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FAQs about Aeration and Marine Systems

Related Articles: Aeration, & Air Pump Impressions by Steven Pro,  Dissolved Oxygen Water Circulation

Related FAQs: Dissolved Oxygen, Water Pumps, Powerheads, Air Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation

Diaphragm-type air pumps... a very wide range of quality/noise exists here.

Bubbling lights    7/6/13
Good morning wwm     
  I have a saltwater tank with a few lps in it. it's a 56 gallon with live rock. A Marineland c360 canister filter. Protein skimmer and a couple powerheads.    I'm wondering if I can put a Marineland flexible led light air bubbler strip in a saltwater tank and are there any benefits to adding a air bubbler?
<You can and not much value; just a bit more circulation, a smite more aeration likely>
the lights maybe <may be> nice, but I'm afraid of the dreaded bubbles.  
Thank you for your time and keep up the good works. Love your place.
Brenda
<Ah! A sister's name as well. Bob Fenner>

72 Gallon Marine Tank 9/23/11
<Hello Den>
I have a 72gal bow front tank. I have approx. 8 saltwater fish.
<Depending on the size of the fish, you may be overstocked.>
The filter is bio-beads and cloth and the tank turns over every hour.
<Not enough for a marine system if this is your only source of water movement.>
My question is this I have two internal aerator's and I think that my fish are getting too much action. How critical is the aeration and doesn't my filter return provide enough action?
<Filters do not create aeration, it is the water to air interface that does this. The aerators are merely bringing water up to the surface to do this. Increasing the water's surface movement will do the same thing.>
And I'm not sure why caps are a problem please advise.
<Is not the format we use on the daily FAQs and crew members aren't about to change the
entire text to lower case. James (Salty Dog)>
Den

Air stones vs. Protein skimmer, for aeration  7/30/10
Hey guys, hope all is well. So, my question is ... I've a 50 gallon reef tank with a hang on protein skimmer and a gutted Eheim canister filter (only filter pads inside). I'm tired of the salt creep caused by my air stone and wonder if it's even necessary being that I'm using a venturi type skimmer and have four Hydor (450 gph each) pumps
- one on each corner, a chiller pump 650 gph and the filter canister pump 400gph.
<If you skimmer works fine without the airstone then no harm done. If this is the case, why use the airstone in the first place? There are a few venturi skimmers out there that need an airstone to truly skim, I have one in mind which I suspect here. A functioning skimmer is very much worth having. If the skimmer is working well I would leave it alone. Perhaps looking into a better skimmer, such as the AquaC Remora for this tank is a better option.>
Warm wishes,
R. Gene Hayden
<Scott V.>

Limewood Air Diffusers Growing Mystery Substance/Tank Maintenance, Good SOP for cleaning ala Salty  1/24/10
Hi WWM crew!
<Hello Amy>
I have a 75gal tank, 40gal sump loaded with live rock and a DIY counter current protein skimmer. I have a question about the air stones in my counter current protein skimmer. The skimmer skims fabulous! I built it out of desperation after months and months and months of trying to improve the performance of our less than par SeaClone 150 that was recommended to us when we first got in the hobby and didn't know better. Money to replace/upgrade with a nicer skimmer was an issue so I looked for a couple of months and finally decided to build my own. Much cheaper and my tank has been much happier for it. Now on to the problem I am having. I use wooden air diffusers in my skimmer. I have been using the RedSea brand they are the only ones I can find in our area . The last two packages of the air diffusers I have purchased have started growing some kind of strange spongy/slimy black substance on them. This is only after about a week or so in use. It grows no where else in the skimmer, sump or aquarium. It is not growing in the air line tubing either. The substance has a distinct odor to it. The odor is very sharp, almost a chemical/moldy smell to it. I can scrape it off of the outside of the stone but you can clearly see the black penetrates all the way through the block of wood. I have never seen this happen before and I don't know what in the world may be causing it. I am worried that it is something bad because of the odor. My water parameters are all fantastic.
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0
Phosphates0
Calcium 440-445
Alkalinity 10-11 dKH
Salinity 1.023
Temp 75-78
<Ah, a reminder of my early years using a Sander's air driven protein skimmer. I did the following before using the Limewood diffusers for the first time and when performance drops. Lightly scrub the stone on all four sides and allow to air dry. Then boil in freshwater for 5 to 10 minutes and allow to air dry.
Soak in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 3 parts freshwater for 24 hours.
Remove from the bleach solution and attach an air line to the stone and place it in a container of freshwater, letting it run for 5 minutes.
Remove from freshwater and continue to pump air through the stone for 5 minutes.
After allowing to air dry they will be ready for use. The diffusers will then be free/sterile of any contaminants that may have caused the problem you described.
Very unlikely this problem will continue if you follow the above procedure.
You can lengthen the life of Limewood air stones by using a air filter between the pump and the diffuser.>
My bio load is: Pair of Percula Clowns, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 1 Mexican sea hare that I "rented" from a fellow Aquarist that is helping me finish off the last of my severe green hair algae problem which was I am sure was fed by my lack of sufficient skimming before I built my own skimmer. As for corals I have 1 Leather Toadstool, Two mushrooms purple with blue spots, and purple with blue stripes, a very small colony of yellow polyps, a tangerine size colony of brown zoo's, 1 green button polyp, 1 colony of Blastomussa (about 25 polyps) pinkish brown with green center, 1 frag of bright orange Acanthastrea (about 6 polyps), 1 colony of green, orange and purple small zoo's and a Majano Anemone that hitch hiked in on some live rock but is living a peaceful existence on the far end of my tank by its self. I know they are supposed to be bad but I rather like it and figure as long as I don't over feed the tank I should be OK. (or should I just go ahead and get rid of it?)
<I would get rid of it, can become problematic, reproduce in large numbers.>
I also have a bunch of Nassarius snails, hermit crabs, and a bunch of bristle worms living in the rock and sand that come out and clean any and all debris that they can find at feeding time and at night after the lights are out. So I know this is very long winded but I wanted to make sure I include as much info as possible so you may be able to help me figure out what in the world is growing on my air stones and have you ever heard of anything like it before? Many thanks to you in advance and thanks so much for your fabulous website. You guys have saved me from many panic attacks since we started this hobby a year ago!
<Glad you found us and you are welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Sincerely,
Amy E. Cox

Blocked Wooden Air Stone/Cleaning 6/3/09
Hi.
<Hello Nick>
I just bought a new wooden airstone (Lee's brand) for my air-driven protein skimmer. The airstone worked fine when I first put it down in the water, but while I was positioning it in the skimmer the airstone briefly
came out of the water. As soon as I stuck it back down in the water it was clogged completely and I can't figure out how to reopen it. Any suggestions?
This exact same thing has happened to me before but I would rather not just throw the airstone away seeing as the wooden ones really aren't all that cheap.
<Ah, a reminder of my early years using a Sander's air driven protein skimmer.
Here is how I rejuvenated mine. Lightly scrub the stone on all four sides and allow to air dry. Then boil in freshwater for 5 to 10 minutes and allow to air dry.
Soak in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 3 parts freshwater for 24 hours.
Remove from bleach solution and attach an air line to the stone and place it in a container of freshwater,
letting it run for 5 minutes.
Remove from freshwater and continue to pump air through the stone for 5 minutes.
After allowing to air dry, you should be good to go. You can lengthen the life of limewood air stones by using a air filter between the pump and the stone.>
Thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Nick Peterson
Re Blocked Wooden Air Stone/Cleaning 6/3/09
Thanks so much! I will definitely try that.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
-Nick Peterson

Gas exchange... wet/dry, skimmer, tight lid, and oxygen  12/23/07 Hello and thanks for all of your great info on this site! <Hello Kevin.> I have a 55g aquarium with 50 lbs of live rock, 30 pounds of live sand, one small clownfish, and about 25 snails (Astrea, Cerith, Nassarius). I'd like to add another clownfish and some other small fish (haven't decided what yet). <Do research your selections first for compatibility with your current clown.> I have the CPR dual BakPak hang-on-back skimmer with no bio-media in it. There are two MaxiJet 1200's driving the skimmer and two additional MaxiJet 1200's for extra circulation. I used to run an EHEIM wet/dry 2229 with some of their EHEIM Substrat bio-media. The nitrate levels were around 30ppm. After reading through the FAQs on this site, I decided that the liverock should be sufficient for bio-filtration and removed the wet/dry. I'm still slightly concerned about aeration/oxygenation without the wet/dry filter. I have no airstones in the tank. I like to keep it clear of bubbles. <Yes> I think the skimmer should be more than sufficient for oxygenation, but I turn it off using a timer for about 6 hours a day since the aquarium is right next to my television and it's just way too loud. <Really? Is it suction noise? There should be a little silencer on the end of your airline, these skimmers should not be that loud.> I also think the other two MaxiJet 1200's, which are running 24/7 are probably moving the water around enough to get some oxygenation at the surface. However, I have the top of the aquarium almost completely sealed with acrylic to prevent SG changes, evaporation, fish jumping out, etc... Is the six hour daily time period with no skimming enough to significantly decrease the oxygen level in the tank? <With the top sealed up and an increasing fish load, yes.> How much of the tank lid needs to be "open" in order to allow for air exchange? Would a couple 1/8 or 1/4" holes be sufficient? <Not really, go larger, more open. > Is there some way I can use the wet/dry for the sole purpose of increasing oxygen without increasing the nitrate levels? Would running it empty do the trick or do you really need all of the surface area for promoting oxygenation? <This is a great solution for you; it will still provide gas exchange. I also recommend investigating why your skimmer is so noisy. You should not have to turn it off at all.> Thanks, and have a great holiday. Kevin <Welcome, happy holidays to you also, Scott V.>

Water return manifold question 10/31/07 After reading Anthony's article "Plumbing a Water Return Manifold - goodbye powerheads!" I decided to have a go at it. I found it to be rather loud, so I inserted PVC into the "T's" so that the water would flow into the tank below the water line. This solved the noise problem (along with the stand pipe I found out about here-thanks!). But my question is: without agitation at the surface, will there be enough o2? Even with the overflow box there seems to be no water movement on the surface. If I take out the PVC (so water comes into the tank above the surface) there seems to be enough movement... but then there's the noise again. If the pump is sufficient to turn over enough water per hour, should it matter if the surface of the water is smooth? <Hi Jen, you will lose some gas exchange with the calmer surface. It really shouldn't be a concern with adequate flow through your overflow and skimmer. If you wish to keep it quiet and agitate the surface you could put a 45 or 90 degree fitting on the end of one of the pipes and angle it a little towards the surface or get some Lockline which will allow you to easily put each output wherever you would like. Some actually advocate for a calm surface to increase skimmer performance (surface water being more concentrated through the overflow to the skimmer).> Thank you in advance for your answers and for providing a wealth of information here! Jen PS- yes, if a woman can plumb this manifold thing anyone can do it <Thank you very much. The two best reefers I know are women. Their tanks are the envy of all the locals here. If only my wife will plumb my next project...Scott V.> <Jen, I wanted to edit the spelling of the plumbing product I referred to, it is Loc-Line. Thanks, Scott V.>

Question about Mineral Mud in a refugium... actually aeration  - 4/24/2006 Bob, <Jason> I have been quite busy and haven't had much time to revisit the items below. I will try to get to them within the next several weeks and get back to you with more information.  I do have one quick question. I have a Euro Reef Protein Skimmer which is for a 150 gallon tank, but mine is 56 gallon and it works great.  I just recently added several air stones, one on each back corner of the tank to increase aeration and movement in the back of the tank.  I also have two power heads, one on each side of the tank.  Are there any negatives to having added the two air stones? Jason <Mmm, no... not likely. These mechanical aerators can/do move a very good deal of water (more than many high-rated powerheads... and provide "noise" and other benefits to livestock. Bob Fenner> Oxygenation question  Hey, Long time reader, first time writer. I have a 55 gallon tank that I  have setup as follows: <Hi and thanks for writing! You've caught Lorenzo answering queries today...> Under-gravel filter plates are all along the bottom with a custom setup that has a pipe going along the bottom that is connected to where all the uplift tubes connect. These then meet up with a single tube that goes up, out and down back into on of the compartments in the stand I made. <WOW. Sounds like a great setup.> In the stand the pipe breaks to feed the input of two canister filters. A Fluval 304 and a 404. The 304 is filled with various  types of mechanical filtration (carbon, Chemi-pure, Bio-Zorb, etc) and the 404 is filled with nylon pot scrubbers for bio filtration.  The outputs of the two filters then combine into one tube that feeds back up into the tank into a horizontal output tube that spans about 2/3 the tank. I have this about 2 inches from the water surface and have all the holes cut so that they are shooting upwards at the surface at about 30 degrees off vertical, which produces a decent current at the surface of the water. I have two long air-stones at the bottom/back of the tank bubbling up the back under the output tube. <Am curious how you maintain the those filters without making a horrible mess!> In an effort to maximize oxygenation, I was wondering if doing away with the air-stones an pumping the air straight into the main tube where the output of the two filters come together would be a good idea. I figure that is where the water is at the least oxygenated and this was the water and bubbles would shoot out of the output bar back into the aquarium. <That is PLENTY of oxygenation for most any situation that isn't grossly crowded.> The three things I would like to accomplish with this are: 1) maximize oxygenation <You've definitely got it, surface agitation works very well.> 2) keep the water as clear as possible (I've noticed that some of the bubblers produce bubbles that are two small and seem to cloudy the water a bit) 3) possibly minimize noise. <Getting a smaller air pump, or getting rid of one if you are running two, should go a long way toward this.> What do you think? <I think you have more than sufficient oxygenation, unless you are massively overcrowding your aquarium. If that IS the case, and you really want to keep it that way, look into a hang-on-the back protein skimmer designed for saltwater aquaria. It will not work as a filter in freshwater, but it WILL oxygenate like crazy, and good ones are much quieter than any airpump. Some, however, will release micro-bubbles into the system, though certainly not as much as fine airstones directly in the display!> thanks in advance, -ed <Happy Holidays, Zo>

Re: Live Rock or Not? 9/5/05 Ali, I received my Remora Pro with the mag 3 filter. WOW it is much quieter than the Prism even for a break in period. Thank you for the great advice. <Ginette, just wait until the unit breaks in! It'll be jammin'> I called every LFS and no one carried the AquaC products. I ordered through Marine Depot (yeah free shipping). <Ah, next time you call MD ask for me!> I am happy to say the 13lbs of LR is not dying so far on me. I am seeing some purple buds growing and found some tiny snails. I removed the air stones. Am I correct that the skimmer will give me the same effect and that this will reduce the salt creep? <Salt creep is only caused when saltwater comes into contact with aquarium edges and/or equipment, generally due to splashing or 'saltwatery' hands/towels touching them. You really don't need to be utilizing air stones so you did the right thing by removing them as the new skimmer will be much more efficient. I would highly recommend adding as much water circulation as possible, without blowing your sand all over the place, during the 'cycling' phase. This can be easily achieved by utilizing small powerheads such as the MaxiJet 900s (roughly 230gph while being an energy efficient 8 watts). Good luck Ginette! - Ali> Inline Air Filter Hi Bob, James and Crew, I have been reading Bob's book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Great resource for a newbie like myself. A couple months ago I wrote about my concern of smoking in house and wood stove. I appreciate James and Bob's response. Smoking and Wood Stove                                                      Hello WWM Crew,     I'm a newbie and have been researching for two months. I am ready to take   the plunge. I'm planning a 90 or 120 gallon tank, wet/dry filter and protein skimmer, etc. I plan to start with a FOWLR and hope to add corals   at a later time. I've heard some horror stories about using scented candles, aerosols and non-aquarium sponges. I have a wood stove (same       room) and my wife smokes. A friend told me that people smoking in the house will kill the fish over time. Is this true? Is the wood stove an      issue?        <Well, I smoke fine cigars in the same room as my tank. I haven't lost      anything yet. If you want to be on the safe side use Polyfilters, Chemi-Pure or a good grade of carbon. As far as the wood stove, I really    don't see where that is a problem. James (Salty Dog)><<Relative to other    sources of pollution... tough call... I would wash your hands, arms before placing them in your tanks. RMF>>                                                                                                                       In the book Bob notes that tobacco smoke is a concern and strongly recommends having an inline air filter. I am planning a 180 RR tank with 100g sump/skimmer and 40g refuge in the basement. I will start with a FOWLR tank and plan to proceed to a reef tank. I will have canopy on tank. Bob, can you expand on what you mean by an 'inline air filter' and on any other precautions  for smokers I should consider. <Steve, basically an inline air filter is a small cartridge with nipples on each end for connection between the air pump and air stone.  Not too many people use air pumps these days.  Skimmers are venturi driven and the UGF is almost a thing of the past.  I guess you could attach a inline filter to the venturi inlet of the skimmer.  Getting one of the new air purifiers such as "Sharper Image" brand would work well.  No filters are required.  They are a little pricey but work well.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Steve Oxygen content Hi, I checked the search tool for my question with no luck. So forgive me if this was already asked. My question is about octopi. I'm setting up a 30 gallon cube tank with a canister filter. I have heard that octopi need higher levels of dissolved oxygen content, but I'm not exactly sure what that means. How should I keep it high? Or is what I have good enough? Thanks a lot and again sorry if this was already asked.  <Ben, the canister filter is not going to give you the oxygen level you need. You really need a wet/dry filter for good air/water exchange. James (Salty Dog)> 

Oxygen content Follow-up  Hey  <Hey here> Thanks for your quick response. My LFS told me this would be enough so I spent 200 dollars on it. Is there anything else I can do?  <What will help some is to have the return water break the surface of the tank water. That is, do not submerge the return line, preferably use a spray bar. Some filters come with this. If he sold you a Rena or Eheim, it will include the spray bar. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Ben <You're welcome>  

- Tank Sprung a Leak? - On my 125g tank-what a mess!- I woke up this morning to hearing the water rushing into my 125 from my Magnum 350 and my Emperor 400 making churning sounds.  The tank was completely full before I went to bed!  Oh-no- I jumped out of bed, ran down stairs and sure enough-  the tank had lost about 6 inches of water. I quickly unplugged the heaters and  turned off the Emperor (fortunately the water level is high enough to still run  the magnum)- it seemed as if the water was  leaking out from the Emperor. But how?  Then in cleaning up the water  off the floor- I noticed that the puddles of water just kept  growing. Another close look at behind the tank and the  plumbing.  Water was slowly coming out of an airline hose.   My air pump died the other day- so I unhooked the airlines from the  dead air pump and left the two airlines still hooked up to the undergravel  tubes.  Could it over a few days build up enough air pressure (gravity- or  such) in the tube to syphon the water up and out of the tank? <Actually, the siphon was caused by something called capillary action: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/capillaryaction.html Fluids can defy gravity and move up small diameter tubes to the point that a siphon starts and then gravity takes back over. Any time you have an air pump below the water level of the tank, you really should have a check valve in the air line - a very inexpensive part - which would have prevented this from ever happening.> This is the  only thing I can think of - everything else seems to be in working condition.  (Not sure about the heaters yet - I'm just hoping that they were cooled down enough before the tank water lowered past the minimum water line on the heaters so that they didn't burnout - which brings me to another question -  could this have electrocuted my fish? <Only if the heaters cracked.> They all seem fine- besides being a  little shaken up and irritated by the loud rushing water coming into the tank.  But I have heard of fish being electrocuted this way- what's your take?)   Thanks, Mbuford <Cheers, J -- Thank you so much for your response.  Capillary action- it all makes sense now- I just never thought of two little airlines being able to siphon so much so fast.  In the 7 years of having fish, having a check valve in the airline was never suggested to me before.  I'm surprised that I haven't yet ran into this problem until now!  As they say, you learn something new everyday!  I'm just so glad that this was the problem and not a cracked tank- 125 gallon aquarium doesn't come cheap, you know what I mean? (this was definitely it, after taking out the airlines and filling back up the tank, no more water leaking onto the floor- what do you know!!) Well, out to get some check valves-  again thank you much!! Bioballs & Oxygenation Dear WWM Crew <Hi Peter, MacL here> Quick question again. I've been reading about removing bio-balls to reduce nitrate levels in my reef set up, but I don't want to lose the oxygenating effect these have. <Understood> I also thought about making an oxygen reactor, but it looks as though they also have the bioball packing to increase surface area.  I currently keep the top of my 72 gallon sealed with glass to reduce evaporation and would not like to not remove them. Do you have any suggestions on good oxygen saturation? <Surface movement works well, perhaps by the addition of more powerheads?> techniques w/o using these structured packing materials in a pressurized column? <There are additional ways to compensate for the nitrates. You might look into the addition of refugiums.> Also, while I have you, I'm finally starting a QT.  I was instructed to set up a foam filter in the sump to culture the bacteria by the LFS.  I had an unused Marineland Emperor power filter that wasn't in use, so I figured I'd set it up on the sump.  It has been running on the sump for a couple of days now.  How long do you think I should keep it here before the bio wheel and floss are cultured and ready to be used to quarantine......the full 3-4 weeks? <Bacteria builds up daily. Most people figure a complete saturation of about a months time. But the bacteria will continue to grow in its new home, i.e. the quarantine tank.> Sorry for the slew of questions today, and the separate postings.  Thanks again for all you all do! <Glad the site is of help to you Peter.> Peter

Aerating 90 gal tank Hello wwm staff << Hi there, Adam here. >> I have setup a 90 gal. fish only tank, I have undergravel filter with 2 300gph power heads and one HOT canister filter that run about 275 gph, I will be upgrading HOT to canister filter in the near future, about 20 lbs of live rock, which I'll be adding 80 or 90 more ponds and I have a red sea Berlin 90 counter flow skimmer run by limewood aerator , which is giving about 1 ? cup of smelly brown water per day and there will be a better skimmer in the near future also, is there enough water flow and how do you know if you have enough surface agitation? << You can never have enough surface agitation.  I would recommend doubling your total gallon per hour flow on a tank that size. >> I don't have any fish and the tank has just started to cycle. By the way you guy's and gals have a great site. << Thanks.  I love water motion, and if you can add a few more powerheads across the top of the tank, I say do it. >> Thanks ed <<  Adam Blundell  >>

New (old) tank for a newbie Hey y'all... great site. I'm new to the aquarium life, but I inherited a 60 gal. hex tank (hello, angelfish!), and have set it up according to the best advice I can find (read: this site). Cycled it fishless; got proper readings on ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and such; got some hardier fish to insure readings were correct, and am conducting a 10% weekly water change.  My tank came with a hanging bio-filter, but I have also purchased an air pump (my daughter likes the bubbles). Now, am I at risk of putting too much air into the water? My fish seem to like the bubbles and currents, and I don't know why this would be a problem, but the more I learn, the more I know I need to learn.<the added bubbles should not be a problem. the fish should be perfectly fine. Good luck, IanB>  Thanks, John

Is aerating a marine aquarium a good idea?  <This is a very good idea!> What are the pros and cons?<You can find tons of info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Drilled Aquarium?? I am setting up a 125 gal reef with 55 gal. sump hidden underneath.<is the 125 drilled or not?> all my plumbing will be hidden via bulkheads etc. to underneath.<I am assuming it is drilled> How can I hide my airline tubing for my 10" airstone,<I don't suggest using an airstone in the main display. I have not seen the setup to your aquarium either so you will just have to find away so that it is not visible but I am against putting the airstone in the reef setting. I would try powerheads which are much more beneficial to the inverts and other life> is there a special bulkhead fitting, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Louie<good luck, IanB>

Use of an airstone Hi,     Have a reef tank with anenomes, paint brushes, crabs, shrimp, and misc. reef safe fish 125 gal. Was wondering if I can use an air stone that makes the mini-bubbles approx. 12 " long along the rear bottom of tank, figured it would look nice, add some air to tank, but was wondering if it would hurt anenomes ( have no corals), and if there are any pros and cons of same. Thanks in advance.                                               Louie <Should be fine. One of my fave applications as a matter of fact. Placing one of these along the inside end of an aquarium really moves the water... in a complete gyre. Bob Fenner>

Oxygen Saturation Question - Emergency Plans >Hi Crew: >>Hi Gregory.  Marina today. >Really quick question for you...not sure about the answer though.  All the power problems and storms on the East Coast recently have made me think of emergency planning.  (Just because I'm paranoid does not mean that there is not an international conspiracy to kill my fish!!)  Do you know (or can you point me to a book/article discussing) the approximate time that it would take a given amount of fish to lower the oxygen saturation in a tank to fatal levels?  I know this is impossibly complicated but I'm just looking for some sort of ballpark range (hours/days??).  If it helps to be specific, I have a 110g with three 4/5-inch tangs, two 4-inch butterflies and a centropyge angel.  I assume that they could last quite a while in this tank, but I may be wrong. >>Indeed, just saw a query from someone who lost his fish by the end of the day (8-12 hours, if I recollect correctly) due to pump failure.  Different catastrophe, same result.  Good idea to plan. >I read through the fax about oxygen, but didn't find anything discussing this sort of timeframe.  As always, thanks for your time and experience.  BTW, I'm really enjoying the little messages about NMA V2.  Must be alternately exciting and wearying to be working on such a project.  Take care, Gregory Fickling   >>Absolutely, I'm hoping my contributions to the previous tome were well received and might be taken advantage of again.  ;)  I suggest you go to a bait shop and buy several battery operated air pumps.  These tend to be both cheaper and more powerful than those you might find at your LFS.  Unless, of course, you can afford to and have a place for a generator.  Marina

Bubbles or no bubbles? (8-4-03) Dear WetWeb Media <Howdy, Cody here today.>    I hate to ask such a basic question but can you tell me whether I should have venturi attached to my powerhead to add more air  to my reef tank. I thought I should but there are so many articles talking about the problems that bubbles can cause I don't know what to do.<I would leave the bubbles out and just make sure you have plenty of surface agitation.> Many thanks Mark

Got Air??  3/3/03 Hello<Hey> I currently have a new tank that I'm cycling and was curious about o2 in my water I have three submerged powerheads (802, 202, 302) in my 50 gal. FOWLR setup would you recommend I add an airstone? or run tubing to the air inlet on a couple of my powerheads?<I don't think you need to do anything!  And if you really want more air just add a good protein skimmer.  This will add some air to your water!  Phil>

Re: oxygen Hi this is Genaro. I have two questions. I have two quiet pumps I am running only one on a 60gl tank. Is that sufficient for a reef or do I need the two.  And second question is, do I need  bio-balls in wet/dry filter. I thank you. <Hi Genaro, A reef tank needs anywhere from ten to twenty times tank volume turnover per hour, so your reef tank needs anywhere from 600-1200 gph turnover. You need one or more pumps/powerheads/outlets to provide this flow rate. You do not need bio-balls in your wet/dry filter, depending on your tanks inhabitants (messy/large fish) and or provided you have enough live rock and deep sand bed (1.5 lbs porous live rock per gallon and 3-4" plus deep sand bed) to process your bio load. For reef only with a few fish the above is sufficient w/o bio-balls provided there is efficient protein skimming.  Sounds like fun!  Enjoy! Craig>

- Aeration - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 125 gallon tank that is 6 feet long by 18 inched deep by 20 inches tall.  I have an Ocean clear canister filter powered by a 1100 gph pump.  These are supplied by two intake and have two return lines all plumbed through the bottom of the tank.  One return line is pointed to the middle surface while the other is pointed to the center front of the tank for circulation.   I also have a Emperor hang on "Big Tank" filter and a Red Sea Prizm Pro hang on skimmer.  The skimmer, no matter how many times I adjust the water flow or air, pumps lots of micro bubbles into the tank.  kinda ugly sometimes. <Yup, 'tis the nature of the Prism skimmer I'm afraid.> I'm worried that my fish and other critters aren't getting enough oxygen. <I doubt that... in spite of the micro bubbles, most any skimmer will oxygenate the water quite well. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.> My question is, are the bubbles produced by the skimmer and the geometry of the tank enough? <Yes.> Haven't done any testing yet, and I know I should, but I guess I'm being lazy.  Could you please help.  Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Aeration in a mud filtration scenario I have a bit of a saga to tell about my quest for the perfect filtration AND a question about aeration.  My story is loaded with mistakes that perhaps others can learn from. <I thank you for sending it along> I have a 53 or so gallon tank set up in an alcove over a fireplace.  For 2-years it has been a very successful fish-only with cc substrate & about 60# of live rock.  For the past 2 months I have been upgrading it to a combo fish/reef tank.  I added 260 watts of power compacts, upgraded to an hang-on-back AMiracle Wet/Dry driven by a protein skimmer (that's never actually produced any foam), kept a Magnum 350 canister, a uv sterilizer and SeaClone protein skimmer and added 3 Rio 800's and a wavemaker.   My parameters have all been fine except those pesky nitrates.  After doing a lot of reading on the subject, I decided last month to change my crushed coral substrate to live sand.  I started with super fine aragonite sand, then added some Fiji Live Sand and some Florida Live Sand and 4 small live rocks fresh from Florida, that were a little too "live".  As you can imagine, my established tank started cycling.  Nitrites were about .5 for 2 weeks.  I did water changes everyday for 1 1/2 weeks, then tapered back to every other day.  The nitrites have been "stable" at .25 for about 4 days now.  I'm sure you're shaking your head and uttering tsk, tsk, tsk right now.  Amazingly none of the fish or newly introduced corals showed any signs of stress during this, but it gets worse.   Last night I decided to take the non-skimming skimmer feeding the wet/dry out of the equation and feed the wet/dry directly from the Rio800 in the tank.  Well, it flooded the bioballs.  So even though the ps isn't working (and collects lots of gunk), it apparently buffers or restricts the flow into the wet/dry so the water "trickles" over the balls.  I've been thinking about getting rid of the whole wet/dry thing in favor of a mud filter, so I just left the darn thing off last night.  I woke up this morning to 2 dead cleaner shrimp, a dead Anthias, a dead Coral Beauty Angel and a panting Copperband Butterfly on the bottom.  I didn't test the Ammonia, but the nitrites were slightly above .5 (no higher than they've been during this whole saga).  My LFS said the fish weren't getting enough oxygen with the wet/dry off and that the trickle over the balls oxygenated the water.  My question is:  If this is true, how do you oxygenate the water using a mud filter?  Isn't that still a major consideration? <A good deal of aeration is accomplished by the process of mixing, moving water about top to bottom, and increasing surface area.> I did a huge water change and the fish that made it ( the Copperband, Yellow Tang, Gobi and Blenny) are starting to stabilize.  Now what do I do?  Should I turn the wet/dry into a mud filter? <If you'd like... I would at least modify the present filter, remove the bioballs, install a real skimmer...>   If so, how would you suggest I go about it?  This all started trying to control nitrates that were in the .30 range and has turned into a major disaster!  Any suggestions, insight, etc., would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much for your time and your wonderful & informative website! Barbera Aimes <Mmm, you're welcome. Do consider either the entire upgrade to a mud filtration mode, or just an intermediary improvement (the two items mentioned) for now. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aeration in a mud filtration scenario Thank you for such a fast response.  Do you agree with the LFS that the fish died because of a lack of oxygen, or could the Ammonia have built up to deadly proportions in 12 hours? <Much more likely anoxia was the principal cause... on the basis of the information provided... who died, didn't.> Frankly, I'm afraid to change anything about the wet/dry until I figure out which aspect of turning it off caused the tank to crash. <Really... was very likely just the pump, circulation turned off...>   I am getting a "real" skimmer (AquaC Remora) to hang on the tank in about 2 weeks.  Are you suggesting I get a protein skimmer to hang on the wet/dry? <No, not necessary, advised> If so, could I use that second skimmer to drive the mud filter? <Better to have just a low-flow rate pump here> Is there any downside to having 2 skimmers on a system? <Mmm, not much... just more gear, cost...> I'm assuming from your answers to other people's questions that I should remove the bioballs slowly - over a couple of weeks.  If I turn it into a mud filter, doesn't the mud filter have to cycle? <Will cycle almost instantly... but I would leave the bioballs in till the mud is situated, then remove in halves... three installments over as many weeks> If so, then my main tank would have to go for a period without the benefit of the oxygenation from the hang-on filter.  How could I replace that oxygenation in the meantime? <The new skimmer will provide this... but you can add mechanical aeration as well... with an air pump, "stone", air-entraining powerheads... Bob Fenner> Thank you again. Barbera

Kordon Mist Airstones  ( fused glass beads, long lasting, operational if you know what to do)  Dear Crew, I am mailing you from good old England, I have a 65gall reef with a internal counter current skimmer. In the past I have always used sander no2 limewood stones, which I change about once every 3 weeks so that I keep the bubble concentration at its strongest, but I have just bought some of the Kordon mist fine stones on the internet.  Have any of you guys used these or do you know of them, <As likely the "oldest salt" here... and very familiar with the Kordon lines I'll step up to the plate> I just can't get them to produce a bubble anything like enough to perform any kind of fractionation, on the packet is says that they outperform limewood considerably. <They do... when clean and... please do check here... the "ballast" is removed from the middle. The last first. Gingerly take a pliers and remove (pull out) the clear 3/16" (sorry re the lack of metric equivalent) stem... and tap out (not on a hard surface or you may break the "stone" (fused glass beads) ballast (if any)... and discard (not to worry re its lack). Now, treat these glass/stones as if they were limewood... that is, get a couple of sets and get in the habit of trading them out about every other week, rinsing (and slightly bleaching) them for a day or two, allowing to air-dry in-between... It may well be that your air pump/s are not capable of powering these (try blowing through the line yourself. If you can't w/o danger of exploding, your pumps cannot either...). Your application might be better off with the "medium" size bead/bubble in this case...> My airpump is rated at 450litres of air per hour, so there's no problem there I don't think, <The volume and pressure are different affairs... many such pumps produce large volume, but little pressure... The Schego and Luft pump lines are my favorites in these higher pressure, moderate volume settings> Anyway if you do have any information I'd be grateful to read it, your site is fantastic, I visit all the time, very informative and a damned good read. Thanks again chaps and keep up the good work. <A pleasure Sir. Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner> Paul Matthews, Manchester, England

air Hello to one and all, We have a 75 gallons tank with 1 blue damsel (small) and 1 Sailfin tang. The usual cleanup crew exists and EV-120 Aqua-C and sump and one power head return. We were wondering about the wisdom of an air stone for a little more water movement. <It will move a good bit of water, but can become a nuisance with salt creep.> I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is not a good idea in a reef tank. <Reef or fish-only, the problem would be the same.> We are looking into more power heads but as of now we are not content with how they will look in the tank and thought that maybe an airstone in one of the less circulating areas would be a good idea until the major job of installing refugium and maybe more circulating pumps occurs. Also, we had a slightly elevated nitrite level in our tank (ammonia is normal and nitrate is good). Any ideas? We may just be seeing the cycling from the loss of 2 little Chromis who are missing and can't be found. <Bingo> Is that what could happen? No other die off in any direction that I can see. Feeding has changed a bit with the Sailfin, some seaweed select. Also introduced some plant life to the tank for Mr. Sailfin, but not much else new. Every 2 to 3 days I feed the corals and Hannibal Lector, the anemone, some shrimp, clam and scallop stuff that I have mixed up and frozen and also put together some phytoplankton and a little of the shrimp and clam and scallop in the blender for the corals and hopefully the flame scallop, who I have not seen for a while. I think that in spite of my efforts he may have met his demise. <Quite possible. A difficult animal at best.> Could the nitrite thing be from overfeeding? <Another possibility.> Sorry for so many questions. I will do water change for the nitrite. Just hate it when things happen and I don't know why. <Me too. It is very frustrating, but I am guessing the Chromis and/or the flame scallop are your culprits.> Hope that all is well. Helene <Have a lovely evening. -Steven Pro>

Re: air Thank you, Steven, What in heck are you doing being so prompt on a Sunday night? <With so many of us pitching in now, invariably someone is online.> Thank you. I will do a water change or two and try to relax. Helene <Sounds like a plan. -Steven Pro>

air pumps for aeration of large fish tanks Dear Mr. Fenner, I would like to ask you about if it is possible to announce our AIRMAC air pumps on your web side. We are Taiwan manufacture of AIRPUMPS - the same products as TAKATSUKI HIBLLOW distributed by GAST . <Ahh, a good company> www.diann-bao.com.tw Especially I am one of distribution net work and my place is in EUROPE. In USA We have some partners but just now we are looking for distributors in South America. I see on your web side that many people write you from Venezuela ... Thank you for your answer. Best regards Petr Mivalt Czech republic Europe www.baspol.cz tel: +420 603 22 88 12 <Will post your note on WetWebMedia.com. Do you have more information to share re the product itself? Bob Fenner>

Information request (re air blowers) Hi; <greetings, my friend> I'm writing from Venezuela. I have a question to ask you. I work in a water treatment company. Today one of our client (We are treating water for the cooling towers of his office building) asked me a favor. He has a 10000 l capacity aquarium and he requested me for a small blower to supply enough air for it. Well, I can supply him a small blower, but I really don't know how much air does it really need. Could you help me with that? <I would love to help you with it. The size of the blower depends on the depth of the application and to some extent the use for which he will be applying it. You/we need more information. How many outlets, how deep, with or without air diffusers on the end, etc. The following link is to one of the leading manufacturers of blowers here in the US. They have some good specs on site to guide people:  http://www.gastmfg.com/ > Looking forward to hear from you  Best regards Juan Carlos M?dez <best regards, Anthony>

Venturi Dear Mr. Fenner, Does the fish likes or hates air being pumped into water through venturi? <usually the extra dissolved oxygen is beneficial> It is definitely effecting the viewing pleasure having much bubble in the water, however, I also worry not to have enough oxygen in the tank. <no problem... if you have strong water movement without the venturi on the power heads AND have a good protein skimmer aerating the system then you will be fine for )2 saturation> Best regards! Liao I Ching <best regards, Anthony>

To bubble or not to bubble? I've done a Google search and read all the articles that have come up about powerheads and air bubbles but can't find an answer I know it is here but don't know where. I've spent a few hours but now am taking the easy way out. <no worries... we'll just reply with shorter answers <G>> I just got my 75 gal. up and running with 2 802 Hagen powerheads should I have the air hose connected to put air into the system or have them off so as not to introduce to many bubbles into the system?  <somewhat personal preference... but if you have another oxygenating device (protein skimmer, crashing sump, W/D, etc) then the bubbles in the main display from the power head may be an unwelcome nuisance (snapping bubbles causing excessive salt creep)> The ones that were hanging on the glass have moved due to yesterdays addition of some live rock and a yellow tailed damsel and a sebae clown. Wow is it nice to have more than just an empty tank. but there is still a million being introduced constantly by the powerheads. the powerheads are about 4 inches down in the water. <Hmm... with or without bubbles, powerheads will serve the system better is placed at or aimed at the surface (gas exchange)> I also have the Eheim 2235 with the return just above surface level. <yes... very helpful as above> the hood is glass with a plastic strip along the back with cut outs just big enough for the cords from the appliances. will enough air get into the system with the air turned off to the power head or is it best to leave them on? <O2 saturation is necessary but better achieved with a skimmer instead> Thanks once again for all your help sorry to try to take the easy way out but I would like to correct this problem (if it is one) sooner than later. Colleen Pittsburgh, PA <no worries...a truly minor concern that will pass under the bridge for you. Best regards, Anthony>

Follow up on the Rena Air Pump Just so your readers know I have just spoken to Aquarium Pharmaceuticals the maker of the Rena and they said, send it back and they will replace the housing :) <<ok then, good stuff. Cheers, J -- >>

FO aeration Bob, <Steven just now.> I just added a RIO 2500 power head inside my 240 FO tank. I have 3 fish XL emperor angel, 2 XL Blochii Tangs. That's all. anyhow the RIO 2500 is very strong. I have the snorkel breather hose attached to the RIO. Its blowing REAL good, with a lot of aeration, and a lot of bubbles, big and fine. Anyhow is the big jet of bubbles ok, for the fish?? There are a lot of fine bubbles in the tank. I notice that there are some fine bubbles are on the fish itself. The fish seem to don't mind. They still eat well, and behave normally. The reason why I added the RIO is because in your article on Pomacanthus angels, and tangs. You said that they need a lot of aeration. <You get your best gas exchange at the surface of the water. Brisk water movement is all that is needed. You can disconnect the breather hose. I do not think it will necessarily harm the fish, but it will end up splashing salt spray all over the place.> And also I was watching Discovery Channel on the Blue Planet. And they showed a part of the tropics where Angels, and tangs were living and swimming around a surge zone. The waves on top crashing on the rocks. First time I was seeing the environment where they live. <It is amazing to view their dynamic environment and gives you some perspective.> Anyhow thanks, Linstun <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Phone Call re new product for aeration in times of energy loss Hi Bob, I'm the person who wrote the "Fancy Goldfish" Book and talked with you about Plecos. <An excellent work... content and format... that I am STILL working on reviewing. Sorry for the delay> There is a brand new product coming on the market I would like to discuss with you. I misplaced your phone number, I moved my office and can not find anything. When you have the time, would you please send me your phone number and the best time to phone you. <It's 858-549-XXXX, PST anytime... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Rick Goldfish Connection www.goldfishconnection.com

Does it matter where the airstone is? This may be a silly question, <Only the unasked question is silly> but to increase the dissolved oxygen level in my tank, does it matter if I put the airstone in the tank, or the sump? Is one place better than the other? <I would put the airstone in the sump because of the splashing it could cause to light fixtures, glass covers, etc. if located in the tank.> The sump pump probably pumps about 5 tanks of water per hour through the sump if that helps answer. Thanks for your help in the past. -Dan <You are quite welcome, Dan. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lemonpeel angel & Kole tang (marine aeration) Bob, Thanks for replying...I forgot to mention that the system is a 55 gallon tank with a Remora skimmer (w/ 1200 Maxijet), Penguin 330 filter, and a Rio 600 power head. Would a Maxi- jet 1200 be sufficient to increase water circulation and oxygen in the system or should I go with a higher gph model? <The Maxijet 1200 should be fine... or an airstone (with pump et al.) arrayed along a bottom end area. Bob Fenner> D.

Re: my new 25 gal tank. thanks for the reply. what i meant by bubble rocks is the little rocks that you hook up tubing to and the little machine pumps air into the rocks and it makes a million of little bubbles( sorry i forgot the name for all of that stuff ) THANKS JOSH. <Ah! Generally called "airstones" in the U.S.. Bob Fenner>

Marine equipment Hi, Bob and good evening. Me again. The store here carries AquaClear powerheads. Are they good? <IMO/E yes, good products> If not, what brand? <These and the Aquarium Systems products are the best brand names on the market> They also have Whisper and Tetra Luft pumps, which are better and quieter? <Both by the same company. The Luft are better...> Would You prefer the Aggressor Hang-on Venturi Skimmer AHVS-90 or the AquaC remora Pro?<\\\ <the last> I could order any one. The AquaC is more expensive, but I would go for it if it is worth the while. I still am reading Your web sites every day. <Me too!> I'm getting more confident about my setup.  <Ah, excellent> If only I could go out and buy everything I need. But maybe it is better this way. <I remember waiting for months for a PVC fitting in Belize...> At least I will not overstock my tank. There are no marine fish in the store. Good night, Bernd <Patience my friend... a virtue, rewarded... Bob Fenner>

RE: Aeration > Hi Bob, i have a 60 gallon, 29 inch tall octagonal salt water > tank with > Fluval 440 filter and an airstone producing very fine bubbles > powered by a > small pump (x1). The top of the tank is covered except for a > small opening > 2inch x 15inch which i always leave open. > does this sound like enough aeration?? > <Enough aeration for? Likely for very few fishes of more > sedentary habits, are you saying that if i want more than very few fishes i should use a larger pump to create more bubbles ?? <No, just that in such a small volume, with a diminished surface area (compared with a more flat profile type stock tank-shape you have to be concerned even more with over-stocking, mis/over feeding, and a safety margin should the power go out, a pump fail. Bob Fenner> thanks again, Marc

RE: Aeration/jumping >  I do worry about the gap on the top...> [why is that a worry?] <Animals launching themselves, crawling out. Bob Fenner>

Marine Air Bubbles Hi Bob I'm setting up a 30 gallon marine tank. I just got the canister filter and protein skimmer in place. I find that the canister filter is producing far too much bubbles when water is returned to the tank. How do I minimize the amount of bubbles produced? I read some where that too much bubbles is bad for the fishes. Thanks for your time. <Hmm, do you mean that there are a lot of air bubbles coming from the canister filter even though the discharge end is placed underwater? If so, let this filter run a few days... and all the air should be discharged... if not, it's time to look for a possible air leak on the intake side of the system... like the siphon tubing or where it connects to the intake in the tank or the canister filter itself. Bob Fenner> Christopher Chia Regards

dissolved oxygen testing Bob, Just for kicks I tested my aquariums for dissolved oxygen. I have a 30 and 75 gal saltwater, fish only tanks. Im using a Red Sea test kit. If my tank is at 82 deg and 1.018 salinity, it should be about 6.8 ppm. The small tank came out 3 ppm and the 75 at 5 ppm. Is higher or lower better.  <Higher> If its higher, I cant figure out why my tanks are low.  <Easy... gasses like oxygen not very soluble in seawater... tanks overcrowded with aerobic life... high heat... voila!> They have plenty of circulation and skimmers on both. 4 mid size fish in the 75 and 3 small ones in the 30. So I wouldn't think it would be stocking. Would adding an air stone to each change much?  <Yes, the best implement here> How important is it to get it within range?  <Mmm, good question... important, yes... to have near saturation (about 7ppm... for overall health, maintenance of the systems...> Do powerheads with venturis on them aid in adding O2? <Yes> Do medications like copper use up the oxygen? <Not really... but do impede fishes ability to take up same... sometimes very importantly> My fish do seem to breath heavily. <A warning sign> Different question: What's the minimum to keep live rock going out of main tank while treating for ich. How about in a trash can, w/ a aerator. <Mmm, don't know if I understand... I'd keep out all the time while toxic chemicals are present... a couple of weeks> Do you need temp to be maintained and light? <No, not really. Some light-needy life forms may die back... but no real problem generally> Thank you for the help, past and present. Darren <Be chatting my intelligent friend. Bob Fenner>

bubbles inside a reef tank Hi Robert, Your book doesn't really get into why not to have bubbles in the tank.  <The original copy was more than 1,100 pages long... maybe that area got cut?> I have a 29gallon and everyday when I feed, I shut off the power to the pump which puts air in the drain line and when the power comes back on a pump drains the line of the air and puts it in the tank. These bubbles are injected into the tank for about 30 seconds per day from the circulating powerhead. Is this a bad thing? or is it a non issue? <Very likely the latter... Unless they are very fine and persistent (in the water column) I wouldn't be bothered. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jack

O2, Substrate Questions This time a couple very short questions. I promise. I mean clarifications perhaps. <Ah, glad to comply... or at least try> >You suggested I add more air circulation for my 40 breeder. <Yes> You said a powerhead rated 110-200 was ok. Any suggestions of a quiet powerhead? Or do you not give brand names? <The best brands are Hagen and Aquarium Systems (imports of Italian manufacture)... for quietness, power-use/service factor/longevity... overall functionality... You are correct in that I am generally wont to mention specific manufacturers/lines... either don't feel/think know enough of all possible choices, don't wish to defame, turn away friends/associates in the trade, or there are no clear choice "winners"...> I said I'd prefer to stay away from the air pump, as these are very noisy. <I understand> ><Some of them... there are others that are whisper quiet... but the >bubbles?> Ok, but do I *want* bubbles??? I have some. And if I do, what is a quiet air pump? Or is just a powerhead ok? <Not necessarily the bubbles, but surface disruption, more area/waves yes... Look at the new Tetra pumps... or powerheads will be fine...> >Thanks again for your help! ><Thank you for yours. Bob Fenner> I'm glad I'm helping you, Bob. Though I guess I don't quite see that. :-) <You will my friend... by stimulating engagement, contributing to the forum, WWM and beyond... helping others in turn...> Hey it's my birthday today!! (I guess I'll get a Tang, in a couple weeks, substrate, and a powerhead :-)) <Happy birthday to you.> Thanks again. See it was short, for me anyway. :-) --Jane <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: O2 Clarification Yet another clarifications. You suggested I add more air circulation for my 40 breeder. I decided on using powerheads. I get the impression that I need both more water circulating around, and more surface disruption. How about this idea: I use two powerheads with one opposite the outtake of the Ecosystems filter. And one pointed towards the surface? Or would I do better to get two powerheads and just point them across from each other?? I'm thinking that the lower part of the tank (back of the rocks isn't getting as much O2. <Would be nice to have a real-time oxygen probe/meter and try both wouldn't it? I'd likely try the former plan. Bob Fenner> Thanks again! --Jane

Another Needed Aeration Situation This morning, I realized that my Harlequin Tuskfish in my quarantine tank (with copper) is coming up to the surface to breathe. His breathing pattern is normal and he has just recovered from ich. Any idea why? Just to avoid any loss, I had him transferred to another quarantine tank without copper and with a lower SG level of 1.015. Am I doing the correct thing? Thanks.  <Sounds very much like the animal is having a hard time "breathing"... either the copper and whatever else stressing it is impairing it's respiration, and/or there is insufficient aeration/circulation in the system... I'd check on both quick... probably lower the specific gravity of the water a couple of thousandths to improve gas solubility and ease of gas transfer... and take care to not overfeed, or otherwise add to the fish's woes. Bob Fenner>

Gasp, can't breathe I have a 29gal. setup with 20lbs. live rock. It has been setup for about 7 weeks I have cycled it with  damsels and they lived, until I flushed one b/c he was attacking my newly introduced clarkii clown. I have a magnum 250 HOT, a CPR BakPak skimmer  (which I rarely use b/c of massive bubbles) <Arrange a bit of sponge at the discharge to coalesce the bubbles> , and a 2x24in. 55w PowerCompact kit with an additional 20w blue actinic bulb mounted. Now my question is  why do all my fish breathe so heavily (damsel and clown)?  <Maybe not enough aeration? Maybe your system isn't cycled... Maybe a negative interaction with other life forms in there?> And I have Starpolyps and button polyps, with a carpet anenome. The clown loves the anenome when the white lights go out and just the actinic are on. And the star polyps haven't opened since I got them home which has been 2 days. My nitrate is around 10-15ppm, the ammonia is around .25, and nitrite is .05. I have been done 15% water changes but my fish still breathe hard and the  star polyps won't open. Also the button polyps I have and the anenome seem  to be doing great. <Too much ammonia (should be zero), nitrates a bit high (should come down with time, live rock...)... Get that skimmer going... Bob Fenner>

Disease question Bob, I have the wet/dry filter with skimmer at the bottom of the cabinet. What is the best location to install an airstone ? And what airstone and air pump is good for this 105G tank ? I'm thinking about using the following items: Rena Air 50 Air Pump 10" Penn Plax Airstone or 15" Marineland airstone Thanks, jt >> Thank you for writing. The best place is in your main/display tank... along one of the lower sides... to enhance water movement overall... and "be there" should your other pumping/aeration mechanism(s) fail. Bob Fenner

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