Oxygen is essential to all aquatic organisms, and there are many ways to oxygenate the aquarium.
The most common form of aeration in an aquarium is through an air pump. The air pump is usually located outside the aquarium and needs to be plugged into a power source. They work by vibrating a rubber diaphragm. When the diaphragm in the pump vibrates, air is sucked in and pumped into the aquarium under pressure through a thin rubber tube. In order to generate more bubbles and reduce noise, air pipes are usually connected to small porous air stones. The air stone can disperse large bubbles into fine bubbles, which can fully dissolve oxygen in the entire water system. Air stones and water pumps come in various styles and sizes, which can be adapted to various aquariums. Most air pumps are placed outside the aquarium, but some models are now designed to work inside the aquarium. Submersible air pumps can also be matched with brilliant and colorful LED lighting to create brilliant effects.
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When to use an air pump?
Not every aquarium requires additional aeration, but an air pump can benefit almost every type of aquarium and pond. Fish need oxygen. By adding extra oxygen to avoid lack of oxygen in the water, the fish will not suffocate. Some fish, such as cold-water species, have a higher oxygen demand than others. Generally speaking, cold water contains more oxygen than warm water. In room temperature aquariums, cold water fish may be deprived of oxygen, so all cold water aquariums need additional oxygenation. In nature, some tropical fish naturally inhabit in oxygen-rich waters, such as fast-moving waterfalls or the bottom of waterfalls. If additional oxygenation is added, the fish will be more comfortable. Overcrowded aquariums must require additional aeration, because the surface area of the water cannot allow enough air to diffuse into the water to accommodate the number of fish. It’s the same with the filter, because the bacteria in the filter are aerobic bacteria, which means that they need oxygen. Oxygen makes the biological filtration system work more efficiently.
Oxygenate sick fish
Air pumps and air stones are necessary equipment for the treatment of diseased fish. If the fish is sick, it will have difficulty breathing. If there is a parasite infection, such as goldfish white spot disease, the parasite may be in the gills, which will further hinder breathing. Medication will consume oxygen in the water, so you need additional aeration when treating sick fish. Oxygen can also help solve water quality problems. If you find that the water contains ammonia or nitrite, you must aerate the water, which will help the bacteria in the filter recover more quickly.
When using an external air pump, always install a simple and effective check valve. Its purpose is to allow air to pass freely through the pipeline from the pump to the aquarium, and if the air supply is stopped, it will prevent any backflow of water from the aquarium. If water enters the pump, the pump will break down. Because the air pump is connected to a power source, there is also a risk of electric shock. Except for those pumps designed for underwater use, check valves must be installed on the rest of the pumps.
Other aeration methods
The venturi on the outlet of the powerful filter can suck in air and inject small bubbles into the water. This free form aeration is an additional function of most filters, but if the filter is stopped, the filtering and aeration functions will be lost, and the fish may be in trouble. If you raise species with high oxygen requirements, a separate air pump is a better choice. Aquatic plants produce oxygen during the day, which is sufficient for fish in most cases, but water plants do the opposite at night by consuming oxygen. In most cases, the aquarium filled with water plants must be slightly different to accommodate fish and plants. In most cases, the water surface should be sufficiently agitated, which can be achieved by placing the filter above, on the water surface, or just below the water surface to produce ripples.
Aeration shopping list
- An air pump that fits the size of your aquarium
- Air pipe: The length is enough to reach the bottom of the aquarium
- Check valve: If the air pump is placed below the water line, it must be used
- Air stone: any size and style are ok, but the air stone needs to be powered by a large air pump
- Pneumatic control faucet: adjust the air intake
- Clips and suction cups: tighten the air pump and air pipe to prevent them from floating