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Saltwater Aquarium/Do I need a powerhead?


I have a 20 gallon saltwater setup. Not doing hard coral, MAYBE softies eventually and a few polyps, not sure yet. But for now, I have a red skunk shrimp, peppermint shrimp, a Hawaiian duster, pyramid snail and a blue tuxedo urchin. I plan on getting Firefish within the next week or so, maybe a Goby or two. Do I need a power head in my tank? If so, what kind of flow should I go for? Thanks for your help in advance.

Hi Rich:

Sounds like you have a very nice 20 gallon set-up...

I do recommend that you implement a powerhead. Polyps and your Hawaiian Duster will depend on current (ebb and flow) to carry particulates of food to them in the water column, while your red skunk shrimp, and peppermint shrimp will look for water flow to help carry their old exoskeleton away after they've shed.

For a 20 gallon aquarium, (if your budget allows), I'd recommend an Ecotech Vortech MP10 Powerhead. See the following link below, from one of my favorite online aquarium supply stores, in reference to this product.

I wish you great success with all of your saltwater aquarium endeavors.


Saltwater Aquarium

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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

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After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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