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The use of air pumps is mainly to create surface agitation. This helps the tank keep an exchange of oxygen going. You can use one in a planted tank but the problem is that they create huge CO2 losses. In fact using one with DIY CO2 will basically negate your CO2 input.

In a well balanced planted tank the plants will provide all the oxygen the fish need. Tell the dolt at the LFS to take a hike as he doesn't know squat.
 
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