Owning fishes as pets come with the responsibility of making sure that they are okay at all times. There are a lot of things that could go wrong, and so it is essential to note every single detail so that your fish not to die off. One of the significant problems associated with keeping fish for fish owners is how to get more oxygen in fish tanks. Fishes require their water to be well aerated if they are to survive and not die from lack of oxygen.
Although water contains oxygen, the oxygen is mixed up with hydrogen, and your fish would not be able to extract the oxygen alone. Instead, the oxygen in your fish breathes comes from the surrounding air on the surface of the water. For this reason, you would have to manually introduce oxygen into your fish tank if it is oxygen-deficient.
An aquarium air pump is a great option to have when looking to introduce additional oxygen into your aquarium. It is worth noting that if you take good care of your tank and do not overstock it, you should have no problems with frequent cases of low oxygen.
How To Get More Oxygen In Fish Tank
- Increase the surface area of the tank: The larger the surface area of your fish tank, the more the amount of oxygen that would be introduced into the tank. You should keep this in mind when choosing an aquarium for your fish and opt for larger sized aquariums particularly if you are going to put in several fishes. It would be best if you choose an aquarium with a shape that would facilitate the movement of oxygen through it.
- Stock your tank according to its size: Needless to say, but the more fish you put into your tank, the more oxygen they would need to breathe in. This is why it is necessary to stock your tank according to its capacity. Overstocked tanks have their oxygen-depleted faster than those that are stocked correctly.
- Increase the surface agitation of your tank: Increasing the surface agitation of your tank allows more oxygen to get dissolved in it while expelling carbon dioxide. An increased surface agitation also helps to increase the surface area of the tank. You can increase the surface area of your tank using different methods. A major method involves the use of wavemakers. Wavemakers for aquariums produce waves that are somewhat similar to those produced in oceans. These wave movements help to agitate the surface of the water and, by so doing, helps to increase the oxygen in your fish tank.
- Manually generate oxygen in the tank: You can also manually generate oxygen in your fish tank by adding water at height to the aquarium. This water serves to drive oxygen into the aquarium and effectively increases the amount of oxygen present in it. The higher the height from which you pour the water, the more the amount of oxygen that would be added to your fish tank. You can manually generate oxygen in your aquarium as often as you deem fit.
How To Know If Your Fish Tank Is Lacking Oxygen
There is no sure-fire way to know if your aquarium is lacking oxygen except you test the water for dissolved oxygen. However, you can tell from some behaviour that your fish will exhibit that the oxygen in its tank is getting diminished. Since lack of oxygen is toxic to fish, it would be best if you have these signs at your fingertips. Such signs include:
Reduced Activity Of Your Fish
This is usually the first sign that your fish tank is running out of oxygen. If you notice that your fish are swimming around less frequently and actively than they are wont to, then it could be that your fish tank is lacking in oxygen. Besides this, they may also exhibit signs of lost appetite.
Not long after your fish becomes lethargic, they will begin to breathe with difficulty. You will notice that their gills would move rapidly in their efforts to get enough oxygen from the water over their gills.
Gasps For Breath
Finally, you would notice your fish gasping for breath and coming up to the surface of the water to get some air. Although there are some species of fish that love to come up to the surface of their tanks for air, you should be able to tell the difference between the desperate gasping for breath caused by lack of oxygen and the normal behaviour of these fishes in coming up to water surface for air.
If you notice your fish exhibiting any of these signs, and you are worried that the oxygen in your fish tank is low, you can test the amount of dissolved oxygen with a test kit. It is better to have a test kit on hand at all times so that you can check for the amount of dissolved oxygen in your tank without having to use the symptoms your fish is exhibiting to know for sure if your oxygen tank is running low on oxygen.
Causes Of Low Dissolved Oxygen In Fish Tanks
Stocking your aquarium with more fish than is ideal for it is not a good idea as there will be competition for the dissolved oxygen in the aquarium. It is, therefore, better to stock the aquarium with fish according to its capacity. If your fish are too numerous for your aquarium, you can get a larger aquarium to accommodate them, or you could get another aquarium to add to the one you already have.
Water movement or lack of it also affects the amount of dissolved oxygen in fish tanks. Stagnant water has lower oxygen levels that moving water. For this reason, the water at the bottom of the tank usually has less oxygen than the one at the top. To increase water movements in your aquarium, you can use a powerhead, or you can get an additional filter for your tank so that you can increase the capacity of your current filter.
High Water Temperature:
The temperature of the water in your aquarium matters a great deal to the survival of your fish. Water that has a high temperature does not contain as much oxygen as water that has lower temperatures. To solve the problem of high water temperature, blow air across the surface of the water to help cool it and turn off the heaters and lights. Alternatively, you can put a small number of ice cubes in a ziplock bag and place it in the tank to help lower the temperature of the tank.
Excess waste in aquariums is as a result of overcrowding or lack of proper maintenance of the aquarium. Excess waste, coupled with algae overgrowth results in a decreased amount of dissolved oxygen in a tank. To remedy this situation, clean the tank thoroughly and remove the algae present in it.
Plants can also cause low amounts of oxygen in your fish tank, especially when they are not exposed to light. This is because they take in carbon dioxide and give up oxygen when exposed to light. On the other hand, when in the dark, they give off carbon dioxide and take in oxygen. If the aquarium is dark for a long time, the plants will begin using up the oxygen in the tank, and it will drop greatly.
If you are an aquarium owner, you do not need to wait for your fish to exhibit any of the signs that they lack oxygen before you take action. You can follow the solutions above to get more oxygen in your tank at regular intervals so your fish will be happy and healthy and will not have to suffer.