Where To Place Air Pump In Fish Tank?


If you are new to the hobby of fishkeeping, you have probably seen air pumps in your neighborhood fish store or online and questioned whether you really needed one. We’ll help you decide where to put an air pump in a fish tank because there are several different situations where you might need one.

What Is An Air Pump

An aquarium air pump is a device that injects air into a tank’s water. At the top of a tank, oxygen is introduced into the water and carbon dioxide is released with the aid of surface agitation. Carbon dioxide must leave the water in order for oxygen to enter, which cannot happen without agitation. By displacing water with air bubbles, aquarium pumps affect agitation.

Air pumps guarantee that fish have access to enough oxygen to breathe regardless of external factors like the presence of medication in the water or photosynthesizing plant life.

Why Should You Place An Air Pump

Surface Agitation And Gas Exchange 

Because gas exchange occurs at the surface, surface agitation is essential for maintaining the health of your aquarium. 

Without surface agitation, oxygen that is sitting on the water’s surface cannot enter the water and any extra carbon dioxide cannot exit the water.  

Placing your power filter just above the water’s surface and allowing the flow to circulate the water at the surface is one way to make sure there is adequate surface agitation. 

An air pump is your best alternative if this is not an option (for example, because you don’t use a power filter or the sound is too loud). The carbon dioxide will be forced to the surface by the constant bubble flow, which will stir the gas exchange process.

If the sound is an issue for you then a “quiet” air pump like the Tetra Whisper would be the best choice for you.

It indicates a lack of oxygen in the tank if you ever notice your fish gasping for air while swimming at the surface of the water. This issue can be resolved in a matter of minutes by an air pump. 

It is obviously bad practice to leave an air pump running continuously if you maintain a planted aquarium and add CO2 to your aquarium for plant health. It serves no useful purpose. 

Since plants don’t need carbon dioxide at night, you could turn on the air pump to oxygenate the tank. 


Increased Oxygen

The more oxygen that is available thanks to increased surface agitation, the better. As a result, oxygenating your aquarium’s water is not just accomplished by surface agitation. 

When an air pump and air stone are used, countless tiny oxygen bubbles are produced, driving massive amounts of oxygen right into the water in your tank. 

All living things in your aquarium, including the fish, plants, and even the helpful bacteria that are crucial to the overall health of your entire ecosystem, need and benefit from oxygen.

They Look Awesome

If you’ve ever passed by an aquarium and thought, “Wow, that looks awesome,” chances are it had a decorative air pump introducing bubbles into the tank. 

While the bubbles may occasionally appear on their own, you can also decorate your aquarium with a variety of accessories that use an air pump to add character and a theme, such as fake coral, volcanoes, and treasure chests. 

These ornaments are not only fascinating and entertaining to look at; your fish will also appreciate the bubbles. My fish have been interacting with the decorations and swimming in and out of the bubbles for countless hours. 

They Are Required For Sponge Filters

Air pumps are excellent for all aquarium owners because they let you use sponge filters, which is another reason. 

Inexpensive, highly efficient, and a breeding ground for good bacteria, sponge filters are a great choice. 

Because sponge filters lack a motor of their own, they must rely on an air pump’s upward thrust to force water from the tank through the sponge filters. Without an air pump, sponge filters will not function. 

Sponge filters are ideal for smaller tanks (or even larger tanks when used in addition to a power filter or canister filter). They are small, quiet, and reasonably priced. 

They can also be transferred between tanks if you ever need to set up a new tank or a quarantine tank. There is no need to wait weeks for a new tank to cycle because the sponge filters, with all of their beneficial bacteria, will instantly make it hospitable. 

Ideal For Quarantine Tanks 

In relation to quarantine tanks, using an air pump has advantages other than the immediate addition of advantageous bacteria from filter media. 

One of the most frequently recommended treatments for fish illnesses is to significantly increase the temperature in order to aid in the fight against the infection your fish is suffering from. 

The issue is that lower oxygen levels result from warmer water temperatures. Making sure there is enough oxygen for a sick fish to recover completely is essential. 

By including an air pump, you can raise the water’s temperature to combat the infection while also keeping the water nicely oxygenated in your quarantine or hospital tank.

Where To Place An Aquarium Air Pump

Aquarium air pumps must be placed higher than the water’s surface and are always placed outside of tanks. Through airline tubing that reaches into the aquarium, air pumps introduce air into the water.

Pump failure could cause damage to the pump if it is located outside the tank below the water’s surface. You should never submerge an air pump in a tank of water because they are not intended to be in contact with it.

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