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Aquarium Air Pumps for Better Bubbles

Aeration of water in aquarium with different colored fishes and plants
Sergiy Akhundov/Shutterstock

To keep your fish healthy, you want to have an aquarium air pump. Air pumps produce air bubbles that maintain a proper concentration of oxygen. The bubbles also add a lively, friendly ambiance for your fish and you, too. Air pumps also allow you to use a sponge filter if that’s your preference. Sponge filters tend to be inexpensive, a definite bonus, and support the growth of beneficial bacteria for thriving aquariums. Here are some aquarium air pumps we recommend for you.

Shopping for an Air Pump

Here’s what you’ll want to look into:

  • Flow rate: Airflow rate matters a lot! And how you decide on the optimal rate for your tank depends on several factors. You need to take into consideration the size of your aquarium and the type of fish you have. By doing some simple research, you’ll find an answer.
  • Noise Level: If you’re buying an aquarium air pump, you probably already have an aquarium, so you know where it’s located or perhaps where you want to move it. Noise matters. If your tank is sitting in your or your child’s bedroom, you want a quiet air pump. Honestly, most quality air pumps are quiet, but it’s worth looking at the details.
  • Tank Size: Large aquariums need a powerful air pump. The converse is true for small tanks. Again, the goal is to maintain an adequate concentration of oxygen for the health of your fish.

Best Overall: Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Aquariums

Blue dome-like air pump for aquarium

The Tetra Whisper Air Pump wins as the best overall pump for its standard, reliable features and low price. It produces a powerful airflow, runs quietly, and provides adequate oxygen. This particular pump is perfect for a 60-to-100-gallon tank, though there a several available sizes.

The designers behind the Tetra air pump came up with a dome-shaped, suspended motor. The device includes sound-dampening chambers that minimize turbulence. Tetra’s pump has a wide base and rubber feet, both of which reduce sound vibrations.

This simple pump is simple to use and maintain with the Tetra My Aquarium App. It sends maintenance reminders and recommends water and food products.

Best Overall

Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump for Aquariums (Non-UL),Blue

This air pump takes care of all the basic needs and is uncomplicated to set up.

Quiet Option: HITOP Dual Outlet Aquarium Air Pump

Air pump mounted on top of an aquarium filled with colorful fish

When HITOP says they make a quiet air pump, they mean it! The product is made of ABS thickening plastics and features soft rubber foot pads that further decrease noise. The kit is equipped with two air stones that facilitate a widespread of bubbles. The effect is visually soothing for you and healthy for your fish. Additionally, the pump uses cotton air filters to remove impurities in the air before those bubbles reach your tank.

The HITOP pump is 5.1 by 2.2 by 2.8 inches and creates an airflow of 2 to 4 liters per minute. It works well for a 20-to-100-gallon fish tank.

Quiet Option

Submersible Option: hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump

round small black air pump for an aquarium on a white background

Not all aquarium air pumps are submersible, but this one is, and it’s high-tech. The pump’s motor—oh wait, there is no motor! It operates via a thin piezoelectric ceramic plate that assists in reducing noise. For those interested, piezoelectricity is an electric charge produced in solid materials (like the ceramic plate) by applying mechanical stress. Creating less than 35 decibels of sound, the hygger mini shouldn’t interrupt sleep or mental focus. It’s a great little air pump for 1-to-15-gallon tanks placed in a bedroom, desk, or kitchen.

The air pump comes with a double-sided sucker and a clip for easy attachment. It uses a mere 1.5 watts to run, which is truly impressive because the air flows up to 420 milliliters a minute.

Submersible Option

Hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump for Aquarium 1.5 Watt Oxygen Fish Air Pump for 1-15 Gallon Fish Tank with Air Stone Air Tubing Clip Black

For those who dislike the visibility of most air pumps, this version can be easily hidden inside the tank.

Small but Mighty: Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water

The air pump is a rectangular-shaped with a slightly raised top.

If you have an extra-large tank that produces greater back pressure, you may want to check out the Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications. This pump can go really deep, like 8 feet deep. Any given 300-gallon tank may have the following dimensions: 30 by 96 by 24 inches. That’s a piece of furniture. Interestingly, the air pump is only 5 by 9.63 by 5.63 inches: a very small air pump for an enormous fish tank. What’s more, the air pump can deliver air to all your aquarium-powered accessories like those bubbling treasure trunks.

There’s one more significant detail. Tetra promises a lifetime guarantee. This air pump is big grand-sized on everything except its physical size and noise level. Not bad.

Small but Mighty

Tetra Whisper AP300 aquarium Air Pump, For Deep Water Applications, Black, Up to 300-Gallons

This air pump for 300-gallon tanks is a great pump in all respects. It's surprisingly small and quiet.

Most Powerful: hygger 10W Powerful Aquarium Air Pump

Air pumps sitting on the bottom of the tank project bubbles up and out.The hygger brand prides itself on the efficiency of its aquatic air and water pumps. Its 10-watt air pump dispenses 16 liters of air per minute, or 256 GPH. That’s strong enough airflow for tanks up to 6 feet deep and 55 to 600 gallons. You can quickly and easily adjust the flow using the control nob on the top of the air pump.

You would think such a powerful air pump would create a lot of noise, but no. This air pump contains a ‘baffle chamber’ with suction cups to keep it securely in place. So as the air pump runs, it produces fewer vibrations and 30 or fewer decibels.

Most Powerful

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »
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