Air pumps are vital pieces of technology that every single fish tank absolutely should. Ok, so it may not decide whether your fish lives or dies, but that may be the case in some circumstances, especially ones where you have an aquarium with a high oxygen demand so it’s important to get your hands on the best aquarium air pump you can and also the quietest.
Let’s talk about the benefits of having an aquarium air pump, why you should have one, different types, and some of the best options to consider (this is our top pick). The aim here today is to provide you with a list of the best and quietest aquarium air pumps.
|Fluval Q2||Very Quiet||9.7/10|
|Tetra Whisper||Very Durable||9.6/10|
|Active Aqua||Power saving||9.3/10|
Aquariums with lots of fish and plants will definitely benefit from a good air pump. However, you definitely want a quiet pump, because some of them can be quite noisy and that will irritate both you and your fish.
What Is An Aquarium Air Pump?
An aquarium air pump is a device which helps to oxygenate the water so your fish and other creatures have enough oxygen to survive in the fish tank. These things take air from the room and pump it into the water in order to oxygenate it.
Aquarium air pumps usually use some kind of rubber diaphragm in combination with an electromagnet which serves to pull air from the outside and push it through the water.
The problem with aquarium air pumps is that they can end up being fairly noisy due to the electromagnet moving at a high pace. This can be very bothersome to your fish and to you as well, which is actually why we are here today, to find the quietest aquarium air pumps around.
Benefits Of Having An Air Pump In Your Tank
There are certain benefits that come along with having an aquarium air pump. However, contrary to popular belief, an aquarium air pump is not 100 percent necessary for the survival of your fish, but it certainly does help. More than likely, your fish tank water will have more than enough oxygen contained in it to keep everything alive.
You Can House More Fish...
There is the specific benefit of having an aquarium air pump for a highly populated fish tank. The more fish there are in a small confined space the more oxygen the water needs to contain.
So, one benefit of having an aquarium air pump is that it will allow you to safely house more fish in the same space, at least when it comes to oxygen requirements. This is something that technically speaking, a good aquarium filter should be able to do on its own, but an aquarium air pump will definitely help.
These things are also great for aiding in water circulation, thus creating a little current for your fish. Moreover, aquarium air pumps help to release carbon dioxide from the water, CO2 being something that can suffocate your fish.
Some aquarium air pumps also create a multitude of little bubbles which are great for helping to force water through the filter, thus creating a cleaner and more hospitable fish tank. (Protein skimmers also come in handy).
What We Think Is The Quietest & Best Aquarium Air Pump
Now that we have talked about everything there is to know about aquarium air pumps, let’s take a look at what we personally feel is one of the best aquarium air pumps to consider (you can check it out on Amazon here).
Fluval Air Pump
First of all, this thing is extremely powerful and can oxygenate fish tanks anywhere from 50 to 160 gallons in size, which is of course very impressive. This is a powerful air pump, one that can definitely be used for fairly deep aquariums (you can see more info on Amazon here).
Another thing that makes the Fluval Q1 Air Pump stand out from the rest of the pack is that it produces consistent air flow thanks to the advanced swing arm and diaphragm design. Moreover, the Fluval Q1 Air Pump also features an adjustable flow rate which is really convenient for making quick adjustments.
The next thing that makes this particular model of air pump a good option is that it features a double wall construction, and integrated pump, and an engineered noise suppressing chamber.
Not only do these features make the Fluval Q1 Air Pump very quiet and vibration free, but it also makes it very sturdy and long lasting too.
- Very powerful.
- Can handle very large fish tanks.
- Extremely quiet and vibration free.
- Can be used for deep aquariums.
- Extremely sturdy.
- Easy to set up.
- Main screw holding the housing needs to be tightened occasionally.
- Not intended for very small tanks.
Different Types Of Air Pumps
There are a few different types of aquarium air pumps that you can go with, so let’s just talk about those real quick. Aquarium air pumps can be categorized in a few different ways, so let’s cover those first of all.
One of the main categorizations of aquarium air pumps is size. If you have lots of fish or lots of accessories, you are definitely going to want to get a bigger pump. Moreover, if you are using fairly large air stones, due to the resistance they create, you will also want to use a bigger filter.
A general rule of thumb is that the less resistance is in the pump, such as if you are using small air stones or none at all, and the less oxygen demand your tank has, the smaller the pump can be.
Moreover, aquarium air pumps can also be categorized by their power source. Some aquarium air pumps are battery powered, some are powered with a good old electrical outlet, and some have the capability to do either or.
On a side note, if you are using the pump to power an under gravel filter, you will definitely need to know the size of the tank and what size of tank the pump is rated for.
Standard OR Deep Water
Finally, the last and probably the most important thing to look out for is whether you want a standard aquarium air pump or one meant for deep water uses.
Standard air pumps will do just fine for normal sized aquariums, but if you have an aquarium that is around 18 inches in height, you will definitely need a deep water pump. This is because standard pumps just don’t have the power necessary to push the air down that deep.
9 Other Options To Consider: Our Reviews
As is always the case, you may not be of the same opinion as us and might not like the Fluval Q1 Air Pump for one reason or another. Since there are many different good air pumps out there, let’s talk about 6 other great aquarium air pumps to consider.
1. Tetra Whisper Air Pump
The Tetra Whisper Air Pump is a specially designed model which is ideal for some very large tanks. This thing actually comes in various different sizes ranging from a 10 gallon model all the way to a 300 gallon model. This particular model is the one intended for aquariums up to 150 gallons in size.
Not only can this air pump supply oxygen to very big fish tanks, but it is also powerful enough to power large air stones, several air stones in multiple tanks, and more. Like we said, this thing is designed for deep water applications and can actually supply oxygen to tanks as far as 8 feet deep, which is of course very impressive to say the least.
The Tetra Whisper Air Filter has a very unique shape that includes large rubber feet and a rubber dome. This helps to minimize vibration, noise, and noise transfer when it is standing on a shelf or table, thus making it one of the quietest models that we was able to find.
There is also the fact that this thing is built tough and built to last, plus it is also fairly small and compact to help you save space too.
- Ideal for very large tanks.
- Can oxygenate water up to 8 feet deep.
- Unique design for quiet function.
- One of the most powerful pumps around.
- Very durable.
- Small and compact.
- Comes in various sizes.
- May begin to vibrate with prolonged use.
2. Active Aqua Air Pump
This is another neat air pump that you can get for your aquarium or in fact aquariums. The Active Aqua Air Pump features a special artificial rubber which helps to keep air flow constant and keep steady pressure, not to mention that the output can be easily adjusted to suit the needs of virtually any aquarium.
Moreover, this is a very powerful aquarium air pump to go with. This thing is strong enough to pump around 240 gallons of air per hour, which is no small feat. In fact, the Active Aqua Air Pump features 4 different outlets, each of which can be connected to an air out feed hose, and then to an aquarium.
Therefore, this model is actually strong enough to provide 4 separate aquariums with oxygenated water. Also, this model does come in various sizes including 1 outlet, 2, 4, and 8 outlets.
Next, the Active Aqua Air Pump is also extremely quiet thanks to the multi-level muffler that does a fantastic job at dampening vibrations and reducing the overall noise produced.
This is also a very durable pump made of resilient plastic, it has a small and compact shape, and for being able to pump 15 liters per minute, this is definitely a worthwhile investment.
There is also the fact that this air pump has a very low power consumption which is always great for people looking to save on their energy bill.
- 4 air outlets.
- Very strong plastic.
- Can handle some big jobs.
- Extremely quiet.
- Power saving.
- Adjustable air flow.
- No power switch – needs to be unplugged to turn off.
3. JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump 200
This is perhaps one of the quietest aquarium air pumps to consider. This is thanks to the advanced Fusion plenum, which means that the pressurized air it utilizes to oxygenate the water does a fantastic job at absorbing sound, thus making it a very quiet pump indeed.
The plenum also helps to regulate air flow, thus keeping the flow and pressure constant. Even better is that the JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump 200 also features a simple control knob that lets you easily adjust the air flow. The air control knob creates for a precise and quiet air flow without question.
The JW Pet Company Fusion Air Pump 200 is also fantastic because it is extremely powerful and can oxygenate some pretty big tanks. In fact, it is powerful enough to be able to power up to 15 different air operated ornaments, filters, and air stones at the same time.
We can’t forget to mention that this thing also has a very durable housing to make it rugged and strong.
- Very quiet.
- Adjustable air flow.
- Precise pressure.
- Very durable.
- Can power up to 15 air operated mechanisms.
- Not ideal for tanks over 10 inches deep.
4. Uniclife Nano Aquarium Air Pump
This is a great little air pump option to go with for a smaller aquarium. This thing is great for little aquariums such as a small betta or tetra tank, and it can handle anything up to 10 gallons in size.
The Uniclife Nano Aquarium Air Pump has an air flow rate of 0.45 liters per minute and can aerate tanks up to 20 inches deep.
Its special design also ensures that it is an extremely quiet air pump, which is thanks to the materials used as well as the housing. This thing has a noise volume of only 33 dB, making it one of the quietest filters on the market today. The housing not only makes this thing very quiet, it is also quite durable.
We also like the fact that the Uniclife Nano Aquarium Air Pump only weighs. 1.2 OZ and is extremely small and compact.
Even better is that it comes with one air stone as well as a 3.3 foot long silicone out feed tube.
- Ideal for small tanks.
- Can aerate water up to 20 inches deep.
- Extremely quiet.
- Quite durable.
- Small and compact.
- Air flow is not adjustable.
- Will not work for any tank over 10 gallons in size.
5. Supreme-Hydroponics 40514 Low Volume Air Pump
This particular aquarium air pump is great for larger and smaller tanks, which is actually because it comes in various sizes. First of all, you can choose between a 1.5 watt, 2.8 watt, 3.5 watt, and 7 watt motor, each of which is suited for larger and larger tanks respectively. Moreover, you also have the option of choosing from models which have 1, 2, or 4 outlets.
This thing is very powerful, and this particular model, which is the 3.5 watt motor with 2 outlets, is ideal for 1 very large tank or 2 smaller ones. The dual outlets are each individually adjustable in terms of air flow and can power 2 different air operate stones or filters at once. The maximum water depth that can be aerated with this pump is 4 feet.
We also like the Supreme Hydroponics Low Volume Air pump because its awesome hard plastic design combined with solid housings results in minimal vibrations and thus minimal noise, something which both you and your fish can appreciate.
- Comes in various power levels.
- Choose between 1, 2, and 4 air outlets.
- Very quiet.
- Fairly small and compact.
- Durable plastic housing.
- Comes with a 6 foot long power cord.
- May start to vibrate with prolonged use.
6. Aqueon 68288 Quiet Flow 60 Air Pump
This is the final air pump on our list today, but it certainly is not the least valuable. This thing is perfect for aquariums up to 60 gallons in size and it has absolutely no problem aerating water up to 6 feet deep, thus making it perfect for medium sized aquariums.
Yet another thing that we really like about the Aqueon Quiet Flow 60 Air Pump is that the rubber base and minimal surface contact both help to minimize noise and vibration.
This thing is nearly silent and also has a special feature which prevents clogs and kinks in the air hose. Moreover, this model of air pump also has an internal check valve that helps to prevent shocks and damage due to power failure.
- Very quiet.
- Powerful enough for 60 gallons.
- Durable design.
- Quite big.
7). Hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump
If it is a silent air pump you are looking for, the Hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump is definitely one of the better choices to keep in mind.
It’s actually one of the quietest air pumps out there right now. Another benefit you get here is that it is very small, so it won’t eat up valuable real estate inside of the aquarium.Although it is quite small, very small in fact, it is also made with fairly durable materials and designed to have a very long service life, although this will depend on tank conditions. Keep in mind that this thing has a flow rate of 420 ml/minute and is ideal for small tanks up to 15 gallons, but not more.
Yes, this thing is only good for small aquariums. What is however nice here is that the Hygger Quiet Mini Air Pump barely consumes any energy at all.
- Doesn’t take up much space.
- Very quiet.
- Great for small aquariums.
- Doesn’t use much power.
- Decent durability .
- Not ideal for larger purposes.
8). Tetra Whisper AP150
Here is another silent fish tank pump, one that really makes barely any sound at all, so it won’t disturb you or your fish.
Keep in mind that there are 2 size options to choose from here, one which is ideal for tanks up to 150 gallons, and the other for tanks up to 300 gallons. That being said, if you have a tank under 100 or 75 gallons, this thing is probably what we would consider to be total overkill.
On the other hand, it is indeed a very durable air pump, one that should last for years to come, plus it’s very reliable too. Something that is nice about the Tetra Whisper AP150 is that it can pump air down to 8 feet in depth, which is very impressive indeed.
There’s also the fact that it comes with all necessary accessories, as well as a lifetime guarantee too. It is however fairly large and consumes a lot of space, and it’s not super energy friendly either.
- Great for large aquariums.
- Good for pumping air down to 8 feet.
- Super quiet.
- Highly durable, reliable, and long lasting.
- Overkill for a small tanks.
- Takes up a good deal of space.
9). Mylivell Aquarium Air Pump
This is a super silent option, one that does not create any audible noise, so it won’t disturb your fish or yourself. Now, the flow rate here is 240 ml per minute, which is good enough for small tanks up to 15 gallons in size, but no larger than that.
Something else that stands out about this particular air pump is the fact that it is super energy efficient and barely consumes any electricity at all.
What’s also nice is that it is quite small and compact, plus it features a small air stone too. The bottom line is that it doesn’t take up much space, which is important for a small tank.
- Great for tanks up to 15 gallons.
- Super silent.
- Very space friendly.
- Does not consume much power.
- Durability is questionable.
Different Types Of Aquarium Air Pumps
There are a few different ways of classifying aquarium air pumps, so let’s quickly talk about the different classifications right now. There are quite a few different ways of classifying these things, so we will do our best to make it as clear as possible for you.
As you will see, aquarium air pumps can come in a combination of styles which are not necessary mutually exclusive.
By Power Source
One way to classify aquarium air pumps is by their power source. The vast majority of these pumps are the kind that you can just plug into a wall, which means that they need an AC power outlet.
There are also battery powered aquarium air pumps that do not need to be plugged in, but these require constant recharging. There are also some aquarium air pumps that can do both AC power and battery power.
By The Size
Another way to classify aquarium air pumps is by their specific size. Simply put, the more accessories you have in the tank that require air, the bigger the air pump must be. It is up to you to find the right size of aquarium air pump to suit your needs.
Most aquarium air pumps do the exact same thing, which is usually to force air into the water, usually through the filter. Therefore, you need to know what kind of filter you have.
For instance, there are special air pumps which are specifically designed to power undergravel filters.
Depth Of The Tank
Most air pumps for aquariums are going to be the standard size, ideal for tanks up to 18 inches deep. If you have a deeper tank, you will need to get yourself a deep water aquarium air pump.
In other words, these pumps can be classified by the depth of aquarium which they are supposed to service.
How To Choose The Right Aquarium Air Pump
Before you go out and choose an aquarium air pump, there are some factors that you need to consider. You don’t want to go out and buy any old air pump, just to figure out that it is not at all what you needed.
Let’s talk about the various aspects you need to keep in mind before making a purchase.
The Tank Size
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is how large the tank is. Your aquarium air pump needs to be able to handle the size of aquarium you have. The higher the volume of the tank, the larger and more powerful the air pump will need to be.
Alternatively, you can also try going with several smaller pumps, which we would not necessarily recommend. You need to be sure that the air pump you get is neither too large or small for the tank.
If the size of the pump is too small, it won’t aerate the tank properly, and if it is too large, it can end up causing a mess, such as with an undergravel filter. We would definitely recommend getting a pump that can be adjusted in terms of its output.
Items Running Off The Pump
Another thing that you will need to keep in mind is how many decorations and objects you have in your aquarium. If you are running many different objects off of the air pump, it will need to be larger and more efficient, as opposed to literally only using the air pump on its own.
At the same time, you need to consider the resistance provided by the objects you are running the air through. The higher the resistance from the objects connected to the pump, the more powerful the pump needs to be. Large air stones will have more resistance than smaller ones, and so on and so forth.
You also need to consider special cases when deciding on the right aquarium air pump to get. For instance, if you have a really deep tank, you are going to need one of those deep water aquarium air pumps.
The air needs to be able to saturate the water to the very bottom of the tank, so having a pump that can only reach half way down the depth of the tank will surely not do.
Like we said before, you do need to consider what kind of power source you would like the aquarium air pump to have. If you only need a small pump for a small tank, you could probably afford to go with a battery powered one. However, a large tank should be oxygenated using an AC powered pump.
You definitely want a quiet fish tank air pump. There are lots of pumps out there and some of them can be really noisy. If you and your fish don’t feel like getting annoyed by constant sputtering and gurgling, you need to make sure that you get a really silent fish tank air pump.
We would definitely recommend reading some silent aquarium air pump reviews before you come to a final purchasing decision.
How To Correctly Set Up An Air Pump
Setting up your aquarium air pump really is not that hard. Something to keep in mind is that these things are not meant to be submerged. Submerging them may cause the water to flow through the air line and actually damage the air pump.
Depending on the specific model you have, you may have to either clip the air pump onto the inside or outside of the aquarium, or even place it on a cabinet or shelf near the aquarium.
Just make sure that everything is plugged in properly, that the air intake is above water, and that the out feed is in the proper position below the water.
Keep in mind that hanging it off of the aquarium is technically not recommended, at least not if you have a louder air pump, because the vibration will go through the glass, into the water, and disturb your fish.
If you have the pump located on a shelf or cabinet, try putting something soft under it to dampen the vibrations and thus reduce the noise.
Commonly asked Questions
Why Is My Fish Tank Air Pump Loud?
One of the most common causes of a loud aquarium air pump is a worn out diaphragm, which may need to be repaired, or most likely just replaced. Cheaper air pumps will require you to replace the whole unit, usually anyway.
There are other causes of a loud and obnoxious air pump, such as if you are trying to pump air deep into an aquarium, to depths which the unit in question was not designed to handle.
If this is the case, it has to work extra hard to pump the air, which causes the noise. In some cases, you might have just purchased a bad air pump which is naturally loud. Also, if you have a very large unit, the simple size and power of it may be the cause of the loud noise.
An old, dirty, and clogged air stone may also be the culprit. An air pump may also be noisy if you have it placed on a surface that is not solid and allows for lots of vibrations to be transmitted.
How Do I Silence My Aquarium Air Pump?
Well, you might have to replace the aquarium air pump’s diaphragm, as discussed above. Moreover, if you have a small air pump and are trying to pump to depths which it was not designed for, you won’t be able to silence it, but will have to buy a bigger unit instead.
Air pumps may also be loud if the air stone is dirty is clogged, because it forces the pump to work overtime to get the air through the smaller holes in the air stone, and therefore, regular cleaning of the air stone should help solve the problem.
You can also try placing the air pump on a more solid surface to minimize vibrations. If all else fails, simply buy a model which is rated for being quiet.
Should Air Pump Always Be On In Fish Tank?
Generally speaking, unless you have a huge bio load with lots of fish in the aquarium, you may not even need an air pump to begin with.
What is important to note is that there is a certain level of oxygen which is required in aquarium water for fish to survive, but there is also a limit, and yes, there is such a thing as too much oxygen.
Therefore, depending on the size of the tank, the amount of plants, and the amount of fish, there may natural be enough dissolved oxygen in the tank.
Something else to keep in mind is that real aquarium plants produce oxygen during the day, but use it up when it is dark, so you may only need to have the air pump on during the night. You do need to be careful not to oversaturate the water with oxygen, as this can cause problems for fish.
How Do You Clean An Aquarium Air Pump?
Cleaning an aquarium air pump is very easy. Just follow these simple steps outlined below.
- Remove some water from the tank, just a little bit. This is the water you will use to clean the air pump.
- Unplug the filter so you don’t shock yourself or cause damage to it in any way during the cleaning process.
- Clean the pad or sponge with some of the aquarium water, by rubbing the pad together.
- Use some of the aquarium water to clean out the tubes to force out as much debris as possible.
- Put it all back together.
How To Quiet Down Your Aquarium Air Pump
As we just mentioned some aquarium air pumps can be extremely loud, which is of course not very ideal.
Let’s talk about some of the best ways to quiet down your aquarium air pump so it doesn’t drive you up the walls with frustration.
- One way to make the pump quieter is to put something soft under it. You can use a small towel, a foam matt, or anything else of the sort. A lot of the noise is caused by the motor and impeller moving and vibrating. Therefore, by putting something soft under it, you stop the vibrations from being transferred to the hard object underneath, thus stopping a lot of noise.
- You can always put the aquarium air pump in a closet, drawer, or cabinet. Simply put, a wall or piece of wood between you and the pump will reduce the amount of noise you hear. No, putting the pump in a closet won’t actually make it quieter, but it will still stop you from hearing most of the noise. (Before you think about turning your pump off at night, consider these 4 factors.)
- The other think that you can do is to make sure that the pump itself is always higher up than the highest point of the aquarium water. This will allow you to keep the back pressure under control, and the less back pressure there is, the less the noise will be that is produced by your aquarium air pump.
Like we said, an air pump for your aquarium is not 100 percent necessary, but they certainly do come with quite a long list of benefits for you and your fish. If you are going to get an aquarium air pump we would definitely recommend considering one of the above options (we like the Active Aqua Pump and you can check it out here).
We have also covered small Submersible options here.