I remember when I was a little kid and my parents bought me my first aquarium and several exotic fishes – I was truly delighted. Even if the tank was small, with only a few green plants, some gravel on the bottom and mostly no other decorations, I used to spend a big chunk of time in front of it daily and look at the brightly colored fishes swimming around. In time I was able to buy for the tank a water heater. It wasn’t much, as it had no temperature control and after only half an hour I would normally take it out for fear the water would get too hot for the fishes.
What I was finding fascinating back then, however, were air pumps. I remember wanting one so much and never actually getting it as a small child, but only later, as an adult.
I remember I was actually pretty upset when my mom refused to get me one, as this led to the death of one of the most beautiful and delicate exotic fishes I had ever seen up to that day – a velvety-black angelfish.
I had been told by an older kid who gave me the fish that air pumps were indispensable for angelfishes to survive in captivity and I was quite confident I would convince my folks to get me one. Well, they didn’t, and the angelfish died two days later.
Later on, I was able to build my own fish tank, equipped with everything I wanted. Right now I find myself writing with pleasure about fish tanks and aquarium decorations.
In memory of the angelfish I lost back then, my first article will cover one the air pumps I use and makes me very happy – the Danner Aqua Supreme AP-3.
Why I like this Air Pump
I usually keep the pump on a shelf slightly above the fish tank. The tank stands against the wall opposite my bed. In the evening I like to leave the lights on and watch what’s going on inside before going to sleep. BTW, I have a 20 gallons (75 liters) rectangular tank, populated with common species. No salt water extravaganzas or anything of the sort. I don’t keep rare species anymore as they tend to increase the efforts required to maintain this already high maintenance sort-of-hobby I have.
Anyway, the main reason I like this air pump is that I can keep it on without it disturbing me in any way. I don’t know about you but sometimes I like listening to some classics while watching the “plot unfolding” inside the tank – it has a way of relaxing me after a long day. I wouldn’t be able to do that with a noisy air pump. I’ll let you in on a little secret – besides the natural “quietness” of the engine, this Danner model is also equipped with four flat rubber feet which help in absorbing the vibrations in case the pump is placed on a tough, slightly unstable or vibrating surface.
However, recently the old pump broke down. I can’t believe it actually happened – having it for so long and everything, it almost made me believe it would outlast me. Luckily for me – it didn’t :). But on the downside – it REALLY broke down, I mean the engine burned out and I couldn’t do anything about it except buying a new one. No problem – Amazon has always been my friend. And it also didn’t cost much – about 11 dollars, and deployment was not complicated, but it did include a brief adventure.
I got online and searched for an air pump that would accommodate my needs – the 20 gallons tank I mentioned, with some 30 cichlids, nicely colored, some castle-ruin themed decorations in the background, a thermal regulator and plants. I’ve heard and seen a friend of mine, Mike, using a Danner pump for his own tank, and mentioning he’s quite happy about it. Good starting point, I said to myself.
To be honest, word about Danner Manufacturing had reached my ears before, but in a different context – something related to garden ponds and garden fountains… anyway – all sorts of outdoor decorations involving water. This seems to be their main business. You can check out some of their work of their Facebook page. Besides that, they’re also into fish tanks equipment, like the pump I bought on Amazon to replace my old one and about which I’m talking about below.
I’m a pretty thorough researcher when it comes to buying stuff online – but who isn’t nowadays, right guys? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m cheap, but it’s an empowering feeling sitting in your favorite armchair on a Saturday morning, coffee on your side, saying to your self – this I like, this I don’t, this I’ll keep for looking at later, and so on. Nobody hurries you and most of all, no other people around – except your own.
Anyway, that’s exactly what I’ve done for about an hour and a half – looking at air pumps, comparing features, checking producer websites and shifting through presentation materials. Of course Mike’s words about his Danner were lurking in the back of my head and after reading some more about it, I ended up buying the thing, together with some other stuff I kind of needed anyway for my tank, among which a air line tubing and a ceramic airstone diffuser, in order to reach the USD 35 minimum order value required for free shipping on Amazon.
Danner Aqua Supreme AP-3
I like the feeling of opening newly arrived products – they’re all shiny and have their accessories neatly tied up together, ready for use.
Took it out of the box. It is painted silver and dark gray – most of it silver, actually. For those of you not familiar with the product, the design is made with nice rounded corners, which as it turns out, is important for noise reduction. By the way, only by looking at it, the pump is somehow reminiscent of some high tech device – perhaps an air tank, doh 🙂 – plugged into a robotic arm or an underwater dock? I leave this to you to decide.
Anyway, this Danner pump comes with a user manual detailing the most important aspects of its operation to keep in mind, especially if you’re a new user. Here’s a very brief summary of what you need to know in my opinion.
- Placing it on a shelf above tank water level;
- Maximum water depth for correct functioning – you probably know this already, but using the pump below recommended depth puts extra pressure on the engine and may lead to some early demise. In this case, maximum water depth is 3.3 feet;
- Allowing what is called a “dripping loop” – more precisely leaving the electrical cord to make a loop on the wall before inserting it into the electrical plug. This is useful because sometimes water drops may accidentally get on the cord – this prevents it from getting into the electrical system and damaging it.
- Reminder that the product is NOT submersible into water.
The manual is actually a 4 page flimsy leaflet and such, it get easily misplaced, so you may want to be careful where you keep it after unpacking the pump. It is also used as warranty certificate and may be required by a reseller or the producer in order to replace or service the Danner in case of damage. By the way, Danner Manufacturing provides one year warranty for this. The online version of the manual can be accessed here.
One thing I wanted to mention on warranty is that the air filters, flapper valves and diaphragms are considered fall in the wearable category and their replacement is NOT covered by warranty. So make sure before you return the product for service that the malfunction is not potentially caused by one of these.
What This Danner Can Do… and What it Can’t
The Supreme AP-3 comes with only one port, able to pump 110 cubic inches of air per minute (or 1.8 liters of air per minute). This is more than enough for my 20 gallons tank. I like to keep things simple so I don’t use any splitters, but some users on Amazon say they do and that it works okay for them with two or even three of those. You can check their opinions on how the pump behaves in different scenarios here.
As I said earlier, I’ve been doing some research myself and found that Danner actually has four products in this class, with powers of 1.5, 2.8, 3.5 and 7 Watts, pushing 73, 110, 275 and 549 cubic inches per minute. So this is the second product in the series.
Unfortunately, the AP-3 is one of the two products which comes without an air flow regulator. The next two models both have one, which can prove pretty useful if you’re a hardcore user and like to fine-tune everything about your tank. Plus, such regulators are quite useful if you’re watching your electricity bills.
Buy it or not?
Depends on what you intend to use it for. I know that you don’t like the answer, but hey, with so many products to choose from, there’s no more one size fits all, and I believe that’s the beauty of the whole thing.
As I see it, Danner designed the series addressing each market segment, from entry-level to high-end, with different user scenarios in mind and some nice differentiators. I for one believe that smaller tanks, of up to 30 gallons or even more may benefit nicely from the Supreme AP-3 pump. Mine did, at least. Instead of dumbly watching TV (no offence, TV watchers), I am looking at my nice tank, with my nice 30 something fishes swimming around in a nicely oxygenated waters and putting up a show only for me. Huh, do you think I should get a life?
You have several options to buy this on Amazon. You can check them all here. To be honest I don’t see why would somebody buy the USD 20.75 one available from the Pet Palace when there are at least two brand new items available at USD 8.99 and some shipping taxes.
Anyways, thanks for reading this guys. By the way, any comments, opinions, even rants – are welcome. I don’t guarantee trolls will get published but hey, if you’re trolling fun enough, who knows?