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FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Aeration

Related Articles: Freshwater Aeration, Freshwater Filtration, Power Filter Impressions,  A review of some popular mechanical filtration systems by Steven Pro,  Canister Filters By Steven Pro, Setting up a Freshwater Aquarium, Tips for Beginners

Related FAQs:  Freshwater Circulation, FW Filtration 2, Biological Filtration, Establishing CyclingFW Sponge Filters, FW Canister Filters, FW Hang-on Filters, Ultraviolet Sterilizers, Chemical Filtrants,

 

query.. Concern re sufficient DO, FW      6/24/17
Hi guys happened to go through your website and found it to be very informative and dependable ....I have this question related to better procedure of oxygenating water and I am really getting paranoid looking for a correct answer.....
<No need>
Of late I have realized that although I have been very regular in tank maintenance including water change , correct filtration , best food etc I still felt that my fish is just striving but not thriving in comparison to the fish I see with my friends who are very laid back on maintenance. I felt that their fish are more colorful and active then mine....Looking out for an answer I came across on many articles on water oxygenation and its importance. The studies showed that gas exchange happens on the surface of water.
<Mostly; yes>
Hence more the water agitation better...
<To an extent>
so my first question is this ....How much should it be ? For in my case I have a diy top filter like u see in these Chinese aquariums but instead of water coming out from one end , I have made holes so it comes out from the
entire filter like a spray bar ...
<Neat>
but the flip side is that it doesn't agitate the water a lot. I won't say that surface is stagnant but it doesn't agitate it like a power filter with nozzle pointing upward should do ...so do u think its still sufficient for oxygenation ?
<Likely so... are your fishes breathing rapidly, labored? >
My second question is that I came across many articles which claimed that surface aeration like the one I have is least effective method of oxygenation and bottom up method is the best like using air pump or power head.... Kindly pls help me what should I do and which method is best
Thanking you Raj
<Well, redundancy in circulation, aeration, filtration is desirable... Always good to have back up... And ask about at your local fish stores to see if they have dissolved oxygen testing gear (to ease your mind); perhaps they'll lend it to you or you can buy a colorimetric assay kit. Bob Fenner>

Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?     8/8/13
Do any of you all use one of these?  I Know not everyone does.  I'm looking for a gang valve expert. Is there a secret to getting them to work?
<No secrets. Open close by turning... Have you tried blowing through?>
I went through several plastic ones and they were junk and broke too easily.  I ordered a metal 6 valve one online and I have decent air to all the valves and the manufacturer of the Fluval Q.5 said that I could run up to 5 bubblers from it. 
<... depends on what type of bubblers and at what depth>
However... I can't even get one airstone to work but the lines blow bubbles if I pull off the stone.  It's very discouraging.  They're all turned off but not even one will turn on but when I turn one on I can get the airline but not the bubble stone to bubble.
<... Have you tried blowing through the line/s, air stones yourself? They may be of inferior quality... take more pressure than the pump can generate>
To make it worse I unplugged my large filter temporarily when a suction cup got lost from a bubble wall
<Ahh, these are pump killers... again, if you can't produce air through it with your lungs, the air pump won't be able to>
 air stone and then when I turned it back on it isn't working at all and it's new...and a good quality brand.
What happened to it?  I turn it off whenever I clean the tank.  This never happened before.
:-(
Jill
<Something like this has been responded to recently. SEARCH on WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?     8/4/13

Never mind.  I poured water into the filter and it's working again.  And the Fluval Q.5 isn't up to speed.  I debugged the new air stones... All ok run singly on the smaller air pump.  Very weak pressure running one air stone from the Fluval.
Bummer, it looks like I'm going to need to figure out how to change the air 's air bag.  :-(  
YouTube here I come.
It's not that old and I have released pressure on it periodically.  But I guess I didn't do it often enough... It's been about 6-8 months. 
Maybe if you post this it will help someone else know what to do when these things happen.  Sometimes it's not the gang valve.
Thanks,
Jill
<Hello Jill. Air pumps are much less powerful than you think, and the deeper down you put the airstone, the weaker the flow of bubbles will be.
It's a good idea to get a bigger than you need air pump.
Use gang valves not to block air flow (that is bad for the pump, I'd imagine) but to bleed off some of the air. So install one gang valve on the air pipe going to the air stone, and open the valve a little if you need to reduce the flow of bubbles. This way there's no backwards pressure pushing against the air pump, which to my thinking should help it last longer. Do also remember that airstones create resistance, so an air pump that seems strong enough when you hold the plastic tube underwater may suddenly become inadequate once you add the airstone! I'm not sure it affects the performance much, but placing the air pump above the waterline is good advice as it prevents back-flows of water into the pump (and therefore out of the aquarium) should the pump fail. You can buy little check valves that will prevent back-flow if you can't position the air pump above the tank. Do also check the filter on the air pump: these get clogged very quickly, especially if the tank is in a corner where dust and debris are easily overlooked.
Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?    8/9/13

I had a check valve and it was set high.
<An adjustable check valve? Have never encountered such. Do you mean it was installed backward?>
I think the pump just got messed up.... I debugged that it will blow a single stone so that means the pressure is just lower.  I probably messed it up.
<Ok>
Have you ever looked inside a Fluval?
<Yes>
 Is the small black plunger part the bag....it's thick...like a real plunger rubber.
<Yes; the diaphragm...>
  I'm wondering if the bag is under that.  There's a bar across and I'd need to unscrew it to find out.  I suspect most people buy a new one as all the youtubes I've found show older styles of pumps, not Fluval.
Have you ever used Fusion brand?  It sounded quiet in the store while cheaper store brands rattled and hummed.  Thanks Neale.
<Most all small/hobbyist air pumps are about the same; some with more diaphragms, different quality "one way" flap valves; some with novel sound insulating.... Bob Fenner>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?    8/9/13

I put them on smaller pump and they all worked.  Figured out I can run one stone on it so I think the bag is old, maybe I need to replace it.  For now I'll run one stone off it till I can fix it or buy a larger one as Neale suggested I may need to do.  May have been too much even though the manufacturer says it's doable, maybe they only mean 5 small air stones and some of mine were larger.
I'll check your article.  Thanks Bob.
<Easiest to buy a single good pump (ideally with one outlet if simplicity is important, because you need to balance the load on each air line if there are two outputs on an air pump), and then bleed off what air you don't need as/when required. Eheim make very good value, reliable air pumps. Most air pumps these days use rubber diaphragms that wear out, and often need replacing annually, and there's normally an filter over the air inlet on the pump that needs replacing as/when required. Otherwise, air pumps are exceedingly simple devices and shouldn't cause you any great problems. Cheers, Neale.>
 RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

I used one less of the valves and would release pressure every 2 weeks to a
month, but maybe I need to do it more frequently.  When I did it sometimes
I couldn't get them all running again and so I'd procrastinate.  I was
probably overloading it and under maintaining it.  I probably need a bigger
pump as some of the air stones are larger types.
<You need to get the pressure balanced constantly, and should never have an
air pump working so hard it needs pressure released every few days (though
I have no idea what this actually means to be honest). Get the right pump
for the job, one that's working within its abilities so far as demands are
concerned, and leave it be. Almost zero maintenance devices, apart from
occasional air filter cleaning and annual (?) replacement of the rubber
diaphragm. Cheers, Neale.>
wetwebmedia.com
Subject: RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
Bob, is a bubble wall a pump killer? Yeah...I had this pump 8 months, from
your post it sounds like that's a typical life span for the bags. The
bubble wall is new and the pump never ran it, but I'll return it if it's a
bad thing.
<Any pump will wear out faster if there's excessive back-pressure... i.e.,
the air pump is having to work at or beyond its design limit, pushing air
deeper down the aquarium for example, or through many airstones or
ornaments. Given light work, they last years, seriously. I've had air pumps
chugging along for 10 years with minimal maintenance. Sounds to me like
you've either got a poor/duff air pump, or else you're expecting too much
from it. Yes, those bubble walls require a strong pressure, and that means
a strong pump, and the finer the bubbles, the harder the pump has to work.
Ditto, the deeper the bubbler, the harder it is for the pump to push air
down into the bottom of the tank. Review, and act accordingly, choosing an
appropriate air pump for your aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
Bob,
<Jill>
The air pump was set high up.  Sorry, in his reply, Neale told me to use a
check valve and to put the air pump up higher than water level,
<These are useful statements. I'll leave it to Neale to deal w/ your queries. B>
and I was just clarifying that I had done those things when I originally
set it up and it was working.
If the diaphragm isn't stretched or damaged, does this mean that I just have
stones that are more than it could handle?  Or could it have a small hole
that I'm not seeing?
My new bubblers are 3 log styled ones and a round coffee warmer size
one and a bubble wall.  Maybe I need a pump for a 100 gallon to run that many.
But still....   it was running one log style and the coffee warmer size and an airstone prior to the time I stopped doing that and would only run one-
the coffee warmer one was the one that was working.  I had it on a plastic
4 valve and would use the 4th to release air periodically.
Neale mentioned that a filter could have possibly gone out, is that
different than the diaphragm?  The power box is probably the little box
where Fluval sealed the screws with super glue because they don't want you
to open it... If the filter's in there I'm not sure I can get to it.
Do you have a favorite brand of air pump?  Qualities I appreciate are
QUIET, and if it were fairly simple to do maintenance on that would be nice
too.
I know none are completely quiet but Marina and the Petsmart store brand
are noisy, and unfortunately the plastic piece that you attach the hose to
on a Tetra Whisper broke on me after not having it very long so I don't
trust that brand.  I heard a Fusion in a store and it seemed quiet.  I did
like the Fluval...   I just need to figure out why it lost some pressure
with no visible sign of damage.  Maybe it could be the gang valve but it's
chrome and I could feel a good stream of air through each of the valves.
Jill
Sent from my cell phone using a tiny keyboard, so I'm sorry if there are
typos!
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?      8/10/13

Bob, is a bubble wall a pump killer? Yeah...I had this pump 8 months, from
your post it sounds like that's a typical life span for the bags. The
bubble wall is new and the pump never ran it, but I'll return it if it's a
bad thing.
<Any pump will wear out faster if there's excessive back-pressure... i.e.,
the air pump is having to work at or beyond its design limit, pushing air
deeper down the aquarium for example, or through many airstones or
ornaments. Given light work, they last years, seriously. I've had air pumps
chugging along for 10 years with minimal maintenance. Sounds to me like
you've either got a poor/duff air pump, or else you're expecting too much
from it. Yes, those bubble walls require a strong pressure, and that means
a strong pump, and the finer the bubbles, the harder the pump has to work.
Ditto, the deeper the bubbler, the harder it is for the pump to push air
down into the bottom of the tank. Review, and act accordingly, choosing an
appropriate air pump for your aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Thanks Neale.
Is it ok to use a t-valve?  I've purchased a 6 slot valve...  and most Of
the larger size larger pumps have two ports as standard, (though maybe if I
shop some more I can find a single port style.)
<If you mean like the Algarde Tee Valve, then I would not personally use
one because when these are closed to limit air flow, they increase pressure
on the air pump. Look for something like the Algarde 2 Way Gang Valve,
which has two outlets, one you connect to your airstone, and the other you
open or close to bleed off air and thereby reduce the flow of bubbles.>
I'll check for Eheim.  I haven't seen it in the stores, but the chain store
selection is dismal.  I'll probably end up ordering a pump online!
Jill
<Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Neale,
What size would you recommend for these stones, if I were to consolidate to
one large pump rather than running more than one per set of stones?  Try
not to laugh.  Total stones I have that would be nice to consolidate pumps
for:
1- six inch long bubble wall in a 30 gallon
<This will need a big air pump, probably the largest in whatever range you
look at, or at least in the upper half of the range.>
2- 4 inch long log style bubblers, one in a 3 gallon and one in a 5 gallon
<Ditto. These air bubble curtain things need a fair amount of air to work
as advertised.>
1- coffee cup size warmer size bubble plate in a 5 gallon
<Ditto.>
And 2 air stones run through little plastic container pumps with a mini
filter in them in two 3 gallons
<A small air pump, I wouldn't get the absolute smallest, but something in
the bottom half of the range will be fine.>
And 2 more single air stones one in a 3 gallon and one in a 10 gallon?
<Ditto.>
Or maybe I could divide between 2 larger pumps!!!!  lol
<Likely so, but obviously you would need a big pump for the two heavy duty
demands, and a not-too-small pump for too minor demands. Be sure to connect
up equal loads to the outlet from a single-outlet pump: air tends to flow
down the line of least resistance, which will be the minor load, and if you
have one minor load and one heavy load on an air pump, you'll get less good
performance. This rule is mandatory if you connect two loads to two
different outlets on the same pump as dissimilar loads on each outlet will
wear out the pump faster.>
The tanks are doing well, they all have a lot of plants that are
flourishing, and the 3 and 5 gallons have one small fish each, the 10
gallon houses cherry shrimp.
<Real good.>
I seem to do well with planted nano setups, and the 30 gallon has a lime
green endler colony which has been headache free so far.  It has a filter
for a 45 gallon so maybe I don't need a bubble wall, it bubbles and they
love to play in the current which is to the front of the tank while they
seemed to ignore the prior bubble log I was using before it all went out on
me.
Maybe the current is more natural to them then bubbles.  I got that size
filter as it was on sale for cheaper than the 30 gallon size, and they tend
to multiply so I wanted to make sure they always have excellent
filtration.
Jill
<To be fair I hardly ever use air; there's never a situation where
more/stronger filtration wouldn't do the same job but better, so I tend to
use extra/bigger filters to turn the water over more vigorously. Air pumps
are strictly optional in most situations. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Bob,
<Jill>
The air pump was set high up.  Sorry, in his reply, Neale told me to use a
check valve and to put the air pump up higher than water level, <These are
useful statements. I'll leave it to Neale to deal w/ your
queries. B>
<<<Thanks Bob!!!>>>
and I was just clarifying that I had done those things when I originally
set it up and it was working. If the diaphragm isn't stretched or damaged,
does this mean that I just have stones that are more than it could handle? 
Or could it have a small hole that I'm not seeing?
<If the air pump is working, you should get a flow of air from the outlet
that you can feel with your hand. If you can't, then yes, the diaphragm may
be broken. Cheap fix. Likewise some air pumps need a little maintenance now
and again; consult the documentation that came with yours. If the air pump
is working fine, and even a poky little filter should be able to blow
bubbles down 30 cm/12 inches if you stick some air line into a bucket of
water, then something else may be amiss. Yes, you can overload air pumps,
forcing the pump to try to lift air against too much water, and if that
happens, the pump won't seem to do anything. Try a bigger pump, and if the
ornament works now, then obviously the previous pump was too small.
Alternatively, remove the ornament, and see if bubbles come out; if they
do, then again, the ornament was too much for your pump. Remember, every
time you add an ornament, use a bigger ornament, use a finer airstone, or
put the ornament or airstone deeper down the water column, the air pump has
to work harder. It has an absolute limit beyond which it can't move air,
and once you pass that limit, you'll see no air bubbles even though the
pump sounds like it is chuffing away. The very small pumps sold
inexpensively tend to be for very small tanks, sub-10 gallons, with one
airstone or sponge filter under 20 cm/8 inches of water.>
My new bubblers are 3 log styled ones and a round coffee warmer size
one and a bubble wall.  Maybe I need a pump for a 100 gallon to run that
many.
But still....   it was running one log style and the coffee warmer size and
an airstone prior to the time I stopped doing that and would only run
one-the coffee warmer one was the one that was working.  I had it on a
plastic 4 valve and would use the 4th to release air periodically.
<I still don't get this. You should not need to "periodically" release anything; if your air pump works fine for a while, then starts rattling or something else is going wrong -- then you haven't set it up right. Review, and act accordingly>
Neale mentioned that a filter could have possibly gone out,
<Little patch of sponge or cotton, usually circular, underneath the air pump. Air is sucked in here, and blown out through the outlets. Refer to the manufacturer or the documentation that came with your air pump.>
is that different than the diaphragm?  The power box is probably the little box where Fluval sealed the screws with super glue because they don't want you to open it... If the filter's in there I'm not sure I can get to it.
Do you have a favorite brand of air pump?  Qualities I appreciate are QUIET, and if it were fairly simple to do maintenance on that would be nice too.
<The Eheim pumps are well-designed and good value, like most/all of their
products.>
I know none are completely quiet but Marina and the Petsmart store brand are noisy, and unfortunately the plastic piece that you attach the hose to on a Tetra Whisper broke on me after not having it very long so I don't trust that brand.  I heard a Fusion in a store and it seemed quiet.  I did like the Fluval...   I just need to figure out why it lost some pressure with no visible sign of damage.  Maybe it could be the gang valve but it's chrome and I could feel a good stream of air through each of the valves.
Jill
<I don't believe any aquarium air pump sold today is truly quiet; all rattle and vibrate because of the back-and-forth movement required by the mechanism. Sitting them on soft objects like cloths is often suggested as a silencer, but do remember that these impede the flow of air, causing the pump to overheat, so this cannot be recommended. Have your retailer test the pump out in the store, and choose one that sounds good to you. For what it's worth, I avoid using air pumps in rooms where quiet is important, and prefer to use canister filters to create current instead. Total aside, but a British manufacturer called Medcalf used to make "Hy Flo" air pumps that worked completely differently. They had a rotating wheel and pistons, and were made from solid metal, and were hypnotic to watch as well as virtually silent because they span round rather than rattled back and forth. Sadly they were expensive (metal vs. plastic) and the company collapsed 10, 20 years ago. If you're curious, there's a neat video of one here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORo7KQ-mYsM
I dare say these things are still about on eBay, and you might find one fun to try out if you could get one cheaply. Cheers, Neale.>
wetwebmedia.com
Subject: RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Actually, I could see if I could fix the Fluval and also get a larger pump
and try and divide them so the larger would carry more weight....  But the Fluval can probably handle 4 small air stones at least.
Maybe I should return the bubble wall, Bob said those are bad.  The logs are like a bubble wall too though. 
<They do place a big strain on an air-pump, and most fish despise swimming through bubbles, so it becomes an unnecessary barrier in the aquarium.>
I want all of the fish to have a clean and aerated and entertaining ,
that's why I have so many stones, and to help the plants thrive as well.
<Remember, all air stones do is lift water from the bottom of the tank to the top. They DO NOT add any appreciable amount of oxygen. That happens at the surface, and air stones help by getting water from the bottom to the surface. That's all. In every imaginable situation, doing the same thing with a properly sized/installed filter will be better -- not only will it move water from the bottom to the top, it will also remove ammonia and nitrite, plus any silt that makes the water cloudy. Air stones are largely obsolete, so don't spend insane amounts of time/money worrying about them.
Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Thank you, Bob.
I appreciate your advice as well.
<Ah, welcome. B>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
That's helpful, thank yoRE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
Thank you.  It was probably the unbalanced load, as well as too many stones, that wore it out.  Your info has been extremely helpful.  This will help me do a better setup for next time.
<Cool.>
I like the larger filter.  The fish entertain themselves in the flow.  They tend to do that in the late evening especially when I'm off work and relax in that room, I see them swimming without moving forward because they're riding the current.
<Indeed.>
I have trouble with the filter situation in the 5 gallon tanks though.  The small Marina filter killed a smaller fish, it got caught on it's intake and she died.
<Or she died and got sucked in. Post hoc ergo propter hoc isn't always true.>
I put a sword in the other one because she's bigger, and the other is still empty.  I was wondering if a small canister filter would be safer for small fish?
<Depends on the fish and the size of the tank. But an air-powered sponge filter is the ideal for livebearer fry and very small, weakly-swimming species, such as the tiniest tetras, dwarf rasboras, etc.>
I'd seen one online by Lee's Pets.  The tiniest size only uses a bubbler but the next larger uses an airstone inside the filter.  It's old fashioned but possibly less expensive to upkeep.  You put a little carbon, some kind of media stones to colonate bacteria, and filter floss or fluff.  Have you ever used small canister filters, do you think the current would be safe enough for a female betta or bumblebee gobie to live there without getting caught on the filter by the intake?
<Bumblebees do fine even in strong currents; like all gobies, they've evolved to "suck" onto rocks with their pelvic fins. Bettas are trickier.
Some Betta species (the mouthbrooding ones, mostly) come from fast-flowing streams (that's why they don't build bubblenests) but the standard aquarium shop Betta splendens appreciates weak to zero current, so I'd go with an air-powered sponge with them.>
I can't due an undergravel because I have sand and plants, it would be too much hassle.
<Depends on the plants, epiphytes don't care, but yes.>
If I did that I could shut down the two 3 gallons and graduate the sword to a larger tank with a school....and the betta and gobie could have larger quarters.  But I'm not sure there's a filter that would be good enough and not have a fish killing intake.
Though there's also sponge filters.  With a low fish load and plenty of plants, maybe that would work on those two tanks and make sure I keep a cardful eye on water quality.
Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>
u.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

That's cool.  Thanks.  Very helpful.  I see know I had an unbalanced and
overloaded Pump.  It's still able to run one log.
I'm not sure why they say to release air occasionally, but Whisper and Fusion had it in their manuals.
<Makes no sense at all.>
Fusion doesn't have a technical manual with pictures online (at least I couldn't find one on their web page relating to the maintenance issues).  I suspect they hope if you pump fails, you'll  buy another,
<For sure.>
though maybe if I'm able to locate and purchase their maintenance kit it will have paper illustrations in that.
I'll check around for Eheim.  They sound good....and I looked at their web page and was impressed.
<Most folks are; their air pumps are actually very competitively priced (here in the UK, at least).>
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
It's kind of you to share your expertise.
Jill
<Welcome, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?

Thanks.
The fish was a small one.  She acted healthy.  She had got stuck on a filter once in the past and then been revived. 
Whats amazing is the shrimp were all over that filter, and now the 10 gallon's filter, and they're very tiny.
Thank you.
<Welcome. Do consider using an air-powered sponge where fish are so small/feeble they're at risk of being damaged by the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
Thanks.
The fish was a small one.  She acted healthy.  She had got stuck on a filter once in the past and then been revived. 
Whats amazing is the shrimp were all over that filter, and now the 10 gallon's filter, and they're very tiny.
Thank you.
<Welcome. Do consider using an air-powered sponge where fish are so small/feeble they're at risk of being damaged by the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?
I will.
<Real good. Neale.>
RE: Gang valve for sharing an air pump with bubblers?    8/12/13

Oh darn.  Eheim air pumps are not available in USA at this time. Oh well.
I'll probably go with Fusion or another larger Fluval.
<Sounds like it. Cheers, Neale.>

Aeration for 1 gallon of water    7/15/13
what aerator cfm rate would you recommend for 1 gallon of water?
0.01, 2, 100? Please help me determine which
Thank you.
<... important factors must be added here. What depth one is pumping to, what resistance (gear) is in use. Go fish. B>

Refugium and aeration 4/27/13
Hello crew!
<Josh>
First time writer, long time reader. Great website! I have a 125 gallon long aquarium, heavily planted with co2 system, 35 gallon refugium fed from CPR overflow box and a Fluval fx 5 canister. I currently have a silly volcano in the center (my girlfriends only request) pushing out these huge bubbles that agitate the surface. My question is this- Will the refugium with overflow box cause enough aeration below the tank to keep oxygen levels adequate or must I have an air source in addition? I really want to eliminate the enormous volcanic bubbles. Also, I have the return from the Fluval pointed up to create a good amount of surface movement. Current stock load is about 20 tetras, 6-8 Cory's, 4 bushy nose Pleco and 8 discus in transit. Please help! Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
-Josh-
<I think you likely have enough surface agitation with the overflow unless you live in a very hot climate, but do be prepared to act if the fish show signs of oxygen deprivation. You might consider replacing the volcano with a sponge filter. Personally, I love sponge filters because you get surface agitation and you get additional mechanical and biological filtration.
Clean water is important for the discus and Plecos are somewhat messy.- Rick>

Do you have any ideas about how to kill the vibration and hum on an air pump?     1/24/12
<Buy a better, quieter pump.>
Is it alright to wrap it in some type of noise insulating material?
<Absolutely not! Anything that stops noise will stop the flow of air.
That'll cause the air pump to work harder than it's designed to, so it'll overheat and wear out faster.>
I have one on of my Bettas' tanks that is very annoying.
<Yes, they are. That's why I don't use air pumps in rooms I want to be quiet, and largely why air pumps are considered obsolete.>
It seems like it is slightly more powerful than the one on the  second tank, though they have the same rating.  The one for the 29 gallon is noisy too, but the Betta one puts my teeth on edge!
<There you go.>
(The Betta one's are mounted on the wall...they said to keep them higher.)
<Yes; so if the pump fails, water can't siphon backwards into the air pump and onto the carpet.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Thanks Neale.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Oxygenator vs. Aerator... 9/16/09
Hi all,
You guys have helped me through a tremendous amount of potential heartaches, and disasters, so much that I now have a question that I hope no-one finds offensive. It pertains to live well systems. Live-wells for
bait, not for pets. I am assuming through all of my reading on this site, and a few others, that oxygen is absorbed through an exchange of gasses at the surface of the water.
<Mmm, not really an exchange... you can have both too much carbon dioxide along with oxygen present for instance>
What I am wondering, is if I was putting pure oxygen into my live well, would it be better, or more efficient than a bubble type aeration system? I really hope that I am not too far off base with this question. Thank you for all that you do, Lewis
<Have worked with sparge systems that introduced close to 100% liquid oxygen, live-hauling game fishes and "feeder" (comet) goldfishes... both raising dissolved O2 past saturation (around 7-8 ppm at the given ambient water temperature)... I would not generally infuse gaseous 02 as it's not all that useful/soluble and the disposition of the gas in the room/environment might prove toxic to humans. For an emergency though...
bubbling oxygen gas through a fine airstone/mechanical diffuser is a very useful tool. Bob Fenner>

Aeration question Bubbles Are Not Needed 6/25/08 Good morning WWM crew. I have never used air bubbles on my tanks unless I was using sponge filters on 10 gallon tanks. Larger tanks with surface movement and hang on the back filters cause enough surface agitation to aid in oxygen transfer. Anyway the specific circumstance. One of the 125 gallon tanks that I clean for the military has about 12-15 African cichlids so its not overly populated. It is filtered by two emperor 400's. I get a call this morning from one of the ladies that work there. Apparently a parent was dropping off kids and told them "You have to have air bubbles or your fish are going to die." So they in return called me and say "Hey fish guy, can we get some bubbles so the fish don't die." I told her sure I can get bubbles but its not really needed for the safety of the fish. She then said "well the parent said." I basically told her I'd get the bubbles for them, but out of principle I'd like to give her more of a scientific reason bubbles aren't needed and its more for looks. Maybe its just me but I always think that really large tanks look goofy with bubble makers in them. Thank you for your time. < Your two emperor 400 filters are more than adequate to supply all the aeration you need. The bubbles from a filter or airstone simply provide a current in the water. The actual oxygen is absorbed from the surface of the water as it moves across the top of the tank and not from the bubbles themselves. Tell them if the fish were starving for oxygen they would be at the surface of the water taking in the water with the highest dissolved oxygen content. Many fish like the Gouramis can get their oxygen requirements from the air directly.-Chuck>

Airstones inside H.O.T. filters? 1/15/08 Hello, Brando here. <Hello.> I have a 90 gal. Malawi cichlid tank- 1 acei, 3 red peacock, 1 albino ice blue, 2 yellow labs, 2 red zebra, 1 jewel, 1 CAE, 1 African lace cat. <Quite an interesting collection!> Filtration is 2 TopFin 60 H.O.T. filters. <OK.> I have always used carbon as the filter media, however I am considering switching out the carbon for a different media. <A no-brainer: do it. Carbon doesn't have any significant benefit in freshwater tanks. All carbon does is remove dissolved organics, which 25-50% water changes per week will be taking care of anyway. On the downside, carbon is wasting space that could be used for better biological media that would actually help water quality, or mechanical media that would improve water clarity. In a Malawi cichlid tank, even the use of a calcareous substrate, like crushed coral, would be more useful for its pH-buffering, KH-raising effects.> The TopFin 60 is a dual-well filter and I have two of them on the tank. Should I replace the media all at once, or should I do just one side of each filter to avoid any sudden changes? <All at once. Then take the carbon out to the garden, and ceremonially burn it, to signify your rejection of Stone Age fishkeeping in favour of the Modern Era.> What media would you recommend? <Anything would be better. Depends on what you're after. As noted above, a calcareous substrate would be useful. But if you're going for better water quality, then a decent ceramic media like Siporax wouldn't be a bad choice.> Also, would it be wise to place airstones into the bottoms of these filters (so that bubbles rise up through and around the cotton pouches which hold the media) to supply more oxygen to the media? <Worth a shot. Certainly can't hurt. But if those filters already are open to the air and have water sluicing across the media, then the bacteria may well have all the oxygen they need. In which case placing the airstones in the tank to improve water circulation might be a better use of resources.> Thank you so much, Brand <Cheers, Neale.>

Airstone Placement Question  8/20/07 Hello Crew, <Hello Lynne,> I just bought an airstone (the wood kind) with one of those battery powered re-chargeable air pumps to hook up to my 55 gallon aquarium in case of a power outage someday. <OK.> Given that the airstone floats, am I correct in assuming that it should be placed at the top of the aquarium somewhere or should I weight it down somehow and place it at the bottom of the aquarium? <You need to weight it down. Airstones "do good" not by bubbling oxygen into the water, but by creating a circulating current that draws water from the bottom of the aquarium to the top, where it can shed carbon dioxide and absorb oxygen. The deeper the airstone is in the tank, the stronger this effect will be.> The sudden bubbles seem to frighten the fish. <They'll get used to it. Of course, not all fish like churning water. Bettas and gouramis for example come from rather still waters. Danios and swordtails, on the other hand, are built for speed a like a bit of current.> Pls advise about the proper placement of this airstone. Thanks for your assistance and have a good day! <Hope this helps!> Lynne <Cheers, Neale>

Filtration and oxygen, FW    7/17/07 Hi, guys. <<Tom here.>> Quick question. <<Okay. (I'll have one for you when I close. ;) >> I have installed a second filter on my 55 gallon discus tank, in order to allow it to mature before my new and larger tank comes. <<I like your thinking. Excellent move!>> My primary filter is an Eheim 2026 (rated up to 92 gallons) and the new one is an Emperor 400. <<The Emperor won't take long to establish and nice choice.>> I plan to run them both together for a month before placing them both on the new 90 gallon aquarium. <<Again, good planning!>> Here is my question: I have a bubble bar in the aquarium. Should I remove it since the HOB filter should provide some oxygenation of the water? <<Nope. The more, the better. Oxygen in the tank is at a 'premium'. Unless utility costs are an issue, I'd keep it going.>> I do not intend to allow the water level in the aquarium to fall enough for the water coming off of the Emperor to make much splash/noise. <<Got one myself. The 'noise factor', in my opinion, is vastly over-stated (if you read the reviews). Switched it out from a large Aqua-Clear model (a very good filter), which made a heck of a lot more 'water' noise. Just me, perhaps, but I don't think you'll be disappointed'¦in the least!>> Thank you for your reply! <<You're welcome. (Now, two things. I like to know who I'm talking to, first of all. Second, there's a SHIFT key on your keyboard that's used to capitalize letters that are meant to be capitalized. 'Old school', perhaps, but we have to proofread AND answer questions before submitting them. Your question, and our responses, go on the Web for everyone in the world (including those who might not have English as their 'first' language) to read. 'Nuff said. ;) ) Tom>>

Air pump/filter (quieting) and male guppies, comp. with their own kind/sex    4/1/07 Dear crew, <<Hello, Tima. Tom with you.>> I hope all is well.  I have 2 questions regarding my fish tank. <<All is, indeed, well as I hope it is with you.>> (1) Does the air filter with a gauze and bubbles (AIRTECH 2KO bought from Wal-Mart) need to be on at full power?  Since it is so noisy, we turn it down, not off, at night. <<If your air pump is only being used to push air through an airstone or air wand, there's no real need for the pump to be on at full power. Almost invariably, the vibration from the pump that's causing the noise can be dampened, or eliminated, by placing the pump on a soft pad of rubber or cloth, for what it's worth.>> (2) Can a male guppy bully to death other male guppies? <<Yes, they can and do on occasion. Because they're small fish, we have a tendency to keep them in small aquariums that don't always provide enough space for the fish to claim their own spaces. A dominant male might decide that the whole tank is his and will bully the more submissive fish constantly, even to death, in order to protect 'his' territory.>> Thanks for all your help. Take care, Tima <<As an aside, Tima, you refer to your air pump as an air 'filter'. I don't want to read too much into that except to mention that an air pump is not a filter for the tank other than the gauze filtering the air that's being pumped into it. Hopefully, you have a separate filter for the water in the tank. (Some filters are powered by air pumps and the distinction between the two can be a little confusing especially for those who might be new to the hobby.) Best regards, Tom.>>

Aeration... lack of air through ceramic stones   4/7/06 Hi: <Hello there> I have just set up my first tank (a 65 gallon hexagonal) and it is great. <What a hobby eh?> My question is about aeration. I ran a tube down the side to a t connector and out to two air stones which are under decorations. The pump is a Rena 300. It seems that no matter what the air will only go to one of the air stones. <Happens...> Any thoughts on how to get the air to go to both? Thanks, John <It might be that the air pump just doesn't have enough "Oomph" (pressure/volume) to accommodate both outlets, but you can likely solve this by replacing the airstones themselves with ones that are easier to push air through (glass-bead types like the spiffy ones made by Kordon)... Do try blowing through the lines (by mouth) yourself... manipulating your air/gang-valve... See? It's not easy to do... Do replace the (even though their new) ceramic type airstones... These are "pump killers". Bob Fenner>

Too much air?   3/10/06 Greetings WWM, <Mice> I am setting up my first tank We have decided that we are doing a fresh water tank. I have a 25 g tank and a whisper 30 filter (it came with the tank) I got a Top fin XP 20 air pump to run my air powered feature But I also to run some small air stones. I got a Penguin 550 power jet too. So my question is, is this too much? am I gong to blast those little fishies out of the water or what? <Likely will be fine> Not sure what fish we are getting, I think we want schooling community fish for now. <Part of the enormous fun of aquarium keeping is settling on a stocking plan> We haven't bought any fish yet. I want the tank to be ready before I start sending poor fishies to their doom. <Good> I used a de-chlorinator, but I still need to get a testing kit to make sure the water is good. Thanks in advance, -mice <Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm re a very important step/waiting period for biological cycling. Bob Fenner>

Oxygen amount   1/13/06 Hi. Could you please give me an answer to a dumb question? <Of a certainty, yes> Can you put too much oxygen in an aquarium? <Yes> Will too many filters, bubble curtains etc. harm the fish? Thanks for your time...DR <Can, yes... please see WWM re emphysematosis... the Google search tool... Index to pond articles... same as per fish tanks. Bob Fenner>
Re: oxygen amount   1/14/06
Thank you, now I'm more worried than before. I have a 29 gal. tank with an undergravel filter with two riser tubes w/airstones, plus a whisper 30 outside filter. I installed a valve to shut down one of the riser tubes and still have lots of tiny bubbles in tank. Seems the water level is a little low making the outside filter make excess bubbles where water pours back into tank. Help! Thanks again....DR <Mmm, very likely no worries here... the troubles are mainly with much finer bubbles (like mist, 0.1 mm...). Just unsightly perhaps, but not likely a health hazard. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Re: oxygen amount... "blowin' in the sun">   1/14/06 Thanks so much for your time Bob. Fantastic website with just one small complaint. When reading about this problem on your site, someone mentioned Don Ho's song 'Tiny Bubbles'. Now that cheesy song is stuck in my head and no doubt will require copious amounts of one of my favorite beverages to remove it! Thanks again...DR <All I've got to do is picture the diminutive Hawaiian smooching the ladies after the show... and the tune evaporates! Bob Fenner> Aeration 12/22/05 Hi! Do I really need an air pump and airstone to aerate my aquarium? I have two Top Fin Filters running. Won't they aerate when the water comes out of the filter? <Depends on what you are keeping, but yes the two filters you have should be enough to keep your water aerated. -Gage>

Getting the Old Fashion Gang Valves, a.k.a. Manifold - No, You're Not Crazy  11/15/05 Hello, I have looked all over your site and the internet in general for an answer to this question, and so far have found nothing. I have a 10 year old 40 gallon aquarium that has two 2-way gang valves connected to the air pump. These gang valves have the adjustment knobs on the top, which is good since the aquarium is against the wall (as I think it's safe to say most home aquaria are), and it would be difficult and inconvenient to have to reach behind to adjust the air volume going to each valve, since the aquarium is quite close to the wall. In addition, with the knobs on top, I can clearly see how much I am turning the adjustment knob.  I am now setting up a 100 gallon aquarium in my bedroom, and it is also right up next to the wall. I have looked all over the place for a gang valve that has the knob-on-top design for the new aquarium, but with no luck. I wiped the grime off the old gang valve to see who made it. It says "Whisper" on it, which I assumed meant the Whisper line of air supplies made by the Tetra company.  I have seen nothing like this on their web site or anybody else's for that matter. This seems like a no-brainer to me: Most home aquaria are set close to walls. Gang valves are meant to be mounted on the back of an aquarium (which is against the wall). It makes much more sense to have the knobs on top where you can see them and access them easily.  Why do all the gang valves that I can find have the knobs on the back? This strikes me as poor and thoughtless design. What really bugs me is that a well-known and respected company (Tetra) had it figured out 10 years ago, but they don't seem to have continued production because I can't find any with the knobs on top now.  Am I crazy with this line of questioning? Please don't tell me the solution is to pull the aquarium away from the wall! I live in a very small apartment and am not about to burn up floor space making up for a lame design in a gang valve. Do you know if anyone makes a knob-on-top design gang valve? Where can I get one? Thank you, Chris Haller < Check out Drfostersmith.com or aquatic-ecosystems.com. They carry a large assortment of gang valves that should work.-Chuck> 

Aeration 7.24.05 Hi!  I have a couple of dumb questions... <No worries, you are one of many 3 gallon eclipse owners who may be experiencing a similar issue.>I have a 3 gallon Eclipse tank with Bio Filter system that really, for the most part, works great, it has been set up for over 6 months.  I have one fish in the tank, a male Betta and a few java ferns.  The water clarity is excellent but I have gotten concerned about one side of the tank (side that does not have the outflow port) and the back wall of the tank that the surface water gets a film and looks "stagnant".  I do water changes weekly.  I decided to try to gently circulate the water on that side or the back with an air stone.  I also thought that the air and the circulation might be good for the plants.  I bought the smallest pump I could find but the bubbles are a little too bubbly...is there any way or anything that I could use to slow down the airflow? <Yes, fish stores carry valves that you can hook up inline with the pump to throttle the airflow.  The film may be from the food you are using, or leftover food in the tank.> Dumb question 2:  Will the addition of the air stone hurt my Betta in any way? <nope.> Sorry for the dumb question, but I really dislike going to our LFS and they tell me/sell me things that do not work. <It happens, I try to avoid miracle cures, but for hardware and what not I like to support my local fish stores.  Best Regards, Gage> Thank you....Sue

Question about a sponge filter / air pump / gravel Hi Crew, <Mario> Three weeks ago, I upgraded my setup to 5g with a heater and a sponge filter (Jr Dirt Magnet).  <Okay> My question is how do I know, if filter is functioning properly? The bubbles are coming out from the plastic tube where I inserted the airline tube. But can the bubbles be from the airline tube that is not properly connected or is it from the sponge filter?  <Not likely... if the air is coming out of the larger tube (the riser) all is likely fine> I am asking this because I do 20% water changes twice a week, but the water still seem to be a light brownish color. <Mmm, likely your system is just not "cycled" yet. Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  and the Related FAQs  (in blue, above)> Is this harmful to the fish (Betta)? <Could be... if you have substantial ammonia, nitrite present> How can I direct any waste closer to the filter so that the filter to it pick up, if this makes any sense? <Does... best to use a length of small flexible tubing to once a week change out a gallon or two of water by vacuuming up this material (put the water on your plants) and replace with tap water that you've set aside the previous week> Also, I had to add a control valve to reduce the flow of air that is directed to the filter. Will this reduced flow reduce the life of the air pump (Rena 50)? <Good question... it can... if too much back pressure is applied... better to just "bleed" off the excess air... with a three way valve or a gang valve with more openings... that is, not put back pressure on the pump, but allow the excess pressure an outlet through another valve.> I did not include any gravel in my new setup. Should I or is it not important? <Mmm, can be an asset functionally and aesthetically... but can be left out... A good idea to have a bit... a sprig or two of "floating grass" for your fish... maintenance> I find without gravel, I have an easier time cleaning the waste at the bottom during my 20% cleaning. <Yes> Thanks, Mario <Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Annoying Fish at Surface >Hello, please can you help?  >>More than you know. We here at WetWeb do so appreciate it when folks try to capitalize and punctuate properly.  >I have spoken before on many occasions and you have sorted my problems, thanks very much. I have 4 medium-sized fish in a 18 x 12 tank, with a pump and filter.  >>I wonder, what *kind* of fish? What's "medium-sized"?  >We do all the necessary each week, 50 percent change, etc.  >>A 50% water change should not be necessary in a properly set up and stocked tank. >The fish are very healthy and seem very happy, eat well without being overfed and generally fine.  >>Then clearly you're doing right by them. Ought not to change methods. >Not all the time but on occasions, some of the fish go to the surface for a short time and make bubbles, and a horrible clicking noise sounding like electrics shorting.  >>Not knowing what species we're talking about, I couldn't even begin to offer a guess as to what's up. There are plenty of fishes that "vocalize". Normally, though, when fish are at water's surface, it means they are feeling oxygen-deprived. Good surface agitation should help, and monitoring ammonia levels (do those 50% water changes happen to come before the fish go to the surface? Maybe a day or two before?), as high ammonia, especially at higher pH levels, can interfere with the uptake of O2 into the blood. >It is very annoying, please can you help? >>I can't offer more than what's above with the information I have. >I am sure the pump is producing enough oxygen within the water as they all spend a lot of time under the water. Thanks very much. Lynn. >>I'm glad that they're spending a lot of time under water, otherwise you might have quite the mess. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.) Alright, I think we have a couple of misconceptions working here, QUITE common Lynn, let me assure you. First, air pumps (and water pumps) do NOT produce oxygen. They can only move that which they were designed to move. In the case of an air pump, it can only move air. When applied to aquaria, the purpose of the air movement is NOT to directly add oxygen to the water, as this is impossible. The purpose of the air pump is to use air to move WATER (most often from the bottom up). And that is what is conducive to promoting the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange, which can ONLY occur at the water's surface. Since I don't know what kind of pump you're using (air vs. water), I can only tell you that you should ensure that there is good surface agitation on the water's surface. And, since I don't know what kind of fish are in there, nor their actual sizes, I cannot declaratively state anything, other than when this occurs it means that the fish need more oxygen. I'm sorry I couldn't be more definitive, but hopefully this will help. As for the annoying part.. I can't help you with that either, unless you'd like to take a couple of annoying cats I have here and I'll take your fish. Marina

Annoying Fish at Surface - Follow-up >Hello Marina, thanks a lot for your prompt reply.  >>You're very welcome, though I've been out of the loop the last few months.  >Now using capitals and punctuation, I have considered myself told off.  >>Oh my, I didn't mean to tell you off, at least not you alone. We get MANY messages from folks that can be quite difficult (or simply tedious at best) to pick apart, reformat, retype, etc. The reason why we do this is so that those who do not speak English can more easily use translators (most likely those available online) on the site to glean information from our site. In other words, yes, I busted chops, but it's really meant to get the point across to those reading the dailies, saves us literally hours a day if people will make the effort. >Your thoughts were useful, you have a good sense of humour, and you really made me chuckle. >>Ah! I am happy, then.  >Continuing where we left off, my fish are basic goldfish, bought four months ago, and all four together. There seems to be no pattern as to this clicking noise, it's neither before the water change or after.  >>Ok, then is it at any particular time of day? >The air within the tank seems to be okay as they don't seem to struggle down in the water.  >>Yes, many fish seem to really enjoy having those bubbles move along their bodies. I suppose it's as nice for them as it is for us in our Jacuzzis. >Perhaps I should borrow your cat to sit on the top of the tank, that I am sure will keep them under the water.  >>Ok, now you've got ME giggling. You may pick which cat. We have Callie - a calico, very old, and as a former alley cat a little too streetwise. Likely brain damaged, as she never acclimates to other people in the house, though she sometimes allows her owner, Grampies, to handle her safely on occasion. If she's not "down with it", though, she'll turn whatever appendage she can get hold of into hamburger. She likes Grampies' lap, canned cat food, and not much else.  Then we have Stinky - a rescue. This fat boy was wrapped into a towel and dumped into a pit toilet on Highway 88 in the California Sierra Mountains. He was a day or two from death by starvation, and BOY he's made up for it! He'll eat just about anything except human food. He likes scratches, scratching the rug (puked on it this morning - very unusual), jumping up on everything, and counter-walking. He's the only animal my dog has ever protected her food from (yes, he'll eat her food). Being so fat, he'd do the best job of keeping your tank lids down. >Sincerely thank you for your expertise and your time. Lynn >>You're very welcome, again, Lynn. I suspect that there may be on occasions a lowering of the dissolved oxygen in the tank, which will induce the fish to "gasp" at the surface. As mentioned previously, surface agitation should fix this situation nicely. Marina 

Aeration for freshwater Hi... excellent site. My question is about aquarium aeration.  I skimmed through a few articles, but they mostly referred to salt water setups and protein skimmers.  I am inquiring about freshwater aeration. Is there a specific amount of air that needs to be pumped into the tank?  I have seen setups with and without an air pump.  Is there a general rule of thumb? < The key is water movement. Your filter should turn the total aquarium volume over at least three times per hour. So if you were working on a 100 gallon tank then you would need a filter that pumps at least 300 gallons per hour. Better would be a single pump or a couple of pumps that would pump at least 500 gallons per hour. As filters begin to clog then their flow rates begin to diminish.> On side note, I have been reading much about DIY wet/ dry filters.  I am intrigued by this, as it seems like an easy and practical project.  The question here is biological media (bioballs, etc).  What volume of biological media do you need?  Obviously it will change depending on tank size, but that type of volume calculations are used when determining the volume of bio- media used in a wet/ dry filter. < Tank size is only a part of the equation. The real test depends on how many fish you keep, how big the fish are, what you are feeding your fish, how often do you do water changes and how much water do you change? In the end when the filter is cycled the ammonia and nitrites should read zero at all times. The nitrates should be less than 25 ppm. Keep in mind that for some sensitive fish even 25 ppm may be high.-Chuck>

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