Air Stones: the Secret Weapon Every Aquarium Needs


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. Your fish might start to gasp for air near the surface of water. This is a sign that it is time to act!

First, you need to give the aquarium a thorough water change. This will instantly infuse it with fresh oxygen. If the fish start to swell, it is time to identify the reason for the lack of oxygen. Common causes include high water temperatures, too many fish in the tank, certain medications or chemical treatments, and not enough 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. Ideally, the oxygen content in a freshwater fish tank should be around 7 to 8 ppm (or mg/L). This is what we discovered when we tested several setups to increase oxygen in our aquariums using a dissolved-oxygen meter.

This experiment was done to increase the dissolved oxygen in various aquarium setups.

Notable: The powerheads and circulation pumps were also tested but the exact results weren’t recorded. The venturi-type powerhead did not perform as well as the powerhead pointed towards the top of the tank that created surface agitation. Also tested was a circulation pump, which did not significantly improve oxygen content.

Our experiments have shown that an increase in gas exchange at the water surface can have a positive effect on oxygen content. Gas exchange is the process by which carbon dioxide (a waste product from your fish) is expelled into the atmosphere and is dissolved in the water. Here are three proven methods to increase oxygenation of your aquarium.

Purchase tanks with large surface areas. The oxygen content in the 40-gallon was significantly higher than the 55-gallon. The reason is because the 40-gallon breeder tank has a greater amount of surface area compared to 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. 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. 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. You can achieve good surface agitation using other methods like a hang-on-back filter, but it comes at the cost of having very loud splashing sounds from the 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 to attach an air pump in 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. 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 diffuses air into the tank slowly and reduces bubbling noise.

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 can also live in the sponge and help to convert waste compounds into safer products. A moving beds filter provides a perfect environment for biological filtering. 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 of these methods for adding air to your tank encourage excellent surface agitation, oxygenation, and a calm environment for your fish.