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Old 03-28-2010, 06:53 PM   #1
JMT
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Newbie w/stupid pump question

We have a 20 gal goldfish tank. It's a beauty and everything seems to run well.

I have a single ornamental bubbler. I run what seem to be appropriate sized pumps, use a check valve, but pumps seem to die out after 2-3 months. It is operating 24/7.

Just wondering if that's about right. Thanks for any insight.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:51 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

I don't know quite how to say this, but it sounds like you might have a perfect storm for disaster brewing. A little more information about your setup would help a lot.

- What kind and how many fish do you have in your 20g? There aren't any goldfish that can live well in a 20g for very long. Even the little comets can get a foot long.

- What kind of filtration do you have? Goldfish are messy and need a lot of filtration to keep the water quality good.

- Do you test your water quality? If so, what are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? If not, I highly recommend getting a good liquid test kit. I recommend the API Freshwater Master. It seems a little expensive, but it lasts forever and is vital for good aquarium health.

Now for your original question: What kind of pump are you running and how is it dying? If the motor is still running, but it's not pumping air, I'd look at your system for excess back pressure.

If the motor dies, I'd check your voltage source. My parents went through a couple routers recently and the problem was traced back to having 135 volts instead of 120 volts coming out of the wall. The power utility company had to fix it.

Cheap pumps could also be the source of your problems. I don't run an air pump on any of my tanks, but there are many people here on AA that do and could recommend a good brand of pump for you.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Welcome to AA!

I don't know quite how to say this, but it sounds like you might have a perfect storm for disaster brewing. A little more information about your setup would help a lot.

- What kind and how many fish do you have in your 20g? There aren't any goldfish that can live well in a 20g for very long. Even the little comets can get a foot long.

- What kind of filtration do you have? Goldfish are messy and need a lot of filtration to keep the water quality good.

- Do you test your water quality? If so, what are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? If not, I highly recommend getting a good liquid test kit. I recommend the API Freshwater Master. It seems a little expensive, but it lasts forever and is vital for good aquarium health.

Now for your original question: What kind of pump are you running and how is it dying? If the motor is still running, but it's not pumping air, I'd look at your system for excess back pressure.

If the motor dies, I'd check your voltage source. My parents went through a couple routers recently and the problem was traced back to having 135 volts instead of 120 volts coming out of the wall. The power utility company had to fix it.

Cheap pumps could also be the source of your problems. I don't run an air pump on any of my tanks, but there are many people here on AA that do and could recommend a good brand of pump for you.
Hopefully, a "perfect storm for disaster" is not imminent; I'll try to answer your questions.

Tank is 1 year old and in perfect condition. Two fancy fantails, neither of whom is over about 3" long at this point. Filtration is as recommended, water tested weekly, along with 10-20% water change and cleaning/maintenance.

The pumps we're running for the accessory are made by Tetra and rated for 20 gallon tanks.

The motors seem to continue to run, but the air flow gradually slows, then dies, over a 2 to 3 month period.

Could you please explain excess back pressure, along with any ideas to eliminate the problem? Could it be tied to the pump sitting far below water level, and a check valve simply not enough?

Appreciate the help.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:38 PM   #4
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If it's working for you, great. There are a lot of people that come on here in a lot worse shape than you're in.

Too much back pressure means there's too much restriction on the pump from whatever you have attached to the output connection. If you've got the pump trying to push air through 20' of airline, multiple valves, then down 3' to the bottom of the tank and out through a partially blocked bubble ornament, that would be a lot of restriction.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:41 PM   #5
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If it's working for you, great. There are a lot of people that come on here in a lot worse shape than you're in.

Too much back pressure means there's too much restriction on the pump from whatever you have attached to the output connection. If you've got the pump trying to push air through 20' of airline, multiple valves, then down 3' to the bottom of the tank and out through a partially blocked bubble ornament, that would be a lot of restriction.
Got it. It probably is pushing through 6' of line, a check valve, and 3' to tank bottom. We'll try a new alignment.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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welcome to AA
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