Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Are air pumps any good?how many plants do i need in my 260l tank? (

mountfordwright 12-02-2010 07:44 AM

Are air pumps any good?how many plants do i need in my 260l tank?
hI I am abit conffused!!i have got 2 air pumps in my tank thinking that it would make the water rich with oxygen but from what i have red thats not true. also i am not sure how many plants i need to have in my tank to be sufficient for the fish. i have about 9 fish that are between 2-5 inch and 25ish small fish. Thanks Rich:-D

sik80 12-02-2010 11:06 AM


air pumps aren't needed in planted tanks as they reduce the amount of c02 in the water, which the plants need to grow, though a few members on here have them in planted tanks and thier plants still grow ok

The amount of plants you have is up to you - bear in mind some, especially stem plants, will grow very quickly under good conditions. You can then transplant them to fill in spaces if you want. Also some will become quite large - such as amazon swords. The more plants you have the better in my opinion - there's very little bare substrate in my tank!

If you haven't already done so i highly recommend byrons stickies at the top of the Aquarium Plants section of the forum.

Give some consideration to the types of plants you might like - theres a guide to some here:

Growing plants may seem daunting at first but in my opinion it makes for a more stable and healthy environment for your fish

Byron 12-02-2010 11:22 AM

Hi Rich, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

One does have to be cautious with increasing oxygen in a planted tank, and with the oxygen increases comes a CO2 (carbon dioxide) depletion. Both of these are detrimental to plants.

Carbon is a macro-nutrient of plants, and while there is a fair bit of CO2 occurring naturally in a healthy tank from the fish and even more from the bacteria in the substrate particularly, the more plants the more CO2 is required and we don't want to drive it out of the tank. Assimilation of CO2 from the water by aquatic plants takes about four times as long as terrestrial plants assimilating the same amount of CO2 from the air, another reason to work to retain CO2 in the water. Water movement and surface disturbance speeds up the gaseous exchange (oxygen enters the water, CO2 is dispelled) so it is generally considered better to keep water flow minimal (sufficient for the fish's needs and the plants) and reduce surface disturbance.

If the air pumps (presumably with air stones in the water) are not part of the filtration system, I would definitely suggest removing them. They will serve no real purpose [your aquarium does not seem to be overstocked, and you have live plants--more on this momentarily] and may actually be detrimental. First, oxygen binds with several nutrients such as iron, making them too large for the plants to assimilate--result is a nutrient deficiency and adding more nutrients will not resolve this due to the oxygen. Second, the reduction in CO2 may be sufficient to cause a carbon deficiency sooner, affecting plant growth and increasing algae. If the water movement is too fast, the plants have even more difficulty assimilating nutrients.

Live plants produce a considerable amount of oxygen during photosynthesis. They can only photosynthesize if there is sufficient light (intensity and duration) and adequate levels of all necessary nutrients (some 17 of them). If light and nutrients are in balance, and the fish load is in balance with the water volume, and the fish are compatible [this reduces stress], there will be no oxygen/carbon dioxide issues. During the day there will be an excess of oxygen but not sufficient to be troublesome; and at night when many worry about CO2 increasing, there will not be an issue unless the tank is way overstocked or if CO2 diffusion is being added and continued during the night.

As for the number of plants, we speak of the tank being "well planted." This depends upon the plants and the fish. You can have a look at the photos of my 6 aquaria which are all well planted [photos are under the "Aquariums" tab below my name over at the left]. A 260 litre equates to a 70 US gallon [I think better in imperial measures:roll:], and one of my tanks is a 70g. Plants will grow in to the aquarium over a few months, so this should be remembered when purchasing them. In my largest tank, the 115g, I have about 140 fish and I have never had oxygen/CO2 issues at night. If you could indicate the plants you have (species), I might be able to offer more.


mountfordwright 12-02-2010 12:50 PM

that info is great!!my plants always die after 3 weeks so maybe its my air pumps. i havent got a clue about my plants.i will take yhe air pumps out tonight and go buy some plants tomorow and i will take note of the plant names and let u no. Thanks Rich

mountfordwright 12-02-2010 12:51 PM

also thanks for your info too!!its much appreciated!! thanks Rich

Byron 12-02-2010 02:34 PM


Originally Posted by mountfordwright (Post 525172)
that info is great!!my plants always die after 3 weeks so maybe its my air pumps. i havent got a clue about my plants.i will take yhe air pumps out tonight and go buy some plants tomorow and i will take note of the plant names and let u no. Thanks Rich

Be certain you are buying true aquatic plants. Many stores sell terrestrial plants without telling you that they will rot, sometimes quickly. I'm sure several of us could tell you yes or no if you could give us the plant names; maybe call the store first? If it is a reputable good fish store (as opposed to one of the chain stores) you should be OK.

mountfordwright 12-03-2010 05:19 AM

hi byron!i will try to get out today we have been snowed in here in uk!people say they havent seen snow like this for 40 years!!another thing if you wouldnt mind helping me with is i checked my water levels after i did u 50% water change. this is what i got: GH hard 180, KH carb hard 180, ph 7, nitrite 0, nitrate 40 or maybe 80!.i have onle been keeping fish for 18 months and as i talk to people i hear different things but you my friend seem to know your stuff!not sure what time it is on your side of the pond so i will log on again later Byron. Thanks rich

mountfordwright 12-03-2010 11:09 AM

hi byron got some plants today. they are 2 ophiopogon japonica, 2 echinodorus compacta, 2 spathiphyllum quatro if thay meens anything to you?dosent to me lol. hope to hear from you soon. Rich

mountfordwright 12-03-2010 01:07 PM

hi byron my fish have been gasping at the top since i have turned my air pumps off. so i have put 1 back on untill i hear from you again as for what to do next.

mountfordwright 12-03-2010 01:11 PM

hi i have turned my air pumps off and baught some plants today and my fish are gasping so i have put 1 back on untill i get some advice from somone. thanks Rich

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