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Aquarium water circulation: The key to a healthy fish tank.
By for HAPPYARIUM.com
auqarium photo from the surface

A good oxygenation and aeration of the water in your aquarium is vital to the good health of your topical or marine setups.

In nature, aeration of the water occurs when its surface moves or gets agitated. This process is called breaking the surface of the water and it usually caused by the forces of nature that occur due to either the differences in pressure, temperature or simply by the effect of gravity. Breaking the surface of the water happen in nature through water currents, waves, river flow, waterfalls, tides etc.

The chemistry is quite simple, so without getting into too much detail, when water gets in contact with air, it exchanges oxygen molecules and becomes richer in it. If the water remains still, the exchange only happens at the surface and the bottom layers do not get replenished with oxygen.

In an aquarium, water can easily stagnate. When this happens, levels of oxygen drop and the quality of water deteriorates. Usually, this manifest as cloudy or smelly aquarium water. To prevent this from happening, it is best to create an artificial water current. 


External and submerged Aquarium filters do create a water flow while doing their primary function of filtering the water of impurities and toxins. When installing a tropical aquarium filter, it is best to have the water output nozzle facing the surface for improved water oxygenation. Besides, this setting will push water from the bottom to the top and creates a continuous cycle.


Power heads for aquariums are also available on the market. However, these devices do not offer any filtration. Power heads do create a water flow wherever it is needed in your fish tank. In larger aquariums, it is always advised to place at least one extra power head in order to help the filter create stronger water current. The speed of the flow should be adjusted depending on the size of the aquarium and the size of your fish.

The fish in your fishtank should be able to swim against the current without being constantly swept away.


The aeration of the water can also be achieved by the use of air pumps also called bubblers for aquariums. These devices will pump air directly inside your fish tank and release it though an air stone. Air stones break the air to small bubbles and increase the contact surface between oxygen and water.


A more natural way of oxygenating the water is to introduce live plants for tropical or marine aquariums, depending on the ecosystem .

Oxygen will then be produced via photosynthesis. This should be balanced carefully as plants also produce carbon dioxide that is harmful to the fish and the general health of your tropical or marine aquarium.


In fish ponds and artificial lakes, fountains can be used to break the water surface.


Please bear in mind that other factors also affect the water quality and these will be discussed in future posts.

happy fish from happyarium