As you read this chapter on systems for creating a living reef ecosystem, you should notice a common message that we emphasize: Simplify your system. Avoid unnecessary equipment, and plan from the start to make your system the least prone to disastrous mechanical malfunctions. We have some additional recommendations and comments in keeping with this theme.
We do not agree with the assertion that centrifugal pumps should not be used because they harm plankton populations. We acknowledge that the point has some merit because pressure, shear, and turbulence inside some centrifugal pumps can kill a percentage of the phytoplankton and zooplankton that actually passes through the pump. One type of centrifugal pump was demonstrated to kill 90% of Anemia salina (brine shrimp) on a recirculating experimental set-up (Adey and Loveland, 1991). Brine shrimp are not a type of plankton found in reef aquariums, however, and reef aquariums are not exactly like small recirculating systems. Reef aquariums have a great deal of substrate heterogeneity, and much of the plankton generated in the system remains in the system around the substrates. It does not pass through the pumps. If you experiment with centrifugal pumps you will discover that various sizes of plankton can be passed through them without causing any significant harm. Not all centrifugal pumps are alike, though. Impeller designs vary. In some pumps the volute (coiled impeller chamber) is large, and the blade is a small + shape in the middle, and some impellers are more disc-shaped, with internal blades or no blades at all. These
kinds of designs have minimal impact on plankton. A more thorough examination of the affect on different types of plankton
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