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Help! Fish being killed by circulating pump

8605 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Aquatic Delight
Hi, I have an aqueon 950 circulating pump in my 55 gallon planted tank. I've currently lost 5 fish now to the pump! Are there any better options for pumps? The smaller danios / neon tetras seem to swim right into it. This morning I woke up to another in it. I have seen a danio swim right into it and get decapitated, but I'm wondering if my angel isn't night hunting and the dead fish are going into it. I guess I'll shut it off and take it out for the time being but I really don't wanna be without a pump. Last time I was I ended up with black algae that I couldn't get rid of!
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Sounds like you're on the right track, how big is the angel.

Have a gniess day. -Scott
He's only about two inches? He never picks on anything during the day that I see. I've been watching him pretty steady as he's new. I did however see a danio swim into the pump once.

Should I maybe trade the pump in for another HOB filter instead? I got it to increase flow in the tank to prevent algae but don't want it if it's killing my fish. I've got danios, neon tetras, boss rainbows and one angel.
You could place a fine mesh screen over it to prevent any fish from getting in.

Have a gniess day. -Scott
How is your fish health overall? Generally only unhealthy fish tend to get pulled into pumps/filters. Are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates where they should be?

Not familiar with the pump but it is strictly the pump causing the problem get rid of it. I would not want anything that could chew up and spit out fish.

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I put a nylon mesh screen over my circulating pump, even my cherry shrimp can get on top of the pump without getting sucked in.
Yeah I've pulled it out. I thought it was a fluke at first but now I'm not thinking so anymore. I'll see if I have any dead in the morning. If so then I can blame the angel I guess. Really hoping that's not the case! I love my angel and my danios and I really don't wanna have to choose between the two :( I'm going to either add in another HOB aqua clear OR a smaller circulating pump and cover it with pantyhose haha!
I would bet on the angel as they often eat small fish in the wild. Neons are just about bite size and make easy targets.
If the Angel is only 2" as you state, I doubt he is eating very much in the way of live fish the size you speak of. Twice that size or bigger and I can believe.
Put a large sponge over the intake. This will reduce the force of the water that might be holding the fish against the intake so if they do get too close they can swim away.
It will take some cutting, but basically you start with a large brick of sponge and hollow out the right size space for the pump to occupy.

If they are swimming 'upstream' and getting into the blades try putting a stretched out nylon stocking over it.
Thanks. I think I will get a smaller circulating pump and cover it with nylon for now. No dead fish this morning after removing it so I'm hoping that means it wasn't the angel haha! What size pump would be good for a 55 gallon planted?
I'm not familiar with the Aqueon, but you can fit most any HOB with a sponge over the intake. Nylon of any sort will clog up in a heartbeat. The sponge will clog as well, but if it's not too dense, it won't be anywhere near as bad as nylon. There are some sources for stainless steel in take diffusers that I thought were a pretty cool idea but I don't have a link. My suggestion would be to buy two sponges so you have one ready to just replace the clogged one and the tank and filter won't skip a beat. Just squeeze out the old one well and have it on hand for the next time.

The one thing I can tell you with 99.99999% certainty is that your 2" angelfish isn't the cause of your problems. I breed angels exclusively and to put it simply, they are simply related to the bucket-mouth gulpers that share the cichlid title. Could you have a "rogue angel" that's harassing fish the size of a small danio? Yes, but it such a slight possibility I would dismiss it, especially at 2 inches. If you look at the shape of an angel's mouth, you can see they were built to forage in the weeds for anything that's easily consumed. You danio is by no means and easy snack for it, especially since they move WAY faster, and no angels aren't nocturnal feeders.

Here's one possibility for an intake sponge:

But it's far from the only one. You should be able to find similar at LFS for a bit more, but you won't have to have to have it shipped, etc.
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I would get a different brand. I have never used any kind of circulating pump/powerhead that could suck in and chew up fish. At best it may pull them close to it, but that is about it. You need one that comes protected from all sides against injuring your fish, otherwise it should never enter your tank.
I had the same problem in my tank with cory's and ottos. i ended up using a sponge.
The sponge will diffuse the force of the the suck, across then entire sponge, so that it won't be as strong, so that if a fish does get close to it, it won't have to struggle to get away from the suction. also i've never had to replace mine, i just squeeze it out in old tank water when i do my canister maintence.
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