Friday, September 2, 2011

High Tech Touch Table

Did you know that we have a high tech touch tank? The raised center is a new design, underneath there is a large sump, Iwaki pump, and a Tunze protein skimmer to clean the water (more on this in another blog).

Now we not only do we now have a second ID sign (one on each side of the tank) and 4 labels on the edge of the pool  - the tank also has a state of the art "Vortech" water motion controller.

Vortechs are rather cool - it was realized many years ago with coral reef tanks, that in nature, water motion is not unidirectional (like a river), but ebbs and flows with tides and waves and wind currents. Creating the same water flows as found in nature should be more beneficial to the marine life in the tank. How to create this in  a home aquarium? Many devices were tried and built - various wave generators, often involving pistons and pumps. With the advent of cheap computer chips - the next generation is here.

Mounted on the side of the touch pool near the lagoon side, is a very simple looking black propeller in a cage. The motor is actually on the outside of the tank. Only a strong magnet links the two.

The control for the unit is on the inside of the door to the touch table.

The Vortech unit is capable of varying the speed and intensity of the water flow it puts out to simulate nature. It can be set to many speeds, or set to ramp up and down to mimic water currents at a reef crest or water motion in a lagoon, or even a random setting (not to mention the night and feeding modes). Or you can set it up to do a set wave pattern (see this youtube demo). This is a very cool device! You will not see standing waves in the tank, that would be more than I want, but it will vary the water motion.

If there is a power outage, the Vortech has a backup battery down below that will keep the water moving (and therefore oxygenated) for 48 hours.

We will be experimenting with this unit over the next weeks, trying to find settings that work. Let me know what you think, but please do not move the unit. It will probably just fall off. The propeller section will fall to the bottom of the tank and the motor will just hang off the side on its tether. No worries, it will not hurt anything, but let me know if this happens. You cannot reattach it without stopping it first.

I expect it to be a good addition for the health of the corals in the tank!



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