In years past, when the water flow schemes of marine aquariums consisted of nothing more than simple powerheads that pushed water in a constant and narrow stream, closed loop circulation systems held a lot of value. They moved water around the tank in an alternating and chaotic fashion that helped create turbulent flow. But with today’s advanced water pumps, such as the VorTech pumps with the EcoSmart controller and Tunze Streams use with their various controllers, closed loops no longer have their place…at least if you’re budget and energy consumption conscious. Closed loop systems can be expensive. The single large pump can cost several hundreds of dollars, as does the flow alternating devices. Additionally, theses setups use tons of energy. Today’s advanced powerheads, on the other hand, sip energy in comparison. In terms of price, there isn’t a huge difference, but that all depends on which pump models you choose. Where there is added convenience with using the powerheads is the lack of plumbing that is needed. Closed loop setups need holes drilled into the aquarium with extensive PVC plumbing running all over. Powerheads, obviously, do not require all of this added headache and can be easily moved all over the aquarium with ease.