If you own an aquarium, you’ll know that an aquarium air pump is a highly recommended accessory.
An air pump is not essential, but they can be as important and necessary as any other accessories in your aquarium.
An air pump is a device that used to move and circulate the air in your aquarium. The air pump often functions under pressure. A typical aquarium air pump will circulate air by using an electromagnet system to rapidly vibrate a rubber diaphragm to cause disturbance and vibration for the water.
Even though an air pump is not absolutely essential for the survival of your fish, they bring many benefits for the fish, giving them a more comfortable life and your tank a prettier look. After hours of researching, we decided to present to you a list of best aquarium air pumps available on the market.
Table of Contents
- Best Air Pump for Aquarium
- Best Aquarium Air Pump Reviews
- Benefits of aquarium air pump
- Types of aquarium air pumps
- What is the best aquarium air pump?
- How to choose an aquarium air pump?
- How to set up an aquarium air pump?
- How to quiet your aquarium air pump?
Best Air Pump for Aquarium
There are many types of aquarium air pumps in the market with many different features. It is not difficult to find one, but it may be difficult to find the best one.
|Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications||- Up to 300 Gallons|
|Active Aqua Air Pump||- Up to 400 GPH|
|Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump||- Up to 1100 GPH|
|EcoPlus Outlet Commercial Air Pump||- Up to 1300 GPH|
|Fluval Q2 Air Pump||- Between 50-160-Gallon|
|Aqua-Supreme AP-8 Aquarium Air Pump||- Up to 75 Gallons|
Best Aquarium Air Pump Reviews
1. Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications
The Whisper air pumps are the most powerful and popular line of air pumps from the Tetra company. The air pumps come in 7 different sizes, making it easy for you to choose the one that best fit your tank size.
The Tetra Whisper Air Pump keeps your aquarium oxygen level high and also helps keep your fish happy and healthy by producing a water circulation and vibration. This will help improve the water condition in the tank overall. The underwater bubbles produced by the air pump also add a pretty touch to enhance the look of your aquarium.
This air pump has a unique dome shape design and rubber feet to stick on the glass of your tank. Thanks to this special design, the sound wave frequencies created by the air pump are flattened. Therefore, they would not be reflected off other surfaces such as tables and shelves, etc…This feature helps the pump produce a minimal level of noise, making it very quiet when functioning.
This air pump is powerful enough to be used in deep tanks (up to 8 feet deep), power long decorator air stones or even multiple air stones at once and activate protein skimmers for salt water aquariums.
Even though overall, this is a very good air pump, there is a problem with it. This product is designed to be quiet. However, there is an expiration date for everything. After a long time of use, even when the pump still functions properly, it can become a little noisier. So if you won’t be bothered by the noise, you will not have to worry about the longevity of this product.
- Lifetime limited warranty
- Unique dome shape design
- Powerful vibration
- Produce mesmerizing underwater bubbles
- Come in different sizes
- Become noisier with age
2. Active Aqua Air Pump
The Active Aqua Air Pump comes in one universal size of 7″ length x 5.5″ width x 11″ height. Even though it only has one size, it comes in several outlets options for your convenience, making it easier for you to choose an appropriate size aquarium air pump for your tank. With an 8 outlet size option, 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water is cycled per minute and about 400 gallons per hour.
The air pump consumes little power. With many other electric-fueled accessories in your tank, an energy efficient air pump can save you much on the electric bill at the end of the month.
The Active Aqua air pump has a box-liked design. There are special artificial rubber legs to keep a steady air flow output to the tank. The pressure delivered can be adjusted freely with the knob on top of the air pump.
The product is designed to be extra quiet with multi-level muffler, making sure it does not constantly make loud, inconvenient noises.
The pump itself is powerful and strong enough to efficiently moves much air around the tank in a short period of time. With a pressure control knob on top, you can control how much air and how strong the air should be pumped in your tank to choose an appropriate level for your tank size.
There are a few small problems with this air pump. It is not waterproof even though it is also not too weather sensitive. So if you plan to use the air pump outdoor, remember to cover the pump from elements. The pump does not come with any included tubings. So if you don’t have already have some, you will have to other a few tubes separately.
- Powerful, strong
- Pressure control knob
- Many outlet options for convenience
- Energy efficient
- Extra quiet with multiple-level mufflers
- Not waterproof
- Does not come with tubing
3. Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump
This air pump is a commercial pump with 8 outlets, letting you using one air pump for multiple water farms or multiple air stones at once without any hassle.
Furthermore, the feature that makes this product truly for commercial purpose is its ability to switch on and off each outlet individually thanks to a multi-outlet divider. If you use this air pump for multiple water farms or air stones, this feature will give you more control over each farm or stone.
The case is built with high-quality aluminum alloy case, guarantee its durability. The cylinders and pistons are also made with wear and tear resistant materials to help them last longer.
The air pump includes an electrical magnetic air compressor. Because of this compressor, this product provides high water pressure and high output. Within an hour, the air pump can cycle around 1100 gallons.
Aquarium air pumps often have a problem with loud noises. In order to deal with that problem, the active Aqua Commercial is designed to be extra quiet with multiple levels of mufflers.
Though this is a great air pump, it has its own problem. After a long period of running, the air pump becomes a little warm and the heat can rise up. Since the air pump is not located inside the tank, the temperature of it does not matter much. And even when it gets hot, it still remains at a warm temperature so it will not burn you or anything. However, it is still an issue that you should be aware of.
- Multiple outlets
- Multiple-outlet dividers to control each outlet separately
- High-quality aluminum alloy case
- Tear and wear-resistant built
- Electrical magnetic air compressor
- Extra quiet with multiple level muffler
- Tubes can be short
- Gets warm when used for a long time
4. EcoPlus Outlet Commercial Air Pump
The EcoPlus Commercial Air pump comes in 4 different sizes, making it easier for you to choose the one that is most appropriate for your tank size. Together with sizes, the air pump also comes with a selection of outlets, ranging from 4 to 16 outlets. Thanks to a number of outlets, a single EcoPlus air pump can provide oxygen for multiple aquariums, fish farms and hydroponic systems at once.
The case is made of high-quality aluminum alloy. The cylinder and pistons are also made of excellent materials, guarantee the long-lasting value of the product.
The air pump includes an efficient compressor, making the water pumping feature extra strong, providing lots of air for your aquarium. The average functional level is 793 gallons per hour and it will take up only 18 watts of power usage.
The EcoPlus is a great and efficient pump, yet there are a few small problems with it. Since it is efficient in pumping air, sometimes it can be too strong. Because there is no switch or button to adjust the level of water pressure, make sure you get the appropriate pump for your tank so the water current won’t be too strong for your fish and plants.
Another problem is with the noise. Even though this air pump is quite quiet, being a commercial air pump, it can still be a little loud for somebody. If you plan to set up this air pump inside your bedroom, its sound may bother you. But if you set the pump in the living room or outdoor, you can barely hear the noises.
- A chrome manifold is also included.
- Powerful, strong
- Come in different sizes
- Wide range of outlets
- Durably built with excellent materials
- Too strong water pressure
- Noise still may be loud
5. Fluval Q2 Air Pump
This product is a small, compact air pump. It has a simple, rectangular, box-like design. It has a dimension only of 3.2 x 7.8 x 6.4 inches and weighs only 2.1 pounds. The Fluval Air pump is a powerful series, and the Q2 is the second one in this series.
Despite its size, this air pump is significantly powerful and strong. It is efficient enough for any tank between 50 to 160 gallons.
The air pump comes with a smart and efficient design. With the advanced swing-arm and diaphragm design, the air pump can produce a consistent air flow that is not only strong but also stable. Thanks to this air flow, the water in the tank are provided with more air, circulated and aerated. This will help improve the level of oxygen for your fish and aquatic plants.
The air pump is also built with a double walled construction design. Together with that, the product is integrated with an excellent pump and engineered with a noise suppressing baffle chamber. Thanks to all those features, the Q2 is extra quiet.
Overall, this air pump is quality constructed and can provide a lasting and reliable performance for your aquarium, especially with such small size. However, the size can be a double-edged sword. This product does not come with a variety of sizes so as a customer, you only have one size to choose. Even though it can range from 50 to 160 gallons, if you have a bigger aquarium, one pump will not be efficient enough. In that case, you‘ll need to use multiple pumps at once.
- Small, compact design
- Efficient and powerful
- Designed with special technology for quieter performance
- Cheaper price than many others in the market
- No variety in size
- Can be small for larger tank
6. Aqua-Supreme AP-8 Aquarium Air Pump
This air pump has quite a large dimension of 10 x 8 x 6.5 inches. However, it only weighs 2.4 pounds. The pump is an aqua adjustable system that comes with 8 outlet air pumps.
The product is designed with a customer-focus on the mind so it is extremely easy to use and does not need any complicated set up before use.
The air pump is energy efficient. It uses only about 7 watts of electricity for each pump. By the end of the month, you will thank this feature for your impressive cut on the electric bill compared to many other aquarium air pumps.
The compressor and machine parts are equipped with high-quality technology, making the product very efficient with pumping a large amount of air into the tank. The pump is equipped with a pressure control knob so you can adjust the level of pressure the pump releases into the tank.
It is also very quiet and does not make loud noises when functioning, especially at a lower setting.
The problem with this pump is its non-waterproof feature. The air pump is quite large, which means it is capable of pumping air into large tanks, ponds, and aquariums. Those large tanks are often set outdoors. However, because it is not waterproof when set outside, you will have to add a layer of protection or some types of covering to protect the pump from weather elements.
- Come with 8 outlet pumps
- Easy to use
- Energy efficient
- Quiet when functioning
- Pressure control knob
- Efficient and powerful
- Not waterproof
- Can be louder or quieter depending on the setting
Benefits of aquarium air pump
As stated earlier, an air pump is not absolutely necessary for your aquarium or fish tank. Without an air pump, your fish and aquatic plants might be able to have enough oxygen naturally themselves. However, an air pump does help much with water circulation. Because of that, it also helps with the release of carbon dioxide from the water and the intake of oxygen from the air for the fish. If you have an air filter installed, the filter is supposed to be able to do this by itself, but for larger tanks, an air pump helps a lot with the process.
Besides water circulation, sometimes an aquarium air pump is necessary for more specific purposes. If you have accessories that can only be run by an air pump, it’s obvious that you have to have an air pump. For example, any fish tank setup needs to have some filters, and some filters need an air pump to operate. Since the filter is essential, if having an air pump is what it needs to get the filter running then you have to get an air pump.
Other types of accessories that may need air pumps to work but do need air pumps to work more effectively. Those accessories can be the protein skimmers in salted water tanks, the spin wheels for decoration, or any decoration that needs to lift objects or turn valves. Air pumps especially work well with air stones, a type of decoration used to create small underwater bubbles.
Types of aquarium air pumps
There are a few ways to categorize aquarium air pumps. One of those ways is to categorize them according to its functionality and features, depending on what you are looking for. Here are a few types of aquarium air pumps available.
- Powering under gravel filter: If you need an aquarium air pump to power your under gravel filter inside your tank, then depending on the size of your tank, you can choose the type of air pump that size of an aquarium is rated for.
- Powered by sizes: Sometimes air pump can be categorized by size, not by the tank size but the pump size itself. The size of the tank is a factor but also you need to account the accessories and objects inside the tank as well. If an air pump is needed to run a lot of accessories, you will need a larger air pump than when you don’t need the air pump to power many objects.
- Deepwater application: Most air pumps are designed for standard purposes, if not stated otherwise. If you have a high/deep aquarium which is at least 18 to 20 inches in high, you will need a special deep water air pump. Air pumps for this type will be advertised as having the functions and features appropriate for pumping air much farther below the water surface.
Having a normal air pump for a deep aquarium may easily cause the uneven distribution of oxygen in the tank and also cause oxygen deprivation for the lower part of the tank.
- Power source: you can also choose an air pump based on its source of power. Most standard air pumps are the plug-in types, which means they need to be plugged into a power outlet at all time for energy. However, there is also the battery powered type of air pump that is more portable but requires external battery packs.
In many occasions, the air pumps can offer dual options: both plug-in and battery powered. This dual power option is very convenient. In cases, you can plug them in but there is still a backup battery power option when there’s a power outage.
What is the best aquarium air pump?
This is a difficult question to answer. Since there are many factors involved in judging an air pump, it is unfair to compare the air pumps together when their selling points are different. That’s why the question should be read as “What is the best aquarium air pump for you?“
The list above presents the top 6 aquarium air pumps and we stand by their quality. However, choosing which one is the best for you is more of a personal choice for you. In the next section, we will show you a few tips to choose the right air pump for you.
How to choose an aquarium air pump?
There are a few factors that are important and highly relevant to your search for the right aquarium air pump. Consider these factors carefully before choosing so you’ll know you’ll get a perfect fit for your tank, your fish, and your aquatic environment.
- Tank sizes: The rule to choose for this step is straightforward and simple. If you have larger tanks, you will need to have stronger air pumps or have more than one pump at once in order to deliver an efficient enough amount of air to the tank. Check the tank size ratings for your air pump to find the one that fits.
If you are using an air pump only to operate an under gravel filter then the tank size ratings on your air pump are also highly relevant. If you purchase an air pump that is too strong, it can blow the floor gravel.
If you have a tank that is not a standard size (too large or too high compared to standard sizes) then the tank size ratings on the pump do not mean much anymore. You will have to test out and see how efficient a pump is for your whole tank and adjust if needed.
- Objects and decorations: The more things you are running using your air pump, the larger and stronger an air pump you will need. The few things you are running from your air pump, the smaller capacity of an air pump you will need. Remember to take everything that needs to run or pushed by an air pump into account before deciding the strength level of the air pump.
- Objects resistance: Besides the quantity of objects and decorations that need the support of an air pump in your tank, you also need to consider the objects’ “quality.” That means the more resistance the objects and decorations you are pushing air through, the larger an air pump you will need.
For example, a large air stone will provide more resistance than smaller air stone, therefore you will need a stronger air pump for the larger stones. Also, any air stone will provide more resistance than no air stone at all.
In some cases, the different materials that made up the stones and their shapes can provide different levels of resistance even when they are the same sizes.
- Special need: Like mentioned above, the deep tank often requires a more special type of air pump. If your tank is more than 18 to 20 inches high, you will need to get a special deep water air pump that can pump air much further below the water surface. Or else, your tank may not be provided with an appropriate and even amount of oxygen.
How to set up an aquarium air pump?
There are different ways to set up your air pump depending on what air pump you have. One of the best ways to set up your air pump correctly is to follow the manual carefully. Don’t take the manual lightly, since there are fish’s lives on the line if you don’t install an electronic device correctly into the tank.
Besides the manual, here are a few tips to help you set up your aquarium air pump better.
- Think about where you’ll put the air pump on. It has to be a solid surface. Do not put your air pump on a follow container since it will resonate with the pump and amplify the pump noises.
- Place it in the middle. Regardless of what surface you are placing your air pump on, place it in the middle of the surface. This is so that when the pump functions and vibrates, it will not fall off the edge of the surface.
- Don’t put it on top of the fish tank or any shelf hanging off the fish tank. Even if you fix the air pump firmly on the shelf or the lid of the tank so it will not vibrate away and fall into the water, the vibrations from the air pump will travel through the shelf and tank, and travel all the way to the water with the fish. The water will vibrate causing stress for your fish.
How to quiet your aquarium air pump?
Aquarium air pumps often have a reputation of being loud. And noise level varies much from one type of air pump to another and also depends on how long you have been using the air pump. There is no way to completely silence your air pump (unfortunately). However, there are some tips to decrease the noise level of the pump whenever you find your pump to be too loud.
- Put it in a cabinet. This is a simple “out of sight, out of mind” fix. Putting the pump into a cabinet, especially one with the thick door then you will see the noise level decrease dramatically.
- Keep the air pump higher than the aquarium water. By doing this, you can change the back pressure on the pump. When the back pressure is lessened so is the noise of the machine.
- Place something soft under the air pump. Putting something soft right under the pump to let the soft surface absorb the noise will decrease the overall noise output of the machine. You can use anything, from a soft sponge to even an old sock. Anything soft enough and large enough will suffice.
Even though an aquarium air pump is not absolutely necessary, it is beneficial. Many users can swear by the add-on positive effects an air pump can bring to your tank. So, in order for your fish and aquatic plants to have more comfortable and happier lives, what are you still waiting for? Do your research and get yourself a good aquarium air pump now.