The 3 Best Aquarium Air Pump Choices to Help Oxygenate Your Tank

angelfish in tank

​Whether you want an air pump in your aquarium for ornamental bubble reasons, or to improve the oxygen circulation of your tank, you always want to make sure that you get the best aquarium air pump possible. But where do you begin to look? Air pumps can get complicated, especially if you are new to the hobby.

Luckily, in this article, we arrange a list of some of our favorite aquarium air pumps on the market right now. That way, no matter which one you get, you know it will is the best aquarium air pump for you. We also provide some necessary information about air pumps, so you know what to look for when shopping.

So, before we take a look at the specific products, let us go over some common questions, newcomers usually ask about their aquarium air pumps.

Comparison Table

Aquarium Air Pump Frequently Asked Questions

Before we find out what the best aquarium air pump is, we think it is prudent to answer some frequently asked questions about the product. That way, any new fish tank owners get a good idea of what the part they should use for an aquarium.

Gold fish in water

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What Is an Aquarium Air Pump?

As the name suggests, an air pump moves the air in an aquarium, usually with a total amount of pressure. Most air pumps utilize an electromagnet within a synthetic diaphragm. While the machine does move air throughout the tank well it also makes some noise which can range in severity. 

When Do You Need an Aquarium Air Pump? 

There are two main reasons people get aquarium air pumps: aesthetic reasons and practical reasons. People get an air pump for aesthetic reasons because they provide bubbles for ornaments and air stones. Thus, objects like a sinking ship or scuba diver look more realistic because bubbles rise from them. 

However, aquarium air pumps also come with a functional purpose. Air pumps create a current in the tank so that the water does not become stagnant. 

When it is inactive, the water becomes dirty quicker and remains unaerated in sections — also, some filters (which provide oxygen) us air pumps as a power source. 

Are Air Pumps Actually Necessary for Aquariums?

The only time an air pump is necessary is if you own a filter that powers itself with a pump. However, there is a common misconception that you need an air pump because it puts oxygen directly into the water. 

In actuality, air pumps do two crucial, but relatively minor, functions: they increase the surface area of the tank and increase the water circulation. The water circulation aspect is the most important since it moves oxygenated water into areas where it otherwise would not go. 

However, it is also important to remember that some types of marine animals require a constant supply of fresh, circulating oxygen in their water. As such, if you have crabs, mudskippers, frogs, shrimp, or newts in your aquarium, then you will need an air pump.

How We Reviewed the Aquarium Air Pumps On This List

We review the air pumps on this list by looking at three distinct product factors: functionality, durability, and overall price. For each of these areas, we ask a series of questions that help us determine the strengths and weaknesses associated with each product. 

We look for a final product that will perform adequately on the tank the company made it for, last a long time and not break the bank of any aquarium enthusiast. Our final choice for the best aquarium air pump reflects this decision. 

Overall Price Range for Aquarium Air Pumps

The price of an aquarium air pump depends mainly on the size of the tank you want to circulate air through. A small, ten-gallon air pump usually stays pretty cheap, while the larger models can get more expensive. 

On this list, the cheapest model costs around seven dollars, while the more expensive one is closer to fifty-six dollars. 

Top Three Best Aquarium Air Pumps

1


Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump for Aquariums (Non-UL)
  • For use in 10-Gallon aquariums
  • Whisper air pumps provide reliable service at an economical cost
  • Efficient and easy to use

Key Features

The Tetra Whisper Air Pump features a unique dome shape design that dampens the sound wave created by the electromagnetic vibrations. As such, it is one of the quieter options on this list. The device also features an app that can help you determine water quality and supply reminders.

Pros and Cons

As its name suggests, the biggest pro associated with the Tetra Whisper Air Pump is the quiet nature of the product. However, the power and reliability of the product also help make it the best aquarium air pump on our list.

Another big pro associated with the Tetra Whisper is the low price. In addition to being the most affordable product on this list, it also runs the most consistently. The app that the company includes with the product also helps a lot when determining how much water you need to change. 

However, the product is not perfect. Many people claim that while most of the models work great, the ten-gallon version of the Tetra Whisper Air Pump is significantly underpowered. As such, if you own a smaller tank, then you may want a different product.

Where to Buy

You can purchase this aquarium air pump at major online retailers like Amazon.

Warranty Log

Unfortunately, the Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump does not come with a warranty.

2


Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump Quiet10 with Accessories for 10 Gallon Fish Tank
  • Powerful 1000cc/min air flow can run a sponge filters for betta tank
  • Operates with minimal noise < 38 dB and maximum efficiency.
  • Place the air pump above your water line or use an extra check value.
  • Ideal for 3 to 10 gallon small aquariums
  • What You Get: Air Pump, Air Stone, 5 feet Air Tube . For any quality problem within18-month, free replacement was promise.

Key Features

If you want an aquarium air pump correctly for the aesthetic purpose of making bubbles, then the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump is a good option for you. 

The air pump comes with air stone and line connectors so you can lead the oxygen and bubbles directly to certain areas. The product is also pretty powerful, featuring four watts of power and an adjustable flow rate.

Pros and Cons

As we mentioned, the product provides a lot of bubbles, which is its greatest strength in our opinion. We also like all of the accessories the company includes which give you a lot of customization in terms of where you get the place it. The device is heavy and stable, so you can expect it not to move once placed. 

Unfortunately, the product does come with some issues. For one thing, it reasonably hard to assemble, and some people had some severe problems getting bubbles out of the air stones. 

Also, the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump is not as quiet as the Tetra Whisper, unless you run it at the lowest possible pressure setting. As such, if you cannot stand the humming sound, then you should look elsewhere. 

However, you can quickly solve this issue by buying a slightly larger size option than your tank requires and then running it at the lowest possible pressure setting. But this feature remains a con since you would need to pay more for the air pump.

Where to Buy

You can purchase this aquarium air pump at major online retailers like Amazon.

Warranty Log

The Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump comes with a twelve-month warranty.

3


Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump for 10 Gallon with Accessories Air Stone Check Valve and Tube, 1.8 L/min
  • Awesome Price for a Whole Air Pump Set comes with Check Valve, Air Stone and 5 ft. Air Tube
  • Great for up to 10 gallons small size fish tank, suitable for any Freshwater or Marine aquariums
  • 2 Watt, 1.8 L/min, Pressure: 0.012 MPa
  • WHISPER QUIET < 40 dB which can hardly be heard
  • Measures 3.3 x 1.8 x 1.6 inches; Diaphragms are made of special synthetic rubber

Key Features

If you want an aquarium air pump individually powering certain types of filters, then the Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump is an excellent choice for you. The device also includes accessories like air stone, check valve, and over five feet of air tubing. 

The device comes with two watts of power, which makes it a little less potent than the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump. However, it also makes it quieter without compromising any of the effectiveness when dealing with filter power.

Pros and Cons

As we mentioned, one big pro with the Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump is it works when powering a filter while remaining incredibly quiet. It also gives off a relaxing sound of bubbles which many people may enjoy. 

Setting up the product is also much more streamlined when you compare it with something like the Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump, so if you struggle with complicated direction, then you will like the Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump.

However, the product is not perfect. For one thing, the air tube that comes with the air pump does not work well and will likely need to replace after a short period. Luckily, you can easily buy a replacement one at your local hardware store, but it still presents an inconvenience. 

Also, since the product is not that powerful, it does not produce many bubbles. As such, you might not like it for aesthetic purposes.

Where to Buy

You can purchase this aquarium air pump at major online retailers like Amazon.

Warranty Log

Unfortunately, the Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump does not come with a warranty.

Fish in aquarium tank

Image via Pixabay

Aquarium Air Pumps Comparison Table

In this section, we compare the main specs between the aquarium air pumps we just reviewed. We provide this comparison table so you can get a quick recap on all the features the brand offers and which ones might be preferable for you.

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

2) Uniclife Aquarium Air Pump with Accessories, Adjustable Oxygen Pump for 10-100 Gallon Fish Tank

3) Pawfly MA-60 Quiet Aquarium Air Pump for 10 Gallon with Accessories Air Stone Check Valve and Tube

  • Different sizes available — Four
  • Material — Plastic 
  • Size — Four inches by three inches by six inches
  • Special features? — My Aquarium app
  • Warranty? — No
  • Different sizes available — Two
  • Material — Plastic
  • Size — Five inches by three inches by three inches
  • Special features? — Includes accessories like the airline and air stone
  • Warranty? — Yes
  • Different sizes available — One
  • Material — Synthetic rubber
  • Size — Three inches by two inches by two inches
  • Special features? — Includes air stone, air tube, and check valve
  • Warranty? — No

The Verdict: The Best Aquarium Air Pump

Two clownfish in a aquarium

Image via Pixabay

In our opinion, the Tetra Whisper Air Pump represents the best blend of functionality, durability, and affordability. As such, it is our selection for the best aquarium air pump. 

One big problem with some of the products on this list is the amount of noise they make and with the Tetra Whisper Air Pump that is not an issue. We also love the affordable nature of the product and the fact that it offers such specific tank measurements. 

However, if you own a tank that is more substantial than one hundred gallons, then you should look elsewhere for a more high powered brand. How hope this article helped you find the best aquarium air pump for your needs. 

While the Tetra Whisper Air Pump is our favorite on the list, we think every product here offers a pretty useful function. As such, we do not believe you can go wrong with any of them. Good luck with installing the device!

Featured image via Pexels

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