How To Oxygenate A Fish Tank Without A Pump?| 8-Hacks To Follow! Protection Status

Start with a bigger and deeper aquarium to get an early head start with oxygenation without a pump. You can use any of the methods out of eight here.

Oxygen is as crucial for your aquarium’s inhabitants as it’s for us. Your fish will be unable to breathe if there is a shortage of dissolved oxygen within aquarium water, which can harm their health. So, it’s essential to keep your aquarium water properly oxygenated. In this article, 8-hacks will help you set up your aquarium as low-tech as possible. Know how to Oxygenate A Fish Tank Without A Pump intelligently.

Oxygenation of tanks is often paired with installing air pumps. Air pumps tend to get crowded, and some people even have smaller aquariums that do not have a place for fancy air pumps. It’s also normal not to want to be too tech-savvy or too into spilling money to take care of your fish.

Well, this also doesn’t mean you have lost all your ways of providing your fish with adequate oxygen. So what are the alternative ways of oxygenating? How To Oxygenate A Fish Tank Without A Pump?

There are a lot of ways to oxygenate water without a pump. Let’s get right into how you can generate oxygen without any pump. 

How To Manually Generate Oxygen In Aquariums?

The following methods are the easiest and cheapest ways of providing sufficient oxygen for your fish:

1. Using The Cup Method

The best way of manually generating oxygen in aquariums is by pouring water from a higher position. Because pouring water from a moderate height has proved to add oxygen to the water you pour.

The water will gather up air and drive oxygen into the aquarium as it travels. Depending on the height you choose to pour the water from and the number of times you repeat the procedure, the oxygen amount will vary.

For this procedure,

  • Take any pitcher or container to scoop out water from the aquarium. 
  • Then pour the water from a high point above the aquarium. Make sure you are not stirring up accessories or sand. To avoid this, take a plate or bowl that will float on the surface of the water. Pour the scooped water over that bowl or plate to take most of the pressure of the pouring water and help you not stir the substances.
  • Keep repeating the procedure to get a good amount of oxygen flowing through your aquarium water.
  • Alternatively, using this method, you can perform a 50 percent water change with dechlorinated freshwater, an effective and quick solution to low oxygen levels.

2. Planting Live Plants

Alive aquarium plants are great oxygenation enhancers that also aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide and nitrate levels in the aquarium.

Some midground plants or some newbie-friendly plants are enough to get enough oxygenation in your aquaria, such as Vallisneria, Amazon Sword, Anubias, Dwarf Hairgrass, and Java Fern.

Lanting a bunch of plants and going into a full jungle mood can make the situation worse than making it is better. Because even if you plant a lot of low-maintenance plants, you will still need to do regular maintenance. For example,

In this method, you will not get enough aeration. So this method won’t be as fruitful if you don’t add a supplementary aeration method. A supplementary aeration system will help your aquarium’s water move and the air circulation more fluently.

3. Using A Power Filter

A powerful filter with an adjustable flow velocity is the best solution for oxygenation in a planted aquarium. You won’t need any more equipment, not to mention you’ll be using the filter as a two-in-one subsystem. Its filter’s inlet port/outlet port water velocity is sufficient to ensure optimal airflow and oxygenation in the aquarium.

One thing to note is that the sort of fish you have in the tank should be taken into account. For example, the powerful stream can easily overwhelm sluggish swimmers or species that prefer serene waters. This isn’t the best method if you want to oxygenate a betta tank without using a pump.

However, if your fish are aggressive swimmers who enjoy a wavering home, you can benefit from high-flow filtration. For example, Hillstream loaches, danios, rasboras, barbs, and white cloud minnows will thrive on this type of filtered aquarium.

Out recommended Hang on back/ Power filters are 1. AquaClear Fish Tank Filter (for 60 to 110 gallons), 2. Fluval C Series Power Filter (10 to 70 Gallons), And 3. MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter (50 to 70 Gallons).

Note: Thoroughly clean the filter regularly to keep its high water flow rate. Filtration efficiency can be harmed by accumulated muck and particles.

4. Adding Waterfall Filters

These kinds of filters help break the surface tension of aquariums’ water as this filter has an outport that pours water from a high level.

The oxygen content depends on the amount of water in actual exposure to air. The tank’s size usually determines this exposure of water to air in your aquarium. And higher water surface agitation means more contact of water to air, resulting in higher oxygenation.

The stronger your surface agitation equipment is tuned, the higher oxygen will reach your water tank. This is an excellent method for oxygenating narrower and larger tanks, cubic aquariums, and micro tanks.

5. Adding Lily Pipes

These lily pipes also break down the surface tension, which will allow them to oxygenate more water, considering oxygenation occurs at the surface of the water.

As said before, surface agitation promotes oxygen assimilation while aerating the water to some extent. So this gaseous exchange at the surface provides every bit of oxygen the fish require.

Crystal glassware lily pipes are simply pipes that you connect to a filter’s outlet port to increase the amount of aeration inside your aquarium. These crystal pipes are pleasing to the sight because they do not appear to be unnecessary clutter, as the plastic tubing does. These work well both for aesthetics and aeration.

6. Increasing The Surface Area Of The Water

The greater the surface area of a tank, the more oxygen can be dissolved into the water through oxygenation. If you don’t plan on using an air pump, you should start with a wider and shallower tank.

It’s also the best tank shape for keeping labyrinth species such as bettas, gouramis, paradise fish, etc. At the surface of the water, these kinds of fish breathe through a labyrinth-like organ. They usually do this when the oxygen concentration falls too low, or the quality of the water deteriorates.

Without an air pump, it will be more difficult to try oxygenating or aerating a narrower and deeper tank. But oxygenation will not be an issue with greater water surface area and a few living aquarium plants.

7. Doing A Water Change

Pouring water may not always be adequate, especially if the oxygen level in the fish tank is quite low. You’ll need to do a water change in the aquarium in this situation. Carbon dioxide, as well as other chemicals, is most likely to be saturated in the water of the aquarium.

In these cases, new water will provide a sufficient amount of oxygen for the fish. Replacing about half of the water, as previously mentioned, is a good starting point. It can provide a consistent oxygen supply to your aquarium for a long period.

8. Keeping A Variety Of Fish

Overcrowding is one of the many reasons an aquarium lacks enough oxygen. As per the expert suggestions, only 85% of the aquarium should be stocked.

It’s a good idea to find fishes that are congenial and inhabit different portions of the aquarium. For all locations, get a combination of

  • Bottom dwellers
  • middle to top inhibitor,
  • top to bottom inhibitors,
  • various surface feeders.

As all these fish swim in their designated areas, they can also help move the oxygen-rich water throughout the tank. Aeration will be substantially improved by fast swimming fish, especially by schooling or shoaling fish.

Is It Necessary To Aerate A Fish Tank After Oxygenating It?

To answer this question, first, we have to know the difference between aeration and oxygenation. The distinction is the first aquarium knowledge you should grasp.

Simply put, oxygenation refers to the amount of oxygen incorporated in the water. Aeration, on the other hand, is somewhat different. The volume of oxygenated water flowing inside the tank is referred to as aeration. Aeration entails not just oxygenation but also the flow of oxygenated water. The ultimate aeration will be determined by the water movement all through the tank.

Why is it important to aerate?

  • Because without aeration, it’s somewhat impossible to generate oxygen without an air pump.
  • Even though you succeed in generating oxygen, the oxygenated water will be stagnant without aeration, and many places in the tanks will be left unoxygenated.

So It’s bad to have an aquarium that’s not adequately aerated as the fish in the bottoms or corners probably wouldn’t be able to inhale.

Best Ways How To Aerate A Fish Tank Without A Pump

Along the way of learning how to oxygenate an aquarium without a pump, we have already learned how to aerate without an air pump. But for clarification, here are the methods written in a simplified manner:

Can Fish Live Without An Air Pump?

Fish collect oxygen from the tank and take it to their gills, which is necessary for them to live. But at times, the volume of oxygen in aquarium water decreases. So the oxygen level needs to be increased to the previous level to supply enough oxygen for the fish.

That’s when an air pump comes in handy to resupply the lost amount of oxygen. But an air pump is just a way to refill oxygen in water by promoting water movement. It does not directly create oxygen. So when people ask: Can fish breathe without a pump in the tank? It’s an invalid question.

Obviously, fish can live and breathe without an air pump as long as there’s any way left to resupply the lost oxygen. Only when your aquarium has too many inhabitants, and there are no other ways to regenerate the lost oxygen in the tank, then you need an air pump for your fish to survive. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will putting ice cubes add enough oxygen to my aquarium?

First, you have to know the cause of the lack of oxygenation in your tank. When the temperature rises because of the weather, it results in a reduced oxygen level. If that’s the reason, you can put some ice cubes in a bag and the bag in the aquarium.

In that way, the ice will neutralize the water temperature and stop oxygen reduction. But it won’t add oxygen to the water.

Q: How do I quickly originate my tank’s water?

Oxygenation is usually increased when there is more water flow. If needed, add another filter or swap the old filter with one with higher efficiency. Other solutions include using a powerhead, attaching a spray bar with the filter’s output, or installing airstones.

Q: Which ornaments help in generating oxygen in the tank?

Certain ornaments and decorative things, such as stones, can aid in improving aeration in the aquarium, which also helps with oxygenation. Improved aeration will enable confined oxygen molecules to be released and oxygen distributed more evenly in the aquarium.


Yes, you can definitely avoid the pump, particularly if you opt for a plant-based aquarium; you don’t even need to worry about oxygenation. It is also possible to boost the oxygen levels of your fish tank with an amalgamation of aeration boosters and oxygenation.

Reading the whole article, hope you are clear on all the easiest and cheapest methods of how to Oxygenate a fish tank without a pump.

Make sure you keep a look at your fish’s behavior to know if they need immediate or future oxygenation. Our other article “How to increase oxygen in a fish tank” can help us to know the various oxygenation method for an aquarium.

Remember that aeration is a great part of generating and moving oxygen in your aquarium. Without aeration, the generated oxygen will only be half in use. All you need to do is combine the technologies of both oxygenation and aeration, and you are good to go.

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