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Thread: Just got an air pump for my terrarium...

  1. #1

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    I bought an air pump at PetSmart today for my terrarium. I got silicone tubing with it that I have run into the water sitting at the bottom of the tank. It seems to be doing its job so far, but I have a few questions:

    1) Will the tubing (being silicone) release harmful chemicals into the water that might harm my plants? Would plastic tubing be better?

    2) Am I setting this up right? Do I just have the tube run into the water and have it pump the air there?

    3) Should I leave the pump on all the time? (as opposed to my lights and fan that run only during the day).

  2. #2
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Silicone is the best to use. It's a plastic that's specifically made to not leach chemicals into the water. The epoxy that seals together the sides of newer glass aquariums is silicone. You should probably get an airstone for the end of the tube. These are little porous rocks with a plastic spigot on one end that attaches to the tube. The air coming through the tube is forced through the holes in the airstone, diffusing it into lots of little bubbles. I don't think it will hurt to leave the pump on all the time, but if you don't like the noise you could put it on a timer or something.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Well, I already have it all setup with the tube going into the water. Would that be fine? I mean, it's creating bubbles, so I can tell air is going into the water. I honestly don't think I have room in my terrarium for much more than the tube.

    It's good to know that my tube isn't going to hurt my plants though.

  4. #4
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    The air stone will do a better job of aerating the water. It's not toally necessary, but they aren't very big, usually they're little cylinders about an inch long by a half an inch wide.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  5. #5

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    you will also want a one way valve so it doesn't ever create a vacum and suck water into the pump. you can find them with the tubing, pump, and airstone at the pet store.

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    Yikes, how would that ever happen? Do I really need that valve? I know my pump came with some kinda of valve looking thing. Perhaps that's it...

    Also, why would an airstone do a much better job at aireating the water? I don't know if I want to mess with that, since the tubing seems to be doing just fine the way it is.

  7. #7
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    The airstone breaks the bubbles into smaller parts. As the volume of a sphere (the size of the bubble) decreases, it's surface area divided by volume (the amount of air touching water) increases. So, when the bubbles are smaller, there's a greater area for air to mix with water, and aeration happens more quickly. Also, the airstone makes the air move away from the end of the tube in all directions, instead of primarily flowing parallel to the outlet of the tube, which helps to prevent areas of non-circulating water in the tank.
    As for the valve, you shouldn't need one unless the end of the tube that's connected to the pump is below the water level of your tank. If it is, it would begin to siphon water out of the tank if the tube were to ever fill with water. But, this is pretty unlikely, unless you have a poorly made pump or a strange, high-pressure aquarium setup. I've kept aquariums for years and never had a problem with siphoning. I think that having airstones on my lines helps, because water doesn't flow as quickly through a hose plugged with an airstone.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Now that you've explained things, I might be better off with an airstone. I think I might be able to make one fit. Plus I've looked online and they seem to be pretty cheap.

    Thanks for always responding to my questions. You're a great help!

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