Aeration in HoB filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Aeration in HoB filter?

Would an effective alternative to using an air-stone in the tank be to put an air-stone in the reservoir of my HoB filter? I'm just curious since I don't care much for the wall of giant bubbles in my tank. They also splash onto my lights and I don't like cleaning the lights daily.

My reasoning behind this being a good alternative is that although surface tension in the tank won't be broken as much as without the bubbles, the surface in the reservoir would be much more agitated and so would be able to highly oxygenate the water in the filter. This would allow the water returning to the tank to be oxygenated already.

If that logic is correct then I'll go ahead and put two or three air-stones in my filter reservoir tomorrow when I do a PWC. If not, then I guess I'll have to find another option to replace the stones in the tank.

Last edited by HamToast; 08-18-2012 at 05:12 AM. Reason: more details
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 05:41 AM
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Would an effective alternative to using an air-stone in the tank be to put an air-stone in the reservoir of my HoB filter? I'm just curious since I don't care much for the wall of giant bubbles in my tank. They also splash onto my lights and I don't like cleaning the lights daily.

My reasoning behind this being a good alternative is that although surface tension in the tank won't be broken as much as without the bubbles, the surface in the reservoir would be much more agitated and so would be able to highly oxygenate the water in the filter. This would allow the water returning to the tank to be oxygenated already.

If that logic is correct then I'll go ahead and put two or three air-stones in my filter reservoir tomorrow when I do a PWC. If not, then I guess I'll have to find another option to replace the stones in the tank.
Hi! Good thinking, except do you need aeration? You get some from your HOB anyway. I have a 10-gallon tank with a HOB and I'm not getting any symptoms of lack of oxygen. Is this a planted tank? If you find that aeration is necessary, I don't see a problem with one airstone in the HOB. I don't know that more than one airstone would work in there, and there's also a limit to how much aeration can occur in such a small amount of water in the HOB.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Hi! Good thinking, except do you need aeration? You get some from your HOB anyway. I have a 10-gallon tank with a HOB and I'm not getting any symptoms of lack of oxygen. Is this a planted tank? If you find that aeration is necessary, I don't see a problem with one airstone in the HOB. I don't know that more than one airstone would work in there, and there's also a limit to how much aeration can occur in such a small amount of water in the HOB.
I didn't really consider the limits, but you're right. One or two air-stones would probably be about the limit, though I could fit a few more (all of them would have to be 6" or less). It has a pretty sizable reservoir for an HoB.

As for the other points you brought up: yes, it is a planted tank and unfortunately yes, I am having fish show symptoms of a lack of oxygen. I'm not entirely sure why, but I have been noticing them hang around the surface and gasping lately. All the water parameters are fine so the only other thing I can think of is that I could use some more aeration.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:51 AM
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Some people consider water movement to be similar to aeration, but you should watch the plants and see if they're moving all over the tank. That brings oxygen from the surface to other places in the tank. Although I don't know how much adjusting you can do with a HOB - maybe move it and check again. I don't see as much water movement at the other end of my tank, but they say for slow-water fish, put the HOB on the back, otherwise go from end to end. Hope things work out well for you.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 07:03 AM
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Er, one more thing, it's been hot around here lately, probably heating up tanks. As the tank heat rises, in case you don't already know, it is less able to carry dissolved oxygen.

I hate to say the O word, but just to cover all the bases, I think overstocking sometimes contributes to low oxygen because it increases the bioload and the biofilter increases along with its oxygen usage, not to mention the fishes' oxygen use.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 07:04 AM
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I think I link this thread a couple of times a day, it's about why we're suffocating out bugs:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=10282

Please read.

I think you can improve the oxygenation greatly by increasing the surface agitation until you create a nice ripple without splashing thus no surface scum either.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 12:34 PM
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I think I link this thread a couple of times a day, it's about why we're suffocating out bugs:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=10282

Please read.

I think you can improve the oxygenation greatly by increasing the surface agitation until you create a nice ripple without splashing thus no surface scum either.

it is a good thread to link for many a people. it would probably be easier to just pos tom's statements as a whole

but to clarify. surface ripple will not always handle surface film. the type of film will determine that. whether its a protein or bacterial film. a fungus? is it an oil residue from house cleaning products or candles?? these will all play a factor

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 03:22 PM
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it is a good thread to link for many a people. it would probably be easier to just pos tom's statements as a whole

but to clarify. surface ripple will not always handle surface film. the type of film will determine that. whether its a protein or bacterial film. a fungus? is it an oil residue from house cleaning products or candles?? these will all play a factor
Or is it chevron's fault?

The link is better in this case because there is a good conversation where good questions are answered.


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 03:28 PM
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There are small air stones, not just the large bubble walls. You could stick a small one in the opposite corner of the HOB so you'd hardly see it and it might help the fish. If they're gasping at the surface that's an issue. An air stone in the HOB is an idea but I'd worry that some air bubbles could get sucked back up into the intake.


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 03:45 PM
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Putting an airstone in the filter may do a great job of oxygenating the water but if that water doesn't circulate throughout the tank there are likely to be spots with low oxygen in the tank itself anyway. I would put that airstone in a spot where you see no water movement. Perhaps drop a pinch of fish food in the tank to see where it floats to the bottom or where the food doesn't go?

I look for a ripple on the surface of my tank to oxygenate the water but unless there is water flow throughout the tank any fish or plants in the stagnant places may suffer.

My platies aren't happy at the moment, some of them hang around the surface more than happy platies do. For a while I was cutting back on the amount of dechlor I was using. When I went back to the suggested dosage they are act more normally. Sometimes water companies change the water treatment without notice. You might check to see if yours has increased or changed treatment.


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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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I do need more water flow in the tank, I already know that for sure. A friend of mine from my home town will be visiting next week and is bringing something that should help with that (he was unclear as to if it is a small power head or pump or what, so I am not totally sure). According to him, it also helps to oxygenate the water a bit. A smaller air-stone would be better than the wand/wall type, but I have still gotten lots of splashing onto my lights using those smaller ones.

Kathyy, my water company very well may have changed something up on me. I've noticed over the last month that the pH in the tank is lower than it normally is after a PWC. I tested the tap water, and the pH from the tap has dropped from 8.0 to almost 7.0. The tank pH has been slightly acidic since then as a result, but this is in comparison to it usually being about 7.5. I would suspect that the company may have also changed some of the other properties of the water.

My game plan now is to add the air-stone to the filter reservoir and monitor the fish closely to note any changes in behavior, good or bad. I'll also add the water flow fix that my friend is bringing and see if that helps as well. I should probably also look into having the water company send me an updated water table.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:17 PM
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Kathyy, my water company very well may have changed something up on me. I've noticed over the last month that the pH in the tank is lower than it normally is after a PWC. I tested the tap water, and the pH from the tap has dropped from 8.0 to almost 7.0. The tank pH has been slightly acidic since then as a result, but this is in comparison to it usually being about 7.5. I would suspect that the company may have also changed some of the other properties of the water.

My game plan now is to add the air-stone to the filter reservoir and monitor the fish closely to note any changes in behavior, good or bad. I'll also add the water flow fix that my friend is bringing and see if that helps as well. I should probably also look into having the water company send me an updated water table.
That's a good idea. Most cities/counties are more than happy to send citizens a detailed report on their water sources and decontamination. When I was living in Detroit a few years ago, the city/county water authority would send a report to everyone in the city once a year.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:18 PM
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As far as I know, the diluted oxygen that an airstone adds is not from the bubbles. You are not injecting pure o2 as when you do with co2. The surface agitation the airstone bubbles make is what helps. I may be wrong tho, or partially wrong.

Anyone want to chime in about that? Thanks.

However, I'm very curious about this experiment. Please report any results.


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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:32 PM
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I found a good read about the topic of aeration. As I was saying using air you can't go further than the concentration of o2 in air. So there is a limit.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=9494


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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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As far as I know, the diluted oxygen that an airstone adds is not from the bubbles. You are not injecting pure o2 as when you do with co2. The surface agitation the airstone bubbles make is what helps. I may be wrong tho, or partially wrong.

Anyone want to chime in about that? Thanks.

However, I'm very curious about this experiment. Please report any results.
From what I have read, it works based on breaking surface tension and causing transfer of gasses. By making bubbles, there is a secondary effect as each bubble makes contact with the water and creates its own tiny surface tension within the water. The secondary action, while not as effective as breaking the surface tension, can also add to the gas transfer. So like you said, it is not injecting O2 into the water as a CO2 setup would do.

I wish I had some way of measuring exactly how much O2 is in the water. The best I could do is a drop checker and make sure there isn't too much CO2, then just use my best guess to determine of the O2 levels are appropriate. Not very accurate but it could give a general idea of if this is working or not.
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