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Fight Your Reef's Power Meter

Conserve energy in your setup, and you can save money and potentially your reef.

By Scott Vallembois |

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For many reef aquarists, the monthly electricity bill is the greatest ongoing expense of maintaining a tank. With today’s constantly soaring energy costs and the movement toward increased circulation and lighting, it only makes sense to research and plan your system to be as energy-efficient as possible. There is a large attrition of reefkeepers every year due to power costs. With smart planning, we can prevent aquarists from leaving the hobby every year.

Water Flow in the Reef
If you were to analyze the energy cost of a reef system, providing water flow would possibly be the most costly aspect. An aquarium pump may only draw 150 watts compared to the 250 watts a light uses, but the pump runs 24 hours a day, using more electricity in the process. To save big bucks, start by looking at how much flow you need, where you need the flow and how to implement the flow. First look at sump returns. It is not only the amount of flow that matters; the type of pump used and how it is configured will have a huge impact on energy costs. The three types to be discussed are magnetic-drive external pumps, submersible pumps and totally enclosed, fan-cooled motor-driven (TEFC) pumps.

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

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