Installation technical items

Aquarium technology

Here’s how to install your technical aquarium items safely and easily

Assuming you don’t want your technical equipment on show in your aquarium, it’s best to cover them with stones, wood and plants, during the setup. It certainly makes a lot of sense to install the technical items in the aquarium FIRST before setting up the rest. Let’s have a look at the technical items:

1. Substrate heating

In general you can only install a substrate heater during the initial setup because it needs to be positioned BELOW the substrate. Attach the suction cups enclosed to the borders of the bottom pane and then install the undergravel heating cable. Always start with the beginning of the “warm cable” because the undergravel heating cable has a certain length of cold, NON-heating lead, which does NOT warm up. This part should run from outside the substrate to the water surface and from there to the transformer. As an alternative you can also permanently and safely attach the heating cable with silicone adhesive dots to the bottom pane ( JBL AquaSil black ).

You can find suitable products for this category here: Undergravel heating .

2. Aquarium heaters

Automatic heating elements, such as JBL PROTEMP S 25 switch themselves off when they reach the water temperature set on the heater top. You can place the JBL heaters anywhere inside the aquarium, even hidden behind the decoration. But around the heater area a certain water circulation should always be available. The pilot light can’t be seen any more when the heater is completely covered. This is not a big problem, but the light does show you when the heater in on.

You can find suitable products for this category here: PROTEMP Heater stat external & internal .

As an alternative to heating rods, there are external heaters ( JBL PROTEMP e300 / JBL PROTEMP e500 ), that are integrated into the water-returning hose of the external filter. This means you need an external filter for their installation. These heaters heat the water flowing through them and have a digital display where the water temperature is easy to read.

3. Thermometer

Choose a position where the thermometer can easily be read and isn’t too distracting visually. The position can be freely selected, since the water needs the same temperature everywhere in the aquarium.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Thermometer .

4. Internal filter

Internal filters are mostly installed in the rear corners. Here they are discreet and can be slightly covered by plants and decoration elements. Don’t lean elements of decoration against the filter because it needs to be taken out of the aquarium for cleaning.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Internal filters .

5. External filter suction pipe/outflow pipe

Suction and outflow pipe of your external filter should BOTH be attached to the left or right side. This creates a water circulation from the outflow pipe to the opposite side and then near the bottom returning back to the suction pipe. It’s good when you can see the strainer through the front pane, so that you can see when it’s clogged by waste, such as leaves.

You can find suitable products for this category here: External filters .

6. Surface skimmer

For the attachment you have the choice between the left or right rear corner. The surface skimmer has (extends) the same function as your filter suction pipe and should, similary to the suction pipe, be installed in proximity to the outflow pipe of the external filter.

A suitable surface skimmer is the JBL TopClean II .

7. CO2 diffuser

Feel free to position your CO2 reactor (diffuser) anywhere in your aquarium. Here you have the choice between an expandable diffuser ( JBL PROFLORA CO2 TAIFUN SPIRAL 5 or JBL PROFLORA CO2 TAIFUN SPIRAL 10 ) and a small attractive membrane diffuser for aquariums up to 400 l ( JBL PROFLORA CO2 TAIFUN GLASS ). If the CO2 reactor is not visible because it is hidden behind the decoration, you can control the amount of CO2 supplied via an external bubble counter ( JBL PROFLORA CO2 Count Safe ). If your CO2 diffuser is shorter than your aquarium height, place it as low as possible in your aquarium so that the water pressure is higher and the diffusion path to the water surface is longer.

8. Inline diffuser for CO2

If you don’t want to have a CO2 diffuser INSIDE the aquarium you can have the CO2 blown into the water by the returning water flow of the external filter. For this purpose the JBL PROFLORA Direct has been developed. It can simply be integrated into the outlet filter hose.

9. Air stone

The position of the air stone is up to you. Just take care that the filter can’t draw in air bubbles.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Air pumps .

10. Automatic feeder

Please check where your aquarium cover or cover pane offers a possibility for the attachment. You need a hole of about 4 x 4 cm in size where the food can fall onto the water surface.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Automatic feeder .

11. Circulation pumps

You can fix the circulation pump(s) in freshwater aquariums to support the flow of water from the filter outlet. A change in the current direction is not required. For a marine aquarium it is useful to change the flow direction by means of one or two timers, similar to ebb and flow every 6 hours.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Pumps .

12. Cooling

Cooling fans should be fixed on one longitudinal side of your aquarium, so the air flow can cover the longest possible water surface to cause maximum cooling by evaporation.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Cooling .

13. UV-C water clarifier

UV-C water clarifiers are always installed outside the aquarium with a separate water pump (JBL ProFlow u). Ideally, use either a vertical mounting for the air in the water to escape with the water flow to the top – or alternatively a horizontal mounting with the water connections upwards so that the air bubbles in the water can escape to the top here too. It is important to follow the recommended pump output!

You can find suitable products for this category here: PROCRISTAL water clarifier .

14. Lighting

The lighting, whether if fluorescent tube or LED, ought to be installed as close as possible to the water surface. Mostly this is predetermined by the mount. It is important that the lighting can’t accidentally fall into the water. If this should happen, your lamp requires protection class IPX7 against short immersion into water to protect you from an electric shock.

You can find suitable products for this category here: Lighting .

15. Making aquarium technology quieter

Even though most technical devices for the aquarium are already on the quiet side, there can still be some annoying noises. Often there is a splashing, sometimes a humming or even a rattling. It is disturbing and we would prefer it to stop. Here’s how to deal with these nuisances:

The JBL external filters of the CristalProfi e range count amongst the very quiet filters, but they can still seem too loud. It may help to place the filter container on an insulating underlay (JBL AquaPad 30x60 cm). Simply cut out a suitable piece or even place two cutouts on top of each other.

If the filter itself is making a noise, there is usually a malfunction. It may be that it has drawn in air and that this makes a noise whenever air gets into the impeller. Set the filter at a slight angle and then listen to see if the noise subsides. If it does, it is due to trapped air. This problem should disappear on its own after a few minutes. If not, the filter is drawing in air and you need to check where this "leak" is located. Replacing the rubber seal between pump head and filter canister will often help.

If you hear rattling noises or undefinable sounds, the pipes might be hitting the panes, for example, and vibrating. If you pull out the plugs of your technical devices one by one, you will find the culprit. A simple and effective remedy is to "isolate" the contact surface by means of cut aquarium tubing or even a little silicone adhesive that acts as a buffer (JBL AquaSil).

Diaphragm pumps for air generation can often cause a din. It’s not so much because they are noisy in themselves, but rather because their vibrations cause them to move around a bit and then bang against the cabinet or other objects. By unplugging the devices, you can quickly find out if it was the diaphragm pump and simply remedy the situation. Again, using foam to prevent the air pump from wandering around often helps. Ideally, the air pump should be hung on the wall. That would eliminate the possibility of it wandering around! (Anyway, air pumps should never be operated below the water surface, as water could flow back in the hose!). JBL has already fitted a silencer and special noise-absorbing rubber feet to its ProSilent air pumps. These tips therefore apply more to pumps that do not have such noise dampers! By the way: The more back pressure (i.e. reduced power via lever) a diaphragm air pump gets, the more vibrations it generates.

Overflow shafts at aquariums are regularly regarded as nuisances when watching TV! Here the water falls over a glass edge, often with a plastic comb, into the shaft and causes noise. Inserting filter sponge into the shaft invariably dampens this "waterfall noise" very well. However, the sponge MUST be cleaned regularly, as it also acts like a filter and can become clogged! It makes sense to place a pipe in the middle of the overflow shaft for safety, so that the water always finds a route, even with a clogged sponge!

Splashing sounds from the water returning from the filter:

The water that flows from the filter back into the aquarium can certainly be noisy. But it doesn’t have to! The pipe the recirculated filter water comes from should always be placed BELOW the water surface. This way, the filter water can slightly move the water surface in the aquarium (to bring enough oxygen into the aquarium water) and at the same time not expel too much CO2, which the plants need to grow. The more the water surface is moved, the more carbon dioxide (CO2) is expelled from the water. The effect is similar to shaking a cola bottle: Shaking the bottle expels the CO2 and the cola tastes very flat afterwards.

Installing aquarium technology, where do the heater and filter go?

Technology first or setup first? We show you the first steps in setting up your aquarium. How do you position your filter suction and return pipe to create the correct flow in the aquarium? Where does the heater go?

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