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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Got Algae?

Photo By Paul Michael Van Langen

Algae is an issue that can arise in any tank at any time. Algae can form in both new and old aquariums and can be troublesome to get rid of. Not only can algae be a pain but it is unsightly as well.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fruits and Veggies For Fish?!

Photo By Paul Michael Van Langen

Sounds weird, right? Not only are fruits and veggies nutritional for you but they also are a great source of nutrition for your fish!

High Ammonia In The Aquarium

Photo By Paul Michael Van Langen

Do you find yourself dealing with high ammonia in your tank? Today, we will be looking at the causes of the high ammonia as well as ways to get rid of it and how to help your fish in the meanwhile. Preventative measures will also be discussed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Don't Believe All The "Experts"

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that there are many people in the aquarium business that claim to be quote on quote "experts" when they are far from it (Thanks, Paul! lol!). On every type of media out there you will find videos, tv broadcasts, and information on the Internet about caring for your aquarium. Some of these give good advice while other fail to mention steps or just make mistakes all over the place.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Keeping The Temperature Down In An Aquarium This Summer

During those summer months there is always the chance of your aquarium overheating. Here are a few tips on how to keep the aquarium cool this summer:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Buyer Beware Of Aquarium Decorations!

Buying decorations is one of the most fun parts of having an aquarium but beware of the dangers that lurk with buying aquarium decorations!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Disassemble And Clean An Aquarium Powerhead

Have you noticed your powerhead is not functioning as well as it used to? Has it stopped working altogether? Don't throw it away; you might be able to fix it. It may just be time for you to clean it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fish of the Week: Snakeskin Gourami

Trichogaster pectoralis
Type: Freshwater

A.K.A: Siamese Gourami

Scientific Name: Trichopodus pectoralis

Origin: Asia

Temperment: Peaceful fish despite it's size

Lifespan: 3-4 Years

Teach Your Goldfish Some Tricks!

Red & White Ryukin Goldfish - Small

Have you ever wondered just how much potential your goldfish has? Goldfish are super smart and are easily trained to do tricks. Despite what some people say, I believe that fish are intelligent creatures. With a simple R2 Fish School Complete Fish Training Kit, your goldfish will not only amaze you but your friends as well!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Open Bottom Aquariums?

Sounds a little weird, right? I recently came across some video on youtube of aquariums with open bottoms.

I know what you're thinking: "If it has an open bottom, then how does the water stay in there?". That's the same question I asked myself until I saw a few of these strange aquariums.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How To Turn A Freshwater Aquarium Into A Saltwater Aquarium Part 2

Now that you have the majority of the aquarium complete, there are two factors left that will complete the look: lighting and fish.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How To Turn A Freshwater Aquarium Into A Saltwater Aquarium Part 1

Well, kind of... but not really. This article is about making a freshwater aquarium LOOK like a saltwater aquarium.

If you are like me and enjoy the way a saltwater aquarium looks but don't want the hassle of maintaining a saltwater tank, read on!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fungal Infections: The Awful Truth

Fungal infections are a very terrible thing that can occur in an aquarium. If you can learn how to identify and treat a fungus before it gets out of hand then you are one step ahead of the game. I am here to help you out!

Before we examine some of the common types of fungus, it is always good to know what is causing them in the first place. Fungus can be caused by:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Reasons Why Fish Make Good Pets

Photo By Paul Michael Van Langen

Fish make good pets for many reasons. Here are 10 good reasons why you should own fish instead of any other pet:

Turn Your Room Into An Aquarium!

If you are a true fish fan or your child is and want to turn a room into an aquarium, I have just the tools for you!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Where To Buy Exotic Fish

If you are like me, you don't like to have the average run of the mill fish. Having some exotic fish in your aquarium will get the oohs and aahs from your family and friends and make you feel like a star!

Recently I've been thinking about purchasing some new fish for my aquarium. I've been going to a few local pet stores to look for some variety to add to my tank. Every store that I went to seemed to have the same exact selection as the previous store, give or take a couple of "odd fish".

If you want to have some cool exotic new fish, I have the perfect places for you to buy these fish. I have bought some fish from the websites below and they have great prices, tons of coupons/discounts, and have a great selection of exotic fish. They also carry the same type of fish that you find in the store (if thats what you are looking for, not to mention the great prices).

These companies do their best to get your fish as quickly and comfortably to you with minimal stress on the fish.

Discount Aquarium Supplies at


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Free Class In Petaluma, CA

Need to know more about how to start up an aquarium? Would you like your aquarium to look professionally put together? Want to know more about how to maintain a healthy aquarium?

If you want to learn more about how to care for fish in the fish keeping hobby, please join me for a *FREE CLASS on fish and aquariums. presents Fish and Aquariums 101.

When: Monday April 25th 2011

Where: La Tercera Park in Petaluma

Time: 1:00 pm

If you are interested in attending this class, please e-mail me ( and let me know if you will be attending. Also, please let me know if the time that this class is scheduled doesn't work for you. I will try my best to accommodate everyone who would like to attend these classes. I will be scheduling more classes in the future.

*This class does not give credits or count towards any credentials at any accredited college or university. This is solely an educational class on how to start up and maintain an aquarium.

Territorial Fish

Betta splendens Now that you already have an established aquarium with some fish in it, you want to add some more fish to complete the look. Adding new exotic fish can be a fun and entertaining process.

But before you add more fish to the aquarium, you should know something: fish can be territorial and try to protect their ground from intruders such as your new fish. Yes, those cute little fish you've spoiled this whole time can be mean when a new potential tank buddy comes.

Here are some of the signs that your fish may exhibit when they become territorial:

- You might notice your fish hanging out in particular areas in the aquarium more than others. That rock in your tank can be the most prized possession to one fish and they will want to protect it from others trying to claim it.

- Fish chasing fish away from the particular parts of the aquarium. If you see fish nipping at other fish's fins, they are trying to chase them out.

- Fish being bullied into a corner or being constantly chased in the aquarium in an aggressive manner. You'll a fish that has become submissive and will no longer present a threat to that fish so it will hide in corners or behind aquarium decorations.

If you find your fish are acting or behaving aggressively and claiming territory, there are a few things that you can do to help before adding the new additions:

- Switch the decorations around in the aquarium. By switching the decorations around, this will eliminate staking claims on territory. It also makes your tank appear brand new! :)

- Start the new additions off by entering them into a relaxed environment. You can create a relaxed environment by leaving the aquarium lights off and keeping the room light dim. The less stress, the better the introduction of the new fish into the aquarium.

*Tip: If your fish are continually showing signs of aggression or territorial behavior towards the other fish, it may be time to consider moving the aggressive fish to another tank. Also, please make sure to check the compatibility of all the fish in your aquarium to make sure they are all compatible.

If your fish are only showing mild sign of territorial behavior, try switching the aquarium decorations every now and then. Fish do like a lot of variety and get easily bored in an aquarium that never changes.

Now for the fun part, adding the new additions.

Adding Oomph To Your Aquarium

Do you feel like your aquarium has been looking a little drab lately? Do you want to make your aquarium stand out when you compare it to others? Low on cash? I have a fairly inexpensive solution for you: Add a background!
If you have an aquarium with a painted backside, click here.
Backgrounds complete the look of a well decorated aquarium. Not only do backgrounds change the appearance of your tank but with most background purchases, you get a two-for-one special. Background for aquariums usually have two sides; once you get bored with one side, you can flip it around for a whole new look.
Depending on the type of look you are going for will help you decide which background to choose.
If you are looking for a freshwater design, check this one out:

If you are looking for a saltwater design, check this one out:

If you want some fun cartoon characters like spongebob, check here:

Or, if you want some plain backgrounds, this is the link for you:

If you have an aquarium that has a painted backside, don't worry! There are plenty of other things that you can do to make your aquarium look like new. You can try rearranging your aquarium decorations, buy new aquarium decorations, or add some new plants. Changing out the gravel is also another tank changing look.
Just adding a few new things can dress up the aquarium drastically!
If you have some before and after pictures of your aquarium, please share them with us at! (Send the pictures to
I look forward to seeing some tank transformations!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fish Anatomy

Ever tried to describe your fish to someone but didn't know what each fin was called or what the purpose of each body part was?

Keep reading and you will learn all you need to know in this short fish 101 anatomy.

So here are the details on all these parts:

Eyes: The eyes are used to find prey and maneuver around. (I figure there are a few parts they are pretty obvious but I felt compelled to list them anyway. :) )

Mouth: The mouth is used to receive food, scavenge, and to fight. With egg layers, there mouth is used to transport and relocate eggs.

Esophagus: Passes the food from the mouth towards the stomach.

Gill: Gills are the breathing mechanism for the fish. The water passes over the gills and supplies oxygen to the fish. Once the oxygen is absorbed from the water, the gills push it out of the fish.

Heart:The heart pumps blood and supplies the body parts with the oxygen in the blood that it needs to function.

Liver: The liver produces chemicals that are necessary to breakdown the food that the fish eats.

Pelvic Fin: The pelvic fins aids in keeping the fish stable and upright in the water.

Stomach: The stomach is used to process the food in order to supply the body with nutrients. The stomach stores the food

Intestine: Aids in the digestion process by absorbing nutrient.

Anal Fin: This fin is used to stabilize and steer the fish around in the water.

Ureters: Ureters are tubes that pass urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Caudal Fin: The caudal fin propels the fish forward

Kidneys: Helps retain salts in the fish's blood. (In freshwater fish.)

Scales: Provides the fish protection for their internal organs. Some fish also have sharp scale to inflict harm to predators.

Dorsal Fin: Keeps the fish upright while swimming.

Fin Ray: Bone like structures found in the fin

Swim Bladder: The swim bladder is used for buoyancy. It is filled with gas and can help the fish stay at a current depth without expending too much energy.

Brain: The brain is used to control all the fish's organs and is used to learn and hunt. Basically it does a lot. :)
Friday, April 8, 2011

The Five Senses For Fish

How do fish see? hear? smell? touch? feel?
Many people may own fish but don't know the answer to these questions. I wanted to know these answers myself so I began my quest looking through books and the internet. Here's what I found out:
Sight: Most fish have the ability to see but the way that they see is different from humans. Fish are able to focus on two things/directions at once. This type of vision is known as monocular vision. Because fish have monocular vision, they are unable to focus on any one particular thing.
When fish sleep, they sleep with their eyes open since they don't have any eyelids.
Fish also can't see more than a foot away from where they are. Even though they can't see very far, they are able to rotate their eyes 360°.
Tip: It's a good idea to turn on the room lights in a dark room before turning on the aquarium light. By doing this you will reduce the stress your fish experience while their little fishie eyes adjust to the changing light.
Sound: Yes, fish can hear. Fish don't hear things like you or I do but they do hear the vibrations in the water. It is believed that the swim bladder plays a role in helping the fish hear sound.
Smell: Fish use their sense of smell to hunt for their food. Unlike like humans, fish have their respiratory and sense of smell separate from each other so they aren't necessarily "breathing in" the smells.
Taste: Fish have taste buds but when it comes to eating, their sense of taste is short lived. Their taste buds only work for a very short amount of time. This is a possible reason as to why fish are always looking for food since they don't "taste" all the food they eat.
Feel: There is a very strong debate on whether or not fish can feel pain. To this day, there isn't a solid answer but in my opinion fish can feel pain. Perhaps fish don't experience pain the way a human does, but I believe that a fish can experience enough pain for it to alter the way a fish behaves.

Fish are amazing creatures. I find my fish to have personalities that can be strange at times but they can be quite entertaining. I also believe that they are very smart; maybe not smarter than humans but fish are very smart in their own little way.
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fish To Avoid

As the saying goes: "There are plenty of fish in the sea." In this case, there are plenty of fish in the sea that you should avoid adding to your aquarium. Here is a list of the fish you should avoid at all costs! (Especially if you want more than one fish or a community aquarium)

Catfish: Catfish not only get big but will cost you lots of money every time they outgrow your aquarium. They are also infamous for eat anything and everything that fits in their mouth. Any fish that you keep with the catfish will eventually become a snack. At one point in time, I was unaware that catfish ate as much as they do. Needless to say, the catfish I had ended up eating 14 of my prize possession fish. Save yourself the trouble and avoid this fish.

Sharks: Although people think that it sounds cool to own a shark, these guys are just as bad as the catfish. Sharks are very expensive to buy and to own since they require a huge amount of space to live in, top of the notch filtration and lots of live food.

Venomous Spined Fish: There are some freshwater and saltwater fish that have venomous spines. Fish that have these spines can do some serious damage to you and send you on a trip to the hospital, Not only can they harm you but those spines are there to harm other fish as well. Take my word; yet another fish you should avoid no matter how cute or cool they look.

Puffers: This category includes the freshwater puffers as well. These fish are very aggressive and will harm fish with their very sharp teeth. This fish is best kept alone. So unless you want this fish to inhabit your aquarium all by itself, don't purchase these fish.

Crabs and/or Crayfish: Unless you are extremely experienced in keeping these types of "fish", don't get them. These guys are extremely sensitive to their environment and die very easily. Crayfish also have claws and use them to protect themselves from the other fish in your aquarium. Brackish tanks are required for these guys.
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What Is Water Hardness and How Do I Test It?

Fish are sensitive to water quality. Not only are fish sensitive to nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and ph but they are also sensitive to water hardness.
Water hardness is the way you measure the amount of dissolved mineral salts in your water. You can check the water hardness a few ways:
- You can check with the company that supplies the water to your house
- Purchase a Freshwater Hardness Aquarium Test Kit
- Take a sample of water to your local pet store where they can test the water hardness for you.
In most cases you don't need to worry about water hardness but it is something to keep in mind if you are experiencing issues with your aquarium.
If you do find that there is an issue with the water hardness in your area, there are ways that you can fix the issue:
- If your water is too hard, you can add distilled water or rainwater to soften the hardness.
- If your water is too soft, you can add Crushed Coral
or dolomite to harden the water. Keep in mind that this method can alter your ph levels so please check your water by testing it.

Keeping A Logbook Of Your Aquarium(s)

If you have one or multiple aquariums running it can be hard to keep track of all the fish you own. The best solution to keeping track of everything is to keep a logbook that will keep all the information organized for you.
Depending on how detailed you want to get, you can record daily or weekly. Too much can change in a day, let alone a week so I recommend logging in your logbook as often as possible.
If you need some help figuring out what to log or to track, I have provided a list for you on possible things that you might want to track:
- Feeding schedule
- Any addition of chemicals
- Illnesses and which fish are infected
- Log when you tested the water and what the readings are
- Any changes in fish behavior
- Filter maintenance
- Filter cartridge changs
- Temperature readings
- Any future shopping needs such as fish food, or filter cartridges
- When you need to schedule your next water changes
If you make a logbook and would like to share it with others on, please submit your video, pictures, or story to or leave a comment. If you have any other things that you would like to add that should be tracked, please let me know. :)
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Keeping Live Plants Planted In Your Aquarium

Having live plants in your aquarium can make it look beautiful but if the plants keep getting unearthed by obnoxious fish, it can get tedious having to constantly replant them. I have found a solution that can help you with that problem.
If you have multiple plants in multiple areas of your aquarium you can use a plastic grid that you can cut holes in to hold the roots down.
Here's how to do it:

If you would like to purchase these plastic grids to help keep your plants planted, please e-mail me with your name, address and the quantity you would like to buy and I will give you details on how to make a payment. I accept paypal. Please e-mail me if you have any questions about the plant grid.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What To Look For When Purchasing New Fish

Purchasing fish might seem as easy as going to your local pet store and selecting the ones you want but a few more things need to be considered before buying fish.

1st Consideration:
First, you should consider where the best place is to buy your fish. The best place to buy your fish is at a local pet store that specializes in fish. The best way to find out about local shops is to do some investigative work and find out which shop best suits your needs. Your local pet shops can be very helpful when you need to learn how to setup an aquarium or troubleshoot aquarium problems. Most of these types of pet shops can also test your aquarium water for free.

2nd Consideration:
When you are ready to purchase fish, you should spend a few minutes observing the fish in the aquarium. By observing them before purchasing them you can help prevent the likelihood of getting a sick fish. Look for signs of distress such as the fish hanging out by the heater, little to no movement or hanging out at the top of the water (given that the fish is not a top dwelling fish). Another fish to avoid is a fish that has white little spots all over the body; AVOID THIS FISH AT ALL COST! This fish is sick with Ich!
(If you want more information on ich, check this out: Does My Fish Have Ich Or Some Other Common Freshwater Fish Illness

3rd Consideration:
Make sure you do your homework. Research, research, research! By doing lots of research before you buy fish, you will avoid compatibility issues with your fish and fish death.

4th Consideration:
Is the store clean? Are the tanks clean?
Don't buy from a store that doesn't keep their livestock happy and healthy. By buying from a store that has sickly or tons of dead fish in the aquariums, you are promoting the neglect and mistreatment of these fish. If you see a whole bunch of dead fish in an aquarium, chances are the fish that are alive have diseases and may die or spread disease.
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Aquarium Fanatics Wanted:

Are you an aquarium enthusiast like me and want to submit an article to

I am always looking for writers that enjoy writing about interesting topics that have to do with fish and aquariums and/or ponds.

You will get to see your name on a published article on the worldwide web! :)

There is no deadline for submissions and no minimum amount of words.

If you feel compelled to write and have a passion about fish, feel free to write something and submit it to Please title your e-mail " article".

Write away!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Type Of Fish Do I Have?

By looking at a fish's anatomy, you can learn a lot. The way the mouth is positioned on a fish can help you determine what type of diet a fish has.
When thinking about purchasing fish, knowing these few simple facts can help you determine which fish might not be suitable for your community aquarium.
There are three different mouth types: inferior, superior, and terminal.

-Superior mouths are those that are found on fish such as guppies and bettas. The mouth is upturned and are an indication that those particular fish are top of the water feeders. Top of the water feeders are usually omnivorous and eat both plant and meaty foods.

-Inferior mouths are on fish that are bottom feeders such as a plecostomus. The inferior mouth is downturned and can either be shaped like a mouth or suction-cup like. Inferior mouthed fish tend to have a diet that consists mostly of plant matter.
Inferior mouths that are also accompanied with whiskers are predatory and should not be in community aquariums.

The last type of mouth found on fish is the terminal position mouth. The mouth sits straight in front of the face.
The terminal position mouth is found on the mid water dwellers and is commonly seen on the goldfish.

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Fish of the Week: Garra Rufa / Doctor Fish

*There is very little information on the internet in regards to how to care for these type fish. The following information that is provided here is to be taken with caution; I have gathered some of this information from the internet as well as gathered data from being a garra rufa owner.
If you find any of this information to be incorrect, please let me know and I will correct it. :)
A.K.A: doctor fish, kangal fish, nibble fish, doctorfishen, reddish log sucker,  cyprinion macrostomus
Type Of Fish: Freshwater
Origin: Turkey
Member of: Cyprinidae
Temperment: Can be an aggressive fish and may attack other fish similar in size or smaller. These fish can be shy in smaller groups. The bigger the group of garra rufa, the more of a pack mentality
Size: 5.9 inches
Aquarium Size: a minimum of ten gallons per garra rufa
Food: Algae wafers, blood worms, sinking pellets, tubifex worms. These little guys have a very high metabolism and are always looking for something to eat. Make sure to provide your garra rufa with a healthy diet.
Life Span: unknown
Aquarium Conditions:
-ph: 7.3
-temp: 78-82°F
Breeding: unknown (There is commercial breeding in which hormones are injected into the female fish.)
Sexing: The females tend to have a rounder belly than the males.
Tank Mates: Other garra rufas. This fish is best kept in groups of five or more garra rufas.
Where To Purchase: These are very hard to come by and may be almost impossible to acquire. If you would like to purchase some, I may be able to acquire some for you. Please contact me and let me know if you would like some. You can e-mail me at

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Why does An Aquarium Need To Cycle: The Nitrogen Cycle

The process of cycling an aquarium is important. But why?

In this article, I would like to explore why we cycle our tank and why certain chemicals are important to monitor using a test kit.

In order for fish to survive, there have to be certain elements in the water (or the absence thereof).  The three main chemicals that are involved in the nitrogen cycle are: Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. These three chemicals go through a cycle known as the nitrogen cycle.

The cycle in an aquarium starts off by fish being present in the aquarium. The fish eat food and the waste products from the fish turn into ammonia. The ammonia is then converted into Nitrites. Eventually the Nitrites turn into Nitrates. These Nitrates are then used by the plants in the aquarium in the photosynthesis process and in return the plants release oxygen.

If there aren't any live plants in the aquarium, the nitrates are removed by you when the  aquarium is cleaned.

If you would like to learn how to cycle your aquarium, please check out this link: How to Cycle A Freshwater Aquarium Without Using Any Fish

What is Ammonia and why do I test for Ammonia?

- Ammonia is the what the fish waste turns into when it decomposes. If fish food is left behind in the aquarium this also decomposes and turns to ammonia.

-The reason why you need to test for ammonia is because any amount of ammonia left in the aquarium can be deadly for fish. If the high ammonia content doesn't kill the fish, it can cause ammonia burns and can affect the way your fish breathes. There should be no ammonia in the tank. If you test and there is ammonia present, then it is time to clean the aquarium. If you would like help on cleaning your aquarium, please check this link out:How to Clean A freshwater Aquarium

Discount Fish Supplies at
If you have cleaned your aquarium and still have problems getting rid of ammonia I suggest that you use ammo lock or Amquel Plus.

What are Nitrites and why do I test for them?

-After the ammonia breaks down it converts into nitrites.

-The reason why we test for nitrites is to see where in the nitrogen cycle the aquarium is currently at. If there is also a lot of nitrites in the aquarium, it can be deadly for the fish as well. Nitrites will rise after there has been a spike of ammonia.

Water changes will help rid the aquarium of nitrites. You may also use aquarium salt; 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons. A chemical that also may assist you in lowering the level of nitrites is Amquel Plus; This chemical rids the aquarium of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

What are Nitrates and why do I test for them?

-Nitrates are the final product of the nitrogen cycle before the cycle continues. Nitrates are converted nitrites. Small traces of nitrates might not be as deadly to your fish but can cause other things, such as algae blooms, and algae blooms can kill your invertebrates.

The best way to get rid of nitrates is to clean the aquarium. If you have cleaned the aquarium and the levels still haven't dropped down, you can use Amquel Plus.

No particular chemical in the aquarium should have any high readings whatsoever. It is very important to make sure that each and every chemical is under control.

Well I hope I have helped you understand the importance of the nitrogen cycle and why its important to test your water.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! :)

How To Aerate And Decorate An Aquarium

There are many things you can do to decorate your tank but you can use a
decoration that will also help aerate your aquarium.
Aerating the tank adds oxygen to the aquarium and helps filter the water
better by pushing the water around the aquarium. This will provide your
fish with much needed oxygen.

There are many types of airstones that you may use to aerate the aquarium:

Airstone Bars

If you would like to create a wall of bubbles in the background, then I would suggest that you purchase the airstone bar.

The airstone bar can also appear to add a layer of depth to the aquarium as well.


Your average 1 inch airstone.

Depending on the type of effect you want to add to your aquarium will determine what

airstones you will need to purchase.

You might also want to try an even more interesting effect by adding a small airstones underneath any aquarium decoration that has small holes in it; the air bubbles will come up through the holes. This will create the effect of a small bubble streams that your fish will enjoy swimming through.

In order to use airstones, there are three things you need to buy: the airstone(s), of course, air tubing, and an air pump. The size of the air pump that you need to buy will depend on the size of the aquarium that you own.

If you would like to have multiple airstones running at once in your aquarium, you may purchase an aquarium gang valve. The aquarium gang valve
splits the air from one air pump to multiple airstones.

The Setup process doesn't take very long and looks beautiful once you set it up.