Choosing Right Air Pump for Your Fish Tank


Air pumps have many different uses. Once you choose what you need an air pump for, choosing the right pump for your application is simple.

An air pump is a device used to move air, perhaps under pressure. Common fish tank air pumps move air by utilizing an electromagnet to vibrate a rubber diaphragm rapidly. Regrettably, this has the negative effects of creating sound along with moving air.

Why Do You Need Air Pump for Your Fish Tank?

Why would you desire an air pump for your fish tank? Well, there are many usages of an air pump.

  • Air is going through they move some action accessories, turning valves, spinning wheels, raising things, or whatever.
  • Some individuals like to have air stones in the tank which bubble or release a fine mist of air.
  • Some filters, such as corner filters and under gravel filters are (or can be) driven by air and would require an air pump. Water pumps can also operate some of these.
  • Some marine environments for semi-aquatic animals, such as Newts, Crabs, Mudskippers, and some Frogs or Shrimp, also need an air pump to keep fresh air circulating into the enclosure so that these animals do not crawl out into an unaerated environment.
  • Air pumps can also be used to develop a presence in the water, to prevent parts of the tank from ending up being stagnant.
  • Air pumps are needed for some types of protein skimmers to operate in marine tanks.

Are Air Pumps Necessary for an Aquarium?

Air Pump for a Fish Tank

That depends upon what you suggest. If you have a filter that is run by an air pump, then the air pump is necessary, as without it the filter will not run, and you are not going to be acquiring take advantage of having that filter on your fish tank.

If you have an action ornament that is run by an air pump, and you want to have it operating as designed, then, once again, the air pump is necessary.

If you wish to have an air stone giving off a cascade of bubbles as a design in your tank, then, once again, the air pump to run this air stone is perhaps required.

Among the most common misunderstandings in the fish tank hobby, perhaps 2nd just to “fish will not outgrow their aquarium,” is that you require an air pump and air stones to provide sufficient oxygenation to that tank to keep the fish healthy, which the air pump provides oxygen to the water. In truth, the air pump is not necessary to keeping fish, other than as kept in mind above. An air pump will not directly put oxygen into the water, what it will do is two things:

1) Increased surface area

Air pumps work by upsetting the surface area water which increases the area of the water enabling oxygen to go into the water by way of gas exchange.

Gas exchange occurs at the surface area of your tank when your aquarium releases excess carbon dioxide and other gasses into the air and takes in oxygen.

When the air pump develops bubbles, it increases the surface area of the water permitting your tank to release more carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen.

2) Water circulation

An air pump also enhances flow by moving oxygenated water from the surface to the bottom of the tank.

This permits co2 including water at the bottom of the tank, to move up to the surface where it can release the carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.

Gas exchange – where the water liquifies oxygen and other gases from the air and launches excess carbon dioxide and other gases to the air – occurs overall surface area where the water has contact with air. By increasing the surface area of the water, each bubble offers the water more opportunity to release co2 and take up oxygen. However, this improvement from an air pump is shadowed by the enhancement in flow that the air pump can effect. The improved flow will move highly oxygenated water from the surface lower in the tank allowing water with more carbon dioxide and less oxygen to the surface area of the tank where it can launch its co2 and take up oxygen. Naturally, if you already have a good filter that is offering enough water flow, then the benefit you will receive from an air pump is minimal.

Selecting the Right Air Pump for Your Fish Tank

There is no set rule for selecting an air pump. Some air pumps are rated for various sizes of tanks; however, these scores are, in fact, nearly unimportant to choosing the right air pump.

If you are utilizing the air pump only to run an under gravel filter, and your tank is a basic size, then the tank size scores on an air pump are probably appropriate. However, if you are doing anything else with the air pump, or if your tank is not a basic size, then the tank size scores for an air pump are highly irrelevant.

Here are some guidelines to have in mind when you are selecting an air pump for your aquarium:

  • The more things you are running from your air pump, the larger air pump you will require, and conversely, the fewer things you are running from your air pump, the smaller air pump you will need.
  • If your tank is more than 18-20″ (46-51cm) tall, you will require to get a special deep water air pump developed to push air that far below the water surface area.
  • The more resistance the things you are pressing air through having to the air, the bigger an air pump you will need. (Larger air stones will offer more resistance than smaller sized air stones, and an air stone will supply more resistance than no air stone. Likewise, some air stones will offer even more resistance than others of the very same size.)

When selecting an air pump, pick one a little bigger than you at first believe you will require. This bigger air pump will assist you by making up for underestimating when choosing the air pump or by providing a little room for growth if you decide you desire that later.

Other Criterias to Keep in Mind When Buying Air Pump

Air Pump for a Fish Tank

Design or oxygenation

With a medium-pressure air pump, such as the Whisper Air Pump, and an air stone or bubble wand, you can include an ornamental bubble background in your fish tank that also helps remove undesirable gases. Surface motion triggered by the bubbles also adds oxygen to your aquarium. For best outcomes, choose an air pump ranked one tank size bigger than your tank.

Undergravel filters

Air pumps with medium to high pressure created to operate at a considerable depth likewise power under gravel filters.

Foam and corner filters or “action” ornaments Foam and corner filters and some accessories are run by a little, low-pressure air pump such as the Azoo model 2500.

Wood airstones

Wood airstones, typically utilized with protein skimmers, need high-pressure air pumps such as Tetratec Air Pumps and the Luft Pump.


Tips Air pumps, set up outside the fish tank, should be kept close to the aquarium with the quickest possible length of airline company tubing for optimal efficiency. You will likewise require an air control valve and a check valve. To optimize your air pump’s performance and longevity, clean or change airstones as needed.

Popular Aquarium Air Pump Accessories

Air Pump Decorations

There are many various types of ornaments and decorations that need using an air pump.

Things like moving skeleton pirates to treasure chests that release bubbles.

Air Pump Check Valves

Inspect valves are used to avoid water or air from moving backward through the tube and entering the air pump.

Since check valves are pretty cheap and straightforward to install, you must install one on every air pump you utilize.

This will avoid your air pump from being damaged in the event of a power failure and water causing failure of your pump, or worse electrical damage.

Connectors (T-valves, Y-Valves)

These are just a way for you to personalize the flow of your air through many tubes.

Gang Valve

These are used when you want to supply multiple pieces of equipment or ornaments from the air pump. They usually come split into five outputs, and each output can be adjusted separately.

Aquarium Air Stone

This is the little stone looking thing that is linked to the end of the tubing and utilized to produce different types of bubbling effects.

Airline Tubing

The tubes required to move the air from the pump into the water and connected to an air stone, device or accessory.

Hopefully, this short article provides you with the starting actions of what to search for in the various air pumps available for an aquarium.

Appropriate setup of a fish tank isn’t as easy as it looks and does need a fair bit of research study and understanding of all tools, even air pumps.


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