Fresh Air For Your Aquarium
An Aquarium Air Pump is one of the most basic, yet versatile, pieces of equipment that you can own for your aquarium. The Basic function of an Aquarium Air Pump is to force air, through mechanical means, from the atmosphere into your aquarium. By forcing air into the water, you create water motion with the rising air bubbles, and also provide oxygen to the water that your aquarium fish and animals need to "breathe". With the use of an Air Stone you can greatly improve the efficiency of air transferred into the aquarium, and also enhance the appearance of your aquarium. There are many types of Air Stones available, with interesting forms and functions. Air pumps can also be used to efficiently operate some types of aquarium filtration equipment.
Applications For Use
Aeration:Like all animals, fish require oxygen to survive, which they "breathe" from aquarium water. They do this by absorbing dissolved oxygen from the water through their gills. The aquarium can absorb oxygen at the surface of the water, but this may not be enough on its own. Use of an air pump and Air Stone greatly increases CO2 and O2 gas exchange, keeping disolved concentrations of these gasses at safe levels. This occurs from direct transfer of gases from the bubbles produced, as well as from the surface agitation caused by the escaping bubbles. Air Stones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. From simple sand air stones and discs, to bars and flexible wands that use porous membranes or other synthetic materials.
Decoration:Many times people add an Air Stone; (powered by the air pump) to their aquarium simply to provide a beautiful flow of tiny bubbles. There are all different shapes and sizes of air stones, as well as ornaments that function with an air pump. (Remember the old opening and closing treasure chest in the Dr.'s office fish tank?) Some Air Stones and ornaments also include LED lighting for dramatic effects.
Filters:Undergravel filters, sponge filters, and certain other filters use air pumps to function. The air from an air pump creates water motion with rising air bubbles, that draws water through these simple filtration devices. This method of powering filters also provides aerobic bacteria with the oxygen they need to thrive in your biological filter.
Protein Skimmer:Some types of protein skimmers use an air stone to produce the bubbles/foam that removes the protein and organic waste from aquarium water. These protein skimmers typically us wooden air stones, that produce very fine small bubbles, which are extremely efficient.
Types Of Air Pumps
General Purpose:Ideal for general aeration purposes, or running ornaments, sponge filters, or undergravel filters. Examples of general purpose Air Pumps available are the Silent Air by Penn Plax, Whisper by Tetra, and Fusion by JW Pet pumps. Most manufacturers have several sizes available, with larger models available for deeper aquariums, or for running multiple air driven devices. General Purpose pumps use standard aquarium airline tubing.
High Output Air Pumps:
These pumps are designed for the largest aquariums, multiple aquariums, high pressure requirements or ponds with large airstones. High output pumps can be either diaphragm or piston design, and are usually louder and use more power than general purpose pumps.