The 10 Best Aquarium Air Pumps

Updated April 05, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you enjoy marine or freshwater piscine life in your home or garden, 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 from durable, impact-resistant materials with energy-efficient motors and multiple outlets that ensure proper airflow. 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

The Hydrofarm Active Aqua is equipped with a multilevel muffler that will minimize nighttime sound disturbances in the bedroom. Its artificial rubber construction helps to simplify pressure adjustments, while simultaneously maintaining a steady output.
  • flow rate of 15 liters per minute
  • comes with a 1-year warranty
  • wide housing takes up a lot of space
Brand Hydrofarm
Model AAPA15L
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Uniclife UL40

Complete with two return valves, air stones, and connectors, the Uniclife UL40 leverages an advanced oxygen compression system that accommodates fish living in both freshwater and marine environments. The two included outlets make its flow rate super easy to adjust.
  • has a lightweight design
  • relatively low power consumption
  • it vibrates a lot
Brand Uniclife
Model Uniclife-UL080
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. EcoPlus Eco Air 8

Thanks to an energy-efficient, dual-chambered oscillating pump and a heavy-duty water-resistant housing, the EcoPlus Eco Air 8 delivers a superior output as it cycles through up to 380 gallons per hour, while also maintaining stable tank pressure at all times.
  • suitable for hydroponic growing
  • reliable cylinders and pistons
  • tends to get warm
Brand EcoPlus
Model 728350
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Marine Metal A-2

The Marine Metal A-2 produces a 99.5 percent saturation rate of dissolved oxygen, ensuring efficient air extraction from the water to sustain fish for extended periods of time. Its weighted glass bead air stones and silicone tubing are easy to install. But it's very noisy.
  • tank-tested for quality
  • no batteries required
  • output is difficult to adjust
Brand Marine Metal
Model A-2
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Deep Blue Professional Hurricane

Setting the Deep Blue Professional Hurricane apart from the competition is its ability to switch automatically to a backup battery during a blackout, allowing it to continue pumping for up to 14 hours, and then recharge itself once main power has been restored.
  • impact-resistant housing
  • electronic flow control
  • not ideal for very large tanks
Brand Deep Blue Professional
Model 894389
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

5. Mylivell 1.8W

With no motor, troublesome electromagnetic interference, or any internal moving parts that could potentially fail, the Mylivell 1.8W offers a portable and compact option for supplying ample amounts of oxygen to any small or medium-sized fish tank.
  • piezoelectric ceramic plate
  • air stone produces extra bubbles
  • suction cup doesn't stick very well
Brand Mylivell
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Danner Supreme Oxy-Flo

Designed for sustaining fish and other aquatic plant life in small outdoor ponds, the Danner Supreme Oxy-Flo provides 40 watts of power with an ability to deliver high-volume and steady airflow to a maximum depth of up to ten feet. It's a bit on the bulky side, though.
  • 6-foot power cord
  • comes with an air diffuser
  • too noisy for indoor use
Brand Danner
Model 250104
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Tetra Whisper AP300

The Tetra Whisper AP300 is suitable for ensuring superior movement inside most deep aquariums, including those with protein skimmers and large air stones. It provides considerable levels of back pressure and is supported with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • relatively quiet operation
  • pumps air down to 8 feet
  • price is affordable
Brand Tetra
Model 26076
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Vivosun ACO-009

Designed for dependability and precision when supplying oxygen to large fish farms or hydroponic systems, the Vivosun ACO-009 is equipped with 12 available valves, each with a dedicated tap that allows for independent control of the airflow through its pipes.
  • shockproof rubber base
  • electromagnetic motor
  • 1750 gallons per hour
Model pending
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Alita AL-80

With a flow rate of just over a quarter of a gallon per minute, the Alita AL-80 is powerful enough to accommodate koi ponds and fish tanks that hold over 6,000 gallons of water with surface areas of up to 500 square feet. Its ultra-quiet operation won't disturb anyone.
  • also available in 3 smaller sizes
  • no lubrication required
  • extremely durable construction
Model AL-80
Weight 4 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 fewer 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 to 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 April 05, 2018 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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