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? The most obvious signs that your fish are suffering from oxygen deprivation include a lot of rest at the bottom, lack of appetite, and rapidly changing gills. Worst-case scenario is when your fish will start gasping for oxygen at the surface. It’s time to get serious!
The first step is to do a large water change, which will immediately infuse the tank with fresh oxygen. If the fish start to swell, it is time to identify the reason for the lack of oxygen. High water temperatures, too many fish, chemical treatments or medications, as well as insufficient water surface agitation are all common causes.
How can I increase the oxygen level 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. We ran several experiments with a dissolved oxygen monitor to determine the best setup for increasing oxygen levels in aquariums. Here’s what we found:
The experiment was designed to increase dissolved oxygen levels in aquariums of different configurations.
Note: Both circulation pumps and powerheads were tested. However, the exact results of these tests were not recorded. The venturi-type powerhead did not perform as well as the powerhead pointed towards the top of the tank that 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 refers to the process where carbon dioxide, a waste product of your fish, is released into the air and new oxygen is dissolved into 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 40-gallon breeder tank is larger than the 55 gallon tank. A long, shallow aquarium is better than a tall, narrow tank.
– 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. Live aquarium plants are a great way to provide additional oxygen for your fish. But, floating plants shouldn’t take over your whole tank as it can limit gas exchange.
Too many floating plants can greatly reduce oxygen levels in your fish tank.
– Increase surface agitation with filtration and air stones. Good surface agitation is clearly the key to effective gas exchange where carbon dioxide in the water is swapped out for more oxygen from the air. This can be achieved by adding at minimum one air source to each aquarium. 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
It is easy to add an air source to your fish tanks. All you need is an electric pump to push water into the tank, some airline tubing to allow the air to travel through the tube, and a check valve that prevents water from getting into the tubing.
How to attach an air pump in an aquarium
Those three components reside outside of the aquarium, but the last bit of airline tubing (on the left-hand side) enters the water. There are many attachments that can be connected to the aquarium’s airline tubing.
An water stone is small, weighted bubbler that makes very small bubbles in the drinking water. This simple accessory helps to gradually diffuse air into the tank and minimizes the amount of bubbling noise you’ll hear.
A sponge filter uses oxygen to provide biological and mechanical filtration. Water is pulled in through sponge walls as the bubbles rise from the sponge’s bottom to the top. This helps remove unwanted particles and clear up excess water. Beneficial bacteria likes to live in sponges, which helps to transform waste compounds into safer byproducts. A moving-bed filter provides the ideal environment for biological filtration. The constant churning and movement of oxygenated water through the chamber of media granules enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Add more air to your aquarium using an air stone, sponge filter, or moving bed filter.
All of these methods for adding air to your tank encourage excellent surface agitation, oxygenation, and a calm environment for your fish.