The Art of Silencing a Roaring Fish Tank


An aquarium is a miniature version of a larger body of water like the ocean, a rushing river, or a rampant tidal pool. It’s like being able to breathe while exploring the depths of the ocean in a cube that contains the entire ecosystem.

We don’t want a noisy aquarium in our exhibit because the undersea world is silent (it’s very noisy, but we perceive it to be silent). , Aquaria. I mention this because we have four functional aquariums in our flat right now.

All around us are living things. There are fish, plants, and a large, nutty Tabby named Peaches and Cream. And after twenty or so years of tanks of all shapes and sizes, I figured out the answer to the age-old question, “Why is my tank so noisy?!”

What’s making all that racket?

In a second, I’ll reveal the solution at hand. First, I have compiled a list of possible sources of the noise you hear.

Beautiful effects for your underwater world can be achieved with the help of air stones and air tubes. As a bonus, they boost the effectiveness of bubble-powered decorations. The hinged-lid treasure box requires specific air pressure to open and close properly. However, if you put too much pressure on it, the surplus bubbles will rupture constantly at the surface, making much noise.

Present Equivalents We prefer strong water movement (naturally simulated currents) to strong air movement in our aquariums. Fish require it both for development and enjoyment. One of our Guppy tanks is so smooth that a grease pencil treadwheel would barely show. As a group, the fish swim upstream, diving and rising simultaneously. They thrive in moving water. However, if you overload the size of the tank with Powerheads, noise issues will arise.

Tools Are Equal To Plumbing, piping, pumps, and filters can all contribute to ambient noise levels. It can be distracting at times. Noise suppression is an integral part of most pumps. The vibrating hum will quickly become audible if you try to avoid it during the system’s bespoke installation. To put it mildly. The surface on which the objects are resting or to which they are attached may also be to blame.

Similar to Furnishings Noise: I constructed all the structural built-ins and aquarium stands. As soon as I plywood over the top of one, I heard a horrifying buzz. The open underside of the built-in was acting as an echo chamber due to the air pump’s rubber feet transmitting vibration through the plywood skin. The issue was resolved once the air pump was relocated to a more stable location on the cabinet.

Finally, the design itself can be a significant source of unwanted noise. An aquarium’s noise level can be reduced in several ways, including the airflow over rocks, the currents and eddies around decorations, and the location of your pump’s intake and output.

How should I proceed?

Reduce the volume; a water bowl is the most subdued aquarium option. There was no breeze, no currents. A water bottle sitting alone, not saying a word.

Consider upgrading to a larger pump with more than one outlet if you need several tiny air pumps. As a general rule, the air pump should be able to meet all of the oxygen demands of a single aquarium. The larger pumps also feature stronger sound deadening, so you must worry about one noisy device instead of two.

Also, get rid of your old pump if it’s been over a few years. Even if it’s working, it’s useless. Your primary noise source is usually the older components, especially the rubber ones. The sound isn’t being muffled by the now-hard rubber feet. They might be contributing to it as well.

In addition, gang valves can be used to regulate the airflow to individual air accessories. The little airstone connected to the pump by a single tube causes unacceptable background noise. And with only half the airflow, it will still look great. A better option exists.

Take Note Of The Repercussions: Most of the power add-ons available for your tank will come with a means of fine-tuning the effect they produce. Put your ear close to the outlet where the powerhead is plugging in, and you’ll be able to hear how the current changes as you tweak it. It could be a matter of concentration or even of misguided movement. The tank or nearby rocks could be the source of the vibrations. Modify it to fit your needs.

The gang valves on the airlines should be set up similarly. Adjust the flow by placing your ear near the water’s surface and listening. Examine the visual impact of achieving a comfortable degree of silence. Then, make fine-tuned modifications until you find the spot between visual appeal and audible distraction.

Considering noise during construction yields better results than attempting to quiet a tank later. Do you recall the silent bowl of water? Remember that as you decide where to put your essential devices and accessories. Now we may discuss the primary issue that 20 years of aquarium keeping allowed me to resolve.

There are some incompatibilities.

Bubble wands in the back of aquariums are a must-have for me. They emit a lot of bubbles despite being nearly undetectable. As an enthusiast of oxygenated tanks, I appreciate strong currents of air. That enhances the tank’s currents and keeps the fish fed by revolving the food.

However, I’ve never used canister filters and instead have relied on saddle tank filters due to cost and storage concerns. The inlets can only be placed in the tank in a limited number of locations due to the shape of the saddle filter.

The filtered noise has always driven me crazy. They have the loudest filters out of everyone I know. Including, as of late, my other tanks. At that point, I realized what was wrong.

The three other aquariums were all set up by my wife, who isn’t quite as enthusiastic about Bubble Wands as I am. The flow through her filters was just as strong as mine, and they were silent.
But it sounded like the impeller in my filter was breaking. I had taken everything apart, double-checked it, and ensured it returned together without a hitch. My filter jangled and squealed like it always did.

I finally understood it at that point. The noise ended when I connected the airline to the Bubble Wands. My filter inlet tube was getting sucked into the airflow from the wands. Water was being poured into the filter. The wands were pumping air into it, so it couldn’t.

Because of this self-priming effect, the filter will always produce an effect similar to when it is first turned on. Issue identified! The time has come to find a solution. The thought of throwing away my Bubble Wands was upsetting.

I took a fresh straw and snapped it in half. Then I made a slit in one of the pieces along its length. The Bubble Wand’s filter entrance is underneath where I wrapped the straw. Since this created a little hole through which air may escape, I layered a second straw over the first, with the slit facing in the opposite direction. The problem was fixed, and circulation ceased there.

And no airborne particles are entering the filter. I saw a marginal rise in water pressure as it passed through the filter.

Sometimes less is more.

Even if I may achieve the desired look by just accessorizing in my “natural” environment, I have discovered that not all accessories are compatible. Changes can be made to them. The takeaway is that not every addition to your aquarium benefits the fish and aquarium as a whole. Particularly your hearing.

Author, traveler, and Certified Law of Attraction Practitioner Gibson Goff. He is well-versed in self-help topics like the Law of Attraction, achieving one’s goals, and staying inspired. Gib enjoys sharing his optimism and inspiration through his writing.

Gib’s work can be followed at

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