Many freshwater aquarists overlook the importance of water movement within their aquarium. Water current is essential to nourish and feed your aquarium's inhabitants, as well as clean and regulate your aquarium's water. Think of water movement in an aquarium as a cool, steady breeze on a hot, summer day. The breeze helps regulate temperature, move stagnant air, and refresh your surroundings, creating a more pleasant experience.
Aquariums with poor water movement develop "dead spots" where organic debris settle, creating the ideal matrix for nuisance algae to grow. In addition, poor water movement hinders biological filtration, which in turn, raises toxins to dangerous levels. In essence, an aquarium without water movement is like a dirty mud puddle hostile to most animals and unpleasant to look at.
As water circulates throughout the aquarium, many beneficial events take place. Heat is evenly distributed for stable water temperature, debris and particles are stirred up and removed through mechanical filtration, and efficient gas exchange at the water surface releases carbon dioxide and gains oxygen to help maintain pH level and oxygenate the water. Currents also benefit your fish, offering slight resistance when swimming and delivering fresh, oxygen-rich water.
The simplest way to supplement water movement within your fresh or saltwater aquarium is by adding a
switching current water director, or better yet, connect your powerhead to a
wavemaker to create a dynamic system.