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Can air pumps stress fish?

Phil Onion

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Background

I'm a noob with a 4x2 75gl aquascape tank (I know). It has a canister filter with lily pipes. The lily pipe doesn't agitate the surface more than a slight ripple. The hardscape is wood either side and a sandy path in the middle. I plan for it to be heavily planted, although it's medium planted at present (growing slowly). LED lights on day/night cycle, but no CO2. How much (if any) of that is relevant, I don't know.

Being a noob, after a 2 month cycle, I wanted fish. First (cleanup crew)- 6x Otto, 6x Amano. Second (2 weeks later) - 10 x Cardinel, 10 x Rummynose, 6 x Harlequins. Third (2 weeks more) - 6 x Corys, 2 x Electric Blue Acara.

Now, I expected the Acara to swim near the bottom, with the nano's near the top. But the opposite happened with the Acaras at the top corner only moving for food while the nano's stayed near the bottom, again fairly still. Water parameters are checked regularly and good. I therefore started to worry about oxygen. A couple of nano's died over night and so, finally getting to the point, I decide to buy an air pump (Eheim 400) and partially bury it in the middle where the sandy path disappears in the distance.

Problem

Even on low, this throws out more bubbles than I imagined and here lies my concern. 30mins. after turning it on and the fish are going mad. The acara are throwing themselves into the bubbles at the bottom, being flung up and outwards and doing it over again, while the nano's are darting into the torrent near the top and getting ejected half way across the tank. Now, avoiding being anthropomorphic and thinking they're having 'fun', I'm worried they might be getting stressed at the introduction especially as 30mins. wouldn't increase O2 levels that much. . Has anyone had anything similar and should I turn it off at night or remove it altogether?

Phil.
 

AlecF

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You could try running I through a sponge filter, which would change the bubble stream and also benefit the tank. One with a taller pipe would take the bubbles near the surface, but still give you more oxygen.
 

Phil Onion

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You could try running I through a sponge filter, which would change the bubble stream and also benefit the tank. One with a taller pipe would take the bubbles near the surface, but still give you more oxygen.
I could, but the reason for going down the canister and lily pipe route was the clean 'aquascape' view. Even the heater is in the canister.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Water parameters are checked regularly and good.
Sorry to hear about your losses. Can you get some floating plants? They aren't CO2 limited and will <"rapidly improve water quality">.

Another thing is try not to make any decisions based on the test results. I'm <"not anti-testing">, but the tests available to us <"aren't reliable enough"> to base decisions upon.

Have a look at <"Seasoned Tank Time">.
Now, I expected the Acara to swim near the bottom, with the nano's near the top. But the opposite happened with the Acaras at the top corner only moving for food while the nano's stayed near the bottom, again fairly still. Water parameters are checked regularly and good. I therefore started to worry about oxygen.
It is an <"oxygen issue">, but it is really to with <"tank maturity">, your bioload and <"the potential for plant / microbe nitrification">. Basically, because you've added the fish <"to a tank that isn't biologically mature"> and you don't have enough dissolved oxygen to oxidise the toxic ammonia (TAN) and nitrite (NO2-) to nitrate (NO3-).

Have a look at <"Aeration and dissolved oxygen...">, I wrote it about fifteen years ago specifically for the keepers of large rheophilic plecs, but it is relevant to all fish keeping.

cheers Darrel
 

Phil Onion

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Hi all,

Sorry to hear about your losses. Can you get some floating plants? They aren't CO2 limited and will <"rapidly improve water quality">.
Thanks Darrel.

So, I do have Salvinia as a floating plant. With regards to testing, while I do use JBL test strips, I also use API and Apera kits and take an average because, as you say, they're not that accurate.

Although I am a self-confessed noob, I thought my tank was biologically mature. The tank has alfagrog as a substate and in filter. I added bacteria and did a dark start for 10 weeks before adding plants and cycling for the 2 months mentioned above. Ammonia and Nitrite are zero with Nitrates around 5ppm. I do agree that the plants have not spread as quickly as I hoped and I have tipped the balance. Alas the Otto and Amano have done a wonderful job keeping algae at bay and so that's not contributing.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
With regards to testing, while I do use JBL test strips, I also use API and Apera kits and take an average because, as you say, they're not that accurate.

Although I am a self-confessed noob, I thought my tank was biologically mature. The tank has alfagrog as a substate and in filter. I added bacteria and did a dark start for 10 weeks before adding plants and cycling for the 2 months mentioned above. Ammonia and Nitrite are zero with Nitrates around 5ppm.
That is sort of the point, it isn't anything you've done "wrong".

You've been very conscientious in following the "add ammonia, add bacteria and test" cycling protocol, that is advised by many LFS and forums, the problem <"is with the methodology">, it is based on <"the shakiest of foundations">, many of which have been swept away <"by recent scientific advances"> in <"the study of nitrification">.

The companies that sell the test kits, the ammonia, the bacterial supplements (I'll make an exception for <"Dr Tim Hovanec">) actually know that they are misleading people, but they obscure the truth because it gives them the chance to sell hobbiests lots of <"useless products">. I think of them like <"Payday lenders"> or <"Cigarette manufacturers">, they are keen that <"you don't find out the truth">.

All of that revenue stream disappears when you tell people that all they need to do is plant the tank and <"wait until the plants are grown in"> before you add any fish. No ammonia, no testing, no bacterial supplements.

cheers Darrel
 
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Phil Onion

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Well I would agree that the advertising around test kits can be 'misleading', this is far from any suggestion they're lying. Most test kits include a measurment accuracy statement to cover themselves legally. The problem is that many people won't read or won't understand what that means. No company would be allowed to sell or survive long if it didn't do what it said and it's easy enough to check. Even with my somewhat faded science degree, I could probably knock up a test for ammonia using the indophenol method and catch a test kit company out. Same with nitrites, nitrates et al. The issue is I don't want a front room that looks like school science lab. As such, if you use more than one kit and understand the method and error factor, it's accurate enough.
 

jaypeecee

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With regards to testing, while I do use JBL test strips...
Hi @Phil Onion

It is a good idea to avoid test strips - regardless of manufacturer. But, I use the JBL liquid and powder tests. And I wouldn't be without them. I have checked their accuracy against references that I have produced myself and they certainly meet my needs. I also use electronic photometers and other electronic equipment if the test justifies it or is necessary. Whatever works for you.

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Well I would agree that the advertising around test kits can be 'misleading', this is far from any suggestion they're lying.
All right, <"economical with the truth">.
No company would be allowed to sell or survive long if it didn't do what it said and it's easy enough to check. Even with my somewhat faded science degree, I could probably knock up a test for ammonia using the indophenol method and catch a test kit company out.
Agreed, if you follow the <"scientific method"> you have more chance of getting a ball-park figure. Ammonia/ammonium is an interesting one, <"because of the pH dependent"> nature of NH3 / NH4+ equilibrium. All tests measure Total Ammoniacal Nitrogen (TAN), by either converting all the <"TAN to NH3 by adding a base">, or converting all the TAN to NH4+ by adding an acid. You can use an <"ion selective electrode to measure ammonia (NH3)">, and they work quite well, but they are expensive bits of kit.
Same with nitrites, nitrates et al.
It was actually the <"issues with nitrate (NO3-) testing"> that initially led me to the <"Duckweed Index">.
As such, if you use more than one kit and understand the method and error factor, it's accurate enough.
Whatever works for you.
I'd agree with @jaypeecee, do whatever you feel happiest with. Personally I'm not going to go back to regular water testing, but if people feel happiest testing, test away.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

castle

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I run air stones, but not during "in use" hours of the living room, as the noise can bug me. I don't think air stones stress fish, but too much flow obviously could. I use a <twinstar-air-diffuser/> which works pretty well, and the bubbles are reasonably finer. I don't recommend the wooden diffusers. All air diffusers I have used have the same issue with bubbles joining together, to make bigger noisier bubbles. Using a venturi has allowed me to get really tiny bubbles (nano bubbles) and that's kinda cool, again can be a bit noisy. In high <BOD/> tanks, you need a lot of teeny air bubbles in there.

I've been wanting to run an air line under a gravel tank for some time to recreate those gas bubbles you sometimes see in rivers. I think it would look interesting, especially if I run them off a peristaltic pump.

I don't test aquariums either, there is an idea spreading about <seasoned tank time/>, which I think most longer term fish keepers are all in agreement with.
 

Phil Onion

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Hi @Phil Onion

It is a good idea to avoid test strips - regardless of manufacturer. But, I use the JBL liquid and powder tests. And I wouldn't be without them. I have checked their accuracy against references that I have produced myself and they certainly meet my needs. I also use electronic photometers and other electronic equipment if the test justifies it or is necessary. Whatever works for you.

JPC
I tend to just use test strips when I'm rushing out to work in the morning and liquid then a couple of times a week or if behaviour looks odd. I do have Apera electronic kit for PH and TDS as it can be calibrated and has a better accuracy range.
 
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