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. In a worst-case scenario, your fish may start gasping for air at the surface of the water, which means it’s definitely time to take action!
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. 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 do I Get More Oxygen in My Fish Tank?
You can directly measure the dissolved oxygen content using a water test kit or digital meter. The ideal oxygen level for freshwater fish tanks should be between 7 and 8 ppm or mg/L. 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:
This experiment was done to increase the dissolved oxygen in various 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.
We have seen that increased gas exchange at water surfaces has a positive effect upon 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. Given this information, here are three proven ways to increase oxygenation in your aquarium:
Purchase tanks with large surface areas. The oxygen content in the 40-gallon was significantly higher than the 55-gallon. The 40-gallon breeder tank is larger than the 55 gallon tank. Therefore, a long, shallow aquarium is preferred over a tall, narrow one.
Keep floating plants from covering the water surface. The 55-gallon tank with a sponge filter had significantly lower oxygen levels than the experiment without floating plants. In general, live aquarium plants can be very useful in producing additional oxygen for your fish. However, don’t let floating plants take over your entire tank because it limits the amount of gas exchange.
Too Many Floating Plants can drastically reduce the oxygen level 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. One of the best ways to do this is by adding at least one air source (like an air stone or sponge filter) to every aquarium, no matter what other filtration you’re using. 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 you attach an aquarium pump
The three components are outside the aquarium. Only the last piece of airline tubing on the left-hand side enters water. There are many attachments that can be connected to the aquarium’s airline tubing.
An Air stone produces small bubbles in water. This simple accessory helps to gradually diffuse air into the tank and minimizes the amount of bubbling noise you’ll hear.
– A sponge filters use air to provide biological and mechanical filtering. 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 creates an optimal 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 air to your aquarium by using an air filter, 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.