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How to install an aquarium air pump

Updated February 21, 2017

No matter what the size of your aquarium or what species of fish you keep, you need to make sure the water in your tank contains plenty of oxygen. Installing an air pump is one of the best ways to oxygenate the water and keep your fish in top health. But as with any piece of aquarium equipment, it is critical to choose the right type of pump and to install it correctly.

Choose an aquarium pump designed for a larger tank than the one you actually have. This will help the pump to perform more efficiently and effectively. For instance, if you have a 90-litre (20-gallon) tank, buy an air pump listed as being for a 135- to 180-litre (30- to 40-gallon) aquarium.

Purchase a length of air tubing when you buy the air pump. Air tubing is cheap, so it is always a good idea to purchase more than you think you will need. The tubing needs to be long enough to reach from the pump to the bottom of your tank.

Find a suitable spot for your air pump. If your tank sits on a closed aquarium stand, placing the air pump inside the stand is probably the best strategy. The stand will muffle the noise of the pump and stop it from moving around. The vibration from the air pump can cause it to move a bit, especially on hardwood floors.

Connect one end of the air tubing to the valve on the side of the air pump. You might need to widen the tubing a bit by inserting a pencil or pen.

Attach the other end of the air tubing to the filter, air stone or other piece of equipment you plan to use to oxygenate the water and keep it moving. Air stones are a good choice, since they can provide a wall of bubbles to add oxygen to the water. Attaching the air tubing to a corner filter provides filtration and oxygenation at the same time.

Plug the air pump into the electrical socket and watch for the bubbles from the air stone or filter. Check the tightness of the air tubing if there are no bubbles or only a few.

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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.