Owning an aquarium is a very enriching and entertaining experience. No matter the kind of animal that lives there, we can bet you spend hours simply staring at your little friends and admiring their beautiful world.
Unfortunately, although aquariums are wonderfully mesmerizing, they also tend to cost quite a bit. Many pet owners compare them to a bottomless well — there is always something else to buy. The upside? You don’t need all of it at once, so you can assemble your aquarium at your own pace.
While you can save money on buying decorations and other items of that sort, you definitely need the right air pump. Air pumps play an essential role in all aquariums, and they have an effect on your pets.
For aquarium owners, both beginners and seasoned veterans, picking an air pump is a bit of chore. We’ve come to the rescue. Keep reading to learn all about the best aquarium air pumps in 2020.
How Do I Choose An Aquarium Air Pump?
While we’ve done the research for you and gathered nine of the best aquarium air pumps, you should still be aware of a few things before you shop. We want you to get the best aquarium air pump for YOU, and only you know your exact needs and wishes. Check out some things to be mindful of when you get a new air pump for aquariums.
This is a big one. Even the best air pumps tend to make quite a bit of noise. If your fish tank is located in the bedroom, you will have to pay a lot of attention to how quiet the pump is. Fortunately, the manufacturers of air pumps are aware of this issue and there are many models with low noise levels.
For smaller tanks, this is a non-issue. However, if your aquarium is sizeable, you need to pay attention to the air flow capacity. For big tanks, you may have to buy more than one pump or simply invest in a big model. Luckily, there are air pumps of all shapes and sizes, so you’re sure to find something that suits you. Air flow in air pumps is also affected by deep water. The deeper the tank, the more airflow is required.
When buying an air pump, you need to either have your tank all planned out, or you need to be prepared for compromise in the future. Some aquarium air pumps only come with a single connection point. This is fine in smaller tanks and/or if you don’t care for many pieces of decor. However, a bigger tank might require a pump with multiple connection points.
This is especially important if you want to use your air pump to decorate the tank. Things such as an air stone, an under gravel filter, or a treasure chest will all require a connection. Keep that in mind when you shop.
Best Air Pumps For Aquariums in 2020
You’ve got all the know-how, but finding the best air pump for your aquarium is still a tedious chore. Let us take care of all the legwork & save you the research. Check out our favorite aquarium air pumps below.
Tetra Whisper Air Pump
|Tetra 77849 Whisper Air Pump 40 to 60 Gallons, for Aquariums, Quiet, Powerful Airflow||$13.59||Buy on Amazon|
If you want to have the absolute best aquarium air pump, you can’t go wrong with Tetra Whisper. This brand has over 50 years of experience in the industry. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that it delivers on many levels, from large air flow to a quiet performance. Extra bonus? Tetra Whisper is one of the best aquariums air pumps that are super-affordable.
These aquarium air pumps have a unique dome shape and a set of rubber feet. This helps to minimize vibration, and as a result, makes them whisper-quiet. You can safely use one of these air pumps even if you keep your tank in the bedroom.
You can use Tetra Whisper in aquariums sized up to 60 gallons. If that’s too small for you, there is another one that can oxygenize up to 100 gallons. There are also two smaller variants: 10-20 gallons and 20-40 gallons. The bigger variants feature dual outlets, allowing for more pieces of equipment to be installed.
Tetra Whisper Air offers powerful performance that ensures your fish stay happy & healthy, with adequate air flow, plenty of airline tubing, and enough oxygen. You can use one of these air pumps aquariums even in a deep water tank (up to 8 feet deep). They work fine with all kinds of air stones and protein skimmers.
Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump
|Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump 4 Watt 4-LPM 2 Outlets with Accessories, Adjustable Oxygen Pump for...||$16.98||Buy on Amazon|
Uniclife is a professional air pump for aquariums which is suitable for both freshwater and marine tanks. Having an adjustable air pump saves you a lot of hassle if you ever upgrade your tank. Instead of having to buy a new air pump, all you’ll have to do is adapt this one to the new size. Uniclife can be adjusted for fish tanks with a capacity of 20-100 gallons.
While it doesn’t consume much power (it has 4 watts), it’s a powerful air pump with 4-LPM and a pressure rating of 0.016Mpa. It’s capable of keeping your entire fish tank full of oxygen. It also has an adjustable air flow rate with two outlets, so you can connect more equipment to it.
When you get this aquarium air pump, you get just about everything you might need. The package includes two air stones, a 2M airline, 2 connectors, and 2 return valves. All of that is covered by a one-year warranty, which is quite lengthy for air pumps.
Last but not least, this aquarium air pump is super-quiet. At the lowest airflow rate, it makes next to no noise. The minimum noise level is 25dB. This is similar to a hand watch ticking or a quiet breeze.
Hygger Quietest Aquarium Air Pump
|hygger Quietest Aquarium Air Pump, Adjustable Oxygen Pump 2 Air Outlets Ultra Silent Powerful...||$48.99||Buy on Amazon|
Is your fish tank quite massive? Are you worried about high noise levels when using an air pump in a big aquarium? Don’t lose your sleep over it, as Hygger has all the solutions to that common problem. This air pump’s impressive strength is only rivaled by its noise reduction capabilities.
First and foremost, Hygger comes in two sizes: a 5-watt variant with a capacity of up to 150 gallons, and this model — 10 watts with a capacity of up to 600 gallons. Yes, 600! This makes it one of the most efficient and powerful aquarium air pumps in the current market. You can safely use it for even big tanks & enjoy the benefits of proper oxygenation.
Everything about the construction of this air pump contributes to its excellent performance. It uses thickened ABS plastic to seal in the noise. This makes it even quieter. Additionally, the cover is made out of stainless steel, which further lowers the noise levels. Add to that the bearing-less motor and the eight rubber feet, and you’re left with a device that makes next to no noise.
You can control the power of this air pump via the handy knob at the front. This allows you to adjust the air flow up to 255GPH. You’ll also like the fact that this has two air outlets, allowing for two pieces of equipment (such as air stones) to connect to one pump.
Mylivell Aquarium Air Pump
|Mylivell Quietest Aquarium Air Pump Ultra Silent High Energy Saving Oxygen Air Pump Aquarium for...||$17.99||Buy on Amazon|
Are you getting tired of the noise your old aquarium air pump is making? It’s time to make a change. Mylivell provides extremely low noise levels combined with superb performance.
This manta ray-shaped air pump is ideal for smaller tanks, as it can serve up to 13 gallons. If coupled with a top-quality air stone, it will spread the bubbles evenly throughout your tank, ensuring the happiness of your fish.
As this is a small pump, it only consumes 1.0W. On the other hand, it has a maximum flow rate of 240 ml/min, which makes it very cost-effective. The low power consumption doesn’t translate to low power, which makes this a good choice for your fish aquarium. To top that off, you can use the suction cups at the bottom to stick it to your tank, ensuring it stays in place.
The design truly lends itself to a flawlessly quiet performance. It is driven by a piezoelectric ceramic plate that makes next to zero noise. There’s no motor noise and no EMI, so what noise it makes is drawn out by the surrounding water.
UPMCT Aquarium Air Pump with Dual Outlet
|UPMCT Aquarium Air Pump with Dual Outlet Adjustable Air Valve, Ultra Silent Oxygen Air Pump with...||$16.89||Buy on Amazon|
If you need an air pump that provides a high degree of versatility, we think you might like UPMCT. Not only does it have a dual outlet, allowing you to connect multiple fish tanks, it is also adjustable. Despite these perks, it remains affordable, especially for how powerful it is.
While it’s not quite as strong as the Hygger, this adjustable air pump is suited for 1-80 gallon tanks. This covers a large portion of fish tank owners, so it is quite compatible. You can adjust it to your needs by simply setting the correct flow rate. Next? Watch as your fish, betta, shrimp, & more thrive and enjoy life in an environment with abundant oxygen.
Using the silicone tube on the double outlets, you’ll be able to connect multiple aquariums to just this one air pump. If you own more than one fish tank, all of them on the smaller side, feel free to use this air pump for both.
The noise levels rise along with the airflow, but they remain reasonable. However, if you intend to use it at the maximum setting, you can expect a noise of up to 80 decibels. This makes it unsuitable for bedrooms, but perfectly fine for everywhere else.
VIVOSUN Commercial Air Pump
|VIVOSUN Air Pump 1750 GPH 102W 110L/min 12 Outlet Commercial Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic...||$87.99||Buy on Amazon|
There are big aquariums, and then there are BIG, BIG, BIG aquariums. If yours is one of the latter, a typical air pump won’t suffice. This is why Vivosun manufactured this commercial air pump — to meet the needs of the owners of huge aquariums & fish farms. You can connect it to several tanks, protein skimmers, air stones, & more.
Vivosun comes in several different types. The strongest one is a 102W model that has an output of up to 1750GPH. The lesser models have a power rating of, respectively, 50W, 32W, 14W, and 9.5W. As you can see, there’s something in there for everyone, but we will focus on the 102W powerhouse of an air pump.
Featuring a mindblowing twelve outlets, this air pump can be used with multiple large fish tanks and it won’t even break a sweat. It’s durable enough to handle this type of airflow. Made out of high-quality ZL 102 aluminum alloy, it also features radiation fins that contribute to greater heat dissipation.
These are some of the best aquarium air pumps that can be used in deep water. They have a pressure rating of 0.035Mpa and an output of 110L/min. As the lubricated design is completely oil-less, the compressed air that escapes into your tank is purified. This is an extremely powerful air pump fit for the most demanding users. The only downside? It’s not very quiet, but this is not the kind of pump you’ll be using in a bedroom tank.
Hygger Quietest Aquarium Air Pump
|hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump for Aquarium 1.5 Watt Oxygen Fish Air Pump for 1-15 Gallon Fish Tank with...||$16.99||Buy on Amazon|
What if your fish aquarium tank is on the opposite end of the scale? What if, instead of massive, it’s rather small? All the more reason to provide your little fish with proper oxygenation. Suitable for many kinds of household pets such as betta fish, this small air pump is suited for many aquariums.
It’s very energy-saving, so if you’re trying to build a nice aquarium on a budget, you’ll appreciate the low power bills. With just 1.5 watts of power consumption, it won’t make a dent in your wallet. Despite the lower power usage, it has a respectable flow rate of 420 ml/min. This makes it suited for fish tanks between 1-15 gallons in size.
You can keep your fish healthy without sacrificing your sanity to way too much noise. The construction in this model, namely the thin piezoelectric ceramic plate & lack of a motor, contributes to low noise levels. You can use it in an office, in the bedroom, and in any other part of the house.
This air pump is affordable but fully equipped. When you get it, you’ll also receive a power adapter, 3.6 ft long airline tubing, a 0.9″ air stone, a dual-sided sucker, and a comprehensive user manual.
KEDSUM Portable Aquarium Air Pump
|KEDSUM Aquarium Air Pump, Rechargeable and Portable Fish Tank Air Pump with 2 Air...||$25.99||Buy on Amazon|
There are instances in which you’ll need a portable air pump for an aquarium. Whether you’re moving, replacing your tank, expecting a power outage, or even just going fishing, you’ll want to have options. This is why this rechargeable & portable air pump is a fantastic novelty for you to own.
This aquarium air pump is USB rechargeable and it has a 2600mAh lithium battery inside. The battery provides up to 20 hours of working time on a single charge. It can be recharged by plugging it into your laptop, a wall charger, a power bank, or even your smartphone. Wherever you go, you’ll be able to keep this battery working.
Oftentimes, there’s a common misconception that rechargeable products are less viable than their battery-less counterparts. This may be true in some industries, but not in this case. Kedsum features a powerful motor with two air tubes. You can connect it to two devices and provide proper oxygen levels to both.
This seemingly unassuming air pump is suitable for both freshwater and marine aquariums. What’s more, it has a wide range of capacities that it works with. You can use it in tanks in the 5 to 30 gallons range.
Pawfly Quietest Aquarium Air Pump
|Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump for 10 Gallon with Accessories Air Stone Check Valve and Tube,...||$9.67||Buy on Amazon|
If you want to have everything in one set & skip additional shopping, Pawfly is a solid option. It’s also a solid air pump — dependable, quiet, and powerful for its small size. Is it the best aquarium pump for you?
You can use this product in both freshwater and marine tanks of up to 10 gallons in capacity. This means that your betta fish and other types of small fish will appreciate Pawfly. So will your wallet — it only has 2 watts of power consumption. It also has a strong flow rate of 1.8L/min and a pressure rating of 0.012 MPa.
The biggest strength of this small air pump lies in how quiet it is. It never exceeds 40 dB, but it normally runs at an even quieter level. You can safely keep the tank in your bedroom or your kid’s bedroom and no one will be woken up by annoying nouse. It’s definitely the quietest aquarium out there, or at the very least, it’s one of them.
This is a full set of accessories and it includes the air pump itself, a check valve, an air stone, and a 5 ft. air tube.
Is it Necessary To Have An Air Pump in The Aquarium?
This is a question many fish tank owners ask themselves. Do you really need an air pump? Will your fish survive without one? The short answer is: no, an air pump is not required, and your fish MIGHT be alright without it. Sounds ominous? That’s because an air pump, while not a necessity, is still a very welcome addition to your aquarium.
Air pumps serve a dual purpose. First and foremost, they ensure that your tank’s concentration of oxygen is at an appropriate level. This can be done without an air pump too, as some tanks maintain adequate water movement due to their surface agitation. To make that happen, you’d have to use external filters.
The second purpose of an air pump for aquarium is to force the water in your tank through a filter. An air pump will produce bubbles in your tank, which will then force the water up the uplift tubes. This pulls it through the filter. In a large tank, you may have powerheads that perform a similar function.
However, keep in mind that a lot of fish tanks don’t have the air circulation required in order to skip an air pump. That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry and get one for your pets.
Some benefits of using an air pump include:
- Surface agitation. Air pumps improve the gas exchange in your fish tank, increasing the amount of oxygen. This results in your fish being happier and healthier. If your fish seem to be swimming near the top of the tank and gasping for air, you definitely need an air pump.
If the gas exchange in your tank is not sufficient, the surface of the aquarium may be very still or even completely still. That is also a tell-tale sign that you urgently need an air pump.
- It can power a sponge filter. This type of filter is powered by the air bubbles that your air pump and/or air stone generates. As the water from the bottom of your tank is sucked into the filter, it comes back out spreading beneficial bacteria. This will contribute to breaking the ammonia in your tank. Such filters also improve surface agitation.
- Decoration. Decorating an aquarium is a hobby in and of itself. We’ve all seen air bubbles used for decoration in a water tank, and with an air pump, you too can get creative and make your tank stand out.
As you can see, while an air pump is not necessary for all aquariums, it’s an improvement in most of them. It’s also a must-have for some fish tanks.
If you’re a beginner, your knowledge of air pumps is quite sufficient by now, but there are still new things to learn. If you’re an expert, you may know a lot more, but questions tend to pop up fully unexpected. We’re here to wash away your doubts before you get your new air pump, so check out our quick FAQ section!
How do I reduce the noise in my aquarium air pump?
If your air pump has gotten noisy & it’s driving you crazy, there are steps you can take before a replacement becomes necessary. With a few small changes, you might be able to improve the situation by miles and miles.
In order to reduce the noise in your aquarium air pump, try the following steps:
- Make sure to keep the air pump on a higher surface, above the water level in the aquarium. This contributes to less pressure, a better airflow, and of course, noise reduction. This method also helps if your air pump fails or suffers from a power outage. If that were to happen, the water might be siphoned back into the airline if you kept the pump lower than the water. However, it’s easy enough to avoid if you stick to this step.
- Clean the air stones frequently. If you use air stones, you need to remember that they require regular cleaning. As they are responsible for spreading the oxygen in the tank, they need to be kept clean. Otherwise, they may become clogged & lower the performance of your pump.
- Remember to place the air pump on a solid surface. If you keep it on a hollow container, such as a box or a shelf with drawers, the noise will get worse. This is because the vibrations caused by the hollow surface below would only increase noise levels.
- Utilize a soft surface, such as a towel or a blanket. Most air pumps have rubber feet that remove the risk of vibrating, but it doesn’t hurt to make that even lower.
How big of an air pump do I need aquarium?
Only you can know this, as only you know your fish tank size. If you’re not quite sure, it’s time to take precise measurements, grab your calculator, and do the math.
As a general rule of thumb, to pick the right size of the air pump for your fish tank, you need to check the output of the device. Your new air pump should provide at least 0.033 liters of air per minute per gallon of water.
Air pumps, while not always an absolute necessity, can bring a lot of quality of life to your little fish friends. Moreover, in some tanks, having the best aquarium air pumps is simply crucial. Observe and take note of the behavior of your fish — they may be starved for some oxygen.
Whether you must have one or simply want to, take your time in picking the best pump for aquarium. Your fish will feel better than ever when taken care of so thoroughly!