Why Is My Air Pump Causing Water To Gather Under My Fish Tank?

Shasta

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Hello!
So for some reason, whenever I have my air pump on, water will gather UNDER my fish tank so that unless you move the fish tank, you won’t see it (except for went it piles up around the base).

I never had this problem the month or so I had this fish tank (just got the air pump running around Tuesday night so it was on for say 2 days) so I turned it off for a day or so and the water wasn’t showing up under my tank when I move it but after turning it on Friday night to now (around 24 hours), it having water under my tank again and noted due to piling a bit around the edges again.

It shouldn’t be due to a leak in the tank since I had the tank for a month now and it only happened a day or so after having the air pump running (and stopped for the day it wasn’t running but after running the air pump for 24 hours it’s happening again).
It’s shouldn’t have anything to due with the air to gas cycle since this is happening UNDER the tank.

What could be causing this? I currently have it on top of a wooden and would like to connect my air pump to a sponge filter but if it can cause damage from water trapped on wood, what do I do????


Notes:
-10 gallon tank
-this air pump
Rhinox Aquarium Air Pump Set 2...
 
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JenC

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I'm not sure about the water. You could knot paper towels around the air line to see if/where they get wet. I'd tie one at the top and one at the bottom near the air pump. If it's not those places then it's splashing from somewhere else or the tank's leaking.

Re the wood: a sheet of acrylic ("Plexiglas") from a hardware store isn't expensive. You can have them cut it to match the surface size of the furniture. I learned the hard way to do that with my wood furniture and it works great.
 
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Shasta

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Is your air pump attached to an air stone? How big is your tank?
It’s a 10 gallon and yea, it’s attached to the air stone it came with (air stones seem to be most common use except sponge filters and bubble decor so must have forgotten to add it).
Add the link for what kind of air pump since no details on strength and pic of tank for idea


I'm not sure about the water. You could knot paper towels around the air line to see if/where they get wet. I'd tie one at the top and one at the bottom near the air pump. If it's not those places then it's splashing from somewhere else or the tank's leaking.

Re the wood: a sheet of acrylic ("Plexiglas") from a hardware store isn't expensive. You can have them cut it to match the surface size of the furniture. I learned the hard way to do that with my wood furniture and it works great.
I know water ends up sticking to the light cord and goes down that but that is a separate problem of causing a water spot in the middle back of my tank (while also only when air pump) doesn’t seem related to water being under the tank. The air pump and tube though never shown any signs of getting water condense (or whatever the word is) on it. The only idea I got is if it’s leaking from the bottom but I don’t know why it would happen 24 hours after having an air stone running versus a month of being filled with water?

As for the acrylic, would it hold under the weight of the fish tank?
 

itsEmma

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Hi,
A couple of thoughts that might help...

Firstly, I'm wondering that if it's a very slow leak, then it just appeared that it stopped/started when you turned the pump on and off. In order to definitely see if it's related, I'd suggest turning the pump off for longer and see if there's still water appearing.

The other thing that I would try with the pump on (actually, maybe try this first!) is, following on from the paper towel around the airline idea, why not sticky tape a 'ring' of it around the outside of the glass near the top, then you'll see if water is collecting somewhere from the splashing on the lid and running down the outside of the tank and pooling at the base.

Finally, re protecting your wood, I have my tank on a piece that I cut from a cheap yoga mat which gives a nice cushioning base as well as protecting the wood.
Hope this helps!
 
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Shasta

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Hi,
A couple of thoughts that might help...

Firstly, I'm wondering that if it's a very slow leak, then it just appeared that it stopped/started when you turned the pump on and off. In order to definitely see if it's related, I'd suggest turning the pump off for longer and see if there's still water appearing.

The other thing that I would try with the pump on (actually, maybe try this first!) is, following on from the paper towel around the airline idea, why not sticky tape a 'ring' of it around the outside of the glass near the top, then you'll see if water is collecting somewhere from the splashing on the lid and running down the outside of the tank and pooling at the base.

Finally, re protecting your wood, I have my tank on a piece that I cut from a cheap yoga mat which gives a nice cushioning base as well as protecting the wood.
Hope this helps!

Yea, my only confusion would be why after a month or more of this tank having water, would I notice it after using an air stone? A leak at the bottom wouldn’t be new so waiting it out would assumly take months to test that theory sadly.

Given my tank as a to size lid, how would i sticky tape a ring around the top? Like just a random ring underneath the black top straight in the glass?

That could also do. Are all yoga mats waterproof (since water is building up under the tank, not around it or it would be much easier clean up and less hassle) or would I need a specific water proof yoga mat under my tank?
 
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Fishcat

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If you have a Home Depot near you, they sell a boot tray that fits nicely under a standard ten-gallon tank. Think it cost about five dollars here. At our Home Depot it’s with the doormats and so forth.
 
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Shasta

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If you have a Home Depot near you, they sell a boot tray that fits nicely under a standard ten-gallon tank. Think it cost about five dollars here. At our Home Depot it’s with the doormats and so forth.
This seems like the cheapest and simplest opinion so far, thank you. There is a Home Depot next to meijirs so I can check that out while grocery shopping since I personally prefer store shopping to online shopping
 

coralbandit

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Try turning the air pump down .
The bubbles and water that hit lid ,rim or anything above water will allow the water to travel.
Some tanks leak around the upper rim if constantly exposed to water. Capilary action allows water to go right up and under the rim and then down the side of tank.
Try an air valve splitter and let some of the air go till the bubbles are controlled and not getting things above surface too wet.
 

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Think that is it, water dripping from the lid. Of topic : is there a non return valve installed as well (having your pump under your tank, which can cause it starting siphoning when turned of)
 

itsEmma

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Hi again,
Looks like you've had a few helpful pointers now, but just to return to your question about taping a 'ring' around the tank-I meant a creating a ring with paper towel, not the airline!! I was thinking this as a way to establish if the water is coming down from the lid (as others have mentioned now) rather than a leak underneath the tank. So you could just wrap it around the tank and stick the ends together. I've taken a quick pic of some I've just wrapped around my shrimp tank quickly to show you what I mean, you'd obviously need to get it nice and tight if you wanted to see if water is running down the side.
You can also see the yoga mat under the tank (although you've had better suggestions since) but to answer your question, it is waterproof as it's made of some sort of squashy plastic.
Hope this helps-and sorry for the earlier confusion!
 
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Shasta

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Sorry about late reply. Bad week with lots of exams and group project problems so left air pump off and started trying these this weekend and can finally reply.

Try turning the air pump down .
The bubbles and water that hit lid ,rim or anything above water will allow the water to travel.
Some tanks leak around the upper rim if constantly exposed to water. Capilary action allows water to go right up and under the rim and then down the side of tank.
Try an air valve splitter and let some of the air go till the bubbles are controlled and not getting things above surface too wet.

I am defiantly getting the whole to much evaporation or whatever that causes lots of water to condensate on tank lid and back if tank threw wire. Was/still new to air pumps so I bought a cheap-O air pump that probabaly to strong for my 10 gallon. Got air control valve being shipped to help out and air non return valve just set up this weekend. Got paper towels around the edge of tank that aren’t getting wet if it’s falling from the top but still water acclimating at the bottom (water not showing up around bottom base but if moved water shows up in streaks. Paper towel pic below). So not sure how water getting down their but it’s very probable it’s to much wait on air stone. Just not sure how it’s getting to the bottom of the tank if it’s not getting the paper towel wet and doesn’t seem to happen when the air pumps off.

Think that is it, water dripping from the lid. Of topic : is there a non return valve installed as well (having your pump under your tank, which can cause it starting siphoning when turned of)
Yea, that’s what I though but I tried the paper towel trick (pic below) and no water showing up on that or around the base but if I move/slide the tank, water streaks still happen?
And yes, there wasn’t one originally the first few tries (it never ran for more then 24 hours due to trying to find out why water was under tank) due to haven’t had time to cut up tube to add one and since there been a problem with water under tanks causing me to leave it off, there wasn’t one. Finally got to it and added it last night and heads up it’s still doing the whole water under tank thing. Though since I’m in a small college dorm, my air pump is leveled with the tank but I still added it just in case I move it later or whatever.


Hi again,
Looks like you've had a few helpful pointers now, but just to return to your question about taping a 'ring' around the tank-I meant a creating a ring with paper towel, not the airline!! I was thinking this as a way to establish if the water is coming down from the lid (as others have mentioned now) rather than a leak underneath the tank. So you could just wrap it around the tank and stick the ends together. I've taken a quick pic of some I've just wrapped around my shrimp tank quickly to show you what I mean, you'd obviously need to get it nice and tight if you wanted to see if water is running down the side.
You can also see the yoga mat under the tank (although you've had better suggestions since) but to answer your question, it is waterproof as it's made of some sort of squashy plastic.
Hope this helps-and sorry for the earlier confusion!
Thanks! Yea, I was confused how it would look so picture was a huge help since I’m more of a visual learner then words (so happy YouTube videos are a thing, they help a bunch). And don’t worry! You couldn’t know I was bad at trying to get visual idea from words alone xD
I tried it out but, is it not tight enough? I left it running last night with the paper towels and it’s still accumulates overnight but the paper towels are dry? Is it not tight enough or is it a sign of there a leak near the bottom?
And thanks! I learned my college dorm table has a plastic top so I’m not as concerned about water damage and more worried about fabric due to mold or spilling onto table so might have to try the boot try since it has ends to stop water from sliding out unlike a mat or the plastic sheet.
 

itsEmma

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Hi again!
I was wondering how you got on-hope College work has eased off a bit now!
Well, it definitely seems that this water isn't coming from the lid/top/condensation which is strange as that seemed the most likely answer.

BUT, we like a challenge!

Could it be that the slight vibration from the air pump beside the tank is opening up a tiny, tiny hole in the silicone seal under the tank and water is seeping out (I'm thinking like if the cap is a little bit loose on a bottle but the water would only come out if you shake the bottle, but not come out if you just held it upside down. Does that make sense?

My other thought is condensation under the tank. Is your dorm room really warm? Could it be water condensing on the cold glass under the tank, like when you put a cold glass on a table and get a water patch under it? (can't see how this relates to the pump though)

For both theories, I'd say, back to the paper towel!!

Can you put some under the tank or at least really up close to the edges and try to push it a bit underneath, all the way around the base of the tank. If the towel starts to get wet in one spot-I'd say, leak.
If it's (eventually) getting damp evenly, condensation.

Hope my new ideas help, there MUST be an answer to this very strange situation!
 
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Shasta

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Hi again!
I was wondering how you got on-hope College work has eased off a bit now!
Well, it definitely seems that this water isn't coming from the lid/top/condensation which is strange as that seemed the most likely answer.

BUT, we like a challenge!

Could it be that the slight vibration from the air pump beside the tank is opening up a tiny, tiny hole in the silicone seal under the tank and water is seeping out (I'm thinking like if the cap is a little bit loose on a bottle but the water would only come out if you shake the bottle, but not come out if you just held it upside down. Does that make sense?

My other thought is condensation under the tank. Is your dorm room really warm? Could it be water condensing on the cold glass under the tank, like when you put a cold glass on a table and get a water patch under it? (can't see how this relates to the pump though)

For both theories, I'd say, back to the paper towel!!

Can you put some under the tank or at least really up close to the edges and try to push it a bit underneath, all the way around the base of the tank. If the towel starts to get wet in one spot-I'd say, leak.
If it's (eventually) getting damp evenly, condensation.

Hope my new ideas help, there MUST be an answer to this very strange situation!
Hello ^-^ and yea, I just had a REALLY bad week last week so I put a hold on air pump/air stone till this week when I had time to test around to try to isolate the cause of leaking on the bottom of tank.

Heads of I have some weird results I’ll mention first:
-still leaks like it’s been when with air stone
-adding a non return valve ended up decreasing the amount of air the air stone gave (weak non return valve or something since a different type I tested didn’t do that but oh well) and the slightly less pressure air stone still seemed to cause water underneath by next morning (so after wiping down area before adding valve, overnight or longer still causes water to appear under by morning/mid-day)
-BUT, before adding my sponge filter (which also seems to have less power compared to the air stone) I checked under the tank and no water accumulated under the tank overnight for the air stone (that had a valve added) so for some reason it leaked after being less powerful for the first night or so but after 24 hours or so it wasn’t continuing to appear to leak?
-and I added this sponge filter which seems less powerful then the airstone Monday and so far no seen leaks

So for sure water appearing on the bottom of the tank is related to the amount of power an air stone/sponge filter is giving (I don’t think sponge filter can go very strong though even if added to a super powerful tank) so it sounds a lot like it was just sliding down the tank but the paper towel test came back dry (though it wasn’t super tight so maybe I did the test wrong??)

It does sound like it’s possible a weak part of silicon on the bottom of the tank, expesically since to see if water is building up I have to slide the full tank (don’t have a spare tank to put my fish in empty this tank out every time it’s moved) AND the water left under does seems to slide or something in a bulk instead of a level amount of water everywhere (though I assumed that was from moving the tank to find the water build up)
But yea, I see where your going with this one and it seems to be possible given I’m not finding any immediate water under the tank from lower pressure sponge filter then super more powerful air stone.

My room tends to be more on the colder side with roommates also sometimes leaving the windows open (and it’s like low of 30-60 F depending on the day) AND since these are my tropical fish, I have there tank in the high 70 for my guppies and neon tetras. So if anything my room would be much colder then my tank (heater in my room set to go off if room colder then 50 some F and except for a few weird warm days due to forgetting the heater was too high because windows made it colder then expected so turned heater up, room pretty cold).
That and a while ago I would switch on days with air stone on for a day or have it off for a day and it would only get water under the table on days I left the air stone on and nothing came up when leaving it off for day(s) compared to the air stone being on for 1 day and poof, lots of water while I would leave it off for near half a week and nothing to make sure it’s somehow being caused by air stone instead of just correlation.


So I’m thinking either I’m didn’t have the paper towels tight enough (it had tape on the bottom for Part if it but wasn’t 100% taped down so eh? Or it might be your silicon idea since that does match up with pressure that and he airstone would be causing.
Maybe I could test by having a super powerful airstone going off but have it hanged up near the top of the tank to see if that causes water to not get stuck under the tank since that for sure would have to mean it’s being caused by high pressure or something on the bottom of the tank
 

itsEmma

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Hi again!
This just seems to get stranger and stranger!!

It really does seem to be related to the air pump/stone doesn't it?
Maybe the water movement inside the tank is allowing it to get through a very small hole in the silicone when it's being pushed around by the air-like I'm my bottle cap idea. But, when the water's super still (with no pump) it just sits happily inside the tank?

If it's not a massive amount of water, maybe just keep wiping it up for now and when you've time, get a cheap bucket or something to temporarily house your fish, drain the tank and reseal over all the silicone. Aquarium silicone comes in small tubes and isn't very expensive. As long as you don't use too much, it doesn't take a massive amount of time to cure, ready to put the water back.
Do you think this could be a plan?

And just quickly, regarding the check valve, they do decrease the flow of air no matter which ones you get, simply because it creates a barrier to the smooth flow of the air through the tube. It's just an unfortunate downside to them (MUCH better than your tank syphoning out without one though!!)
Hope these new ideas help a bit-keep us posted as to how you get on when time permits!
 
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