Aquarium pumps are a savior for fish tanks. They help aerate the tank and keep the oxygen level in check. But not all aquarium filters will ensure the same benefits. Some of them tend to work less than others. Question is, how will you know which pump is the best air pump for aquarium?
The right air pump comes with a few exceptional features and qualities. Not only will it help create bubbles, but it will also help move air and other particles across the tank. Another perk of using air pump filters is that they come in handy during power outages.
In this article, we have reviewed a few excellent aquarium air pumps. And for your ease, we have separated them into a few categories. I hope you read the entire article to find out which one is the best air pump filter for your aquarium.
Benefits Of Air Pump
It is natural to wonder why someone needs to air pump aquarium filter. Well, it is mostly because of all the benefits it comes with. Here are some of the benefits you will get from an air filter.
Increases Water Circulation: One of the main advantages of having an aquarium air filter is that it increases water movement. It means no more dead spots in your fish tank. As the water circulation increases, it creates a healthier fish tank environment. Moreover, it keeps the aquarium temperature in check.
Improves Oxygen Level: As the pump works, it creates movements everywhere, including the surface. This is highly beneficial when it comes to improving a tank’s oxygen level. And when the oxygen level is high, it will benefit all the fish, living beings, and plants inside the fish tank.
Reduces Algae Growth: Excessive water algae pollutes tank water and makes the fish sick. It even reduces water oxygen to a threatening level. But as the air pumps keep the tank water moving with all the bubbles, it keeps fewer areas for water algae to grow at an alarming rate.
Types Of Air Pump
We have found a few types of air pumps for aquariums based on performance and working efficiency. Here are the types of aquarium air filters we have found.
Air filters are what anyone would use for general purposes, such as sponge filters, aeration, decoration purpose, etc. These pumps come in various sizes as well. The deeper your fish tank, the larger the air pump you will need.
High Output Air Pumps
These air pumps are not for regular aquariums. They are only compatible with larger aquariums or multiple aquariums that can handle more pressure.
Battery Powered Air Pumps:
Battery-Operated: Battery-operated air pumps are life-savers, literally. Instead of plugging into power outlets, they run on batteries, making fish tank transportation much easier. Besides, they keep your tank environment safe and healthy, even during blackouts. The downside of these air pumps is that they are pretty loud.
Battery Backup Air Pumps: On the other hand, battery backup air pumps are a combination of both plugged-in and battery-operated models. The pump will run on A/C power as long as it can. And if the power gets interrupted or blackouts happen, it will automatically switch to battery mode. These air pumps are the most expensive.
Commercial Use Air Pumps
A commercial air pump for aquarium is commonly seen in very large aquariums or fish farms. They provide excellent aeration and oxygenate more effectively. The material of these air filters is of premium quality, making the air pump more robust and long-lasting.
Which brands are more reliable when it comes to buying the best air pump for aquarium? So many brands manufacture reliable aquarium-related gadgets and equipment, making it difficult to find only or two top brands. That’s why we have chosen a few such brands that will provide you with high-performing and top-notch air pumps for aquariums.
Our Pick For The Best Air Pump For Aquarium
As I said, many brands manufacture air pumps for aquariums. Each brand has various air pump models. That’s where things get a little complicated.
It becomes your job to go through many air pumps to know which one will be the best. But it’s your lucky day because we have done all the research and found the right air pumps.
General Purpose: 3 Top Picked
High Output Air Pumps: 3 Top Picked
Battery-Operated & Battery Backup Air Pumps: 2 Top Picked
Commercial Use Air Pump: 3 Best Seller
The following part of the article contains our reviews and other necessary information you need to know. And for your ease, we have divided them into a few categories so that you can select the suitable air pump based on your need.
General Purpose: 3 Top Picked
General-purpose air pumps are the ones for regular small fish tanks. When looking for the best air pump for aquarium, we found the following three for such purposes.
We could not help but start our review with the Tetra Whisper Air Pump For Aquariums. It can easily beat others and be the best air pump for aquarium. This air pump comes at a very low price and with various tank capacities.
- Capacity: The Tetra air pump is compatible with a 10-100 gallons fish tank. The largest model is the perfect air pump for 75 gallon aquarium. And if you have smaller aquariums, you can choose the other models as well.
- Noise Level: These air pumps are not exactly very quiet. So if you are hoping to place it in your bedroom, we strongly suggest against it.
- Material And Design: The air pump is made of acrylic with a dome design. It was designed in this way to keep all the components inside. The rubber shock mount feet prevent vibration.
- Value: All the models of Tetra come at the lowest possible price. But none of them come with any accessories except the pump, which explains the price.
- Well-balanced design with anti-vibration material
- Reliable and durable
- Easy to install
- Budget-friendly option
- It can be pretty loud sometimes
- Does not come with other accessories
Verdict: If you do not expect more than a good-quality air pump for your aquarium, there is no better choice than this Tetra Whisper Easy To Use Air Pump For Aquarium. You can check this air pump’s latest updates on Amazon.
Here is another hard-to-miss air pump from Tetra. This one is pretty similar to our previous pick and a budget-friendly option.
- Oxygenation: Tetra air pumps are right for oxygenating fish tanks by providing sufficient airflow. The amount of bubbles the pump creates will ensure the tank environment remains healthy.
- Capacity: This air pump comes in four different tank capacities. However, we chose the 20-60 gallon models as they are highly effective for small fish tanks. The largest model is compatible with 100-gallon tanks.
- Material And Design: These models are made with thick plastic and sturdy enough to keep the pump in a fixed position. They are designed like a dome and have rubber feet to prevent vibration.
- Outlet: all the models up to 40-gallon capacity have only one output. On the other hand, the air pumps of 60-gallon capacity and up have dual outlets.
- Versatile design and durable construction
- Low-priced air pump
- Rubber feet keep vibration level low
- Highly effective to oxygenate tank water
- Makes loud noise
- Does not come with other parts
Verdict: This Tetra tank air pump gives you many options to choose from. So if you want to get the right size for your fish tank, you can check on Amazon for more details.
If you would rather purchase an aquarium air pump that comes with accessories, you can check out the air pumps from Uniclife. This air pump comes with dual outlet and flows control systems, making them suitable for small to medium fish tanks.
- Flow Control: If the airflow of the air pump you purchased seems too strong for your tank, Uniclife will make sure it doesn’t become an issue for you. The air pumps have a flow control system to keep the flow minimum.
- Capacity: These air pumps from Uniclife have two outlets. Thus it allows you to fit the air pumps to different tank sizes. You can choose any of these models based on your tank size ranging from 20 to 100 gallons.
- Noise Level: The Uniclife air pumps produce less noise than many other air pumps. The sound is so little that it is almost audible and much like the ticking of clocks, especially if you put the pump to its lowest setting.
- Accessories: Now, let’s see if the pump will come with everything you need to set it up. Other than the air pump, you will receive an airline, two air stones, two return valves, and two connectors or T-valves.
- Dual outlet air pump
- Comes with necessary accessories
- Various tank capacity options
- Makes a very little noise
- The design is a bit bulky
- Not the most powerful air pump
Verdict: The Uniclife air pumps are not the strongest when it comes to creating lots of bubbles. That’s what makes this air pump suitable for small aquariums. So if you want this air pump, you can get it from Amazon.
High Output Air Pumps: 3 Top Picked
High output air pumps are for medium to large fish tanks. You can choose the best high output air pump for aquarium from the following.
Let’s get back to Tetra again. Though this air pump does not come with accessories, we cannot deny that it is one of the reliable brands. This one made it to our best air pumps for aquarium list because it is powerful, long-lasting, and high-performing.
- Capacity: The Tetra Whisper Deep Water Applications is the best air pump for large aquarium, without a doubt. You can purchase it for aquariums with up to 300 gallons capacity.
- Performance: Tetra Whisper air pumps always beat most other air pumps in performance. This pump is highly effective in creating water movement and oxygenating tank water.
- Visual And Sound: Tetra made sure their air pumps create sufficient bubbles to ensure an aesthetic view. The noise stays at a minimal level, which is not irritating. However, the air pump can get noisier with time.
- Warranty: this brand provides a lifetime warranty for its air pumps. So you don’t need to worry about spending more money on maintenance. And it also ensures the long durability of the air pump.
- The powerful pump ensures a better oxygenation
- Lasts a long time
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Air bubbles help minimize water dirt and algae
- The design is nothing special
- Gets noisier as it gets older
Verdict: Tetra gives the buyers a lot of options to choose from. We liked it for this reason, along with its excellent performance. You can check out this air pump here on Amazon.
We instantly liked the Hydrofarm air pump for its versatile design and appearance. And it turned out to be as good as we thought it was. Not only does the air pump come with multiple outlets, but it also comes with a flow control system.
- Dual Outlets: We chose this model with dual outlets, making it suitable for producing more airflow. This feature makes it a heavy-duty air pump for aquarium.
- Airflow Control: Having multiple outlets tends to produce more airflow. But the good thing is, this air pump has an airflow control feature to keep everything under control.
- Oxygenation: An air pump is essential for oxygenating the aquarium. Thankfully, the Hydrofarm air pump is capable of doing that to ensure a non-toxic and healthy tank environment.
- Noiseless: This air pump is designed with multi-level internal mufflers. As a result, the air pump will not make much noise while operating. Whatever sound the pump produces will remain at a bearable level.
- Dual outlet ensures more effective performance
- Multi-level mufflers prevent making a loud noise
- Oxygenate tank water
- Comes with an airflow control system
- Does not come with accessories
- Not very durable
Verdict: The Hydrofarm air pump is quite strong, which is exactly what you need if you intend to use it in a large tank. You will find more about this air pump on Amazon.
Hygger is a well-known brand for making aquarium accessories. We found two models, 150 and 600 gallons capacities. The design is classy, and it is built with user-friendly components.
- Construction: Hygger is all about versatility. This air pump has a classy design that makes the fish tank’s surroundings appear better.
- Flow Adjustment: This air pump has two adjustable outputs. The low aired output creates bubbles and will work fine with small and medium fish tanks. The high oxygen output will make more bubbles and work excellently in large fish tanks.
- Performance: These Hygger air pumps are compatible with 150 gallons and a 600 gallons fish tank. Both models have four suction rubber feet to keep the pump steady.
- Maintenance: The air pump does not need extra maintenance apart from regular cleanup. However, make sure to clean the airline tubing and air stones regularly to extend its longevity.
- Low noise air pump
- Made with durable material
- Suitable for small to large aquariums
- Has the ability to aerate more than one fish tank
- Comparatively costly
- Does not come with air tubing and check valves
Verdict: The Hygger air pump is one of the easily maintained and user-friendly air pumps in the market. Though its price is a drawback for many users, it is still reliable and high-performing. You can find this air pump on Amazon.
Battery-Operated & Battery Backup Air Pumps: 2 Top Picked
These types of air pumps are easy to use and do not consume electric power. If you want the best battery-operated air pump for aquarium, you will find the following reviews helpful.
A battery-operated air pump for aquarium is an energy saver. That’s why users like them more nowadays. The KEDSUM air pump is also one such pump, but with smart features.
- One-Button Operation: The pump has one power button to operate without hassle. You need to press and hold it for two seconds to turn it on. Press it again to turn on intermittent mode to keep the pump running for ten seconds after every ten-second break. Then press it again to turn it off.
- Dual Outlets: This pump has two outlets that allow you to connect it to more than one fish tank. You can also set up the pump in one tank to get more oxygenation.
- Operation: It runs on a rechargeable built-in lithium battery. Using the USB cable it comes with, you can charge it on any power supply, including your computer. The air pump is very quiet. However, it is an air pump for small aquarium.
- Portability: The KEDSUM air pump is lightweight and suitable for carrying outdoors if needed. The metal clip system helps you hang it anywhere you want and keep it secure if you plan to take it outside.
- Easy to operate and control
- Rechargeable battery saves money
- The compact size makes it easy to set it up anywhere
- Not suitable for large tanks
- Not very durable
Verdict: Durability is an issue with this air pump. Despite that, it is very effective for small aquariums and user-friendly. If you want to purchase the air pump, you can get it from Amazon.
Battery-operated air pumps are good, but battery-backup air pumps are even better. The AQQA air pump runs on both electric and battery power, giving the fish tank an excellent backup, especially if the tank needs transportation.
- Design: The AQQA air pump has a compact design. The LED indicator on the pump will help you keep an eye on battery power. You will spot the power button just underneath it. It also has shock-absorbent rubber feet to prevent vibration.
- Two Way Use: This battery backup air runs when plugged in without any issue. But if the power gets interrupted or in case of a power outage, the pump will automatically shift to battery power mode, like an AC DC air pump for aquarium.
- Dual Modes: You will get two modes in this air pump. Pressing the power button once will turn on normal mode, and pressing it twice will turn on intermittent mode.
- Accessories: What does the package contain? Well, you will get one single or dual outlet air pump of your choice with an air stone and a hose. You will also get a USB cable to recharge the air pump.
- Energy-efficient air pump
- Does not produce a lot of noise
- Works as an excellent backup during a power outage
- User-friendly features
- Not powerful enough for large tanks
- The power cord is short
Verdict: This air pump is for anyone who owns a small fish tank. The only downside is that you need to set it up close to the power outlet. But if you want this rechargeable air pump for aquarium, you can get it from Amazon.
Commercial Use Air Pump: 3 Best Seller
Air pumps used for commercial purposes need to be high-performing and more powerful. You can find the best commercial use air pump for aquarium from these best sellers.
Commercial air pumps are always on the higher end of your budget. The VIVOSUN air pump is also the same. But when it comes to getting effective performance with durability, this air pump is a smart choice.
- Construction: This air pump is made with aluminum alloy heat radiant plates. It also features a 100% copper nozzle as an outlet. The overall construction is pretty sturdy, and it is made to be durable.
- Air Pressure: Its powerful motor makes it capable of handling and aerating multiple water sources or aquariums. You can connect the smallest model to six adjustable valves, while the largest one can handle up to twelve outlets.
- Energy Consumption: The air pump is designed to consume less energy. The material resists wear and tear and lasts a long time. Thus, you can run the air pump 24/7 without worrying much about it.
- Capacity: The air pump can aerate 60 to 110 liters per minute, depending on the model. As for the noise level, it did not work out in the same way for everyone. While some users experienced a quiet environment, others found the pump pretty loud.
- Made of premium and heat resistant material
- Powerful motor oxygenates multiple aquariums at once
- Energy efficient
- Lasts a long time
- The price is pretty high
- It’s not entirely noiseless
Verdict: There is no better option than the VIVOSUN air pump if you need an air pump for commercial use. So if you have a high budget and want a heavy-duty air pump for aquarium, you can purchase it from Amazon.
This air pump from EcoPlus is just as good as our previous pick. It is made with high-quality material and built to last a long time.
- Material: The entire air pump body is made of aluminum. The combination of cylinders and pistons makes the pump robust and long-lasting.
- Oxygenation: This air pump is highly effective for oxygenating hydroponic systems and fish farms. It pumps through six outlets to provide sufficient airflow.
- Power Source: It runs only on electric power and comes with an electric cord. So if you are expecting a battery-powered commercial air pump, you will be disappointed.
- Energy Consumption: Though it is an electric-powered air pump, it does not consume much energy. However, the sound it produces can be a bit irritating sometimes.
- Powerful air pump with sufficient airflow
- Has two outlets
- Made with heavy-duty, durable material
- It is easy to install
- Comparatively less durable
- Can be a little noisy
Verdict: It looks like noise is the main issue with many air pumps. But when it comes to the aeration of tank water, the EcoPlus air pump is reliable. You can buy this air pump from here on Amazon.
This Pawfly 7W 254 GPH commercial air pump is compatible with freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. It comes with multiple outlets to work on one or more aquariums and is super easy to install.
- Design: This is a golden air pump that looks pretty aesthetic next to any aquarium. It has a bulky design with a nozzle to connect multiple outlets.
- Outlets: The pumps can be connected to four outlets to provide airflow. Each outlet has its separate airflow control system.
- Performance: The air pump runs on 7-watt power and provides a 254 GPH air flow rate. The pressure this pump creates oxygenates aquarium water effectively.
- Accessories: These models come with two types of accessories. One comes with air tubing and outlet sets. The other model comes with all the essential tubing, valves, outlets, and air stones.
- Has high and low airflow control
- Easy to install and use
- Quiet and effective operation
- Shockproof rubber pad legs keep vibration level low
- Bulky design and color do not blend with the surroundings
- Could have been more powerful
Verdict: The Pawfly 7W 254 GPH commercial air pump is affordable and has pretty much all the essential features. But we suggest you keep your expectations low. You can check its latest updates on Amazon.
How To Choose The Best Air Pump For Aquarium: A Buying Guide
What makes the best air pump for aquarium different from the rest? Generally, you will find that this air pump comes with better performance, is easy to set up, and does not make much noise. Nevertheless, here are a few things you need to consider before purchasing an air pump.
When purchasing an air pump for your fish tank, you must consider the following features.
Every air pump comes with specific compatibility for fish tanks. If you want an air pump for large aquarium, you need to consider purchasing a pump that will provide the most airflow.
You can check the airflow rating on the package. However, if you have plants in the fish tank, pumps with strong airflow can cause damage.
Many people overlook this feature without realizing how important it is. The power system plays a huge role in how the air pump works. You will find two to three types of air pumps in the market:
- Electric powered that needs to be plugged into a power outlet
- Battery operated pumps that run only on battery
- Battery backup pumps that usually run on electric power but switch to battery mode if power gets interrupted
Here, the decision is on you because only the users will understand which power system fits them most. Though the battery backup aquarium air pump has the best system, it is costlier than others.
Output And Device
How the air pump’s output is set up will influence how well the system works. You cannot buy an air pump that does not have a compatible outcome. If you do, it will either work slowly or not work at all.
Other than the previously mentioned features, here are a few more things you need to keep in mind.
Your fish tank and all other accessories are to give your fish a healthy life and also to enhance your home decor. But a loud tank environment can ruin it all at once. So it becomes essential to consider purchasing an air pump that will produce comparatively low or no noise.
The noise level of an aquarium air pump should not be more than 40 dB. The best way to find out about the noise level is to go through users’ reviews on the seller’s websites.
Are all air pumps expensive? No, they are not. But not all of them come at a low price. Depending on brands, material, and features, the price of all air pumps varies.
Though price does not guarantee high quality or performance, some of the best air pumps come at an expensive price range.
Be sure to check all the terms and conditions before purchasing the air pump. Some manufacturers will provide a few years’ warranties, while others will provide lifetime service. So make sure the air pump will have everything covered.
How To Install An Aquarium Air Pump?
The air pump’s job is to intake air from outside the tank and pump it into the interior submerged devices. That’s why aquarium air pumps have so many connecting ports and devices. So when installing an air pump in your aquarium, you need to set everything right. And here is how you can do it.
- Place the air tuning in a fixed place outside the aquarium and cut the tubing. But it should be long enough to connect to the tank’s inside devices.
- Cut the tubing in the middle and connect both ends using a check valve.
- Finally, turn on the air pump to see if it creates any bubble with the device connected inside the tank. You can control the airflow level to provide enough aeration.
Air Pump Accessories
Air pumps come with a few essential accessories. And even if the accessories do not come with the package, you will need them to make the aquarium air pump work. Here are some essential air pump accessories you need to know about.
The air tubing is what connects the air pump to the aquarium’s interior devices, such as air stones or other decorations. If you have the right length of the tube, it will work excellently in your fish tank and even in ponds.
Check valves are essential for installing aquarium air pumps. If the power goes off, there is a risk of water siphoning back through the tube and damaging the pump by overflowing it. Check valves eliminate that risk, which is why they are known as back siphoning.
Gang valves are essential to put your aquarium airline outline into multiple lines. You either set the gang valve in a standing position on the fish tank or in a fixed place. It keeps the airflow under control. You will find gang valves as a set of four and five ports.
You can connect multiple fish tank equipment with a T-valve or connector. It works best when you need to fix a broken tubing. You can remove the broken or damaged part and use the connector or T-valve to connect the halves on either side of it.
Replacement Parts Kits
Many air pumps come with their own replacement part kits. You will find various kits, such as rubber bushings, air filters, retainer plugs, screws, etc. Some air pumps even come with a particular wrench to help you replace various parts.
What Size Air-Pump Is Recommended For Your Tank?
Let’s say you don’t know how to swim but decided to jump into a pool or river that is two times deeper than your height. Well, I don’t want to sound morbid, but that’s a sad way to go. I know it wasn’t the best example but imagine putting a very small air pump into a large fish tank.
Air pumps come with different tank depth capacities. You will find their capacity level on their packages. So, if the air pump has a 10-inch deep bubble capacity, putting it into a 30-inch deep aquarium will be a huge mistake.
Moreover, the air pump size determines how well the devices inside the tank, such as the sponge filter or air stone, will work. But that’s not where it all ends.
You need to consider how many objects you connect to the air filter. The more devices you connect, the more powerful or bigger the air pump you will need.
Q. Do I Need An Air Pump With A Canister Filter?
Both the air pump and canister filter agitate the water and help oxygenate it. So if you already have a canister filter, there is no need to get an air pump. And if you have an air pump that serves the purpose, there is no need for a canister filter.
Q. Is An Air Pump The Same As A Filter?
No, an air pump and a filter are two entirely different items. An air pump serves only one purpose: to oxygenate the tank water. On the other hand, a tank filter serves many purposes, from aerating to removing harmful bacteria and other particles.
Q. Can I Oxygenate My Water Without A Pump?
Yes, you can oxygenate tank water without a pump using the cup method. The trick is to pour water into the tank with a cup from a good height. And if you think the oxygen level is too low, you can perform a 50% water change to solve the issue.
Q. Should I Leave My Aquarium Air Pump On All The Time?
There is no fixed schedule to run the air pump. You can keep it on 24/7 if you want. And if the air pump is not connected to the tank’s filtration system, you can turn it off for a few hours or during the night.
Q. What Is The Real Benefit Of Having An Air Pump?
The main benefit you will get from an air pump is its ability to oxygenate the water. The bubble created from the pump will aerate tank water and ensure proper water movement. With all these, your fish tank environment will remain healthy and non-toxic.
Our Verdict & Final Recommendations
No matter what we say, in the end, it is up to the user to choose the best air pump for aquarium based on their needs. Various members of our team tested the air pumps we reviewed.
And despite some cons, all of them are high-performing, reliable, durable, and user-friendly. But if you would like a shorter list, here are some of our recommendations.
If you own a small aquarium, you can purchase the Tetra Whisper Easy To Use Air Pump For Aquariums (Non-UL). Its smallest model is the right air pump for a 10-gallon aquarium. But if you want a battery-operated air pump, we recommend the KEDSUM Battery Aquarium Air Pump.
However, if you have a medium-sized fish tank, you should get the Pawfly 7W 254 GPH Commercial Air Pump. This commercial-grade air pump is suitable for handling multiple mid-size aquariums. The VIVOSUN 317-1750 GPH Commercial Air Pump 20W-102W is also the right air pump in this regard.
As for larger tanks, you will need high-performing air pumps. And both the Tetra Whisper Air Pump For Deep Water Applications and the Hygger Quietest Aquarium Air Pump. But if you want to choose from the commercial air pumps, you can purchase the EcoPlus HGC728450 Eco Air 1 Commercial Air Pump.
Aquariums are not just for adding an aesthetic view to your home. It is a lot more than that, especially if you are a hobbyist. One of the main things an air pump does is oxygenate tank water and makes the fish thrive.
So, regarding your purposes, you would want to make sure the tank environment remains healthy and appears more natural. And the best air pump for aquarium can ensure that. Hopefully, our reviews and recommended lists will help you make the right decision.
Make sure you buy the right size air pump because it needs to be compatible with your fish tank. It is also best if the pump comes with all the essential accessories and is made of durable material. And if everything else turns out to be perfect, all you need to do is set it up correctly.