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I’ve been a cichlid enthusiast for many years, and a member of this forum for about a year.
During my membership the amount of knowledge I’ve learned on this forum is tremendous (kudos to the super members who answer a majority of the questions).

In all my research on this site, I have never seen a topic on the location of the filter intakes and outtakes.

Is there an optimum place (left, right, sides, front, etc. how high from bottom, pointing in what direction) to have the filter intakes, outtakes, and korallia’s ?
(I understand there are many variables, but where is the starting point ? )

Let’s assume a standard 55 gallon, backed up against a wall, stocked with 10 fish.
1 canister filter, 1 HOB filter, and 2 korallia’s.
 

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In my 55g with 1 canister and one HOB, I have the HOB on the left side of the tank. I then have the canister intake and outtakes on the right side of the tank but spread out some, not right next to each other. The outtake is pointed towards the right hand side of the tank creating water movement on the right while the HOB is creating movement on the left. I did this so that intakes of both filters were pretty equally spread apart and creating water movement on both sides of the tank as well. I also keep one intake a few inches off the ground and the other a little bit higher. No real reason for this, just how I set it up.

The korallia's would be best set up where is moves debris the best. Each tank will be different because of rock/decoration set ups. You will have to experiment with locations and observe if you have any dead spots and move accordingly.
 

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I have always wondered this myself, this exact question look foreward for some answers
 

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The main thing to consider is surface agitation. All oxygen and CO2 exchange happens at the surface. If the surface is agitated then you get good gas exchange. So spray bars and other outflows are generally placed one to two inches deep and pointed at an angle toward the surface. Even better is to have the spray bar actually above the surface, but this creates a lot of noise and splashing, which most people don't want to deal with.

The intake location is irrelevant if the filter is strong enough to move the water around the tank. I generally put mine in a corner where they can be hidden behind the decor. The intake should be well clear of the bottom to avoid sucking in sand or gravel. Many people like having the intake near the surface, so that if the filter ever leaks, it will not siphon the tank dry.
 

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i use a powerhead for surface agitation. i just point it up at the top
 

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pistolpete said:
The intake location is irrelevant if the filter is strong enough to move the water around the tank. I generally put mine in a corner where they can be hidden behind the decor.
This is kind of what I feel looking at my tanks.

Surface agitation moves water away at the surface but then that volume has to get replaced by something. That something is deeper water. So spraying along the surface from left to right you are probably fine putting your filter intake at either the left side, right side, or middle due to how the water is churning. Basically the intake is going to be in the lower portion of water that is moving back towards the outlet.
 

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55g with XP2 and Aquaclear70.
I have the AC on the left, spray bar underneath it aimed upwards, XP2 intake (& surface skimmer) is on the far right.
Not really any rhyme or reason to it, just how it worked out.
 
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