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Air Pumps


  1. Quiet PLEASE!
    by (Bryan Lukoni) (22 Aug 1994)
  2. Quiet PLEASE!
    by (Patrick White) (Wed, 24 Aug 94)
  3. DIY Air Filter
    by (Sun, 2 Apr 1995)
  4. a FAQ contribution
    by Fernando Pineda <> (Fri, 18 Aug 95)
  5. Blowers, rotary vane time to decide on one
    by enenkel/ (Robert Frederick Enenkel) (20 Feb 92)
  6. Blowers, rotary vane time to decide on one
    by ()
  7. hi end air pumps
    by ()
  8. How to quiet a noisy air pump?
    by ()
  9. [ALL] Any *first hand* experiences with Wisa pumps?
    by ()
  10. re:air pumps
    by "Douglas Dunlop" <ddunlop/> (Wed, 26 May 1999)
  11. re:air pumps
    by "William Vannerson" <William_Vannerson/> (Wed, 26 May 1999)
  12. RE: re:air pumps
    by "Douglas Dunlop" <ddunlop/> (Thu, 27 May 1999)


by (Bryan Lukoni)
Date: 22 Aug 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria () writes:

>In <338tpq$> (Timothy Lynch) writes:

>>Please if you would.....
>>What is the best less noise pump for a 20 gallon tank with underground 
>>filter out? 
>>I only have about 15 fish but the noise from the pump is so loud I feel 
>>dominated by its pollution in the living room.
>>Thanks in advance

>Or another question---Are there any tricks to keeping air pumps quiet in
>general??? Any good way to insulate their vibrations, so they don't
>rattle the entire room...

Place your air pump on a large sponge.  I know some people who have 
buried the pump in cat litter with a air tube running to the surface from 
the air inlet.  Don't know how well that works !!


by (Patrick White)
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <338tpq$>, Timothy Lynch <> wrote:
>Please if you would.....
>What is the best less noise pump for a 20 gallon tank with underground 
>filter out? 
>I only have about 15 fish but the noise from the pump is so loud I feel 
>dominated by its pollution in the living room.

	I've found the (yuk) Penn Plax Silencer pumps to be the quietest of
all the ones I have.  However, they too make noise.
	One trick that I've used on all sort of air pumps is to put a jar
inline with the air tubing -- connect output of pump to jar with as short a
piece of airline as convenient, use a separate tap in the cork (or lid) to
feed air to the tank.. "schematic" picture:

	pump -----+   +----- tank
		  |   |
		|  jar  |

	The air pump in the bedroom is jammed into a piece of foam rubber to
dampen any vibrations, and the output sent trough a jar.. it quiets it enough
for me to get to sleep (I can be a very light sleeper at times).

	The jar doesn't even need to be very large -- one air pump is using an
empty pill bottle.  It _does_ however, destroy the diaphram very fast -- I have
to replace them about once a year (expect it.. so keep spares handy).  Lastly,
tetra luft pumps don't succumb to this trick.
	There's probably a loss of pressure or air volume, but as most pumps
have no problem getting to the bottom of our tanks anyway, we never notice.
It does make it a bit tricky to make fine adjustments to air flow -- one needs
to make an adjustment and then see where the system balances out again.

	I dunno about the rest, but I find this much easier to implement than
putting the entire pump in a jar :-).

Pat White (work:, (503) 578-3463)
hang 2

DIY Air Filter

Date: Sun, 2 Apr 1995
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

Here's how it goes:

      / |                 | \     
     |  |                 |  |    
 =[]=|  |                 |  |=[]=
     |  |                 |  |    
      \ |                 | /     

  Tube is a clear acrylic 1.25" diameter, cut to
    any length for activated carbon capacity.
  End caps are rubber diaphragms for Whisper800
    air pump.
  Airline connectors are clear plastic tube
    connectors pressed against screw holes in

I built a 4" for my DIY air-driven protein skimmer
for a cost of $1.45(tube connectors) using old
diaphragms from last air pump tuneup and scrap
acrylic tube.  It's working great so far, and
handles backpressure nicely using a limewood


a FAQ contribution

by Fernando Pineda <>
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 95

FAQ people:

I just overhauled my OPTIMA air-pump using silicone and a scouring pad. 
I didn't see anything in the FAQ about this kind of repair (if there is 
just forward this message to the bit-bucket). If not, I suspect that 
other aquarists may find this information useful. Here's my original 
post and the follow up:

Keep up the good work. -- Fernando

| The pump is several years old. 
| The symptom is that it cannot build up enough pressure to pump
| air through the airstone in my skimmer. I've tried taking it
| appart and cleaning it. This helps for a day or so but then it 
| slows dies again.Does anyone have any suggestions? My guess is
| that the rubber diaphrams have expanded just enough to prevent
| them them holding good pressure. Does anyone have 
| any experience with this? Can I get overhaul kits?


Thanks to David and Bo who sent in suggestions via e-mail. The pump now 
works like new! 

David in particular suggested that there might be small cracks in the 
rubber diaphrams near the points where they are attached to the 
vibrating arms. This made me look hard at the entire assembly. This 
resulted in a minor overhaul. The procedure I used may interest other 

First, note that the pump consists of two identical "bellows." Each 
bellows has a plastic part and a rubber part. Both are shaped like cups. 
The rubber cup is bigger and fits over the plastic one. The Rubber cup 
is attached to a vibrating arm via a screw that goes through the rubber. 
It seals pretty well, I tested it by covering it with my mouth and 
blowing hard. On the otherhand, I discovered that if I twisted it, just 
the right way, air would leak past the screw. The fix was to make the 
attachment point airtight by sealing the screw and its washer with a dab 
of silicone on the INSIDE of the rubber cup. 

Next, I examine the smaller plastic cup. This had some minor surface 
problems that may or may not have been contributing to the problem. This 
cup was attached by a screw to a larger black plastic box. I noticed 
that much of the OUTSIDE surface had small surface cracks. They were not 
actually cracks in the plastic, so much as cracks in a yellow plastic 
film that seemed to have formed on the exterior surface where it came 
into contact with the rubber cup. (Must be some chemical reaction 
between the rubber and the plastic.) The effect was like what you get 
when old paint starts to craze. I removed some of the film and the 
cracks in it by sanding with a plastic scouring pad. (Like the kind that 
is attached to the back of some sponges. It has the texture of steel 
wool except it is made of plastic so it is not as abrasive) The result 
was a nice smooth exterior.  I then replaced the plastic cup and sealed 
the attachment screw by applying silicone on top of it. 

I reassembled the pump and let the silicone cure for about an hour 
before testing it. It worked like new! I have a couple other air pumps 
that have died over the years. I'll try these methods on them as well. 

Anyway, I hope this is useful information for other folks with dying 

-- Fernando

Blowers, rotary vane time to decide on one

by enenkel/ (Robert Frederick Enenkel)
Date: 20 Feb 92
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria (John W. Bowden) writes:
> I need something that can provide air for 40-50 airstones
>with a good flow and lowest possible operating costs.
> I'm not sure if I should be looking at blowers or at rotary vane

If you allow 0.1 cfm per airstone (a reasonable amount for a 3-4" long
airstone), you need about 5 cfm total.  One important consideration is
what pressure you require.  Typically, regenerative blowers will be
more economical at low pressures and rotary-vane or diaphragm pumps
at higher pressures.  For example:

cfm    in. H2O    

5        13       1/16 hp blower
5        32       1/2  hp blower

5        >100     1/4  hp rotary-vane or diaphragm

So if you have all shallow tanks, go with the small blower.  Otherwise,
the rotary-vane or diaphragm pump will be more economical.
Another bit of advice:  These things are ridiculously priced if you buy
them new!  Look in a surplus store.  Often you can get cheap rotary-vane
vaccuum pumps (which will work fine as pressure pumps for the low pressures
needed for aeration).  

Robert Enenkel

From: (Howard Rebel)
Date: 21 Feb 92 22:35:11 GMT

Blowers, rotary vane time to decide on one

Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

 >/ col:alt.aquaria / (John W. Bowden) /  7:37 am  Feb 20, 1992 /
 >Howdy folks,
 > I think that it's time for me to start thinking about
 >a heavy-duty air-supply.  What I'm wondering is which
 >are the best and which might best serv my needs.
 > I need something that can provide air for 40-50 airstones
 >with a good flow and lowest possible operating costs.
 > I'm not sure if I should be looking at blowers or at rotary vane
 >units.  Also, I need something that I won't need to rewire for.
 >Is there such a doggie?

Robert Enenkel hit it on the head in his posting but there is another
way to go that may or may not work for you.

I use a polution control air pump from a 81 Dodge Aries powered
by a surplus 1/4 motor.  The major drawback it that the pump is too
noisy to keep indoors.  I built a small plywood box for mine and
keep it behind the house.  The neighbors claim that they can not hear it.

The box protects the motor and pump from the elements and allows enough air 
flow to cool them.

         | air gap                      |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |                        |  |
         |  |  Motor and Pump Box    |  |
            |                        |
            |                        |

The quanity of air this system will deliver is quite large and should be
more than enough to meet your needs.  Use 2" or larger PVC pipe to 
prevent pressure losses due to the delivery pipes but a short run of
garden or heater hose can be used to get the air from the box to inside
the house if required.


From: (Oleg Kiselev)
Date: 9 May 92 10:00:15 GMT

hi end air pumps

Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria

In article <> (mark stephens) writes:
>and speaking of air pumps... Are the hi end, and high priced, air pumps
>worth it?  E.g, the Wisa's come to mind.  

Yes, with a caveat.  I have not used Wisa, but I have a top of the line
Supra-4 among the pumps I use to run my tanks.  It is fairly high volume
and relatively quiet.  Schego et al are powerful, with the lower end pumps
fairly quite and the high end M2K3 too noisy for my taste.   Sera Titan-L
300 Plus is the same pump as M2K3, sans the clear case, also quite noisy.

Of the dirt-cheap and surprisingly nice pumps, consider Penn-Plax's SeaPony
and SeaPony-2, especially the latter, sonce it gives you almost x2 the air
of the single outlet one.  You can buy these pumps for $3.50/piece by mail
order, $6-8 in a pet shop.  A few of those will cost as much as a Supra-4
and will probably pump a few times more air.  

>My application would be a fish
>room, PVC pipe setup with multiple tanks and air stones.  Depth is not too
>great at about 12".  

If you are planning to also use sponge filters, you have a problem.  Back
pressure on the air stones is far greater than on the open-ended sponge
filters.  I have been forced to remove airstones from my box filters because
I was sick and tired of playing pressure and flow adjustment games on 50+
outlets to make sure that every line bubbles....  A very powerful air source
would eliminate this problem, but at the moment even with all the tuning I
can't convince my set-up to bubble at depth of more than 18" -- all because
I have too many of the outlets at 5-6" depths.

>I don't mind spending money for good quality equipment if it's gona last,
>be quiet, easy to maintain and do a fine job.

If you have the room to put it, get a blower!  A 1/32 hp blower will give
you enough air to run a large fish room and be relatively quiet.  
Oleg Kiselev, at home			....use the header to find the path

From: (Gary R Pimm)
Date: 10 Jul 92 02:36:09 GMT

How to quiet a noisy air pump?

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <> (Jim Hurley) writes:

some stuf deleted...
>I suppose if I put a large jar with a short airline at the output of
>the pump and drove the rest of the airlines from that jar through a
>second airline it will work.
>Now the question is, how do I determine the optimum size jar?  This is
>sort-of like an impedance matching problem, but I don't know the
>parameters. Did anyone try something like this?

I have done exactly what you have described. It works great! 
It Kills all of the buzz that emenates from the tubing and air stones, ect.
I don't know if its an inpedance match as much as it is a "shock absorber".
By placing a large volume of air in the path it's like one of those shock 
arestors that are installed in water plumbing to cure the water hammer effect.

>Any other suggestions on quieting air pumps? Of course the obvious
>answer is to put it in some sound absorbing box, or move it some place
>where it won't be disturbing.

One of the things that I have done is hang the pump by a soft spring.
I used a spring that as about 6" long and that the weight of the pump
streched it about 50%. This isolates the mechanical vibration from any
surfaces so that the noise doesen't get amplified. To attach the spring
I got kinda sleezball, ( I tied a knot in the cord of the pump).

>Jim Hurley -->  ...!ames!ultra!jimh  (408) 922-0100
>Ultra Network Technologies / 101 Daggett Drive / San Jose CA 95134

Gary Pimm

From: (Nick Ullman)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1993 03:07:04 GMT

[ALL] Any *first hand* experiences with Wisa pumps?

Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria

In article <> (Oleg Kiselev) writes:
>Does anyone have a first hand experience with Wisa air pumps?  I was told
>that they are very quiet and quite powerful.  I need a pump that will drive
>50 or so outlets and do it quietly (i.e. Hagen Optima, Whisper and Schego
>pumps are unacceptably loud).  One alternative is to get 2-3 Second Nature's
>Supra IV pumps, which will cost $100-150 + tax and shipping), the other is
>to get a mid-sized Wisa pump for $150-200.  I have one Supra IV now and I
>like it, but I have never seen or, more importantly, heard a Wisa.  Any
>suggestions, experiences?

I recently purchased a Wisa 200.  I am using it to drive my 40 inch tall
protein skimmer.  It is a little bit of overkill but I had already burned
out an Optima.  Although quite loud when I first plugged it in, the back
pressure from the skimmer quietened it right down.  The air filter is 
easy to get to.  The store I bought it from uses the high end wisa to drive
their main tank skimmer (7 foot).

You probably already know this, but the model numbers represent the number
of litres of air pumped in a 1 metre water column per hour (or something
like that).

All in all, a solidly built, quiet, and powerfull air pump.

I paid $169 for it (Canadian price).

>(I am not considering a blower because that would definitely be much noisier
>than 4 Supra IV pumps).
>Oleg Kiselev at home			...use the header to find the path

+ G E O M A T I C S  I N T E R N A T I O N A L        Burlington, Ont, Canada +
+ Nick Ullman        Inc.                             (416) 632 4259 voice    +
+                     (416) 333 0798 fax      +

re:air pumps

by "Douglas Dunlop" <ddunlop/>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999
To: "'apisto/'" <apisto/>

I spent a large chunk of cash on a couple of rena air pumps (I think a 100
and a 400).  I have found them to be much quieter than any of my other pumps
and I own a tetratec deep ( I have been told that these seem not to be
consistent when it comes to noise levels ), a whisper, a tetra luft, a dozen
haggen pumps.  The Rena's are louder than my 'silent one' water pump but
quieter than the sound of the bubbles from an airstone bursting on the
surface.  In my bedroom I have it mounted on a large piece of sponge.  The
Rena pumps are definitely well into the realm of expensive though.  I have
not yet replaced diaphragms so I cannot yet comment on the durability or
ease of replacement. The smaller pump is about a year old.
I have occasionally resorted to the isolation method of making pumps
quieter.  Suspend the pump by a rubber band from the power cord, the rubber
band needs to be replaced about twice per year.  This will make even the
loud brands perform quietly.  Also, using some silicone and large diameter
tubing, you can make an air reservoir to 'smooth' the air flow.  I would try
these methods first before spending a lot of cash.
Hope this helps,

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re:air pumps

by "William Vannerson" <William_Vannerson/>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999
To: apisto/

>>Also, using some silicone and large diameter tubing, you can make an air reservoir to 'smooth' the air flow.<<

Is this what you mean?

 |               |   ______________
 |               |  [                            ]     Regular airline
 |    Pump  |==     Reservoir      =====================
 |               |  [______________]
 |_______ |        

Bill Vannerson
McHenry, IL

RE: re:air pumps

by "Douglas Dunlop" <ddunlop/>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999
To: "'apisto/'" <apisto/>

Is this what you mean?

 |               |   ______________
 |               |  [                            ]     Regular airline
 |    Pump  |=3D=3D     Reservoir      =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
 |               |  [______________]
 |_______ |       =20

Yes, regular airline output goes into the 'fat' reservoir tube (I use 4
inches of 1 inch inner diameter tubing.  Then the regular airline is
attached to the other end.  Not unlike a car muffler.  My previously shy
Taenicara Candidi seem much braver after the modification.  I think that the
reservoir damps out some of the percussion from the diaphragms. 
I am curious, on a similar line, has anyone else encountered benefits to
their apistos of damping out vibrations to the tanks.  I originally thought
this was just so my house wouldn't hum but I think that there is probably
more benefit to the fish than to me.

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