Is an air pump an essential piece of equipment?

jreinhart

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Short version: Is an air pump an essential piece of equipment for all aquarists?

Long version:
Growing up I was taught that aquariums need to have air pumps to 1) make those ornaments work (with bubbles coming out of them or to make parts move) and 2) to add air into the water.

When I joined Fishlore I learned that an air pump is a "it depends" sort of device. This week I began watching a new Youtube channel with tips and tricks for new aquarists. The Youtuber is an aquarist who says he ran a fish store and has over 20 years of experience. He created a 10 part series covering the aspects that newcomers need to know.

One video covers the equipment that he says every aquarist needs to have. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/HcjRICio4Y8

In the video he lists an air pump as an essential piece of equipment. He has a separate video with "must have" equipment for every aquarist. That video lists a battery powered air pump as a "must have" bit of equipment.

My question to those smarter than I, which is to say the Fishlore community, is an air pump an essential (or must have) piece of equipment for aquarists?

The question is not specifically for me although I'll take to heart what is said. As an aside I have a 25 gallon planted aquarium running a Fluval 209 filter and no air pumps. From time to time I've wondered about getting an air pump or even a power head to circulate the water.
 

aliray

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If the video is saying a battery powered air pump than my guess would be he is talking about a backup in case of a power failure or filter failure until you can get to the store. I don't think a regular air pump is a have to but I have one running on my 20 gal with an airstone and I think the fish enjoy it and I like watching it. Alison
 

el337

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A battery powered air pump would definitely be a good thing to have on hand in case of power failures like aliray mentioned but a regular air pump is not a must have. I don't have an air pump running in my tank. I have two HOB's running so I'm sure I have enough aeration in the water.
 

ManedWolf

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I do have an air pump on my main tank to run a sponge filter, but I don't think it's essential if your HOB is providing enough surface agitation for gas exchange. If it specifically mentions battery-powered, then I'm assuming the above usage of emergency power outage or if you need to transport fish long distances (moving).
 
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jreinhart

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He cites the regular air pump in one video as equipment everyone should have (i.e. essential equipment).

In another video he cites the battery powered air pump as "must have" and he gives the reasons of it providing enough air into the water during power outages or for going long drives to buy fish (put fish in bucket, put battery powered air pump in bucket and you're done).

My question is mostly focused for the regular air pump. My presumption is an air pump would be essential for specific circumstances like running a sponge filter, having a high (say at least mid 80s) temperature in the tank, and if there's no water movement.

My Fluval 206 moves the water rather well. The output nozzle is just below the water surface so it agitates it just enough. My fish don't hang out near the surface or gasp for air. Someone else may not have the same situation.

It struck me as odd for an experienced aquarist of over 2 decades to say an air pump is essential equipment.
 

BDpups

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I own a large pump for air-stones and sponge filters in large tanks. I also have a few smaller pumps smaller QT and grow out tanks to run sponge filters in.

For a display tank I don't think they are usually a necessity unless you want a bubble wand or air-stones.


Sent from my iPhone
 

shadowfish

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he says in the video that its not needed but you might as well get one since they help...
 
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jreinhart

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shadowfish said:
he says in the video that its not needed but you might as well get one since they help...
He does say they're not required but at the same time he does list it in the video and in the video's text, which is about "bare bones essentials you will need to get started." Plus, as you kindly pointed out (thank you) he does say aquarists should get one.

My gut tells me an air pump is not an essential piece of equipment (although, perhaps a battery powered one is) for all aquarists. Just hoping to get some input from others smarter than I on the topic.
 

DopeFreshNationfish

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From what I know if there is not that much oxygen in the tank your fish will breathe heavily. ( look at the gills). I currently use a whisper 60 pump. Does an amazing job there are top notch pumps but for beginners I would recommend that pump. I like having the air pump for water circulation sometimes water just gets circulated by the filter. And the fish always go over it.. It's like a massage I would recommend you getting one especially if you have tropical fish ..


 

BDpups

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jreinhart said:
My gut tells me an air pump is not an essential piece of equipment .
They are not something you have to have. Look at the tank photos around here. Not many people use them.


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chromedome52

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I think the key phrase here is "bare bones" setup, implying a setup with minimal cost. A small air pump powering an internal box or sponge filter costs half as much as even the cheapest HOB filter of appropriate size. Once you go to a more elaborate filtration system the air pump is no longer a necessity.

I run over 40 aquaria, and power filters for all the 5 and 10 gallon tanks would be prohibitively expensive. My one large air pump powers boxes and sponges in the vast majority of these tanks.
 
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jreinhart

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BDpups said:
They are not something you have to have. Look at the tank photos around here. Not many people use them.


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That's what I thought. It struck me as odd that the video would recommend it especially as the guy claims to have such experience. Am glad I floated the topic here.
 

EmilyClick28

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i have been wondering this, too. i just got a tank with platies and gourami and i was wondering, do these fish need an air pump and air system? is it a must-have? will platies and gourami die without one? or do they just really like them? what purpose do they serve?
 

tfckmk988

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EmilyClick28 said:
i have been wondering this, too. i just got a tank with platies and gourami and i was wondering, do these fish need an air pump and air system? is it a must-have? will platies and gourami die without one? or do they just really like them? what purpose do they serve?
as you may have gleaned from the rest of the thread it depends on how much surface agitation you have , at higher temperatures O2 in water is dimenished so have some surface water-air movement helps replenish the O2 supply

so if you have a HOB (hang on back) filter you probably don't need one as the water pours out on the surface giving it a chance to remix with air

but if you don't have something like or a pump for a canister filter , then you need an air stone or bubbler to give the water a chance to replenish the o2 supply
 

EmilyClick28

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oh okay good i have a HOB filter. but should i make sure the water is low enough that it makes bubbles, or does that not matter?
 

BDpups

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EmilyClick28 said:
oh okay good i have a HOB filter. but should i make sure the water is low enough that it makes bubbles, or does that not matter?
Just a ripple across the surface is all you need.


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