Almost all guppy breeders with large fish rooms (thirty or more tanks) use large capacity air pumps to supply air to individual tanks via a PVC pipe distribution system. One end of the air lines is attached to the PVC pipes. The other end is connected to a simple and cheap corner filter. This simple, time-honored system has the advantage of being cheap to scale up (just add a bare tank and a couple of box filters) and it is very effective.
Manufacturers of hobby equipment have come up with a number of quite ingenious systems for pumping air, moving water, and performing biological, chemical and mechanical filtration. The collective disadvantages of such systems for the guppy breeder are cost, complexity and high maintenance requirements. For example, the outside hanging power filter with an impeller motor is prone to seize-up when the power fails or a plug is inadvertently pulled. In a thirty tank room, five or six might stop pumping air and heat up. The oxygen levels in the aquarium are immediately affected and the bacterial colony in the filter system endangered. The outside filter also has to be occasionally pulled apart and cleaned with a tube cleaner. The water level cannot drop below its intake opening. The outside filter actually harbors a lot of pathogens in the path followed by the water (intake tube and on the inside of the box).
If you have had only five or six aquariums in your fish room in the past, chances are you have experimented with various pump, filter and heating systems. Our focus will be on the fish room with 20 to 100 tanks.
In the next few sections, we’ll describe the basic parts of the guppy room. In subsequent sections we’ll describe some of the alternatives used by other breeders, such as centralized filtration systems and drip systems.