aeration in a planted tank
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
pandamonium
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aeration in a planted tank


hi everyone,

i recently set up a moderately planted tank (hopefully will be densely planted when everything grows in). the back half is covered in pennywort (rooted) and i have frogbit as a floating plant.
i have read a lot of articles or posts on this forum and others about aeration in a planted tank. is having a bubbler/air pump bad for a planted tank? the reasoning i read was that CO2 would leave the water quicker since there is surface agitation. other posts i saw said to run the aeration at night when plants are in respirating instead of photosynthesizing. i just wanted to hear some thoughts and such on this because im debating whether or not to use a bubbler/air pump. i dont have a CO2 setup and am running a fairly low-tech tank.
thanks
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
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Aeration is good 24/7. Fish, plants, bacteria, they all love O2. Yes, it will drive off some CO2 but you just have to increase your injection rate a bit to compensate. I'd not use a bubbler during the day, for aesthetic reasons, unless it was absolutely necessary, but you can use it when lights are off and no one's looking . During the day just use your filter outlet, circulation pump, powerhead or whatever to agitate the surface well, have a really good ripple, just no splashing or white water.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:57 PM   #3
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i have a air stone in my tank ready to use. i only ever turn the pump on if i see the fish at the surface gasping for air, other then that its usually a good thing to leave it off
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Since you don't have co2 injection, I don't think you can have to much aeration or surface agitation. There is co2 in the air also, so by causing larger interfaces between the water and air, is not only going to cause your o2 levels to stay where the should be, but will also keep your co2 levels from falling during peak photosynthesis.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:53 AM   #5
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I'd just follow Jeff's last suggestion. I don't think you have to worry about "losing" CO2 because you don't have much organic matter decomposing in your substrate.

Plus surface agitation can reduce any possible biofilm that develops. An airstone will not do that very well. It will also save you one piece of equipment.

Last edited by Soujirou; 06-08-2012 at 01:58 AM.. Reason: Was repeating info already in the thread.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soujirou View Post
I'd just follow Jeff's last suggestion. I don't think you have to worry about "losing" CO2 because you don't have much organic matter decomposing in your substrate.

Plus surface agitation can reduce any possible biofilm that develops. An airstone will not do that very well. It will also save you one piece of equipment.
airstones break it up very very well...

also organic matter adds c02 and uses oxygen.. a good surface ripple is good for any tank, c02 added or not.. it adds oxygen which keeps fish happy and bacteria happy. and a happy filter is usually a fairly clean and algae free tank.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
Aeration is good 24/7. Fish, plants, bacteria, they all love O2. Yes, it will drive off some CO2 but you just have to increase your injection rate a bit to compensate. I'd not use a bubbler during the day, for aesthetic reasons, unless it was absolutely necessary, but you can use it when lights are off and no one's looking . During the day just use your filter outlet, circulation pump, powerhead or whatever to agitate the surface well, have a really good ripple, just no splashing or white water.






Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
airstones break it up very very well...

also organic matter adds c02 and uses oxygen.. a good surface ripple is good for any tank, c02 added or not.. it adds oxygen which keeps fish happy and bacteria happy. and a happy filter is usually a fairly clean and algae free tank.
Everything Jeff and HD said are spot on and I agree with 100%.

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Old 06-08-2012, 02:41 AM   #8
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thanks guys for your input. defintely steering me in the right direction. i may invest in an airpump

jeff i was thinking about only using the air pump at night as well since i like how it sounds (helps me sleep haha) and also for the same reason that you do it now.
and HD about the surface ripple, right now since my air pump broke (i still can't figure out why but i returned it) i lift my canister outflow above the water so that it creates some surface agitation. most of the time, i leave the nozzle below the water so that i dont disturb the frogbit on the surface. if the nozzle is below the surface is there enough surface disturbance still? i see very small ripples but not much.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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also another question. which air pump is the quietest to you guys? i looked up some on amazon or other sites and read the reviews. apparently the tetra whisper are very quiet and the rena air pumps are also? at my LFS, i was looking at aquaclear as well as fusion and marina. any suggestions on what you guys use? will the size matter for the pumps? like i have a 40 gallon tank so would i have to purchase a pump that is rated for a 40 gallon tank? silly question but just want to make sure
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by pandamonium View Post
thanks guys for your input. defintely steering me in the right direction. i may invest in an airpump

jeff i was thinking about only using the air pump at night as well since i like how it sounds (helps me sleep haha) and also for the same reason that you do it now.
and HD about the surface ripple, right now since my air pump broke (i still can't figure out why but i returned it) i lift my canister outflow above the water so that it creates some surface agitation. most of the time, i leave the nozzle below the water so that i dont disturb the frogbit on the surface. if the nozzle is below the surface is there enough surface disturbance still? i see very small ripples but not much.
I don't have any recent experience with an air pump so maybe someone else might have some info on a quiet one. You could always create another thread in the equipment forum for opinions on air pumps or try a search and see what you find.

As with most things in a heavily planted tank, which is your goal, you might go a bit larger with the pump than you initially think. Most ratings for pumps, filters, etc. that are used with freshwater tanks are made with fish only tanks in mind. Dense plantings really cut into water flow so you'll find you need filters and pumps that move flow. You might give thought to something like a Hydor Koralia in place of an air pump and bubbler. You can use it to agitate the surface and it's going to create better flow in your tank than airstones. You can run it 24/7 without being concerned how it looks. Of course you mentioned floating plants so it may not be so good with those and you like the sound of the bubbler at night, but it's just something to consider. If you were interested in a Koralia, the 245 gph nano in combination with your current filter would probably be good for a 40 gallon tank and cost no more than a good air pump.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
You might give thought to something like a Hydor Koralia in place of an air pump and bubbler. You can use it to agitate the surface and it's going to create better flow in your tank than airstones. You can run it 24/7 without being concerned how it looks. Of course you mentioned floating plants so it may not be so good with those and you like the sound of the bubbler at night, but it's just something to consider. If you were interested in a Koralia, the 245 gph nano in combination with your current filter would probably be good for a 40 gallon tank and cost no more than a good air pump.
I've got a Koralia 240 in my 50gal tank, and it definitely boosts the flow. There are some drawbacks though. My tank is fairly new, and not everything is firmly rooted. The flow is so great that it floated some plants, and caused others to shift diagonally in the substrate. It'll also tear the roots right off of frogbit if they're long enough and the pump is high enough in the tank. It's also nearly impossible to point the thing up towards the surface, as the power cord is rather stiff and wants to push the unit down. In an established tank, it would be awesome to get that mosh pit circular flow going around your tank, but I've taken to using my Eheim multi-sectioned spray bar for surface ripple. I'll point 2 of the sections slightly down from the water line, and one up towards it to get some serious agitation without splashing. Then I use the 240 once a day for about a minute to stir up the settled crap and get it back in line for a run to the filter intake. As soon as everything roots, it'll be back on full time.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
a good surface ripple is good for any tank, c02 added or not..

^^^^this, Ripples is all you want
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I don't have any recent experience with an air pump so maybe someone else might have some info on a quiet one. You could always create another thread in the equipment forum for opinions on air pumps or try a search and see what you find.

As with most things in a heavily planted tank, which is your goal, you might go a bit larger with the pump than you initially think. Most ratings for pumps, filters, etc. that are used with freshwater tanks are made with fish only tanks in mind. Dense plantings really cut into water flow so you'll find you need filters and pumps that move flow. You might give thought to something like a Hydor Koralia in place of an air pump and bubbler. You can use it to agitate the surface and it's going to create better flow in your tank than airstones. You can run it 24/7 without being concerned how it looks. Of course you mentioned floating plants so it may not be so good with those and you like the sound of the bubbler at night, but it's just something to consider. If you were interested in a Koralia, the 245 gph nano in combination with your current filter would probably be good for a 40 gallon tank and cost no more than a good air pump.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoTacoCombo View Post
I've got a Koralia 240 in my 50gal tank, and it definitely boosts the flow. There are some drawbacks though. My tank is fairly new, and not everything is firmly rooted. The flow is so great that it floated some plants, and caused others to shift diagonally in the substrate. It'll also tear the roots right off of frogbit if they're long enough and the pump is high enough in the tank. It's also nearly impossible to point the thing up towards the surface, as the power cord is rather stiff and wants to push the unit down. In an established tank, it would be awesome to get that mosh pit circular flow going around your tank, but I've taken to using my Eheim multi-sectioned spray bar for surface ripple. I'll point 2 of the sections slightly down from the water line, and one up towards it to get some serious agitation without splashing. Then I use the 240 once a day for about a minute to stir up the settled crap and get it back in line for a run to the filter intake. As soon as everything roots, it'll be back on full time.
thanks guys yep i searched the equipment forum for opinions on air pumps and the tetra whisper seemed to come out on top consistently. i may look into getting one of those. i looked up this hydor korelia. is it like a powerhead? im not too familiar with this kind of equipment. i like the idea because it seems like it would agitate the water enough. would it be adjustable? like twotaco mentioned, his plants get uprooted sometimes and i have pennywort that i just rooted in the substrate. apparently the plant is notorious for uprooting itself and floating again. i wanted to use the spraybar idea to keep the water current flowing but i have the ecco 2232 and apparently this series has issues with a spraybar. others have had the motor burn out because the back pressure was too much so i dont think i can use a spraybar on my tank. though this really does interest me if i could find amodel that points upwards or is lower power.
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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as to the question directed at me. aim the output up if u can. or move it up.. imagine a lake with about a 10 degree wind
or a slow moving stream that has rocks. in a tank that is enclosed having a small wave type event on suface is good. i'll grab ya a picture later on of my 10 gallon. its a perfect example. its best to judge the ripple by looking UP from in the tank. looking at the surface can be a bi decieving.

the more ripple u can get WITHOUT breaking the surface, the better. ur generating surface area
this is why i run a wet dry sump now. i have little suface agitation for the top of my tank, but the overflow box, drain pipe, and wet/dry section provide lots of surface to air contact

a koralia works great, the are efficient quite little buggers that do exactly what they state.. THEY will agitate te surface but i've found with experience they don't turnover the wate that well at the surface. its like they recirculate the same top layer over and over and don't get down low.. they work but not my first choice
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #15
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I think we have forgotten that plants produce o2 while lights are on, I have surface ripples because I love lots of flow but because of how healthy my plants are my fish don't actually need it, the plants handle it, the agitation would be great at night though
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