Can Aquarium Air Pumps Catch Fire? (Why And How)

Image of an air pump creating bubbles in an aquarium

Aquarium air pumps run continuously to create a gas exchange at the water surface and support other aquarium devices. But due to continuous usage, can aquarium air pumps catch fire?

Aquarium air pumps can’t catch fire by themselves. However, frayed wires, damaged light fixtures, water spills on electrical devices, improper grounding, and loose-fitting plugs can cause potential electrical hazards. So you should follow the safety rules diligently to prevent these fire threats.

Basically, the common cause of aquarium fire or electric shock can be a short circuit from damaged wires or cables. But if you can take care of all the electrical equipment, aquarium air pumps can be used efficiently to oxygenate the tank water and run other equipment.

How To Use An Air Pump In An Aquarium?

Aquarium air pumps are used for multiple reasons. Besides creating a gas exchange for oxygenating the tank water, you can use them with other small aquarium devices and decorations.

Follow the below steps to use an aquarium air pump with other equipment:

  1. Set up the aquarium air pump at a desired location outside the aquarium. It’s better to position the air pump higher than the top of the tank.
  2. Cut the aquarium air pump tube to the desired length. Make sure that the tube’s one end can attach to the equipment inside the aquarium and the other end can connect to the air pump.
  3. Now attach the air pump cord to the power outlet in such a way that it creates a drip loop (the cord should drop below the power outlet before rising to the top to connect to the air pump.

Refer to the user manuals of the air pump as well as the aquarium equipment if you have any doubts on how to use the air pump with the equipment.

Given below is the list of equipment that you can use with an aquarium air pump.

  • Air Stone: It creates a fountain of bubbles, enhancing the look of the aquarium. It works by forcing the water through tiny holes at high pressure. The result is small bubbles that rise into the water column.
  • Breeder Box: A breeder box is used to raise the fry and protect them from larger fish. It can run on an air pump that works like an airlift tube and pumps the water into the box.
  • Decorations: Decorations like car wreck ornaments, treasure chests, volcano ornaments, coral ornaments, etc., add an intriguing look to the aquarium. Air pumps help these decorations make movements, and the bubbles coming out of the decorations create a stunning display.
  • Fluidized moving bed filter: This filter uses air from the air pump as its medium instead of water. The media inside the fluidized moving bed filter help reduce ammonia and nitrites in the water.
  • Egg Tumbler: Egg Tumblers are one of the most popular items among fish lovers. They make it easy to keep the eggs safe and healthy. The air pump directs the airflow onto the eggs, creating gentle movements. This increases the hatch rate and decreases fungal growth.
  • Sponge filter: Air pumps assist sponge filters in creating bubbles that suck water through the sponge and separate the floating particles from the aquarium water.
  • Undergravel filter: This kind of filter consists of a plate placed under the gravel. The air pump pulls the water through the plate, trapping the particles as the water passes through it.

Apart from working with other devices, air pumps make an aquarium look intriguing and help in proper maintenance. But do aquarium air pumps consume a lot of electricity while assisting other devices?

Recommended Further Reading:

Do Aquarium Air Pumps Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Air pumps continuously use energy to generate the bubbles required for creating surface agitation.

Air pumps consume about 3 watts of energy to create bubbles in a small aquarium. On the other hand, larger tanks over 20-24 inches have more resistance to air pressure and will need a large air pump. Typically, aquariums with over 50 gallons need larger air pumps that consume about 6 watts of energy.

Besides creating bubbles, air pumps are also used with other devices and decorations.

If you have too many devices and decorations to enhance your aquarium, the air pump will utilize more energy to run them efficiently.

Can An Air Pump Overheat?

An air pump can get warm if it runs continuously to create the surface agitation required for the gas exchange. Additionally, the air pump can overheat if you use it with other aquarium devices and decorations.

Given below are the reasons that can lead to overheating of an aquarium air pump:

  1. Incorrect size: If you are using an undersized air pump, it will result in the pump running continuously. Since a large tank creates more resistance, the smaller air pump will have to push continuously to create bubbles.
  2. Poor air circulation: Keep your air pump in an area with good external air circulation. If the air pump is kept without proper cross ventilation or in an area with direct exposure to sunlight, it can overheat quickly, and the rubber diaphragms can get damaged.
  3. Overstocked aquarium: It’s a common mistake that many aquarists make with their aquarium. Once you overstock your aquarium, it becomes difficult to maintain the quality parameters and builds pressure on the aquarium equipment.
  4. Inappropriate depth: Keeping the diffusers at an appropriate depth in your aquarium is essential. If the diffusers are placed at maximum depth, it will maximize the pressure and overheat the air pump.

It’s essential for you to understand how to figure out the correct air pump size needed for an aquarium. Overlooking the above parameters will not only damage your aquarium equipment but can also increase the maintenance cost.

Is It Normal For An Aquarium Air Pump To Get Hot?

An air pump can get hot due to the friction created between its parts while it is running. However, this doesn’t mean that the air pump is damaged.

An aquarium air pump has to run continuously to create bubbles. This requires continuous power consumption.

The heat generated by the air pump is dissipated through fins attached to the body of the air pump. This ensures that the temperature remains within safe limits.

So it’s normal for an aquarium air pump to get warm or hot. However, if it gets hot to the point that you can’t touch it, it’s time to replace it.

Interesting Further Reading:

Should An Aquarium Air Pump Be Left On?

Yes, you have to continuously run the aquarium air pump to facilitate the gas exchange through surface agitation. Besides oxygenating the water, an air pump also assists other devices and decorations in the aquarium.

But if you have an additional filter in your aquarium that can oxygenate the water, you can turn off the air pump. However, ensure that you run your filter continuously.

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