The Best Aquarium Air Pump for Your Tank (How to Choose and Top 10 Reviews!)

You set up your aquarium at home and fill it with fish, shrimp or snails adorned with lovely dainty ornaments. But you want to make it more appealing with some water motion and rising bubbles and so you’ve installed an aquarium air pump. It looks good and seems to be working well until you hear a very annoying noise! What could have gone wrong?

If you’ve been trying to spruce up your aquarium tank with an air pump but the one you have may not be the best aquarium air pump, well, that’s why you’re here, aren’t you?

These air pumps come in different types of operation, noise levels, flow rates, power rates, and design but they all have one function: to create water motion or rising air bubbles, enhance the function of your filtration system, and also provide oxygen to the water.

Before you choose the best air pump for your aquarium, keep on reading and we’ll help you out with our comprehensive buying guide along with the reviews of our topnotch picks for air pumps.

Top 10 Best Aquarium Air Pump Reviews

IMAGE PRODUCT NAME FEATURE AMAZON LINK
Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Aquariums CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: Up to 10 gallons

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 2.9 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: Quiet

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EcoPlus 29 GPH Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 29 GPH

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 3 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: Creates minimal noise

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Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE:

240 GPH or 15 liters per minute

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 6 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 45 dB/ quiet

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Mylivell Quietest Aquarium Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: Up to 13 gallons/18 liters per minute

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 1 Watt

NOISE LEVEL: 33 dB/ super quiet

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Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: Up to 150 gallons

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 3.5Watts

NOISE LEVEL: Super quiet

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Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump Dual Outlet CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 64 GPH/ 20 to 100 gallons

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 4 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 25 dB/ super quiet

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Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 1750 GPH

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 112 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 60 dB/ a little noisy

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Fluval Q1 Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 50 to 160 gallons

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 4 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 45 dB/ quiet

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Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 250 GPH/ 30 to 600 gallons

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 10 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 35 dB/ super quiet

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Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump CAPACITY/FLOW RATE: 10 gallons/ 1.8 liters per minute

OPERATION: Plug-in unit

POWER: 2 Watts

NOISE LEVEL: 40 dB/ quiet

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Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Aquariums

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Even its name tells you how this air pump works – silent and superb! It is a powerful air pump that can handle aeration demands from 10 up to 100 gallons without producing that annoying noise that some aquarium air pumps do. With its large capacity, it can handle small to large aquariums with optimum airflow while operating quietly.

The highlight of this air pump, moreover, is the patented dome shape that does a significant effect on its quiet performance. The unique shape and sound-dampening chambers reduce the turbulence, allowing it to lend a smooth and silent stream of air. Plus, the suspended motor also ward off any vibrations that can make any sound.

Besides the powerful airflow, unique design, and quiet operation, this air pump is easy to set up and energy-efficient. Structured with wide feet with non-skid rubber ends, it renders stable support that keeps the air pump locked in place.

PROS:

  • Features a patented dome shape that reduces the noise and allows it to operate quietly
  • Can supply aeration needs from 10 to 100-gallon tanks
  • Has a unique structure and wide feet that contribute to is silent performance and stable support
  • Easy to set up and energy-efficient

CONS:

  • Looks a bit flimsy

EcoPlus 29 GPH Air Pump

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If you’re looking for an air pump that can support your hydroponics and deliver sufficient levels of oxygen to the water, this machine from EcoPlus surely is worth a try. Rated with 29 GPH, it can provide ample levels of airflow which you can make use of when supplying oxygen and air to your aquarium.

While you can utilize higher-rated versions of this tank, you can take this 29 GPH air pump with a single outlet to your aquariums with minimal aeration demands. It is easy to set up and also dependable for plenty of airflows. As it is a plug-in unit, you can just plug this air pump in and let it work!

Besides its function to oxygenate the water, it also does a great job to improve the uptake of the nutrients of the plants, allowing them to grow healthy, green, and leafy. It also bolsters the growth of their roots and make them essentially strong and hence, provide a healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic pets.

PROS:

  • Has a rating of 29 GPH and a single outlet which is ideal for small tanks
  • Provides sufficient supply of air and oxygen to tanks with minimal aeration requirements
  • Easy to set up and energy-efficient
  • Great support for hydroponics

CONS:

  • Not as quiet as the other plug-in units

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump

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For an affordable and energy-efficient air pump that can supply constant airflow to your aquarium or even to multiple tanks, this superb tool from Hydrofarm might just be the one you need. It boasts its low-profile design but works like a beast to provide sufficient supply of oxygen and air to your aquariums.

Designed with four outlets, it pumps out a great amount of airflow. The airflow or pressure is also adjustable which is pretty impressive and therefore, allows you to optimize the flow according to your needs and preferences.

What’s also amazing about this air pump is the quiet operation. It does a great job in pumping out optimum airflow while keeping it very low in noise because of its multi-level muffler. This plug-in unit runs at 120V or 6 watts and also easy to set up.

PROS:

  • Has 240 GPH rating and 4 outlets which can provide constant airflow to large or multiple tanks
  • Incredibly silent but powerful with its multi-level muffler
  • Energy-efficient and gives no trouble with setting up
  • Has artificial rubber feet to keep the pump steady on a surface

CONS:

  • The plastic mounts may not be durable enough

Mylivell Quietest Aquarium Air Pump

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Running only at 1 watt but can provide adequate oxygen to a fish tank up to 13 gallons, this super compact air pump might just be the one you’re looking for if you want to save up a lot of energy consumption. While it is incredibly lightweight, compact, and requires only low power consumption, it does a massive job to give your tank the oxygen it needs. Rated with 33dB, it is amazingly quiet that you won’t even hear a thing when it pumps!

You can use it on high-grade aquariums or if you need a boost for your aquaculture oxygenation or sprout decoration. It features a very efficient air stone that delivers beautiful air bubbles at an optimum pace. While it does its job to support the aquatic life, it also improves the aesthetics, making your aquarium more appealing and lively.

Because it is lightweight and portable, you won’t have to worry about the installation. It has a suction cup that you can use to attach it to your bowl or tank.

PROS:

  • Rated with 33 decibels and incredibly quiet when it pumps
  • Super compact, lightweight, and portable
  • Easy to set up; has a suction cup that you can use to attach to the tank
  • Has very efficient air stone that provides great airflow and spread of bubbles
  • Runs at 1 watt and ensures very low consumption

CONS:

  • May not be able’ to support multiple tanks

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications

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If you want to customize your aquarium with rising air bubbles, this Whisper AP150 from Tetra is the tool you can consider. This compact wonder is powerful and can deliver optimum airflow and oxygen to your fish and hydroponics.

This pump is also innovatively designed to support tanks with greater back pressure, particularly deep tanks that can go up to 8 feet deep or 150 gallons of water. Thus, if you’re trying to put up an air pump to support deep waters in your tank, this one from Tetra surely is reliable.

It also boasts its quiet operation that eliminates the annoying noise, allowing you to read, rest, or sleep while leaving the air pump on. Backed up with lifetime warranty, it ensures durability that can last for years.

PROS:

  • Powerful compact air pump that can support tanks up to 150 gallons or 8 feet deep
  • Renders quiet operation
  • Provides optimum airflow and oxygen for your fish and plants
  • Backed up with lifetime warranty

CONS:

  • This unit only includes the air pump. The tubing, connectors, and check valves, and air stone are not included.

Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump Dual Outlet

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If you need an air pump that can work on aquariums that have a water capacity of 20 to 100 gallons, this one from Uniclife might just suffice. Equipped with adjustable airflow, you can optimize the speed from high to low. It also ensures silent operation with 25 decibels to make sure you won’t wake anyone up in the middle of the night!

What’s also great about this deal is you get all the accessories you need and not just the air pump. Structured with two outlets, you can use the tubing and air stones to spruce up your aquarium with beautiful rising bubbles and optimized oxygen supply. This plug-in unit runs at 4 watts and ensures powerful but energy-saving performance.

PROS:

  • Features an adjustable airflow to optimize the speed from low to high
  • Includes all the accessories – tubing, air stones, connectors, and check valve
  • Has two outlets and can provide airflow for tanks with up 20 to 100 gallons
  • Renders energy-efficient but powerful performance
  • Silent operation (rated with 25 dB)

CONS:

  • Makes a little noise when adjusted to the higher setting

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump

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This Hydrofarm air pump is an ideal option if you need to supply massive demands of oxygen and air to multiple tanks or large-sized fish tanks. Crafted with 12 outlets, it surely can meet all your aeration demands whether you grow hydroponics or just want to stabilize the oxygen and airflow for your aquatic pets in your aquarium.

Although it delivers high pressure and high output, this air pump does not operate too loudly. The multi-level muffler does the job to keep it low as it functions. However, it is rated with 60 decibels and so you may expect a little noise when it pumps out, especially at high pressure. It is a plug-in unit and also easy to install.

PROS:

  • Ideal for commercial use
  • Has 12 outlets and delivers high pressure that can provide optimum airflow and oxygen for large-sized or multiple aquariums
  • Easy to install
  • Has multi-level muffler to optimize the noise

CONS:

  • It is rated with 60 decibels and may create a little noise when it functions
  • May not be applicable for small tanks and small fish

Fluval Q1 Air Pump

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Fluval offers an efficient air pump that supports aquariums that accommodate 50 to 160 gallons of water. Streamlined with one outlet, it supplies sufficient airflow and oxygen for your fish, aquatic plants, and other aquatic pets. And because it has an adjustable flow control, you can customize the airflow according to your preferred pressure whether high or low. Also, it enhances the aesthetics of your aquarium with its beautiful rising air bubbles.

Another fascinating feature of this air pump is its powerful performance. And with its rating of 45 decibels, it can operate and deliver low to high pressure with very minimal to no noise. It comes with a decent length of a power cord, allowing you to place the air pump on a flat surface or above the tank.

PROS:

  • Designed for aquariums filled up with 50 to 160 gallons of water
  • Has one outlet that provides sufficient oxygen and airflow
  • Features adjustable flow control – low to high pressure
  • Operates quietly with its 45 decibel rating
  • Easy to set up

CONS:

  • Makes vibrations at times

Hygger Quiet High Output 10W Aquarium Air Pump

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Hygger air pump might be the boost you need for your aquariums with 30 to 600 gallons of water. Innovatively designed with dual outlets with an airflow rate of 250 GPH or 16 liters per minute, it can render optimum pressure and oxygen for large aquariums or multiple aquariums.

What’s also impressive about this air pump is the quiet operation. It delivers optimum high pressure but it does not create loud noise whenever it functions. It has magnetic bearings that help minimize the vibration and rated with 35 decibels. Hence, it creates only little to no noise. And to keep it still and locked in place when installed, it has four rubber feet at the bottom.

PROS:

  • Has an airflow rate of 250 GPH that can accommodate aquariums with 50 to 600 gallons
  • Features dual outlets that deliver efficient oxygen supply and airflow
  • Rated with 35 decibels that provides quiet operation
  • Easy to set up
  • Has four rubber feet to prevent it from slipping

CONS:

  • Runs at 10 watts which may consume more power compared to other air pumps

Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump

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If you’re looking for a low-cost, compact, and efficient air pump, this one from Pawfly could be your ideal pick. It is specifically designed for small aquariums or small-sized freshwater or marine aquariums. It is a single outlet air pump that delivers adequate airflow and oxygen to your plants and fish while elevating your ornamentals with stunning rising air bubbles.

Rated with 40 decibels, it ensures silent operation, allowing you and your family to revel in a restful sleep any time of the day. It has a flow rate of 1.8 liters per minute which is just sufficient for tanks up to 10 gallons. It also includes an air stone, 5 ft. air tube, and a check valve that makes installation easy-peasy.

PROS:

  • Operates quietly – rated with 40 decibels
  • Has a flow rate of 1.8 liters per minute
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 10 gallons
  • Has a single outlet that provides sufficient oxygen supply and airflow for small tanks
  • Easy to set up and energy-efficient

CONS:

  • May not be powerful enough for large-sized aquariums

Different Types of Aquarium Air Pumps

Before we sift through the other features of an air pump, identifying the different types of aquarium air pumps will also help you choose which product really fits your needs.

1. Battery-operated Air Pump

These air pumps power up with the use of batteries. Basically, it is a wireless, portable, and compact unit which is an ideal design if you prefer a smaller air pump. Because it showcases a compact and convenient design, there’d probably be no trouble transporting your aquarium, especially when you move places.

Probably the downside of battery-operated air pumps is the limited battery life. You need to replace the batteries every time they wear out. That’s why some users opt for this type of unit as a back-up only for their plug-in air pumps just in case the electricity runs out or whenever it is necessary to use such as moving to another place or room.

Nonetheless, these air pumps work pretty well and they do what they’re made to do.

2. Plug-in Air Pump

Contrary to battery-operated air pumps, these units require electricity to run. As soon as you plug it into an electric outlet, the air pump works and will constantly produce air bubbles and water motion. What’s great about this unit is that it works without interruption as long as there is electricity. You won’t have to worry about batteries running out.

Typically, these air pumps are designed without on and off switch. It just powers up as soon as you plug it in. And unless you have a back-up air pump, such as the battery-operated unit, your plug-in air pump won’t work when the electricity dies.

3. Dual Operation

Dual air pumps are the integrated function of the units previously mentioned. It is a single unit that features dual ports for plug-in and battery operation. The back-up batteries power up the air pump automatically whenever the electricity suddenly runs out.

That’s why it is convenient and could also be an ideal design if you want to keep the air pump working. However, with such a mechanism, these air pumps usually come in hefty price tags.

How to Choose the Best Aquarium Air Pump

With the vast array of aquarium air pumps available on the market, finding the best unit that you can use with your tank might be a bit difficult. Therefore, it is important to consider the vital factors such as the following to help you identify which product complies with your preferences and needs.

1. Determine the flow rate.

If you want to know the volume or how many gallons your air pump can produce at a certain speed, every air pump features respective flow rates that are identified as GPH or gallons per hour. Other brands detail it as liters per minute.

Do know that air pumps are designed not only to make your aquarium more pleasing with rising air bubbles, but also to provide ample oxygen to your plants and fish. Therefore, you may choose the ideal flow rate based on how much water or gallons of water you’ve filled your tank with.

For example, it is recommended that you opt for 240GPH (gallons per hour) if you have a 40-gallon tank.

You may also consider the types of plants and fish dwelling in your tank. If you are accommodating bettas, baby fish, or any small kinds of fish, it is recommended that you only choose an air pump with a very slow flow rate. Otherwise, it may just cause too much stress on your small fish if they keep on swimming around the water with high current.

On the other hand, you can consider putting up an air pump with higher flow rate if you have large fish in the tank as this helps deliver fish waste to the filter and hence, keep your aquarium clean all the time. And, of course, it also delivers ample oxygen to your aquatic pets and plants.

For filter feeders and reef tanks, flowing or moving water is essential. That’s why an air pump with a faster or higher flow rate will do to keep the water moving at the optimum rate.

2. Consider the type of air pump.

As mentioned, air pumps are available in different types: battery-operated, plug-in, and dual air pump. The ideal option is all up to your needs and preferences. If you need something compact and portable, a battery-operated air pump will do. This can also be your option if you’re just looking for a back-up air pump for your plug-in unit.

For continuous water flow or movement, plug-in units may just be the one you need. But if you think you can invest more to have the function of these two units into a single unit, dual air pumps might be your best bet. Just always make sure to look closely into their function, flow rate, noise level, and other features before you settle for the type of air pump you want to purchase.

3. Check the noise level.

Many users complain about the annoying noise their air pumps create and that’s also probably one of the reasons why you are looking for a replacement. Therefore, it would be a lot better if you check the noise level. Some air pumps do make a lot of noise when they function and it is no good to hear in the middle of the night!

If there is any way you can test the noise with a decibel meter, you can do so. Units that are rated between 30 to 44 decibels are the quiet ones. Any decibel rate higher than that is considered noisy and that’s probably the loud and annoying noise you don’t want to hear! Some manufacturers, however, indicate the decibel rate.

4. Check the power and number of outlets.

Every air pump offers a designated amount of power or watts which tells you how powerful the unit is. This can also tell you how much power it consumes which can either increase or reduce your expenses on electric bills! That’s why it is important that you carefully choose the air pump that energy-efficient but highly functional and durable.

In terms of the number of outlets, this may also be a significant factor to consider if you want to see multiple displays of water motion or rising air bubbles or if you need to use it for multiple tanks. There are units that offer one or two outlets and some have more. You may also consider the outlet size to prevent any leaks or accidents.

However, if you’re planning to produce more air bubbles or movement in the water in your aquarium, refer to the important points noted when determining the flow rate. To make sure you get the optimum level of current, consider the types of fish, particularly if they are small. Too much water movement may cause unwanted stress to the fish.

5. Easy installation.

Typically, air pumps work great right out of the box. They do not need usually come in pieces and parts and if they do, there should not be any trouble putting them together as well as the installation. The installation is basically just plugging it into a power outlet or putting the batteries in.

You can also consider where you want to place the air pump whether inside a cabinet, beside the aquarium, or underneath the tank. However, it is recommended to be placed above the tank or near the water level and on a flat surface. They are not waterproof and submersible otherwise stated.

How to Set Up Aquarium Air Pump

Once you’ve got the air pump on your hands, the next thing to do is to set it up. Just take it out of the box and place it on a table or inside the cabinet. Is that it? Definitely, not!

Installation is easy as a breeze but there are a few reminders to take note of when setting up an air pump. Whether it is your first time or just replacing your old unit, a proper setup can prevent leaks, malfunctions, and other accidents.

Here are a few notes to remember when setting up an aquarium air pump:

1. It is better not to place your air pump underneath the tank, especially if you are using a plug-in unit. There is a tendency that the water will draw off some water causing leaks, messy spills, and possibly breaking your air pump eventually when the electricity runs out.

2. If the pump is lower than the water level, you should use a check valve to prevent the water in the aquarium from siphoning back to the pump in case the power goes out.

3. It is recommended that you place your air pump above the tank or near the water level and on a flat surface for a continuous flow.

4. They are not waterproof and submersible. You should not put them inside the tank.

5. Use the air tubes and attach them to the outlets of the air pump.

6. Put an air stone at the other end. Plug the air pump in.

7. Once plugged in, you can just drop the air stone to the tank and let blow some air bubbles!

8. When it comes to battery-operated units, everything is most likely the same when setting them up minus the part of plugging them in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the best air pump for my aquarium?

Each type and brand of air pump may offer a lot of features that can definitely ramp up your needs for optimum water flow or movement, a better filtration system, and ample oxygen level. But the best air pump for your aquarium still depends on your needs and preferences.

You may consider the significant factors mentioned above and detailed guidelines when choosing an air pump for your aquarium to make sure you end up with the unit that essentially fits your needs.

2. How does an aquarium air pump work?

You may think that aquarium air pumps work to enhance the aesthetics of your fish tank with the rising air bubbles and water movement. But an air pump is primarily designed to provide optimum water flow and oxygen for your fish, plants, and other aquatic pets. It also does a great job in elevating the function of your filtration system to keep your aquarium clean all the time.

All you need is to plug it in or set the batteries in, connect the tubing or hose with an air stone at the other end, drop it in the aquarium, and you’re good to go!

Wrapping Up

Whether you use it to boost your filter, provide the optimum level of oxygen to your plants and fish or just want to use it for aesthetic purposes, you surely can make use of an aquarium air pump in many ways and this piece of equipment is definitely worth a try.

And if you want to invest in this superb machine to modify your fish tank, you can find the best air pump as long as you’ve closely considered and determined what you really need through the guidelines mentioned above. All it takes is in-depth research, a detailed and informative guideline (such as this!) and a topnotch selection of the best aquarium air pumps out there!