, the biggest waste
of energy and resource with a reef tank comes from improper sizing and near-sighted thrift purchases of aquarium lights and water pumps.
Sometimes the buyer may not be informed of the best
return on investment and simply overdo it. There are, of
course, many other efficiency gains to be had when planning a reef aquarium system: build a smaller and nicer
tank, select the proper protein skimmer, use activated
carbon, choose additives wisely and just apply a little bit
of good old-fashioned common sense to your reef tank
and help you save time and money.
We’ve spent the better part of the last ten years trying to make reef aquarium equipment brighter and more
powerful, and now I think we’ve got the hang of this
reefing thing. It’s about time we start reining in the resource and energy footprints of the reef aquarium. Doing so will reduce the cost of reefing, making it accessible
for a wider audience, and will improve the image of the
marine aquarium hobby and reduce of the amount of
criticism concerning our real or perceived impact on
Jake Adams writes for www.Reefbuilders.com and other publications. He lives in Golden, Colorado.