How to Use Gang Valves in an Aquarium

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An air pump is a key piece of equipment for your aquarium to help oxygenate the water and power decorative features that produce bubbles. If you have multiple decorations or features that need an air pump, you can use a gang valve to power them all with a single air pump.

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An air pump is a key piece of equipment for your aquarium.

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Air pump for a fish tank

The size and power of the air pump you select depend on several factors, including the number of features you want to power, whether your filter requires an air pump to function properly, and the size of your aquarium. While a gang valve is useful in directing the air to multiple locations throughout the tank, the air pump you select must be strong enough to produce enough air for each feature. Check the product label and consult with professionals at your local aquarium store to select the air pump that is best for your tank setup.

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Plan your tank setup

Decide what features you will be installing and where you will position them. Perhaps you will have an aquarium filter that requires air, an air stone on one end of the tank, and perhaps a bubbling treasure chest in another location. Once you know how many components will require air and their approximate location, you can ensure that you have enough tubing.

Start by installing the air pump on the outside of the tank. Many air pumps are adjustable so that you can control the airflow, but if the one you select is not, attach an air valve to give you this control.

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Install the gang valve

Direct a tube from the air pump to the gang valve. It is best to have a little slack in the tubing in case you need to adjust the positioning of the air pump, but you don't want so much slack that it may get crushed, kinked, or tangled.

Then, add tubing to connect each outlet on the gang valve to the air stone or other feature that needs air. Follow the instructions for each feature to determine where and how to connect the tubing. As you do when connecting the gang valve to the air pump, ensure there is a bit of slack in the tubing but not too much. This allows you to make adjustments without having to completely redo the tubing.

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Install check valves

A check valve ensures that air flows one way through the tubing while preventing water from flowing back up into the tubing. This is important because if the air pump breaks or stops working due to a power outage, water can flow back up the tubing and further damage the air pump if a check valve is not in place to stop it. You need a check valve for each feature that uses air.

To install the check valve, cut the tubing between the gang valve and the device. Then, connect each end of the cut tubing to each end of the check valve. Ensure the check valve is facing the correct direction. The valve should have an arrow printed on it indicating which way it should be installed. Be sure to check the instructions for the check valve you purchase for any special instructions or considerations.

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Test the setup

Each outlet on the gang valve should have an air valve or switch to turn the air on and off. Make sure any unused outlets are switched off to block air and that the outlets you use are turned on. Then, turn on your air pump and make sure everything is working properly. Make adjustments on the air pump if needed to provide more or less air so that the features are performing the way you want them to perform.

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