American Aquarium Products

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Frequently Asked Questions

The idea of this page is to give you an easy way to find the links you need as well as to answer your questions.

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Helpful Articles
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  2. Aquarium Lighting Facts & Information
  3. Aquarium/Pond Answers
  4. Everything Aquatic Forum
  5. Freshwater Aquarium Basics Set Up Suggestions


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Freshwater, Planted, Marine, Reef researched aquarium light information
Aquarium Lighting; Facts & Information
: The Internets most in depth/researched aquatic light information source; From Watts to PAR to Types

Information for the Proper Set Up, Maintenance, Care and Feeding for Freshwater Aquariums
Freshwater Aquarium Care, Information, Basics
Information for the Proper Set Up, Maintenance, Care and Feeding for Freshwater Aquariums/ Tanks

Pond Water circulation, Filtration, UV Sterilization, Cleaning and maintenance, Winter Care, more
A Clear Pond

For our FULL Pond Information article please visit this site.


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Please consider asking your questions here, as this also then becomes a base of knowledge for others!!
Updated 7/11/14

What is the Nitrogen Cycle?
The nitrogen cycle is the process by which organic protein based wastes are converted from toxic ammonia, to slightly less toxic nitrites, to relatively non-toxic nitrates (in some aquarium or pond systems nitrates are converted to free nitrogen or consumed by plants or algae).

For more, please see Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle FAQs or for the complete in depth article, see the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

How many lights do I need for my aquarium?
This depends on many things including;
* Tank size
* Setup
* Species
* Type of light you are looking at

You can learn more by reading our Set up suggestions article. This takes several things into account and has some very useful information!

What kind of lights are best for my setup?
This also depends on many of the same things above such as;
* Tank size
* Setup
* Species
* Budget
Once you finish determining the above aspects you are ready to look at different types of lighting. There are several different types such as SHO (Super High Output) LED, T-2, etc. Please see our Aquarium Lighting Types Article.

What is the difference between the LED single strips and the LED Duos?

The difference between the single and the duo is that the duo comes with one double power supply to support both units and the singles come with a single power supply. You can find more on our LED page.

Why is my water yellow/brown?

Always be sure to test your water parameters as yellowing can mean you have an imbalance or other underlying issues. Please see our Aquarium Chemistry Article for more information on this topic.

If your water tests fine your water can turn a yellow or brown (called Tannins) due to certain things you have in your tank such as driftwood, Bio-Lif, etc. This will not harm your aquarium inhabitants.

How do I get rid of the tannins in my tank?

After determining your tannins are not being caused by a chemical imbalance, carbon or Purigen are your best bet. You can purchase several types of carbon, the best being Bio Chem Zorb. If you have a smaller filter, such as a Hang on back, they already do have a small amount of carbon in your filter cartridge. You can get more and add it to your filter. For a smaller filter I would recommend the Nirox Active Filter Carbon. It comes in a small bag and will fit right into the filter. Please keep in mind that if you have plants in your tank, tannins are good for them.

Why is my Canister Filter losing suction?

If your canister filter is losing suction, it is typically because there is an air leak somewhere in the intake side of your setup. You can check specific problems on our Canister Filter Trouble Shooting page.

How often should I change my filter cartridges?

Filter cartridges can be changed or rinsed as often as you like, however if you do not have a "seeded" replacement you are throwing away much of your Autotrophic nitrifying bacteria, which is an important part of aquarium chemistry. I would suggest a Sponge Filter or Sponge Pre-Filter as they have the colonies of Autotrophic nitrifying bacteria that are needed, and you will not throw it out when you change your filter cartridges.
For more information on this please see:
Filter Media Care OR
Sponge Filtration

What is an Aquarium Sump?

Basic Aquarium Sump, FAQ
A sump is generally another smaller aquarium or holding tank below the main display aquarium (or aquariums in the case of a system with multiples) where by water is allowed to overflow or siphon into said "Sump Tank". Then the water is pumped back up to the aquarium (or aquariums).
Generally, an overflow is a better idea as a siphon can easily be disturbed (even by fish) and then your sump system will fail due to lack of water flow.

A sump is usually located in the stand/cabinet under the aquarium, but the sump can also be located on the other side of a wall, or in the basement, for concealment of large sumps.

This sump is is generally used to place filter systems from sponge filters, FSB Filters, wet/dry filters, Protein Skimmers, to marine Refugiums (or multiples there of).
UV Sterilizers can also be run from a sump, although it is best placed on the main return line for best results, not looped within the sump.
Reference: UV Sterilization; Sump Use

Further Information:
*Saltwater Aquarium Set-Up Suggestions
*Aquarium Filtration, Filter Use

Which Direction should water flow through the UV Sterilizer?

Most UV Sterilizers are "Non-Directional", meaning the there is no specific inlet or outlet and water can flow either direction (the exception would be the Internal UV Pumps/Filters).
UV Sterilization at American Aquarium; Water Flow

Some UV Sterilizers such as the SunSun 9 Watt Premium Compact UV can also have inlet/outlet ports adjusted to point in a direction that better suits specific aquarium or pond set up applications.
Product Resource: SunSun 9 Watt Premium Compact UV

Why is my UV Bulb not working?

UV Bulbs can stop working, or not work at all, for a number of reasons. A couple examples are moisture damage, poor ballast, etc. To find and troubleshoot your specific problem please see our UV Troubleshooting Guide.

What size and type of UV Sterilizer is best for my tank?

The size of UV Sterilizer you use also depends on what brand you use as some are not as good as others. I would recommend the Vecton line as they are simple, well built units with replacement parts readily available. To find out what size you need please see our UV Sterilization Article.

My pond has algae, will a UV Sterilizer help?

UV Sterilizers do help with algae, although it is not a cure all. If your water is green and/or cloudy, a UV Sterilizer can help with that. If you have hair algae on the sides of your pond, a UV Sterilizer will not help with that.
For more information on this topic, please see our UV Sterilization Article.

What else will help with algae control in my pond?

After determining you have the proper filtration and a UV Sterilizer for your pond, I would look at doing a veggie filter to help with algae control. Please see our Veggie Filtration Article for more information on this topic.
Also see this article: Pond Algae

My Aquarium has a considerable amount of small wiggly worms on the glass and in the water, what are these?

Despite misinformation on the Internet and forums; these are Detritus worms, NOT Planaria.
Normally these worms live harmlessly in the gravel, however when an aquarium has a large amount of organic decomposition, the population of these worms "explodes" causing these worms to swim into the water column seeking oxygen. Oxygen deprivation is the only danger these worms cause and the cure for these worms is not adding an anti-parasitic treatment, rather addressing the cause of the high amounts of decomposing organics such as with a vacuuming and/or improved filtration.
Please Read: Aquarium Trematodes, Detritus Worms

What water or air pump will work best for my application?

We offer several different types and sizes of water pumps. To determine what water pump would work best for you, and your setup (aquarium fountain, pond), please check out our Pump Specification Page.

Please be aware that for best performance and to achieve the full normal life of your water pump, it should be placed at or below the water level of the aquarium, fountain, or pond.
As well, most modern pumps are magnetic drive and are best operated fully submersed. The exceptions to this are generally stated by the manufacturer and usually these pumps are much more pricey.
Please reference the above Pumps Specification article for more about this.

For Air Pumps, as generalization it often depends upon the number of air powered outlets/devices are needed.
As well the depth of the aquarium in question can make a difference in the pump needed, as you would not want a low air volume economy air pump running an air powered device such as a Sponge Filter that in in over 18 inches of water depth.

Here are a few suggestions:

*For one basic air outlet under 18" in depth the SunSun YT 301C might fit the bill.
*For two basic air outlets under 18" in depth the SunSun YT 302C
*For a little more power & performance as well as depth, the Million Air 200 or Fusion 300 for one outlet OR the or for two outlets the Million Air 600 or Fusion 600
*If even more outlets are needed, you can purchase an airline control kit to split the existing outlets on say the Million Air 200, 600, Fusion 300 or 600.
*If more outlets as well as yet more performance is needed, our suggestion would be the Fusion 700 combined with the Lees airline control kit to split the Fusion 700s two outlets into 4 or more outlets.

Why Should I Purchase at American Aquarium Products?

  • The majority of our products are based on actual use by our sister aquarium maintenance companies

  • We spend hours per day in research, diagrams, testing, etc. In fact the majority of our man-hours are spent here, not in selling

  • Often many of the products we sell are the better version of a similar product.
    • In fact we often retrofit products to improve products prior to selling.
      It is also noteworthy that many manufacturers, especially in Asia sell products with the same name, but with DIFFERENT levels of quality and what actually comes with the product, in other words you get what you pay for.

      A good example is the SunSun line; the SunSun product you purchase on Amazon or eBay is often NOT the same item we sell, as we include pre-filters, retrofits, flow adjustments, & more

    • While American made, we have unique Wonder Shells sold NO WHERE ELSE!

    • ALL our UV Replacement Bulbs are the best Hot Cathode, Low Pressure Lamps, which are superior in UVC output
      As well many of our Compact UV Bulbs (such as the 9 Watt) have a patented heat shield which further increases output of UVC; this is a feature VERY FEW other sellers online of otherwise sell!!

  • Finally and MOST IMPORTANT, remember that we have arguably some of the most in depth and well researched articles, graphs, pictures, etc here and at our sister site (Aquarium Answers), and we provide these free of charge to 1000s of readers PER DAY as per our stats software.
    However when you use this free information, and then purchase elsewhere such as, Dr. Foster & Smith, etc., we CANNOT continue to support this website.
    Our Stats show that less than 1/10th of 1% of the users of our articles purchase from us.
    If this continues, this website will NOT continue into the future.
    Please help us support you by purchasing some of your aquarium and pond products here.
    Or please consider a donation, even just $1 helps:

I need to return my order, where do I start?

Our return policy is probably one of the easiest I have found. We do not require RMA's (Return Merchandise Authorization) and can refund up to 80% of your purchase price. For more information, please see our Return Policy.

I need to return a product for a warranty issue. Do I have to return it to the manufacturer?

We take care of any warranty issues in house, so you don't have to deal with the hassles and long wait time of returning to the manufacturer. Please follow our Warranty Return Policy.

I am looking for a (fill in the blank) and can't find it on your website, do you carry this item?

If you have looked on the webpage and tried the search bar on our website, chances are we do not carry that specific item. We only sell products we believe in and have tried and/ or used ourselves. For instance, we sell a lot of Via Aqua, but there are some pumps in their line we do not carry due to poor results. You can read more about this on our Business Bio Page.

I am trying to build my own (fill in the blank), can you help me?

We help by providing a lot of FREE resources and information throughout our entire website. We truly do like to help, however a lack of time prevents us from answering these types of questions. Please read all information and hyper links as your question is likely answered in one of our extensive articles.

Is there a discount if I order in bulk?

Sorry, but due to our already low prices we are unable to offer any further discounts. We do cap our shipping and large shipments in the lower 48 states often cost more than the customer paid. This combined with the low prices are where the discount is. For more information on this please see our Shipping Page.

Why have my products been opened?

We open and test/ check all lights, bulbs, filters etc. We do this as a customer courtesy, to ensure you get a working product that has all the parts included. Please see our mission statement for more information.

I need to change my order/ address! What do I do?

If you need to change your order, there will be a $2 Fee. This is to cover the time spent and fees charged to us, which usually exceed $2. In most cases orders canceled prior to shipping/processing can be refunded in full with no fees charged. If an order has been shipped there is no practical way to get a package back from USPS or FedEx so normal return policies apply. Please Contact Us Here.

Do I have to use PayPal to place my order?

No, we use PayPal as our primary payment option, however if you would prefer, we can send you a Google invoice.

Do I have to have a PayPal account to purchase?

No, you do not need a PayPal account to purchase. You can use your credit card and PayPal will process it without an account. However, if your credit card is linked to a PayPal account it will make you use the account. For a walk through, please see our Shopping Cart Tutorial.


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