Pumps are a vital part of an aquarium, so if you’re planning on investing in some excellent kit, it’s important you know all about them. Remember not to panic if you’re unsure what will suit you best, there is plenty of advice available in the community and research is power – the more you learn, the more likely you are to succeed.
All pumps have several key purposes. The first purpose is to create a current and bring oxygen into the water. And they move water with parts like filters, skimmers, sumps and in more elaborate reef tank set ups they create waves.
Water movement enables the water to aerate because it combines the surface with the water held in the tank. Airstones are not very good at providing the same level of aeration as pumps, even though pumps do not create bubbles. Many types of fish simply won’t do well if the tank they are housed in does not have a proper current and without a pump the tank is likely to get dirty quickly.
When various tank parts are not placed inside the tank itself, one or more pumps need to be used in order to push the water around between the external parts and the tank. Gravity plays a part somewhat in this process, but it cannot work properly without at least one pump. With a power filter the main water pump moves water from the tank to the filter and gravity pushes that water back. With a canister gravity enables the water to run into it and then the pump pushes the water back to the tank.
Wavemakers are incredibly popular with Reef Perfect customers and reef aquarists, and are necessary in order to keep a huge majority of marine fish alive. Reef animals need alternating currents which can be provided with revolving pumps, timers and surge devices.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing a pump. Consider the following before purchasing:
● How much water needs to be moved? When it comes to water movement it gets quite mathematical! If you have no idea how much water needs to be moved – speak to an expert before you purchase anything. Generally, around 6 gallons an hour should be turned over but it can vary depending on other parts you may be using.
● Remember the head – The head is how high the water has to be pumped in relation to gravity. Hang-on filters need next to no head, but canister systems can sometimes need huge amounts so bare that in mind.
● Fresh or salt? If you use salt water, you’re going to need to ensure all parts of your pump that come into contact with it are durable and resistant to corrosion. If you have a salt-water pump you can use it in both salt-water tanks and freshwater tanks, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
Air pumps are generally used for two different reasons. One reason is to use alongside an air-driven filter, the other is because plenty of aquarists love bubbles. When air pumps are involved, generally the entire tank setup becomes that bit more complicated. So if you’re fairly new to aquariums, you should ensure you seek plenty of advice before you set an air pump system up, as the wrong set up could have disastrous consequences and cost you a lot of money. Basic air pump precautions are:
● Use a valve if your pump has more than one outlet to prevent premature breakage.
● Put a check valve between the aquarium and the pump.
As with most aquarium related products, parts and methods, it’s always best to read as much as you can before setting anything up. Unfortunately, mistakes made when setting aquariums up can lead to lost (fish) lives, broken parts and an empty bank balance with nothing to show for it but an empty tank and a very unhappy face.
The more advice you get, the better, and don’t be afraid to speak on forums and ask an expert for advice if you’re unsure what to do, remember other aquarists love to pass on their wisdom!