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A Novel Aquarium Pump - Creating a Scum-Free Tank Using Rare Magnets

written by: Raunekk • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 4/29/2009

Keeping a sea water aquarium at home is an expensive and high-maintenance task. Moreover, the scum that gets generated adds to the labor. But a newly invented pump not only prevents the formation of scum, but also keeps the environment healthy. Find out how this pumps work using a rare magnet.

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    Introduction

    Cleaning a salt water aquarium tank can be a painful job. Moreover it's a high maintenance apparatus that not only needs extensive care, but is equally expensive, too. But engineers have come up with a new aquarium pump that separates into two parts and uses a rare earth magnet for the transfer of torque. The magnets are connected across the thick glass walls and the transfer of torque happens through them. The two parts of the pump consists of a propeller that remains inside the tank and a motor that stays on the outside. So how does this thing work? Let's find out!

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    Conventional Pumps Vs Magnetic Pumps

    So what's the difference between a normal pump and the new magnetic pump, and what are its benefits over the conventional pump?

    A conventional pump creates heat in the water which is harmful for the aquarium inhabitants. Moreover heat propagates the development of scum and makes the environment unhealthy. But in a magnetic pump this is not the case. It consists of two parts, a propeller that stays inside the water and a motor that remains outside. The advantage of this arrangement is that the heat from the water doesn't dissipate in the water.

    aquarium pump  

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    Why Magnetic Pumps?

    Before inventing this pump, the engineers did some brain storming as to what is required to keep the tank environment healthy. They came to the conclusion that in order to maintain a thriving and healthy environment for fishes and sea water corals in the tank, it is imperative to create an ocean-like environment. This can be done by creating the same kind of wave action as it is found in oceans. Wave action draws nutrients to the corals and removes impurities and waste. This was the main reason they thought of creating a pump with two parts.

    coral reefs  

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    Magnetic material

    The main problem the engineers faced was to create a pump where the motor can remain outside the tank. The coral reefs are extremely sensitive to heat and thus it was more important to keep the motor of the pump outside. The solution came in the form of a strong rare earth magnet that is made of Neodymium. The two parts of the magnets are joined through the thick glass of the tank. The magnets are so strong that they clamp the propeller and the motor together even through one inch thick glass. The torque created by the motor is transmitted to the propeller through the magnets, which creates waves in the tank.

    waves inside the tank  

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    Why are these magnets so strong?

    We know that a magnetic material possesses magnetism due to the continuous movement of charged electrons in its atoms. The magnets used in this pump have a very high number of charged electrons that swirl around its atom. This results in the creation of high electric current, and whenever electricity is passed through the current, a magnetic field is created. The naturally occurring magnets used in these pumps are known as lodestones. This magnets have highly organized electrons which increases their magnetism

    These magnets come in the 17th group of chemical elements. They are soft, malleable, and can easily react with other materials.

    lodestone   magnet-needle-aligned  

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    Future prospects

    These Magnetic Pumps are already in great demand due to the scum free environment they provide to the tank. The pumps have been manufactured and distributed under the name "Vortech" Pumps. Due to the great demand, the makers have formed a company, EcoTech Marine which has already made around $200,000 from sales.

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    References

    Science daily website

    Image credits

    http://www.reefdreams.co.uk/acatalog/MP40w.jpg

    http://www.thewastenotwantnotshoppe.com/catalog/ECOTECH%20MARINE_files/image001.jpg

    http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/coral/image15_650.jpg

    http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/magnet-needle-aligned.gif

    http://crystal-cure.com/pics/lodestone.jpg

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