A silent aquarium is every fish lover’s dreams. When one likes to dwell in the serenity and calmness of beautiful fishes gliding about in the silent waters, this solace can often be disturbed by the extraneous and irritating hum of the vibrating air pump.
So why do air pumps vibrate in the first place? Aquarium air pumps facilitate air movement by making rubber diaphragms rapidly vibrate. Rapid vibrations result in rapid air flow and also brings along excessive noise. Hence, air pumps are a necessary evil in an aquarium as they are responsible for providing water movement through filters or any other aquarium components.
The most obvious culprit of a vibrating air pump is its diaphragm. The initially soft diaphragm that has perhaps vibrated millions of times by now must have become loose and started to crack. It is due to this reason that everything was moderate previously but is now being brought to your notice.
The other most obvious reason can be that you are making a low powered pump work harder by placing it in deep waters, making the pump work harder against more resistance and water pressure and decreasing its life.
No matter what the reason, we do need to find a solution to this problem and fix a vibrating air pump once and for all. Let us look at some of the ways in which you can troubleshoot and minimize the noise emanating for an aquarium pump.
More often than not, it is the surface on which your pump is resting that is the root cause of the noise. Usually, all pumps come with rubber supports at the resting base. You can place a piece of sponge or an old supporting cloth under the pump. By doing this, you are dampening the noise from the air pump and minimizing the impact of its excessive vibrations, hence killing two birds with one stone.
Also, remember that it is not advisable to place a vibrating pump on the top of the fish tank. Doing so will not only make your room noisy, but it can also irritate the fishes inside the tank.
If the Noise Still Persists, Hang it From The CeilingThere are cases when the pump will vibrate so vigorously that it will gradually escape the surface of the sponge or the cloth on which you had placed it. A better option for such stubborn pumps is to hand them from the ceiling. Make sure the pump doesn’t rest against any walls while hanging, because then it will again tend to vibrate against the wall.
Dirty air stones tend to pressurize the air pump more, making it work harder and vibrate faster. Firstly, you need to make sure that the air filter is not in the state to be replaced. In order to perform this check, take the stone out of the water and removes its airline. Try to blow through the hole in which the pump connects to the air stone. If you find it difficult to blow, this means that the air stone is clogged with either bacteria, fish excreta and dust and its time now that you replace it. It is advisable to replace the aquarium air stones at least once in a year.
This link at the Instructables offers a cheap DIY to make an almost fool-proof base to rest your air pump. In a but shell, take a sponge which is larger than the surface area occupied by your pump. Cut the top portion of the sponge according to the length, breadth and height of the pump. Slit required holes for wires and outlet. This way, you are making a cast out of the sponge that will hold your pump snugly without letting it vibrate outside it. So when you place the pump inside your DIY holder, it will not only mitigate the noise, but it will also hold the air pump in its place.
As stated previously, placing the pump in the lower levels can cause it to work harder and drain faster. Always place your pump on a separate surface above the aquarium water level.
Also, another reason that the pump is working harder and vibrating faster can be attributed to a clogged inlet. When aquarium waste clogs the pump inlet, it needs to work harder than usual to pump, thus making it generate more noise. It is advisable to consider cleaning your pump once in a while with a light brush to remove any residues residing on or below the surface. If you are confident enough, you can also consider disassembling the device and check its insides for any damaged parts.
If none of the above solutions are working for you, it might be the time when you invest in a new pump. And since you are considering investing in a new one, why not invest in one of those that are designed to handle the problem of excessive noise and come with the label “quiet”?
The Tetra Whisper is considered to be one of the smallest and quietest air pumps in the market. However, it is on the more expensive side. The Fluval Q1 is designed for larger fish tanks so this device combines pumping power with a low noise working. The Hydrofarm AAPA15L comes with a rating of a maximum of 45 decibels of noise.
There are many other such alternatives available to suit your needs and budget.
Now that you are aware of what needs to be done to shush a vibrating air pump, consider investing in a good pump and take proper care to ensure that it lasts longer in a noise free condition.