The 10 Best Aquarium Air Pumps

Updated July 06, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Aquarium Air Pumps
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you fancy marine or fresh water piscine life in your home, keep your fishy friends healthy and well-oxygenated no matter their environment with one of these handy aquarium air pumps. Made for supporting anything from small tanks to koi ponds, they are constructed with durable, impact-resistant materials with energy-efficient motors and multiple outlets. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best aquarium air pump on Amazon.

10. Hydrofarm Active Aqua AAPA15L

The Hydrofarm Active Aqua AAPA15L has a multi-level muffler for minimizing nighttime sound disturbances in the bedroom, while its artificial rubber construction makes it ideal for easy pressure adjustments and maintaining a steady airflow output.
  • 240 gallons per hour
  • 4-foot power cord included
  • wide housing takes up a lot of space
Brand Hydrofarm
Model AAPA15L
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Marine Metal A-2

The Marine Metal A-2 produces a 99.5% saturation rate of dissolved oxygen, which allows for efficient air extraction from the water for sustaining your fish over extended periods of time. Its weighted glass bead air stones and silicone tubing are both easy to install.
  • each unit is tank-tested for quality
  • no batteries required
  • warranty is only for 1 year
Brand Marine Metal
Model A-2
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Danner Aqua Supreme AP-8

The Danner Aqua Supreme AP-8 features four separate outlets, so you can aerate either single or multiple tanks at the same time. It is compatible with most standard air line tubing, while its energy-efficient motor will work to cut back on your electricity costs.
  • supports fresh and saltwater tanks
  • made in the usa
  • it's rather heavy and bulky
Brand Danner
Model 250132
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

7. Elemental O2

The Elemental O2 is a commercial-quality pumping solution that is constructed with a sturdy aluminum alloy external housing and a wear-resistant cylinder and piston for withstanding constant use. Unfortunately, its electromagnetic motor is a bit on the noisy side.
  • six-outlet air divider
  • barbed air inlet
  • customer service is hard to reach
Brand Elemental
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. EcoPlus Eco Air 8

Thanks to its dual chamber oscillating pump and heavy-duty water-resistant housing, the EcoPlus Eco Air 8 can cycle through up to 380 gallons per hour while maintaining stable tank pressure, giving you confidence that your fishy friends are getting plenty of air.
  • suitable for hydroponic growing
  • reliable cylinders and pistons
  • tends to get warm
Brand EcoPlus
Model 728350
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Uniclife AP100

Complete with 2 return valves, air stones, and connectors, the Uniclife AP100 leverages an advanced air compression system that accommodates fish living in both freshwater and marine environments. Two included outlets make its flow rate super easy to adjust.
  • compact and lightweight
  • low power consumption
  • tends to vibrate a lot
Brand Uniclife
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Tetra Whisper AP150

The Tetra Whisper AP150 is a suitable tool for promoting superior liquid movement inside most deep water aquariums that may have long decorator air stones, considerable levels of back pressure, and up to 150-gallon capacities. A limited lifetime warranty is included.
  • good for use with protein skimmers
  • relatively quiet operation
  • price is affordable
Brand Tetra
Model 26075
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Mylivell 2.0W

Lacking a motor, troublesome electromagnetic interference, or any internal moving parts that could compromise its overall function, the Mylivell 2.0W offers a portable and compact option for supplying ample amounts of air to most any small or medium-sized fish tank.
  • piezoelectric ceramic plate
  • very easy to install
  • air stone produces extra bubbles
Brand Mylivell
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Deep Blue Professional Hurricane

Setting the Deep Blue Professional Hurricane apart from the competition is its ability to automatically switch to its backup battery in the event of a power failure. It is also capable of fully recharging itself when the main power source has been restored.
  • impact-resistant housing
  • electronic flow control
  • pumps for 14 hours on battery power
Brand Deep Blue Professional
Model 894389
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Alita AL-80

With an airflow rate of 80 liters per minute, the Alita AL-80 is powerful enough to accommodate koi ponds and fish tanks with a capacity of 6,000 gallons of water and a surface area of up to 500 square feet. Its ultra-quiet operation won't disturb anyone in the area.
  • available in 4 sizes
  • no lubrication required
  • extremely durable construction
Model AL-80
Weight 14.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

What An Air Pump Really Does In A Fish Tank

An air pump is a device attached to the outside of an aquarium that moves air through your tank water in some manner. Most often, they can be seen with an air stone attached to the end of their tube, which diffuses the air as it is released in the water. Standard aquarium air pumps use an electromagnet to quickly vibrate a rubber diaphragm, which creates the air flow.

Many people believe that an air pump is directly increasing the amount of oxygen in the water, but this is actually untrue. Air pumps do increase the amount of oxygen in tank water, but in an indirect manner. The bubbles released from an air stone, do not integrate with the tank's water. Instead, they increase the surface area of the water as they agitate the surface. When the bubbles break at the surface, excess carbon dioxide is released and more oxygen has a chance to take its place when it comes into contact with the water molecules. The greater the surface area of water, the more oxygen it will absorb.

Circulation is another benefit of using an air pump in an aquarium. As the air is released into the bottom of the tank, it pushes deeper water to the surface, which in turn allows the highly oxygenated surface water to move towards the bottom.

While an air pump can be beneficial to keeping a healthy aquatic environment, they are not actually essential. It is completely possible to maintain healthy fish without ever using an air pump, but it can be more difficult. One of the biggest benefits of an aquarium air pump can be realized when a filter pump breaks. In a fish tank without an air pump, the filter pump is the sole machine responsible for circulating and helping to aerate the water. If the filter pump breaks for any reason, the water will quickly stagnate and may have trouble absorbing enough oxygen for fish to breathe.

Basic Aquarium Maintenance

The amount of maintenance one must perform on their fish tank is directly proportional to three things: the number of fish, how much food is given, and how often one does partial water changes. Overcrowding a fish tank results in water that quickly becomes unsuitable for maintaining healthy fish. Overfeeding can cause the water to be become contaminated as the fish will not be able to consume all of it. Instead, the food will turn into organic waste and settle into the gravel. This creates overly nutrient-rich water which is the number one cause of algae blooms. Performing partial water changes on a regular basis helps keep the water cleaner and allows one to lower contaminate levels.

Depending on the amount of fish, the amount of food given, and the size of the tank, basic aquarium maintenance can either be done once a week or once every two weeks. Larger tanks with less fish can go longer between maintenance cleanings than smaller, highly crowded tanks. Basic aquarium maintenance should include cleaning the inside of the glass with a scrubber, cleaning the outside of the glass, a partial water change, and vacuuming.

When performing a partial water change, usually removing and replacing between 10% and 20% of the water is sufficient. City tap water contains high levels of chlorine, which can be harmful to fish. It is best to either use distilled water or fill a large bucket with tap water and let it sit for at least 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate. If your tap water undergoes chloramination instead of chlorination, then a water conditioner must be used as chloramine doesn't evaporate as quickly as chlorine.

Vacuuming can easily take place at the same time as the partial water change. Use a hydro-vacuum to agitate the gravel as the water is sucked out. This will release any particulate that has settled into it. Continuously lift the hydro-vacuum and stick it back into different areas of gravel. This will ensure your tank receives a thorough cleaning.

Two Common Fishkeeping Myths Busted

There are a number of common fishkeeping myths that persist, despite having no factual evidence. The most common of all must be that fish only grow to the size of their tank. In actuality, for fish to remain healthy and live a normal life, they must be provided sufficient space to grow. Some fish may experience stunted growth when not provided with adequate living conditions, but this is not healthy for the fish. It can be thought of in much the same way as foot-binding in the Chinese culture. While it resulted in smaller feet, it was neither a natural occurrence nor healthy for the women.

Adding salt water to a fresh water fish tank is another common myth that still persists. This most likely stems from saltwater's properties as a natural antiseptic and antibiotic, but adding it a freshwater fish tank will most assuredly do more harm than good. The best way to keep fish healthy is by recreating their natural environment as closely as possible. For freshwater fish, this means creating a freshwater environment with a low amount of unnatural contaminants and a pH level close to the fish's native waters.

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Last updated on July 06, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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