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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I let me friend talk me into trying a bubble wand (don't know what else to call it) to help move water in my tank. In all my years, and when I was a kid & my Dad had many, many tanks, we never used these things. My friend loves them & can't stand to have a tank without them! (she also never did live plants) I am not sold. It's only been set up a few minutes, so I may get used to it - but I think it takes away from the quiet (even sluggish) blackwater tank I was trying to achieve. Right now the rams are loving it, swimming through the bubbles. The cardinals & black tetras are starting to come out of hiding - they think a UFO is in there with them now. If they aren't comfortable with it by tomorrow, I'm taking it out. I was planning on getting a current/flow pump (please excuse my confusion - it's been a long day and I can't remember what things are called!) but the smallest one Petsmart carries is 500 gph, I think it's made by Marineland. I just wanted to add a gentle current to the tank, to create a circular flow from the bottom to the HOB. I can't vary the flow with the Marineland 500 gph.
Now, the bubble wand is a flexible tube 36" long (the shortest they sell) and I haven't buried it under the gravel yet - maybe that would soften the bubbles. Here's a typically bad pic - is there any benefit to using one, other than looks? Does anyone here use something like this? More importantly, do the bubbles harm the plants by removing Co2 or ferts?
Thanks!
~ Cin ~
PS - you can't tell in the pic, but the bubble wand is along the back wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
An Oscar is what got my Dad started with tanks when I was a kid. He went to a yard sale, and had to go into the house to remove one of the things he bought. He admired the guy's 55 with two 6" - 7" Oscars and a big pleco in it, and the guy sold it to him! lol They drained 2/3 of the water out & my Dad brought it home, stand & all, like that. My Mom wasn't too happy. Eventually we ended up with about a dozen tanks, and my Mom cried when the Oscars died after a few years - they had great personalities and she had aquired the addiction by then too.
Thanks for the complement, but I think the tank's rather ugly right now - it's only been set up about a month. I have high hopes for it, though! I'm learning a ton here...
 

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Haha, some of my first fish were oscars. But i had to get rid of them a year and a bit ago becuase one, they would splash water (and alot of it) at people they didnt know. And two, its hard to kep two 14" oscars in a 150 gallons of water

I think it looks great, other than the bubble wands lol. But im not a fan of bubbles in and aquarium.
 

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I don't have a wand or curtain like that, but I do have an airstone that sits inside a fake volcano and erupts bubbles up thru a hole in the top. Sounds cheesey I know, but the whole thing is covered in java fern so all you really see is the bubbles coming up out of the plants. I do love the look of bubbles and I also like that it helps to break up the surface of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Since starting this thread, I seem to remember someone saying that bubbles/surface agitation depletes the Co2 from the water faster than normal. I wonder if I'm remembering that correctly? I don't add Co2, so that would be an issue. Something had to be done, one half of the tank had little to no movement.
Any opinions if the current/flow pump is too strong at 500gph?
Oscars are really something - too bad they produce so much waste. I wonder if all cichlids are so engaging?

Ok, so the fish seem ok with it - the tetras are swimming about naturally. The rams seem to really enjoy it - they spend a lot of time in the bubbles & darting in & out of them. However, those dang bubbles make a lot of noise! It sounds just like a crackling fire. If I were a fish, it would drive me crazy. Like torture by sound. I wonder if a thing like that is stressful to them? Maybe I should only run it some of the time, to give them a break...that's a possibility...
You probably think I'm nuts worry over bubbles, for pete's sake! lol
 

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Well, when you break the surface of the water you get gas exchange. Co2 in the water is swapped for oxygen. So if you're pumping co2 into the tank that has lots of surface movement.. well, your throwing your money and your plants health away.

If you have a planted tank, I would;nt agitate the water so the co2 produced by your fish can supply the plant while the oxygen produced by the plants can supply your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
See, I thought I remembered something along those lines...what a drag, back to Petsmart again...
 

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I don't use a bubble wand, but I have an 18" long airstone in my tank. I like the look of the bubbles. I don't have a whole lot of plants in it just yet, so I use it for surface agitation to get O2 in the water, and it helps with circulation. I have my spray bar blowing from the back of the tank towards the front, and the bubbles float up into that flow and get blasted to tiny micro bubbles that go all over the tank, further helping to oxygenate the water. People are right about it wasting Co2 though, because the gas would evaporate out a lot faster with surface agitation. The only benefit with Co2 would be if you are using DIY Co2 or a system where you can't or don't shut it off at night. Your plants aren't using the Co2 and you could gas your fish as it builds up, so having a "bubbler" of any type that is on when your lights are off would help prevent any unfortunate accidents. Maybe you want to put the air pump on a timer and only have it run for a couple hours at the end of the day/light cycle. That way, your plants will be able to enjoy Co2 richness all day, and your fish will be able to unwind in their bubbly playground before sleeping.
 

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I use a 28 inch bubble wand after lights/CO2 out to help add oxygen and aid in building a healthy base of nitrifying bacteria, the air pump cuts off 45 minutes before lights on so I can start adding CO2 to the water. It's a great way to add oxygen to your water column but it should be off during the photo period if you are using pressurized CO2, unless you don't mind using more CO2.

You should see a difference in fish loving the bubbles and in overall tank health.
 

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if your plants were fine with no added co2 before the bubble wand, they should be fine after the bubble wand. there is more co2 in the air your pumping thru the buble wand than your fish can produce in a week. if you like it, keep it. if your plants start to degrade, remove it and start thinking about adding co2 and ferts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's interesting! I really appreciate all the great replies - there's so much I don't know yet about caring for live plants in an aqaurium.

"For what?" iKine asks? I intially thought I'd have to return the bubble wand if it was going to cause problems with the Co2/O2 balance.

I have been sitting watching the fish, and the little rams are having a blast. The Black Tetras are now being brave & exploring the bubbles, so it doesn't seem to be an issue after all. jdm68 and 150EH added some much needed info for me, I had just made up my mind to keep the wand (airstone? what the heck. It's a flexible silicone tube) and only turn it on for a few hours a day. All of these great tips are helping me learn when to use it & when not to. I don't supplement Co2, but I have MGOPS as a substrate and am constantly popping gas bubbles. This could help with potential Co2 buildup until the substrate stabilizes. It is helping with circulating the water from the bottom to the top.
On a side note, my friend bought the same wand today but has an air pump rated for up to 10 gallons (she has a 20g tank) My air pump is for 20 - 40g. She can't get enough bubbles (she wants it full blast), so I thought we could swap air pumps & see if I get less - which would be more pleasing to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, jreich - the tank is doing fine without added Co2 - I use low lights (twin T8s in a shoplight) because I don't want to go the added Co2 route if I can avoid it. I'll keep an eye on the plants.
Thank you everyone!
~ Cin ~
 

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there is more co2 in the air your pumping thru the buble wand than your fish can produce in a week.
Hope you do not mind me asking... are you aware of any data supporting the above view?

From Ecology of the Planted Aquarium:

"If the fish are doing fine, airstones should be used sparingly. For airstones quickly remove CO2 -- the one nutrient that aquarium plants need more than any other nutrient (see page 88)."
 

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Well, when you break the surface of the water you get gas exchange. Co2 in the water is swapped for oxygen. So if you're pumping co2 into the tank that has lots of surface movement.. well, your throwing your money and your plants health away.

If you have a planted tank, I would;nt agitate the water so the co2 produced by your fish can supply the plant while the oxygen produced by the plants can supply your fish.
OK not only is the oxygen exchange but c02 exchange as well.... you actually gain c02 when ur plants are using it... once u inject more c02 than what's available through atomospheric pressure then u lose c02 through agitation
 

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Hope you do not mind me asking... are you aware of any data supporting the above view?

From Ecology of the Planted Aquarium:

"If the fish are doing fine, airstones should be used sparingly. For airstones quickly remove CO2 -- the one nutrient that aquarium plants need more than any other nutrient (see page 88)."

ill answer that for him. the average school classroom has 5000 ppm of c02. however it also contains 20000 ppm of o2.. the ratios are much different in dry conditions than underwater where c02 can be higher than o2 and not be lethal..the average home has 750 ppm of c02 in it... so yes the air stone is providing TONS more c02 into the water column. its just also riding the nitrogenous bubble right back out...

water equalizes at around 2-4 ppm of c02. so an airstone moving the surface of the water helps to keep that equilibrium going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's the kind I bought - but it's black. Petsmart has them in 36" & 48" lengths, I bought the 36" for $10.00. Right now I have it laying on the surface of the gravel because I didn't know if I was going to keep it. Now that I know I am, I'll bury it - that's how it's supposed to be used - it doesn't come with suction cups. Maybe the bubbles will be more like that of the video, and not as "bubblelicious" as mine - lol.
 
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