Side note: I tried what my wife mentioned -- that is, removing one bubble bar and moving the other one so that it sits kind of "between" the two filter intakes, sort of "off center" in the back of the tank -- but I didn't care for it, as it made the right side of the back look empty and "unbalanced;" I moved the two bars back together again so it appears as though a nearly complete wall is formed in the rear of the aquarium...
Okay, so the Top Fin AIR-8000 I recently (re)purchased has been really pumpin' out the bubbles to the two bubble bars in my tank, and giving the effect I was looking for. Outside of the HORRENDOUS vibration/buzz/humming this thing gives off (which I would probably have to deal with on the commercial pumps as well), I've been happy with its performance. And I think I stumbled on what may have been causing the issues in the past with the Tetra and Rena pumps, as suggested to me by someone on one of the forums I frequent (can't recall if it was this one; have to check the back pages of this thread) -- the fact that I am not using very short tubing pieces to connect the two outputs to feed one bar.
In the past, I had cut some pretty stubby pieces of airline tubing to "bridge" the two outputs of the pumps together with a T-connector for output, and I think this was causing "backpressure" on the pump; at any rate, the AIR-8000 seems to be pumping and supplying a nice amount of air pressure -- so much so I have to continuously turn the control wheel down!
Here are the remaining dilemmas with regard to this pump issue (and I will revisit this thread should the AIR-8000 give me problems or I need to upgrade again, as I'll be looking to the "pro" commercial-type pumps at that point): The noise from one of the bars spitting bubbles into my AquaClear 110 HOB
's intake is still driving me INSANE; because of my setup, I couldn't find any other way to make these bars work, so unfortunately the 110's intake stem is sucking bubbles directly into the filter box, causing the "box of rocks" noise I am hearing. While it doesn't bother my wife in the least bit, I can't stand it, and feels it takes away from the "serene, peaceful" experience an aquarium is supposed to provide to its observers. What I'm thinking is that perhaps I could place a stone, rock or pile of extra substrate I have over that patch of bubble bar which is directly under the filter intake, so the bubbles don't go directly into it...in theory, this should make more bubbles come out of the remainder of the bar, right? Does this sound like a viable option?
The second issue is the aforementioned buzzing/humming/vibrating coming from the Top Fin pump (a common problem amongst owners of this model). I have placed it on two pretty thick washcloths, stacked on top of one another, in the attempt to absorb the vibration and noise, but it still hums and buzzes. I have even wrapped a towel around the pump, completely, and the noise seemed to get WORSE if you can believe that...is there ANYTHING else, short of putting the pump in another room (which isn't an option), I can try to squelch the noise of this pump?