The All-Important Aquarium Pump

Mini-G Pump

An aquarium pump is an excellent way to both oxygenate the water in your fish tank and provide a moderate amount of water circulation.  Air pumps are a great addition to almost any type of filtration unit and you will notice more swimming and other activity with your fish after adding this beneficial oxygen supply to your aquarium.  To get the most out of your aquarium pump, a few accessories are highly recommended.  These include airline tubing, check valves, splitters and gang valves, and diffusers.

Airline tubing is a must have if you have an air pump.  The airline tubing is used to deliver the air to the aquarium.  Tubing comes in either plastic or silicone with silicone being more resistant to damage (though both will last a long time).  Tubing is also available in either flexible or rigid varieties.  Most of the time the flexible type will be used, but the rigid tubing is great for the last few inches if you need the bubbles in a specific location as it does not bend out of shape.

Check valves are cheap little accessories, but can save you a lot of headache and money.  They are installed near the aquarium pump and are used to prevent backflow of water (ie. siphoning) into the pump if you ever have a power outage.  For just a few dollars you can make sure you never have to replace a water damaged air pump!

If your aquarium pump can support a large amount of air flow, it is helpful to be able to split this into multiple aquariums!  Splitters are plastic tees that divide the flow into two while gang valves are able to split the air flow into as many as 5 or more different airline tubes.  This is great for people with multiple fish tanks and for hatching many containers of baby brine shrimp at the same time.

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Air diffusers and air stones are used to create a multitude of smaller bubbles rather than several big bubbles from the end of a piece of tubing.  They force the air flow to go through a material with many small air spaces.  Fish love swimming through curtains of air!

I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to the accessories that help you get the most out of your aquarium pump.  Some of those listed above are required, but others let you enjoy your air pump more than you might expect!

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