Best Aquarium Air Pumps: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

best aquarium air pump reviewsAquarium air pumps are not mandatory but they are recommended for almost every tank except planted aquariums with CO2 injection. A good air pump will provide the required oxygen to your tank inhabitants by creating surface agitation. And not only that, there is some aquarium equipment that requires an air pump to work like sponge filters. An air pump will help to keep your fishes healthy for sure. However, pumps are always overlooked.

All air pumps are not the same. In order to get the optimum result, you would need to pick the best one. And if you are worrying about how to pick the best aquarium air pump, then chill, we have got you covered.

Yes! In this very article, we have picked some of the highly rated aquarium air pumps in the market which will provide you the best value for your money. We also kept the price range in mind and listed some affordable air pumps too.

Along with the product reviews, you will find other related information’s too, such as how to buy the best fish tank air pump, benefits of using a pump, types, etc. And at the very end of the article, we have tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about air pumps.

So without killing any more time, let’s dive right in.

Top 10 Best Air Pumps for Aquarium

These 10 air pumps that we have picked, users are very satisfied with them. We have checked all the features and qualities that are needed to deliver the optimum value. Go through all the reviews, we have demonstrated everything you would need to know along with the pros and cons. But first take a look at them at a glance –

1. Fluval Air Pump

Fluval Air Pump
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Starting with the Fluval air pump. It is a small and rectangular box designed air pump. The dimension is 3.2 x 7.8 x 6.4 inches and the weight is just 2.1 pound which is considered a lightweight. This Fluval air pump comes in two series Q1 and Q2. Both are almost similar. Q1 is the first model and Q2 is the latest version. Apart from the lightweight and size, this air pump is amazingly powerful and can easily handle a 50 to 160-gallon water tank. Moreover, you can control the air flow of this pump too.

The manufacturer has featured an advanced swing arm technology which allows the pump to deliver constant air flow. And that means, with this air pump, your tank is getting more circulated air which helps to increase the oxygen level. This air pump is made with double-walled construction design which allows this pump to make less noise compared to other models.

Overall all, this Fluval air pump is well-constructed and would be a perfect choice for medium sized water tanks.

The Pros

  • Reliable air pump.
  • Makes less noise.
  • Adjustable and consistent air flow.
  • Well-constructed.
  • Nice design.

The Cons

  • Doesn’t come with adjustable dual-outlets.

2. Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump
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This Active Aqua Commercial is an amazing air pump for the money. As we said earlier, some tank equipment requires an air pump to operate. This air pump is best for operating multiple equipment of the tank. It comes with an electrical magnetic compressor system along with a top-notch aluminum case. So you don’t need to worry about the durability of this air pump.

Moreover, in order to increase the durability, the manufacturers have used wear & tear resistant materials for both the cylinder and piston.

On the other hand, with this air pump you can switch on or off all the outlets and that’s what makes this pump one of the best for commercial use.  As this one is an electrical pump with magnetic air compressor, it delivers high water pressure.

It can serve 1100 gallons of water which is huge. Although this air pump looks a little big, it doesn’t make that much noise. Another best thing about this pump is, it consumes less power so you won’t need to count huge electricity bills. Plus, it gives a stable air flow.

The Pros

  • Highly durable.
  • Best for commercial use.
  • Stable air flow.
  • Delivers high pressure.
  • Wear & tear resistant cylinder and piston.

The Cons

  • This air pump can get a bit hot when used for a long period of time.

3. Tetra Whisper Air Pump

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications
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Do you own a tall aquarium? Then every air pump might not work well for you, you will need a deep water pump. The Tetra Whisper air pump is probably the most powerful water tank air pump that can be found in the market right now. And this is one of the best air pumps for tall aquariums.

If your tank is filled with a bunch of air stones, then this one would be the right choice for you. With this pump, your tank water will have a proper amount of oxygen and water movement which will definitely keep the water clean and will provide the tank inhabitant with proper oxygen.

Plus, this Tetra air pump delivers small bubbles which enhances the beauty of the aquarium and when it is combined with other decorations, pretty fishes and perfect lights, it will look stunning. It is featured with elastic feet which prevents this pump from unwanted slipping.

On the other hand, this pump is made of high-quality materials which ensure that it will serve you for a long time. All in all, this is a great air pump to have and finding a pump with the same capabilities would be hard.

The Pros

  • Durable.
  • Makes the tank look good.
  • It features an air valve.
  • Makes quiet operation.

The Cons

  • There is no tubing included with this product.

4. EcoPlus Commercial Air Pump

EcoPlus 1300 GPH Commercial Air Pump
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Do you want to replace your old air pump with a new one? Then the EcoPlus Commercial Air Pump would be a perfect catch for you. It won’t cost you a large amount of money. This is a highly durable air pump. It comes with a handle so that you can carry it easily and it features rubber feet which prevent this pump from unexpected slipping.

If your water tank is filled with lots of decorative equipment that requires a strong air pump to operate, this EcoPlus air pump will handle that nicely.

It comes with 5 outlets, so you should not have a problem connecting other decorative equipment to it. Moreover, this air pump is best for outdoor fishing projects. As it is a powerful pump, it makes loud noise during operation and that’s why we recommend it for outdoor tanks. But if your water tank is placed in a room where people don’t spend much time, then you can go with it.

It is perfect for medium sized water tanks and will deliver the needed oxygen to your tank inhabitants reliably.

The Pros

  • Built with heavy-duty materials.
  • Best for fish farm and hydroponic system.
  • Comes with 5 outlets.
  • Features a handle for easy carrying.
  • Affordable price.

The Cons

  • Makes really loud noise.

5. Aqua Supreme AP-8 Aquarium Air Pump

Aqua Supreme AP-8 Aquarium Air Pump
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If you want an aquarium air pump that consumes less energy, then this Aqua Supreme Ap-8 will be suitable for you. You can also pick this air pump if searching for pumps seems very confusing to you as it can work fine with both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

The best part of this air pump is, it comes with 4 outlets with which you can link 4 decorative equipment of your tank. There are a bunch of air pumps that newcomers find confusing to use and assemble. But that would not happen with this Aqua Supreme Ap-8 air pump as the using and assembling process is very easy and straightforward.

On the other hand, it consumes only 7 watts of power. So, you won’t have to bear huge electric bills every month. Thanks to the manufacturer, they have installed high-quality advanced technology in this air pump which made it capable of powering a large amount of air into the tank. And lastly, it will provide a nice amount of oxygen in a medium sized water tank.

The Pros

  • Comes with a great design.
  • Assembling and using is very simple.
  • Consumes less electricity.
  • 4 separated outlets.
  • Comes with a pressure control knob.

The Cons

  • This air pump is a little heavy.
  • Creates loud noise.

6. Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump
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Here come another energy efficient air pump with lots of features: the Hydrofarm Active Aqua air pump. This Hydrofarm air pump comes in a universal size: 7 x 5.5 x 11 inches. Although it comes in one size, it has 8 separate outlets making it easier for you to connect other aquarium equipment. It is a powerful air pump which can cycle 6.6 gallons of water per minutes which is quite impressive.

As we said earlier that it is an energy efficient air pump, it consumes less electricity saving you from paying huge bills. And if you have other equipment that requires an air pump to operate, then you are saving most of the electricity bills.

It comes in boxed design which makes it look really cool. This pump has artificial rubber legs which helps it to keep the airflow consistent and the delivered pressure can be adjusted by the knob that is placed at the top of the pump. And the satisfying thing is, it makes less to no noise while operating.

The Pros

  • Very powerful pump.
  • Highly-durable.
  • It features a pressure control knob.
  • Makes less to no sound.
  • Energy efficient.

The Cons

  • It is not waterproofed.
  • Comes with no tubing.

7. Penn Plax Air B11 Battery Operated Air Pump

Penn Plax Silent Air B11 Battery Operated Aquarium Air Pump
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Here comes our first battery operated air pump: The Penn Plax Air B11 Air Pump. It is a small pump, looks like a walkie-talkie. Well, first thing first, this pump is not powerful and it makes sense to not expect high value from a product of that small size. If you have a water tank where you will need a couple of air pumps, then you can choose this one to be one of them and if not that, we will recommend this air pump only for small tanks.

The best part of this Penn Plax Silent Battery Air Pump is, you can still have the bubble going up in the tank when you have an electricity outage. And you can carry this pump with you anywhere you want as they are very portable. Though it is advertised to be suitable for a 55 gallon water tank, you should choose this for a much smaller tank. The battery will give backup for up to 48-hours if charged fully.

The Pros

  • Perfect for freshwater tank.
  • Suitable for a 30-gallon tank.
  • Automatically detects the power outage and starts battery backup.
  • Very lightweight and small size.

The Cons

  • Batteries don’t come with the pump. You’ll have to purchase them separately.

8. VicTsing Air Pump

VicTsing Ultra Silent High Out Energy Efficient Aquarium Air Pump
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This model from the VicTsing is another small air pump which comes with a good looking design. This air pump is specially designed to provide the right amount of oxygen and water movement in the tank which will definitely keep the water clean and will increase the health of your tank inhabitants.

It is suitable for both fresh and saltwater tank. It comes with two outlets which enables you to use this pump for two separated small tanks. But if you own a medium sized tank, you might need to use both in the same tank.

Here comes the best part, unlike others this VicTsing air pump comes with two long tubes and two air stones which will surely increase the beauty of your water tank with lots of small bubbles. If you have colored small fishes, perfect lighting and some corals in your tank, with these air stones your tank will look out of the world. The manufacturer has included multi-level muffler in order to reduce the noise.

The Pros

  • You can use it in two fish tanks.
  • Makes less noise.
  • Best for medium-sized tanks.
  • Delivers proper oxygen.
  • Energy efficient.
  • Easy to use.

The Cons

  • The air stones are of low quality.

9. JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump

JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump
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Are you on a tight budget and looking for an affordable air pump that still delivers awesome features? Well, we have one pump that delivers more than the expected value at an affordable price range: The JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump.

It comes with a small and cute design which looks like a white mouse. This one is probably the best affordable aquarium water pump you would find in the market. The color combination of this pump is also lovely.

You would see most expensive air pumps make noise during operation but this JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump is absolutely quiet while operating. Yes, it doesn’t make any noise during operation and no noise means your fishes and you are not going to be bothered.

It has enough power to provide enough oxygen to the tank. Moreover, this pump comes with a control knob which will allow you to control the air flow. The air flow is also consistent.

The Pros

  • Offers noiseless operation.
  • Built with high-quality materials.
  • Affordable price.
  • Cute design.
  • Easy to use.
  • Consistent air flow

The Cons

  • Not suitable for aquariums over 11 inches.

10. Marine Metal 110

Marine Metal 110 Air Dual A-2
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The Marine Metal 110 is the last air pump in our review list and a good one to finish with. We would not suggest this air pump for large tanks. It will work fine for small to medium size tanks. Unlike most air pumps, this one comes with two tubing and two air stones which will enhance the beauty of your aquarium.

These air stones are glass bead stones which will produce a lot of small bubbles. Using this pump is also very easy and it comes almost ready to use, all you have to do it just attach the tubing to the pump. This pump features two outlets, so you can use it in two small tanks at the same time.

The Pros

  • Affordable price.
  • Made of durable materials.
  • High-quality air stones.
  • Comes with tubing.
  • Easy to use.
  • Two outlets.

The Cons

  • Makes loud noise.

How to Buy the Perfect Aquarium Air Pump?

To ensure that you are getting the best air pump within your budget, you need to check a few factors right before making the final decision. We have listed all these factors below:

Size of Tank

One mistake that most newcomers make is they don’t choose a pump depending on the tank size. As a rule of thumb, the larger your tank is, the more powerful air pump you would need. A less powerful air pump will not be able to deliver the right amount of air in a large tank. On the other hand, if you are using air pump just to operate an under-gravel filter, then a powerful pump can blow the gravel floor and make a mess.

Before you buy one, check the size rating on the pump. It will tell you the suitable tank size for that pump. If you own a non-standard tank (too large) then the size rating won’t help you. You’ll need to test with 2 or 3 air pumps to get the correct requirement.

Decorations

As we said earlier, some decorative equipment requires an air pump to operate. So you have to keep that in mind too when you are buying an air pump. The more equipment the air pump will be supporting, the stronger air pump you would need. If you have fewer things that require a pump, then a small capacity air pump would be enough.

Resistance

In the upper section, we have talked about the quantity of aquarium equipment. You would have to think about the quality of that equipment too. If that equipment has a high resistance, means if they require powerful push to get the air out through them, you’ll be needing a high capacity air pump.

For example, you will see small shower stones have less resistance than the large one. So in case of small stones, you can get away with a small capacity air pump but for larger stones, you will need high-capacity.

The Height of the Tank

There are different shapes of aquariums. If you own a tall tank about 18 to 20 inch, you will require a deep-water air pump. Why? Because the last stage inhabitants of your tank also need the same amount of air. Deep-water pumps are designed to take the air deep down.

Quiet Operation

You don’t want your air pump to make irritating noise when it’s operating, right? You just want to see the bubble inside the water, not any noise. Some sir pumps make really loud noise which won’t let you read, sleep and have a conversation peacefully. So before you choose an air pump, make sure that doesn’t make any noise.

Benefits of Aquarium Air Pump

As we have mentioned before, air pumps are not essential but they are recommended. Your fishes will still be okay without any air pump. But having one will provide them with more oxygen and they will be healthier.

Plus, air pump will keep the water well-circulated which will reduce the percentage of carbon dioxide in the water. Furthermore, some tank equipment needs air pumps to work.

For example, if you have a filter installed in the tank, chances are that it would require an air pump to operate. So if not for the air circulation, you would need to get a pump to make the filter work. There are some air stones which come with the air pump. These stones release a large number of small bubbles which increase the beauty of the tank.

Different Categories of Air Pumps

Air pumps can be categorized into four different types by their functionality and features. You should choose one that will meet your requirement. Below we have listed all these categories:

Battery Powered:

Most air pumps require electricity, that means you would need an electric outlet close to your aquarium in order to run the air pump. But people who don’t have an electric outlet near the tank, battery-powered pumps would be a great choice for them. They are more portable and best for small jars. For battery powered air pump, you would need external battery packs.

Air Pumps for Under Gravel Filter:

These air pumps are suitable for Under Gravel Filters. These filters require an air pump to operate. In this case, you can choose the size of the air pump wisely. Don’t pick one that is too large or small.

Deepwater Pump:

This one is actually for tall aquariums. If your aquarium is 18 or 20 inches high, you should go for this type of air pump. These pumps will send air deep below so that the last stage inhabitants also get the right amount of oxygen.

Dual-Pump:

There are some air pumps which offer a dual option. That means, they can operate with both AC and DC power. This is actually great because you’ll get to use the battery mode when you have an electric outage and you can shift to electric power when the batteries need to be charged.

How to Set Up an Air Pump?

Although there are many ways to set up an air pump, the best one is to follow the instruction manual strictly. As your fishes will be living inside the tank, any miss setting of an electronic device can turn out to be deadly within no time.

Before setting up the aquarium air pump, read the instruction manual carefully, understand and then apply. Or you can take help of YouTube, you’ll find lots of tutorials there.

  • Before doing anything, think about where will you set the pump. The place needs to be solid. Otherwise, it can make noise when the pump is in operation.
  • Make sure you place the air pump in the middle so that when the pump vibrates it won’t fall off from the edge.
  • Never put an air pump on the top of the aquarium even if it looks great when you set the pump on the lid or shelf of the water tank. That’s because the vibration of the air pump can travel through the entire tank which can stress the fishes.

How to Make an Air Pump Quiet?

Most aquarium air pumps are infamous for being very loud, which is really irritating. The loudness of the noise depends on the pump. These days air pumps make next to no sound while operating. However, if you already own an air pump that makes very loud noise, then there are some ways that would help you to lower the noise:

  • The simplest solution is to keep the pump into a cabinet, better if the cabinet comes with a strong thick door. That will reduce the noise level.
  • You can reduce the noise by setting up the pump at a higher level than the tank water. By setting up this way, it will lessen the back pressure of the air pump which will reduce the noise.
  • Loud noise can be reduced by placing something soft under the air pump. Whether it is a sponge or old socks, put it right under the air pump. These will absorb most of the noise from the machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Are air pumps necessary for water tanks?

Answer: Air pumps are not essential but they are recommended to use so that your tank inhabitants will get enough oxygen to remain healthy.

Question: Can a fish survive without an air pump?

Answer: Yes! Water contains some degree of oxygen which helps fishes to survive without an air pump.

Question: Can I use the same pump in multiple tanks?

Answer: Yes, you can! There are some air pumps which has multiple outlets. You can use them in different tanks at the same time.

Conclusion

Well, that’s all about the best aquarium air pumps. All of the air pumps mentioned in this guide will surely provide you the best value for your money. You just need to choose one that suits your preference.

If you still have any more question, just ask on the comment box below. We’ll get to you as soon as we can.

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