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FAQs about Air Pumps, Stone, Bubblers...

Related Articles: Aeration, Water Circulation,

Related FAQs: Freshwater Circulation, Water Pumps, Powerheads, Plumbing, Circulation,

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

Coralife Luft Pump... quitting against a skimmer...     3/4/13
I have a question about the Corallife Luft Pump,
<I too am a huge fan of this product... have toured where it used to be made in Germany (by Tetra) and in Blacksburg, VA where the company moved its manufacture...>
 but didn't see this query in your FAQ's.  Here's my set-up:  In my classroom, I have a 100 gallon, cold, salt water tank.  The Luft Pump is attached to an ozonizer which is attached to my protein skimmer.  I've been a fan of the Luft Pump for years because they last so much longer than any other air pump I've used....until now.  Recently, my old Luft Pump had lost its zip so I ordered a repair kit and a new pump, just to be safe.  I replaced the diaphragm and it worked well, briefly.  I thought, "Wow, that's a bummer.
I can't believe it wore out so quickly, but it happens."  So I replaced it with the new pump.  The exact same thing happened.  It worked great for a day, and then it barely seemed to push air. 
<Mmm... I suspect some sort of back-pressure issue here... the skimmer... is this a wooden airstone type? I'd ask that you try blowing through the 3/16" ID airline tubing... can you produce bubbles? These "stones" need to be replaced every few months... sometimes more often>
Since I was out of pumps, I decided to run both a the same time and use a splitter thinking that maybe two weak pumps would be equivalent to one good one. 
<Uhh, no... either can/will produce near 9 psi... will produced more air volume together w/o resistance... but the discharge has to not be higher resistance than the 9 psi>
Here's the weird thing:  I found out, by accident,  that if I unplugged the pumps, just for a minute, they would work perfectly for hours after.  So clearly, nothing is wrong with the diaphragm.  Are they over heating?
<Again, the airstone/s... overheating, yes>
 If so, it seems unlikely that a minute would cause it to cool off significantly.  If over heating is the case, what could I do to prevent it?  Could it be something else?
<Ah yes>
 My routine now, when I come into class, is to unplug the pumps, let them sit for a minute and then plug them back in.  Clearly, I can't do this indefinitely.  Any suggestions?
<Look into replacing the limewood airstones w/ fused glass bead types... A few folks make these, but you may have to order... If all else fails, http://www.aquaticeco.com/
is a good source.>
Ross Henderson
Re: Coralife Luft Pump     3/6/13

I replaced the air stones and that seemed to help.  Thanks.
<Ahh! Let's hope the back pressure didn't harm any components in the pump itself. Cheers, BobF>

Extra air pump ports     2/16/13
When I bought my air pump, they didn't have 2 port ones in stock so they gave me a 4 port for the lower price. Nice!
But for now I don't have use for all the ports. Should I block them or let them "leak"?
<I'd combine them w/ a multiple port air valve... or two "tees"... better for noise, pump health to use all>
Each port is a separate pump, electromagnetic style. When I block them, the current usage (Kill-a-Watt) goes down, but the noise goes up!
<Ah yes. Cheers! Bob Fenner> 

Coralife Air Pump 7psi (Auto-Shutoff…nope) – 08/13/12
Hi guys,
<<Hey George>>
I love your site and read your stuff all the time.
<<Excellent…a collaborative effort)
I just can't find the answer to this question...
Does a Coralife Luft air pump (7 psi) automatically shut off or keep blowing when it meets resistance at or above 7 psi?
<<The pump does not have any type of automatic/pressure activated shutoff>>
If it was blowing inside a sealed chamber that can handle up to 10 psi, does the air pump keep running uselessly or does it shut off?
<<It will continue to run>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Air Pump, Skimmer use, reg. maint.  4/12/12
Hello gang.
<Hello Jamie>
Have another question. This time in regards to air pumps, for use with a protein skimmer in my case. My question is, do the internal parts/membranes in all of them need to be replaced fairly regularly, regardless of brand?
<Generally, yes.>
I've tried two different brands, first a Whisper and currently a Hagen Marina, and they've both needed their inner parts replaced within 6-12 months.
<Not unusual.>
I was thinking of buying a Luft pump, since I know they are supposed to be of higher quality. Just wondering if I should expect similar results regardless of brand?
<The Luft Pumps have a heavier membrane and should last about a year before it needs replacing.  I've used this pump years ago and was pretty happy with it.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re Air Pump Article, Steven Pro/Air Pump Repair 4/16/10... Tetra Luft repairs 10/23/11
This is Ellen from Tucson again....I was able to pick up a few of those Old Brown Tetra Luft Pump kits from my LFS on special order......unfortunately I either stink at DIY projects or there is something else amiss with the pumps. I have 3 pumps so I changed the diaphragms etc on 2 of them, leaving one intact so I could re check assembly. Both newly "fixed" pumps do power on but are not pushing out anything using just an airline placed into a tank, despite dialing things up to #10 (which does make more noise than if on #1). I'm not sure what could be wrong, could of course be user error but I do believe I followed the directions given. Wondered if others might have run into same issue or could suggest something I might be overlooking. Very frustrated as I've got 3 of these non working units that folks used to rave about.
Thanks again
Tucson, Az
<Mmm, is most often a part not replaced, the "flap valves" that provide one way flow... http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/cat/infoL3/23667/category.web
Note the "Luft" kit vs. the Challenger/Whisper... the little (yellow/tannish) checks wear out, lose their plasticity, don't reseal properly... sometimes you can sub for another kit... Worth trying also is a thin smear of Silicon grease (as in for photography) on the outer bellows of the diaphragm. Bob Fenner>
Re Air Pump Article, Steven Pro/Air Pump Repair 4/16/10 10/24/11

Hi Again
Regarding "flap valves" ...per my research which led me to this page and illustration
http://static3.patentgenius.com/52184/17289/5052904-5.gif fig 5 part labeled 130
showing flap valves....
<Ah yes>
it's my understanding that they are part of the Luft (Tetra) Kit that I purchased ....the kit had the rubber diaphragm and a plastic piece that fits into it, and from what I'm thinking, those flap valves are in that part...so in effect, replacing the entire innards from the kit, should have taken care of those pesky critters.
<I see>
I can look into greasing the rim of the diaphragm.
The Luft kit on that link you sent (Coralife) doesn't work with my older Tetra pump, that kit has 2 filters and rubber diaphragm, my kit has one filter, rubber diaphragm, rubber round flat part that slips into a spot on the housing and the large plastic round part that fits into the rubber diaphragm that I think has those flap valves built in. The Tetra kit is virtually
impossible to locate, everyone just seems to sell the Coralife version (lucky I was able to find some extras!)
<Coralife/ESU and Tetra are now owned by the same co... They keep moving the products labels about...>
<A shame that these pumps are not serviceable... About the only thing I can think to do would be as you are... search about on the Net for folks with recent experience. Cheers, BobF>

Air pump sizing 5/11/10
<Greetings Todd>
My tanks are made by me and are unique in that they are 6" high x 8" wide.
<6 feet deep and 8 feet wide? Those are big tanks.>
What size pump should I use. 6 feet down! Lots of pressure, I believe.
<Water exerts 0.44psi per foot. So 6 feet down is ~2.64psi. For a small tank that deep a high pressure Luft pump would work. http://www.oceanicsystems.com/products/luft-pump.php
For a larger tank I'd recommend a regenerative vortex blower. They are built to last. Some smaller models won't work with your depth. Ideally an air lift would be used where the pipe extends below the air outlet. These are common in aquaculture.>
Only 8" wide (PVC Tube).
<I'm a bit confused with the ' symbol. It may just be my inexperience, but in the US those refer to inches. Where you are they refer to feet? An 8 foot wide PVC tube?>
Needs plenty of aeration.
<Please write back with any questions you may have>
<You're welcome, Scott T>

Air Pump Article, Steven Pro/Air Pump Repair 4/16/10
<Hi Ellen, is my wife's name so I jumped right on this query.>
Wondered if anyone knew where to purchase the old stock Tetra Luft repair kits for those old brown Luft pumps.....current Coralife Repair kits do not fit on the older style pumps apparently.
Date on mine is 1995.
<Go here Ellen. http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209516/product.web
James (Salty Dog) Crappy weather Michigan>
Tucson, Az

Just an FYI, James... This pump repair kit is for the newer style pumps and not for the older style pump referenced by the querior (I just bought one for my own "old style" Luft Pump). And at the moment, I'm not aware of any place to obtain these "old style" Luft Pump repair kits. Eric
Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware there was an old and new style Luft Pump.

Re: Air Pump article 04/18/10
Thanks again. The best air pump I've ever used was the Silent Giant, and it was silent. I'm sure Bob remembers that model.
<Oh, yes... made in Prescott, AZ... a fair-traded product... Campbell's soup can, #2 gravel compacted... RMF>

Bubble Wand Question 2/23/08 Hello again Bob (and crew members).... <Hi Lisa, do not think Bob is in Hello land now, but may still be wearing his lei.> I've had my 10 gal Q-tank set up for 3 days now (50% existing tank water/50% fresh saltwater), heater running, filter has been in my 125 gal FOWLR sump for a week, and the pvc pipe piece is in and ready to provide shelter for my new fish. My question is....previously when I had the Q-tank set up, I used an older bubble wand that someone gave me. That has since broken so I bought a new one yesterday. This little wand is cranking out some air bubbles.....the entire 10 gallons is filled with moving bubbles. Is this way too much oxygen in the water? <Air stones do not really put oxygen in the water, they merely bring the water to the surface where it can exchange gas with air.> Will this stress a new fish out to the max? Everything else (water parameters) is fine....bare bottom etc. BUT, I'm a bit concerned about the amount of air being pumped into the tank.......is it needed (or can you suggest a better way). I've been searching throughout the archives and just can't find the answers I'm looking for. <Lisa, just go with a small powerhead and place near the surface, is all you need. Problem with air stones, wands, is that they create salt creep and make a mess along with the noisy air pump.> Thank you all again for taking time out of your busy days to help and educate all the other wet pet fanatics out here. <Thank you, and you're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Lisa

Re: Bubble Wand Question 2/24/08 Hello again Bob (and crew members).... <Hi Lisa, do not think Bob is in Hello land now, but may still be wearing his lei.> LOL...good one James!??? And yes, I deserved that one.? :o) Thank you for the advice with the bubble wand....I removed it and have a powerhead in the Q-Tank now. <Much better and no salt mess.> Since you did such a fantastic job helping with my last question (yes, I am trying to butter you up for more advice if you couldn't tell....lol); I was hoping to ask more on your DSB thoughts. l have a 125 gal FOWLR with a DSB.....40 gal sump/refugium with LR and DSB w/Chaeto and a "decent" protein skimmer. Over time and initial powerhead mis-placement, sand has moved and I think even diminished some and I'd like to add more sand. The "deepest" area is 6" but I'd like to try and get the majority up to at least 6" overall. I do not plan on removing any rock though......would it be possible to just add new sand on top of the existing sand to level it all over? Initially I used Home Depot Play sand and seeded it with live sand. <Have to be careful here with "play sand", some play sand is pure silica sand, something we do not want in our reef systems.> "Dead" rock was used as a base with LR from a 6yr old established reef tank was used to seed the base rock. I had in the past used crabs and sand sifting stars but removed them when I bought my Looney (oops, I meant Lunare? lol) Wrasse. I now have an ugly line of algae ( and on the surface layer) and such and would like to clean it up a bit. What would you recommend critter wise to do this? And should I have the sand "cleaned" before adding the new sand? <With the Lunare Wrasse present, I do not know of any algae cleaning critter that would be safe with it. I'd use a gravel cleaner during water changes to clean your sand bed. It takes a little getting used to as to how much to pinch the hose to prevent sucking the sand out of the tank. Is the method I use and it doesn't take too long to master. Is one reason I do not care for the larger wrasses, all those colorful inverts cannot be kept.> Thank you again Mr. Salty Dog....look forward to hearing from you again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Attached is a photo of the tank after it cycled (about 3 months after initial set up) Another recent photo of the tank And I had to add one of my favorite fish, Looney, the Lunare wrasse. Who btw must be a male as the colors have deepened A LOT over the last year. The lyre tail has grown so much as well and this fish has the nicest personality. The "troublemaker" in the bunch is my Coral Beauty. The wrasse is your typical active crazy pig of a fish but has not shown any real "aggression" since it was added to the tank. Maybe I'm lucky....maybe my time will come!? lol??? <They all have different personalities but read from the same menu.> I think because I keep him well fed with a large variety of food and he has lots of nooks and crannies to swim through and keep busy that he doesn't have time to worry about defending his meals or territory. <Does help reduce aggression.> Just thought I'd share (sorry...I am a typical "diarrhea of the mouth" female.) Don't even get me started about my horses, dogs, cats, parrots.....oh yeah, and my 17yr daughter!? lol <I won't touch that. I do not see any pics or attachments, just text reading "View full size".> Lisa

Bubbles... SW aeration... shark hatch-out size Hi Should all marine tanks have bubbles? <Mmm, no... as in floating around... but circulation, aeration... yes> My LFS said no!! An air pump, <Mmm, can be provided in other ways> also how big does the black banned cat shark hatch at? <A few inches... see fishbase.org re...> Please let me know if I should get some bubbles<(..)> Thanks <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aerationmarart.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Small Air Pump Recommendations 11/30/06 Hello Bob, <Hey Greg, JustinN with you this morning.> I've recently determined that my tank has too much CO2. I to want to add a small air pump with air stone. <Ok> My question is of course, have you had much experience with air pumps? My tank is six gallons. I'd like to get a high, maybe highest quality one available. I'm shooting for ease of maintenance and silence. Silence is my number one priority because the tank is in my bedroom. So any brands that you might mention would be greatly appreciated! <Well, the nice thing about diaphragm air pumps is how simply they are constructed... likely any standard small aquarium air pump will serve your purpose fine. I've had good luck with Tetra air pumps in the past.> Also wanted to say thanks for your invaluable service to hobbyists like me. Haven't found a better quality web site! Greg <Thanks for the kind words, Greg! Take care! -JustinN> Air pump Sel. 11/29/06 Hello, <Hey Greg, JustinN with you tonight> I'm wondering what is the quietest, highest quality air pump on the market to be used for aerating a six gallon saltwater tank. Thanks, Greg <Just about any commercially available air pump should do the job, but Tetra makes a quality pump for a specific brand. Hope this helps you! -JustinN> Luft Pump is not 7 PSI! 11/15/06 Hi Bob, <Loren> I run two ozone generators that use a proprietary air pump, which is specified at 2.8 LPM (0.1 CFM) at 4.0 PSI, and 6.0 PSI dead head. The pumps fail regularly, repair parts are not available, and they cost over $150 to replace, <Mmmm... too high... In the States this unit sells for $40-45...> so I've been looking for a better solution. <I see> The Coralife Luft Pump claims "7.0 PSI" and "4.0 LPM", which sounds like it might work. <Mmm, this is the same/identical pump as the Tetra Luft pump... both companies owned by a large conglomerate nowadays... Used to be made/assembled in Deutschland... "Luft"... Has been assembled in the U.S. (Blacksburg, VA) for the last decade or so. Seen this in person> Mostly on the rave recommendation of your "air_pump_impressions" page: < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i6/impressions/air_pump_impressions.htm> I ordered one. The pump I received seems to be working normally, and puts out more air than my existing pump at low head, but at its maximum setting it will only reach 3.5 PSI on my test gauge. I actually verified its displacement in a tank, where it only reaches 97.5 inches, which works out to 3.52 PSI. <Mmm...> So... Is the "7.0 PSI" that is written all over the box grossly exaggerated, or is there some unique convention I've never heard of for measuring aquarium pumps, or could I have received a substandard unit? <Don't know re either... PSI is PSI... at whatever volume... to static pressure... I suspect there is (likely) some variance, but not much unit to unit... I would be writing Coralife/Tetra re...> I notice that it does not hold any pressure against the gauge after I unplug it - the needle drops to zero within about one second. <Mmm...> I can actually blow air backward through it while it is off, which makes me think the valves must not be sealing very well. <I agree... there should be two "flapper" one-way valves that retain pressure, resist your blowing back... I would install a check valve in line here for sure either way> I contacted "Rob Moneyhan" <rmoneyhan@central-aquatics.com> at the vendor's support site, and here is his response: ----- The Luft pump was purchased from Tetra Corporation, and when our company acquired it there was no testing done on it. The same pressure ratings were used by marketing. If you were to put a hose coming from the pump down into water 16 or so inches and tested the force that the air was putting out against the force of the water it may register near 7PSI. <?..... no... Too lazy to do the math here, but discounting induced and other drag, there is no such predictability at 16 inches... Put another way, the 7 PSI should be produced whether a line is submerged or not...> This particular pump is a diaphragm pump and has areas were air pressure can escape. ----- Obviously he doesn't understand the science involved, but essentially, after having his techs do tests in their "lab", he seems to be saying the Luft Pump really doesn't do 7.0 PSI like everybody claims it should. You might want to warn people... So... Any ideas about a somewhat quiet, low power consumption air pump that would actually do about 0.1 CFM at a 96" depth? Rena 400? Tetra DW96-2? Loren <Am still a fan of the Luft pump... I do believe you may have gotten a bunk one... and would really like a larger sample size before condemning the model out of hand. Am hoping others will chime in here and render their experiences. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Luft Pump is not 7 PSI! - 11/15/06 Bob, <Loren> At 06:36 PM 11/14/2006, you wrote: ><Am still a fan of the Luft pump... I do believe you may have gotten a bunk one... and would really like a larger sample size before condemning the model out of hand. Am hoping others will chime in here and render their experiences. Cheers, Bob Fenner> I'd really like to believe I just got a bad one. (And that Coralife or Central-Aquatics or Energy Savers or whoever's tech people don't understand basic physics.) If it could provide decent air volume at 96" depth it would be perfect for my use. Has anybody with a deep tank ever seen one work at 96" depth? <Mmm, have used and sold many dozens of this make/model in years past... for even outdoor use (in/with ponds)... for operating sponge filters, long/large glass "airstones"... Our faves, the ones from Aquatic EcoSystem> Maybe I will just peek inside and see if there is an obvious problem... Loren <Worthwhile... there is one central diaphragm... it's a bit hard to dismantle... Again, maybe taking your pressure gauge to a large LFS and testing on site the units they have on hand? Bob Fenner>

Electro magnetic air pump/ Sharks 8/31/06 Hi Bob, <Joe> Was hoping you could shed some light on the myth that sharks are sensitive to electro magnetic fields? <Mmm, not a myth. Established fact> I am thinking of purchasing a new air pump for my tank, although it is described as operating via an electro-magnetic motor. I have a port Jackson shark in my tank, and was wondering if this would affect him, or any shark in general. <Not likely... through the air... or even if this pump is placed near the tank> Also, could you please tell me what a sufficient air output in an 8ft tank should be (if there is a suggested air volume at all)? The air pump I have selected distributes 70 litres per minute. <... At what pressure? Depends on the depth, number of discharges... what mechanical diffuser devices, other outputs are employed. 70 LPM is a bunch of volume> Thanks Joe. <Bob Fenner>

Air pump choices, Printed works on Aquariology 02-05-06 Dear Fenner, <Stephan> As i <... I> consider myself more immersed within the intricacies of the hobby i would like to ask you a few questions, if that's alright. I'm considering building a fish room and would like to know the appropriate air pump for the job. I've done some searching around and found 3 types available to the everyday consumers. Larger regular pumps, air compressors and blowers (diaphragms etc). What i wanted to know was whether high pressure low volume or high volume low pressure air was more desirable for the longevity of the fish. <Blowers are by far the most appropriate technology for such fish rooms... you don't (likely) need high/er pressure... or the noise that goes with such...> As they seem to be the only discrepancy between the available models. Furthermore, i would like to ask if there were more sources that i can view to learn more about the biology of tropical fish. Being a science major myself, i feel that the science behind living fish is pertinent to my needs. Thank you for your time, Sincerely, Stephen Fang <The last is a very good question. Presently there are few "scientific" works on Aquariology... so a person is faced with sampling from related fields (Aquaculture, Ichthyology, Physiology...) and making inference... Perhaps you will pen such a work. Bob Fenner>

Noisy Air Pump 12/15/05 We have a "Elite 802" air stone < Actually the Elite 802 is a pump, not an airstone.> for a 10 gallon tank that is really noisy. Do you have any recommendations for any air stone's <pumps> that aren't noisy? This thing is pretty loud and we even have it laying on a folded over dishtowel to buffer some of the noise. Thank you! < This is a very common problem that aquarists encounter with small aquariums. Little vibrating air pumps are relatively inexpensive but almost all of them work off a vibrating diaphragm. With little plastic housings there is not enough ballast around them to contain the vibration or the noise. Bigger ones were sometimes no better. The was a company many years ago that made an outstanding pump called the Silent Giant. It was an incredibly powerful pump that you could hardly hear. Unfortunately they began to use cheaper materials, the quality went down and they were not nearly as good and the company went out of business. Unplug the air pump from the airline while it is till plugged in. This is as quiet as it is ever going to get. Lots of the vibration comes from excessive back pressure, liked clogged airstones or kinked airlines. If the problems are fixed but it is still too noisy then you will have to change to an outside power filter. Other little air pumps are not going to be much better. Look at the penguin brands. The only noise you will hear is the sound of water running over the filter. Some people actually find it relaxing.-Chuck>

Air pump Hey folks! Just started a 20g saltwater tank and got a, (shudder) Skilter 250. Yea, I know, say it ain't so. Anyway, I found the Skilter modification in the FAQ and have completed it with the help of the LFS that I like here. Main reason for doing it was it seems to inject a ton of bubbles back into the tank. Much better now. I have an ashwood air stone running off of a Tectra Deep water 24-2. I was wondering if it would be appropriate to simply plug the non-used outlet of the pump for the time being (and to save my sanity from the noise) with a piece of tube with a plug on the end of it. I was thinking that when I setup an additional tank for QT, I would run hose from the other outlet to it for air, etc. Will this burn out my pump or be ok? Love your site, very very informational! <Dan, I would use a "T" and use both lines, if it's too much air you can always add an inline flow control.> James (Salty Dog)>

Rebuild Kits for Whisper Air Pumps I have two Whisper air pumps, one is a 700, the other is a 600....I cannot find the rebuild kits in my local shops anymore! Where can I get them besides on the Web? I live in Saint Joseph Michigan. Thank you Donna <Most any of the larger LFS or etailers that carry much in the way of Tetra's product lines should be able to get this for you. Check with Custom Aquatic, Marine Depot (.coms). Bob Fenner> Battery Operated pumps Thanks for the reply. Any idea how long battery operated pumps last? I had always thought them to last just a few hours at best. <you are right, they aren't very long. I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that if you are going to get a battery operated one, then also invest in a decent rechargeable battery system. "Monster Power" battery systems work exceedingly well, and have a long power life. You can find it at Circuit city and a reasonable price. have the batteries charging as the other ones are in use. You don't have the have the pump running all the time either. Just have it going during the warmest part of the day, and sporadically during other times. It's not really needed directly after a large water change, so keep that in mind. Actually I'm not sure why I didn't think of this last time, but you don't need to have a pump near the tank. You can always purchase airline hosing and run a single line of airline to the tank. The pump can be near an outlet, and just the airline goes to the tank. You can purchase a 25foot roll of it for about 10 dollars at Petco.> Thanks again, Mark <Hope that helps, I would suggest using the long airline tubing rather than the cost of a noisy battery pump, and battery charging expense. Good luck. -Magnus>

-Rely on battery powered air pumps?- I was trying to get your opinion as whether or not these battery powered air pumps would be enough to sustain a 75 gallon reef tank for a couple of days if their was a power failure(24 hours +). <It's hard to say, and it depends on how the tank is set up. Assuming the temperature could stay constant, and the tank had ample live rock and a reasonable population of fish and critters, a few air pumps keeping the water from going stagnant may do the trick.> I am in a climate where for the most part, I would not have to worry about the temperature past 48 hours. Hagen makes a battery powered air pump for like seven dollars. Do you have any other recommendation in case of a prolonged power failure? <Yeah, generator. An excellent investment not only for the tank but for your own personal comfort! -Kevin> Please let me know. Thanks Ron

Air Pump Noise Hey Crew!! Ok, here's my problem - I have an air pump that's driving me nuts!! I would like to know if you guys could tell me what the quietest air pump on the market is. I'm running a protein skimmer, and 2 air stones in the tank. Would 2 really quiet pumps take care of my needs, and quiet things down?? Thanks for your advise!! Pat Marren <Try asking in the WetWebFoto forums, Pat. The problem with air pumps for driving skimmer air stones is, they need to be powerful enough to push air quite deep, thus the noise. I'm afraid it's fairly typical. Someone may know of a particularly quiet model on the forums. Craig>

Pump It Up? I have a bio orb and have just changed the filter cartridge on Monday! However have not been able to get it to bubble up since! <Hmm...> Have taken pump to my local aquarium 3 times and have had it fixed and checked all seems ok to them! It even blew bubbles into a cup, yet whenever I get it home it just doesn't want to work! Can you think of any other reason for this before I go mad!!!! Caroline Cutmore <OK, Caroline- here's my theory: Perhaps there is too much back pressure on the pump in your setup? If the pump is more than say, one meter below the tank, perhaps it cannot overcome the back pressure. Experiment by moving the pump closer to the filter, perhaps even on top of the tank...See if that works for you. It may be as simple as that. If this is the case, you may need to either permanently relocate the pump to a more favorable position, or purchase a more powerful one. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F!>

Re: two pumps & PSI UPDATE: Bob, I received a new air pump for Christmas.. a 4 PSI one. I'll I can say is WOW, what a difference 2 more PSI make in a skimmer. <Yes sir!> With my 2" 5' DIY CC Skimmer and a 2 PSI pump I could barely get foam to the top, and the air stone was only 12" down. With a 4 PSI air pump, and stone 18" down I have foam gushing over the top. I actually had to dial the air pump down to 3 PSI to get the foam at proper levels. I hope this might help others with foam issues. Thanks again for all your help. Dave <Thanks for the input. Bob Fenner>

Re: two pumps & PSI Good Morning to the "All knowing and All seeing keepers of knowledge in all things aquatic". I come before you on bent knee, again seeking counsel and pearls of wisdom. <Wow!> If you have two air pumps that are churning out 2 PSI each, when you hook them together (into the same gang valve) would you not get 4 PSI as a result? When I did this and only saw a 0.5 raise in total PSI. Went from 2 to 2.5 Puzzled, Dave <Well Dave, the answer is simple. My Dad has a saying, "You can't fit ten pounds of sh*! in a five pound bag." Basically, the airline tubing is only able to accommodate so much air. Much like using a 1200 gph external pump and only getting 400 gph out of it because you are returning the water through 1/2" PVC pipe. -Steven Pro>

Re: Air Pump Question for tall skimmer I would like to use 1/4" ID acrylic and flexible tubing to supply air into my 5' skimmer. <yes... but you will not need for the air to go much further than 16 or 18" down a countercurrent body> If I have a 5' skimmer shouldn't the air go all the way to the bottom or very near it? <nope... not necessary at all in a Nilsen style countercurrent. Too expensive to produce and actually a problem when you have adequate water flow through the skimmer: air near the bottom can get sucked out with the excurrent water and be aesthetically irritating to you and especially irritating to corals (the microbubbles).> Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying? <You understand my friend... just don't have a good diagram or understanding of it yet. It would be obvious after you built the skimmer. This skimmer style is diagramed in my coral propagation book... an old Nilsen style at 4-6 feet tall. Great old design. Best regards, Anthony>

Air Pump Question A question for the experts at WWM. Great site, great people! Can two, three or four Tetra Luft air pumps be tied into a common header to operate a single CC skimmer? <yes... but never with significant back pressure... always with a bleeder (blowing off air and throttled just enough to give the other outlets the necessary flow. To illustrate... imagine a gang valve with four outlets and two inlets. Two pumps (single output) would supply the two inlets... three of the outlets would go to a device (airstone) and the fourth must be left to blow off air. The three outlets will need to be run at the same depth and their valves left full open. Only the bleeder is regulated (throttled back) to get enough flow to other outlets> Or would separate lines for each be necessary? <always better and safer separately> Would each require a check valve? <yes> I would like to use 1/4" ID acrylic and flexible tubing to supply air into my 5' skimmer. <yes... but you will not need for the air to go much further than 16 or 18" down a countercurrent body> Would this combination shorten the life of the pumps? <the first suggestion would a little. There are industrial airpumps instead that are suited for this job (Schego)> Do you have a better setup? Any help would be very much appreciated. <best regards, Anthony>

Schego air pump Dear crew, I have just purchased a Schego M2K3 air pump from seeme.com in the Netherlands, what a fantastic piece of kit very well made compared with the majority of what we normally see over here in England. <and here in America too. Schego has enjoyed a fine reputation for many years. Its a shame that they are so dearly priced> My question is this, at the moment i am using Sander No2 limewood stones, the action in the skimmer column is very high but it's reluctant to start foaming, i have an internal glass counter current skimmer and the depth is about 18" of the column, i currently only use 1 airstone (should i start using 2 stones), <dual airstones is not a terrible idea if you cannot increase air through the stone without increasing bubble size> can you guys give any pointers as to any experience with these pumps, by the way i have it set fairly light in terms of the tension dial on the end of the pump. <as will all high volume air pumps... hook this one up to a gang valve with one more stem than you need (e.g.- two valves for one running stone or three valves for two running stones). Set the airstone valve(s) full open and use the extra valve as a bleeder/muffler. Attach a length of tubing to it and restrict or open the valve slightly to make adjustments by resistance for the airstones. This maximizes control of airflow and reduces resistance on the pump. Many thanks Paul, England <Cheers, Paul. With kind regards... Anthony Calfo>

Schego Air Pumps Dear Anthony, <cheers, Paul> Thank you for your reply with regard to my air pump problem, i will go to my local aquarium shop tomorrow and buy a gang valve and give it a go! <excellent!> By the way the site that I bought the pump of does the M2K3 for $31.00 and if you spend in excess of $75.00 they will deliver free to the good old US of A. <that is very affordable for such a good pump! Please do share the web link with us> Once again thanks for the advice, it's much appreciated, <our great pleasure> I haven't been able to get a satisfactory answer over here in England simply because no-one sells Schego pumps at all. <I see... well, I suppose you just need to think a little more about retiring early and setting up that fine aquarium Shoppe you've been dreaming about! <G> Do advise me when your grand opening is... I'd love to visit UK on holiday and lecture at your new place (Ha!)... and I'll travel for good beer, steamed rice and a comfortable chair to sleep in :) > Yours Paul, Manchester, England <kindly, Anthony>

Air Pumps for Skimmers Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro in this evening.> Thank you for your reply regarding the reef secure additive. If you do get any information on this product I would be grateful for your views. A couple of weeks ago, I mailed you with regard to some Kordon mist fine air stones that I purchased on the web. I am trying to increase the efficiency of my air driven counter current skimmer. You kindly pointed me in the direction of Schego or Luft air pumps. I have managed to locate the Schego pumps on the web, but after reading some viewpoints it seems that a lot of people in America think that they can be quite noisy. I have been looking around and I have seen another pump called the TetraTec deep water. Apparently, its been developed for skimmer operation. Could you please let me know if any of the crew or you has ever come across this and what your views are? <I have seen them, but I am partial to the Tetra Luft pumps, now marketed under the Coralife label, but they should be the same. These are strong, long lasting, and have an adjustable rheostat.> As always thank you for your efforts, Paul Matthews of Manchester, England <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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