What do Air Pumps do?

Whitelightning
Member
Hi, I have an air pump in my tank thinking it would add more oxygen while my betta received antibiotics. Someone told me that air pumps do not provide oxygen to the water and that it is surface agitation that does this. Is this true? Thanks!
(Note that they called the air pump a "bubbler" which I am assuming meant air pump).
 
Cowardlyslimeball
Member
Whitelightning said:
Hi, I have an air pump in my tank thinking it would add more oxygen while my betta received antibiotics. Someone told me that air pumps do not provide oxygen to the water and that it is surface agitation that does this. Is this true? Thanks!
(Note that they called the air pump a "bubbler" which I am assuming meant air pump).
Yeah, I'm pretty sure they do add oxygen to the water. I'm not sure scientifically but it agitates surface as well as adding more oxygen to the water, plus surface agitation is really good for letting gas and harmful chemicals dissolve out of the tank.
Either way, it's a good thing to add, especially when treating illness!
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
It is the surface agitation. When you use an air pump and set it up (air line tubing, air stone) the bubbles will make surface agitation causing more oxygen
 
JettsPapa
Member
There was a lengthy discussion here a while ago about that. I tend to think it doesn't really matter if the oxygen comes from surface agitation or the bubbles themselves as long as the end result is more oxygen in the water.

I could certainly be wrong. I've had plenty of practice.
 
Sanderguy777
Member
The surface agitation is the actual mechanism that facilities gas exchange, but the most EFFECTIVE method of surface agitation is an air pump and bubbles from the air stone.

Dan Hiteshew did a video on it on YouTube, but basically, the bubbles break the surface tension WAY WAY better than a filter outflow, or powerhead, and means that there is more surface area than an unagitated tank or even one with a powerhead or filter.

All that is assuming that the bubbles make it to the surface and pop. If you were using a diffuser of some sort, and the bubbles were just dissolving in the water, then there is no gas EXCHANGE. It is probably adding gasses to the water, but it can't exchange gasses if it getting dissolved before hitting the surface. But that is not an issue most people need to worry about, since diffusers cost like 10x what a normal air stone does, and most tanks aren't deep enough to need to worry about normal bubbles dissolving.
 

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