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Water Motion

Learn how water motion should work in your reef tank and other setups.

By Richard Harker |

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We aquarists face many challenges re-creating natural aquatic habitats, but one stands out from the others: creating realistic water motion in our closed systems. The key role that water motion plays in the health of aquatic animals is not as well understood as many other aspects of the hobby.

Yet the role that water motion plays in maintaining a healthy environment is a complex one. Moving water is richer in oxygen than still water, so water motion aids in gas exchange. Flowing water brings dissolved and particulate nutrients to sessile (immobile) animals, such as mollusks, sponges, tunicates and corals. Water motion carries away waste products that would otherwise accumulate and degrade water quality.

Virtually all aquatic ecosystems are continually bathed in constantly changing water as it flows across the area. Tidal currents, winds and wave action constantly churn the waters surrounding a coral reef. Freshwater habitats are also continually flushed as freshwater flows toward the sea.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the March 2011 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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