Air Stones: The Secret Weapon Every Aquarium Needs
Having enough oxygen in your aquarium is one of those things people often take for granted, but it’s so vital to your fish’s health. How can you make sure your fish is getting enough air? Most fish will show signs of oxygen deprivation, such as a tendency to rest at the bottom of their tanks, a lack appetite, or rapidly moving gills. Worst-case scenario is when your fish will start gasping for oxygen at the surface. It’s time to get serious!
First, you need to give the aquarium a thorough water change. This will instantly infuse it with fresh oxygen. The second step is to check if the fish seem to be responding immediately. The most common causes are high water temperatures and too many fish in a tank, certain medication or chemical treatments, and inadequate water surface agitation.
How can I get more oxygen in my fish tank?
You can directly measure the dissolved oxygen content using a water test kit or digital meter. A freshwater fish tank should have an oxygen content of 7 to 8ppm. To figure out the best kind of setup for increasing oxygen in your aquarium, we ran several experiments using a dissolved oxygen meter and here’s what we discovered:
The experiment results for increasing dissolved oxygen in different aquarium setups
Note: Both circulation pumps and powerheads were tested. However, the exact results of these tests were not recorded. The powerhead of venturi type did not perform as well than the powerhead pointed towards top of tank, which created surface agitation. A circulation pump was also tested, but it did not improve the oxygen content significantly.
Based on our experiments, we definitely see that increasing gas exchange at the water surface has a positive impact on oxygen content. Gas exchange in aquariums is the process in which carbon dioxide from the water (a waste product produced by your fish) exits into the air and new oxygen from the air is dissolved into the water. These are the three most effective ways to increase oxygenation within your aquarium.
Get tanks with a larger surface area. The 40-gallon tank has a higher oxygen content than the 55 gallon tank. The reason is because the 40-gallon breeder tank has a greater amount of surface area compared to the 55-gallon tank. An aquarium that is long and shallow is preferable to one that is tall and narrow.
– Don’t let floating plants cover the water surface. When using a sponge filter in the 55-gallon tank, the experiment with floating plants had significantly less oxygen compared to the experiment without them. In general, live aquarium plants can provide oxygen to your fish. But, floating plants shouldn’t take over your whole tank as it can limit gas exchange.
Too Many Floating Plants can drastically reduce the oxygen level in your fish tank.
Increase surface activity with filtration and stones. Gas exchange is the process where carbon dioxide in water is replaced by more oxygen from the atmosphere. You can achieve this by adding at least one source of air (such as an air stone or sponge filter to every aquarium), regardless of what other filtration is used. Other methods, such as a hang-on back filter, can be used to achieve surface agitation. However this will result in loud splashing from falling water.
How to Add Air to Your Aquarium
Adding an air source to your fish tank is very easy – all you need is an air pump to push air into the water, airline tubing for the air to travel through, and a check valve to prevent water from flowing into the tubing.
How do you attach an air pump to an aquarium?
These three components are located outside the aquarium. However, the last bit (on the left-hand) of the airline tubing enters the water. From there, there are several types of attachments you can connect to the airline tubing inside the aquarium.
– An air stone is a small weighted bubbler that produces very small bubbles in the water. This accessory is simple and helps to diffuse the air into your tank, reducing the volume of bubbling sound.
– A sponge filter uses air to provide mechanical and biological filtration. As the bubbles rises from the bottom of the sponge to the top, water is sucked in through the sponge walls, thus removing waste particles and clearing up the water. Beneficial bacteria also like to live in the sponge, helping to covert waste compounds into safer by-products. A moving-bed filter provides the ideal environment for biological filtration. As air travels through the chamber of swirling media granules, the constant churning of oxygenated water greatly enhances growth of beneficial bacteria.
Add more air to your aquarium using an air stone, sponge filter, or moving bed filter.
All these methods of adding air to your fish tank promote excellent surface agitation and oxygenation of water, providing an ideal, stress-free environment for your fish to live in.