Many say that air pumps are not necessary for an aquarium. While they may be right, having an air pump can benefit your aquarium. Air pumps help provide oxygen in your tank and circulate the water. They also offer an aesthetic bonus with all the air bubbles that come out of the air stones.
But what makes a good air pump? It has to be easy to use, reliable, and most of all, it has to be quiet. It can be irritating to have an air pump that gives off a continuous rattling noise.
The good news is that you can find quiet air pumps available in the market today. Let’s look at some of them.
This post may contain affiliate links that could result in a commission to this website
(at no additional cost to you). See our Disclosures Page.
Best Aquarium Air Pump Reviews
Tetra Whisper Air Pump
The Tetra Whisper Air Pump is called “whisper” giving us a clue as to the sound it probably makes. It has a unique design that helps achieve a minimal amount of noise. It is shaped like a dome, which traps much of the sound within its shape.
It has chambers that dampen the sound. This design helps produce a smooth, quiet stream of air and eliminates annoying sound producing vibrations. Thus, the noise merely becomes a whisper at approximately only 40 decibels.
Another thing that helps reduce vibrations that make noise is the rubber feet on each leg of the air pump.
It is a powerful pump. No other pump in the same size range can produce the same amount of air as the Tetra Whisper. But it includes an air tap for adjusting the airflow.
One thing that people love about the Tetra Whisper is its reliability. It can work long hours for many years and keeps the bubble flowing through the right air stones.
With the Tetra Whisper, you can access the Tetra My Aquarium App. You can set this app to remind you of cleanings and maintenance activities, and more.
The downside to purchasing the Tetra Whisper is that the kit only includes the pump. Other accessories such as tubing and air stones have to be purchased separately.
The Tetra Whisper is very economical, and you won’t find a more consistent aquarium air pump for the price.
- It is very affordable
- Extremely reliable
- Includes air tap to adjust airflow
- It is very quiet
- It only includes the pump, and other accessories will need to be purchased
- Does not have enough pressure to run more than one airline
Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump
The Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump package is complete with every accessory you need. It comes with a 4m airline tubing, 2 air stone cylinders, 6 suction cups, 2 check valves, and 4 connectors (straight and T-shaped).
This adjustable air pump is small and consumes very little power. Its adjustability means that the air flow rate can be increased or decreased. It is perfect for any tank between 20 and 100 gallons.
The pump can be connected to two different pieces of equipment because it has two outlets. You can control these dual-port outlets with a rotating dial, which can be set on high to create more air and bubbles or too low to create less air and bubbles.
You can easily set it up with easy-to-follow instructions.
The pump is relatively quiet, with a minimum of 25 decibels. It sounds like rustling leaves or a ticking watch at its lowest rate. But it becomes quite noisy when the flow rate is set to high. You can place a blanket or soundproofing material under it to help with the sound.
All in all, the Uniclife Aquarium Air pump is a powerful one with a sturdy feel and is a quality, well-made pump.
- Adjustable air flow rate
- Has two outlets
- Easy to install
- Quiet on low setting
- It can be noisy on the high setting
- Hoses are bulky, and you canâ€™t hide them
HITOP Dual Outlet Aquarium Air Pump
The HITOP Dual Outlet Aquarium Air Pump is one powerful air pump that provides plenty of oxygen for your fish tank.
Having a dual outlet allows you to connect 2 high-efficiency air stones, giving you a fair amount of bubbles that your fish will love.
You can also connect your outlet to a single air stone by using a connector, or you can use it with your air filter.
The internal motor’s sound is reduced because it uses an ABS thickened plastic shell, so it is a super silent aquarium air pump. It also has soft rubber foot pads to eliminate noise further.
You can adjust the volume of air pumped in the tank manually. It has a lower failure rate than electronically adjusted air volume. So it gives your pump long service life.
The air intake control can filter impurities in the air. It uses air filter cotton for this purpose. If you replace this regularly, your air pump will work in good condition for a longer time.
When you purchase this air pump, the package comes with complete accessories, including 2 return valves, 2 airstones, 2 air hoses, a connector, and air intake cotton.
This pump is straightforward and simple to install. You can find detailed installation diagrams provided in the user manual.
- Has two outlets
- The air intake control can filter impurities in the air
- Adjustable air flow rate
- Easy to install
- The pump is very powerful at the low setting, which may not be ideal for some fish species
- The tubing that is included is soft and can easily get kinked
AQQA Aquarium Air Pump
The AQQA Aquairum Air Pump has a beautiful and stylish design. And not only that, but it is also ultra-quiet.
It runs on magnets that do not vibrate much. This results in lower noise than bearing-driven pumps. The noise is also further reduced because of the pump’s noise dampening systems. This makes the AQQA aquarium air pump ideal for a bedroom aquarium.
You can adjust the air output you want with its adjustable four grades flow rate. It comes with a blue light that changes brightness when the amount of air is adjusted.
The intensity of the light shows the flow rate. High airflow will make the blue light brighter. Light is beautiful and convenient to operate at night. But it turns off after 5 seconds.
It is a super-powerful air pump that can power two aquariums at once. It can also run two sponge filters or air stones and other accessories. Ideal for both freshwater and marine aquarium.
You can install the pump higher than the water surface to prevent backflow. But if you install it lower than the water level, you need to install check valves.
This AQQA Aquarium air pump is easy to use, safe, and very reliable.
- The air output is adjustable
- It has a light that changes brightness as air is adjusted
- Can power two aquariums at once
- You can turn it off without unplugging it, which is great while cleaning
- It is a little bulky
- The indicator light for flow rate turns off after adjusted
Hygger Mini Air Pump
The Hygger Mini Air Pump is only 2.4 inches in diameter and is ideal for small tanks from 1 to 15 gallons. It is so small that you can clip it onto the side of your aquarium. This makes it easy for you to remove the lid when cleaning the tank because you don’t have to remove the pump.
The power used by this mini pump is only 1.5 watts. This means that your energy source is not drained. And because it is a low-power consuming pump, the airflow is much improved.
Its flow rate is 6.6 gallons per hour, which gives it long service life.
It is also incredibly quiet, and you will forget you are even using an aquarium air pump. This is because it does not use any motor or standard mechanism. It works with a non-traditional pumping mechanism made from a thin ceramic plate.
The Hygger aquarium air pump kit contains the pump, a power adapter, air tube, one air stone, and a double-side sucker. Plus a user manual to help you with your setup needs and maintenance issues.
- You can clip it to the side of your aquarium
- It only uses 1.5 watts
- It is very quiet
- Kit includes everything you need
- It only works with smaller tanks
- The pump is not very powerful
Mylivell Aquarium Air Pump
The Mylivell Aquarium Air Pump has a unique stingray shape. It measures 3×3 inches with a thickness of 1-inch. It is one of the smallest air pumps available on the market today.
This is one quiet air pump. It is ideal in your bedroom since its sound will not disturb your sleep. It produces 33 decibels of sound.
It is driven by a thin ceramic plate, unlike other pumps that are driven by a motor, shaft, or electromagnetic system. This is why it is very lightweight and very quiet.
You can mount this air pump to your tank with the dual-sided suction cup that comes with it. It also comes with an air stone and airline tubing. You can use it straight away after purchasing it.
It is easy to set up and is available in either black or white.
But because of its small size, the air it can deliver to your aquarium is also small. It can power small bubble decorations or an air stone. However, if you need strong surface agitation, this pump is not the ideal one to use.
There are other downsides to using this air pump. You can only connect to one device. The power cord that comes with it is also quite short.
The Mylivell pump is one pump that is energy efficient, super quiet, has a long service life expectancy, and powerful enough to pump through enough gallons to keep your tank aerated and clean longer. With smaller tanks, it gives you a very stable performance.
- It is extremely quiet
- You can mount the air pump to your tank with the provided suction cups
- It comes with airline tubing
- Easy to install
- Extremely small and does not deliver a lot of air
- You can only connect one airline
VIVOSUN 317-1750GPH Commercial Air Pump
If you are looking to aerate a large aquarium or an outdoor pond, the Vivosun 317-1750GPH might be perfect for you. This commercial air pump produces exceptional air pressure. It can pump 60 liters of air per minute or 16 gallons per minute. It has 6 adjustable valve outlets, which can be used to send a considerable volume of air into your fish tank.
It is made of aluminum-alloy heat radiating plates, a high-quality aluminum manifold, and a 100% copper outlet nozzle. These materials help to control heat. It is also highly resistant to wear-and-tear and very energy-efficient, and can run 24/7 without any problems.
For an air pump of considerable size, it generates sound under 60 decibels. This is considered a low level due to its oil-free motor lubrication. It also has a rubber base, so the silencing is made more effective.
This is one ideal pump for oxygenating your aquarium.
- Has 6 adjustable valve outlets
- Great for ponds and water gardens
- It has a rubber base to help with vibration noise
- It aerates the tank extremely well
- It is loud if you have the inlet open
- Some customers complained of overheating issues
What is an Aquarium Air Pump?
An aquarium air pump is a piece of equipment used to deliver air into your aquarium, possibly under pressure.
These are external devices placed outside your aquarium since they are not waterproof. It is also used to drive air-powered equipment such as air stones, bubble decorations, and sponge filters through airline tubing.
Types of Air Pump
Plug-in Air Pump
A plug-in air pump plugs into your outlet. It does not have an on/off button, so it runs once connected to the outlet until unplugged.
This type of pump is the most common air pump in the market. It is easy and simple to use and is very reliable. These pumps are meant to run 24/7.
Battery Powered Air Pump
As the term indicates, these air pumps run on batteries. Since batteries can get depleted, they need to be replaced. These air pumps don’t need to be plugged into an outlet, and they are portable.
Many purchase a battery air pump together with a plug-in air pump so that when the power goes out, the pump continues to operate.
Battery-operated air pumps are quite noisy. But since this is just backup power, this is less of an issue.
Battery-powered air pumps are good to have on hand for emergencies.
Battery Backup Air Pump
The battery backup air pump is a combination of both plug-in and battery-powered air pumps. You simply plug the air pump in, and it will work continuously until there is a power outage. When this happens, it automatically switches to battery power.
Having a backup if there is a power outage will ensure that your aquarium stays oxygenated and your tank runs smoothly.
Benefits of Using an Aquarium Air Pump
Increased Oxygen Levels
Air pumps enable air stones to produce air bubbles that agitate the water’s surface. This surface agitation makes it possible for gas exchange in the aquarium. Carbon dioxide produced by your fish is released into the air, and new oxygen from the air dissolves into the water for your fish to breathe.
Without surface agitation, oxygen will simply sit on the water’s surface. The oxygen won’t enter the water, and the excess carbon dioxide can’t be released out of the water.
With an air pump, there is a constant flow of bubbles that creates surface agitation to enable gas exchange. These bubbles will drive huge amounts of oxygen directly into your aquarium. Thus, increased oxygen is provided.
Every living thing in your aquarium needs oxygen. It is crucial for the health of your fish, plants, and even beneficial bacteria.
Rising bubbles from your air stones can create movement in the water. This can create a current in the water and prevent the water in the tank from becoming stagnant.
If there is no water movement, a biofilm layer can build up on the water surface. Although this is not really a problem, it is something undesirable.
With air stones producing tiny bubbles that float upwards, there is a movement that circulates the water. This can help circulate water in the dead spots of your tank.
This water circulation created by your air pump will also help break down any biofilm that forms on top of your aquarium, which prevents oxidization of the water.
Water circulation is vital for a healthy aquarium. As water circulates, many unseen processes occur. It does not only help oxygenate your water, but it also helps maintain an even tank temperature, supplement filtration, and create current for your fish.
Aquarium Air Pump Accessories You Will Need
Some air pumps on the market are complete kits that will include everything you need. Others might not include all the necessary accessories. Below is a break down of all the items you will need.
The airline tubing connects your air pump to your air stone, sponge filter, or any aquarium equipment or ornament.
The airline tubing transfers airflow to your aquarium. You can buy them cheap, and most airline tubing sold in the market are very reliable.
You can buy it in a roll and cut it to your desired length.
Airline Check Valve
An airline check valve is an essential accessory for your air pump.
When there is a power outage, your air pump can fail. When this happens, the water can drain back down the airline tubing, siphoning water out of your tank. This can damage your air pump and create an electrical hazard.
With an airline check valve, air will flow in only one direction. This eliminates the problem since it prevents the water from flowing in the other direction.
Airline check valves are a must for any air pump application.
You need airline connectors if you want to use more than one air stone or sponge filter with your air pump.
This helps branch your airline tubing into multiple paths. You can split your airline tubing into two or three paths or connect your airline at 90-degree angles with an airline connector.
This can help prevent bending of your airline tubing, which can greatly reduce the output of your pump. The connectors will create a good directional change for you.
Air Control Valve
An air control valve helps you control the amount of air flowing from your air pump into your aquarium. You can put the air control valve on your airline tubing.
You simply need to twist the air control valve knob, and you can reduce the amount of air that enters your tank that will give you calmer bubbles and currents. Or you can increase the airflow.
Air Stones and Bubblers
Air stones and bubblers are tank accessories connected to the air pump through the airline tube. They have many tiny holes that create bubbles when air is forced through them.
Air stones and bubblers can distribute oxygen, and the bubbles they create makes your aquarium lively and interesting.
Air stones provide the tank with fine bubbles. Bubblers are quite expensive and produce a fine mist of bubbles. Air stones are cheap but still gets the job done.
A gang valve enables you to split your airline tubing into multiple paths from a single air pump. It also controls the airflow of each run. It is a combination of an air control valve and an airline connector.
Gang valves are available in sets up to five but can be expanded beyond that if necessary.
Final Thoughts about Aquarium Air Pumps
Air pumps help decorate your aquarium, and the air bubbles they produce are a delight to watch. But more importantly, they are used to increase the level of oxygen in your aquarium that will make for a healthier water environment. It also helps to keep the water in your tank moving.
The aquarium air pump reviews given above will give you a good idea of the different kinds of air pumps available in the market today. Hopefully, it can guide you in buying the ideal air pump for your aquarium needs.
Looking for more gear for your aquarium? Head over to our Aquarium Gear section to see more reviews.