Redundancy vs Complexity

Is adding another pump to a system to supplement aeration adding to the complexity and failure points in a system or is it adding redundancy to protect your system in case of some other failure?

Some where not too long ago I saw some one stating that they wouldn’t want to add another pump to a system to provide supplemental aeration since that would add another failure point to the system.

My thought was, if the system needs more aeration, wouldn’t it make the system a little safer from failure if instead of simply replacing the single pump with a single larger pump in order to provide the extra aeration needed, wouldn’t it be better to add a second pump of some sort so that if one pump failed, there would still be something going to provide at least some aeration or flow rather than loosing everything. It also seemed that a second smaller pump might be easier to run on a small battery backup.

Now the question as to what form of supplemental aeration is best is often hotly debated. I don’t really care to get into the debate seeing as every situation will be different so what is best for one situation might be totally lacking in another. Some of the variables involved in making an appropriate choice of supplemental aeration methods will have nothing to do with the specific efficiency of air pumps vs water pumps at aeration. For instance, if high quality energy efficient air pumps and their replacement parts are nearly impossible to get in a particular location then they are not really appropriate to a system in that location even if they might be a very energy efficient way to provide supplemental aeration to a system. So, instead of debating what sort of aeration is best, I’m just going to say that there should be aeration going in the fish tank at all times. That can be by air bubbling into the tank or it can be by water constantly spraying or cascading into the fish tank or a constant venturi bubbling air in with water.

Again, I am saying that constant aeration of some sort is important. If the pump on a system is running on a timer and the water isn’t cascading back into the tank pretty constantly and providing plenty of disturbance of the water between pump cycles, then there should be a supplemental means of aeration between pump cycles. Constant disturbance of the water surface is important to any system with a fairly heavy fish load or in times of warm water. Lack of dissolved oxygen in the water can definitely reduce the rate at which the fish will eat and grow and in extreme cases, it will kill them.

So in conclusion, I don’t care how you manage to get enough aeration into your water, but make sure it is happening constantly at least during warm weather.

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