Aquarium air pumps can be an extremely simple way to add beneficial airflow to your aquarium. Some fish and invertebrates enjoy playing in bubbles from air pumps, while others simply like the water movement that air pumps provide.
However, if you’ve ever invested in the wrong air pump, you know how annoying it can be to have a noisy pump or one that just doesn’t function how it should. To help make it easier for you to choose the best air pump for your aquarium, we’ve put together reviews of our favorite aquarium air pumps.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||Penn-Plax Air-Pod Aquarium Air Pump||
|Best Value||Tetra Whisper Air Pump||
|Premium Choice||Coralife Super Luft Air SL-65 Aquarium Pump||
|Marina Battery-Operated Air Pump||
|Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump for Deep Water||
The 9 Best Aquarium Air Pumps
1. Penn-Plax Air-Pod Aquarium Air Pump – Best Overall
|Tank size:||10 gallons, 20 gallons, 30 gallons, 55 gallons, 75 gallons|
The Penn-Plax Air-Pod Aquarium Air Pump is the best overall aquarium air pump. It’s available in five sizes, suitable for tanks from 10–75 gallons. It uses a unique sound- cancelling dome design that prevents annoying buzzing sounds. It also has non-skid rubber feet to help dampen additional noises. The unique design also helps it blend into the environment around your tank with its organic shapes.
It’s designed to fit into tight spaces, making this a good pick for small spaces like desks and bedrooms. It produces lots of delicate bubbles, making for an attractive addition to your aquarium. This is a budget-friendly aquarium pump option as well.
Some users of this pump have reported sizing up to the next pump size for proper aeration of their tank.
2. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – Best Value
|Tank size:||10 gallons, 20 gallons, 40 gallons, 60 gallons, 100 gallons|
The best aquarium air pump for the money is the Tetra Whisper Air Pump, which is available in five sizes for tanks from 10–100 gallons. It uses a dome shape and non-skid rubber feet to reduce noise, but it does take up a little more space than the previous item. It also uses thick walls, sound dampening chambers, and a suspended motor to help insulate against any motor noise, making these some of the quietest air pumps on the market. These air pumps are the most budget-friendly pumps we reviewed, on top of being some of the best quality pumps as well.
If you're new to the world of goldfish keeping or are experienced but love to learn more, we highly recommend you check out the best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish, on Amazon.
From diagnosing illnesses and providing correct treatments to proper nutrition, tank maintenance and water quality advice, this book will help you to ensure your goldfish are happy and to be the best goldfish keeper you can be.
3. Coralife Super Luft Air SL-65 Aquarium Pump – Premium Choice
The Coralife Super Luft Air SL-65 Aquarium Pump is a premium-priced air pump that can be used for one or multiple tanks. It doesn’t have a specified tank size but is suitable for a single large tank or multiple tanks of varying sizes, thanks to its multi-outlet attachments and power.
It produces high-volume output to ensure all of your tanks get consistent, powerful air flow. It has a vibration-dampening rubber base to help reduce noise, although this is a slightly loud air pump. It includes a magnetic piston pump with a removable air filter, adjustable four-outlet metal valves, and adjustable six-outlet plastic valves.
4. Marina Battery-Operated Air Pump
|Extras:||Airstone, airline tubing|
The Marina Battery-Operated Air Pump is not intended for daily use, but it’s an extremely useful tool to have on hand if you live in areas with regular blackouts or if you are moving your aquarium. This battery-powered air pump can be used to aerate your tank or transport container, no matter the size, but it’s ideal for tanks smaller than 10 gallons. It includes an airstone and airline tubing, allowing you to have everything you need to properly aerate your tank in case of a power outage. This air pump is not rechargeable and does require two D batteries.
5. Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump for Deep Water
|Tank size:||150 gallons, 300 gallons|
The Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump for Deep Water is the top option if you have a tank that is 150 or 300 gallons, or if your tank is deeper than 8 feet. It can be connected to up to 10 accessories, allowing you to power a variety of air accessories within your tank.
Since it’s designed for very large tanks, this air pump is extremely powerful and can even be used to power air accessories in multiple tanks. This air filter only has one air output, though, so you’ll need to invest in splitting additions to deliver air to multiple accessories. It creates large, dramatic bubbles, so it’s not suitable for small or medium tanks.
6. Danner Aqua Supreme Air Pump
|Tank size:||20 gallons|
The Danner Aqua Supreme Air Pump is an ultra-quiet air pump that can be used in tanks of any size for a variety of accessories, but it’s generally recommended for tanks that are 20 gallons and smaller. It includes two metal airline tubing attachments and an adjustable output, allowing you to connect at least two air accessories.
This air pump can be used in freshwater and saltwater tanks, as well as hydroponic systems. It has a sleek design and is a low energy pump, so you aren’t wasting energy to run it. For the amount of power it produces, this is a premium-priced air pump.
7. Penn-Plax Cascade Air Driven Nano Filter Kit
|Tank size:||10 gallons|
|Extras:||Airline tubing, mini sponge filter|
The Penn-Plax Cascade Air Driven Nano Filter Kit is a good air pump investment if you have a nano or small tank. This kit includes an air pump, airline tubing, and a mini sponge filter. It is not suitable as the primary filtration source for overstocked tanks or those containing heavy bioload producers.
This is a low-energy pump, but it also produces low power, so it isn’t ideal for a variety of applications. It only has one airline output and is not powerful enough to power more than once air accessory, even with a splitter of some kind. This is a budget-friendly way to get a sponge filter set up for a nano tank, though.
8. Cobalt Aquatics Rescue + Air
|Tank size:||10 gallons|
|Power source:||Electric, battery, power bank|
|Extras:||External power bank, internal battery, USB power cord, airline tubing|
The Cobalt Aquatics Rescue + Air comes with the most accessories of all the pumps we reviewed. This pump is made to run on electric power via the included USB power cord, an internal battery, or an external power bank. It can run up to 24 hours on the internal battery and up to 72 hours on the external power bank, making this a great addition to your tank if you live in an area with blackouts or if you are moving your tank.
It can be set to run continuously or in 10-second on/off cycles to help preserve power. Its aeration capacity is limited to about that of a 10-gallon tank, so it’s not suitable for medium tanks and larger. For its size and power, this air pump retails for a premium price.
9. Marina Air Pump
|Tank size:||15 gallons, 25 gallons, 40 gallons, 60 gallons, 70 gallons|
The Marina Air Pump is available in five sizes for tanks from 15–70 gallons. It only offers one air output, so you’ll have to invest in splitters to divide the output between two air accessories. It features a sound-dampening pump cover and soft rubber feet to reduce noise.
This is a low-powered pump, but it may produce more noise than most of the other options we reviewed, so it’s not ideal for use in bedrooms and small spaces where the noise may become distracting. This is a moderately-priced air pump, and it does not include any accessories.
Buyer’s Guide: Buying The Best Air Pump for Your Aquarium
Choosing the Best Air Pump for Your Aquarium
To select the best air pump for your aquarium, you’ll mainly need to consider the size of your tank and what you are trying to power. If you are simply adding air-stones to your tank to increase aeration in the water, then most pumps will suffice, unless your tank is excessively deep. Even low-powered pumps can work well in large tanks if they are powering something as simple as airstones.
However, if you are attempting to power something that needs stronger air flow, like a sponge filter, then you’ll need to ensure you are choosing a pump that is ideal to suit your needs. This is especially important if you are attempting to power something like a sponge filter to function as the tank’s primary or singular source of filtration.This is especially important if you are attempting to power something like a sponge filter to function as the primary or singular source of filtration within the tank. Without proper airflow, you may experience difficulty keeping your tank cycled and clean.
By using these reviews to help you choose the best air pump for your aquarium, you’ll be able to ensure you choose a high-quality product that will meet your needs and last your tank a long time. The best overall aquarium air pump is the Penn-Plax Air-Pod Aquarium Air Pump, which features organic shapes and a compact but powerful design. The budget-friendly pick is the Tetra Whisper Air Pump, which is exceptionally quiet and powerful. For a premium pick, the top pick is the Coralife Super Luft Air SL-65 Aquarium Pump, which can be used for multiple tanks of various sizes.
Featured mage Credit: Daniel Khor, Unsplash