An aquarium air pump can be used for many purposes such as increasing the oxygen aeration for fish, operating some aquarium filter types or action ornaments. So, how to choose the best and quietest aquarium air pump for your needs, this review will help you.

How to choose the best air pump for your fish tank

Do some research on whether to buy one or not, because this is a highly subjective question. It all depends on the type, number of fish and the size of your fish tank. In the case you plan for the mega fish tanks, the fish tank air pump should certainly be on your checklist!


Remember that too much alterations in the habitat of fish and they simply die! Therefore, to guarantee a good filtration and water recycling ability, a pump or a filter with a good flow rate should be on your buying list. Choosing your filter:

If you use it to run your filter only, choosing the right type rated for your tank size. The larger air pump you will need if you have more things (filters, ornaments, large air stones…) as well as the more resistance to push air through.

If your tank is too deep (over 18 – 20 inches in height) that mean the air pump you choose must be one designed to push air far below the water surface. Remember to check the durability, noise of operation and the service offered for the air pump before buying one. Following are some best options for you.

Best aquarium air pump reviews

Model Note Image
Tetra Whisper air pumps, cheap and quietest up to 10-100 gal Tetra Whisper air pumps, cheap and quietest
Tetra Whisper AP 150/300 for deep tanks up to 150-300 gal Tetra Whisper AP 150/300 for deep tanks
Active Aqua air pumps with many outlets approx 60 gal Active Aqua air pumps with many outlets
Fluval Q1 and Fluval Q2 for large tanks up to 80-160 gal Fluval Q1 and Fluval Q2 for large tanks
  • Tetra Whisper - quietest air pumpsEditor's rating: Check on
  • Model: Tetra Whisper air pumps
  • There are various models available for a road range of aquarium sizes
  • Tetra Whisper 10 used for small aquariums up to 10 gallons
  • Tetra Whisper 40 for 20 – 40 gallon fish tanks
  • Tetra Whisper 60 for 40 – 60 gallon aquariums
  • Tetra Whisper 100 for 60 – 100 gallon aquariums.

Manufactured by Tetra, Tetra Whisper air pumps are the most quality, quietest, and cheap ones that I strongly recommend for you. Being shaped like a dome helps to trap much sound produced and make them the quietest air pumps on the market.

  • Tetra Whisper Air Pump for deep water applicationsEditor's rating: Check on
  • Model: Tetra Whisper Air Pump for deep water applications
  • Two models for different tank sizes
  • Tetra Whisper AP 150 for aquariums up to 150 gallons
  • Tetra Whisper AP 300 for aquariums up to 300 gallons

These air pumps are the good choice for extra-large and deep fish tanks that have a lot of back pressure. Like the previous, they have a dome shape with rubber feet that helps minimize the operating noise. There are two models, one for aquariums up to 150 gallons and one for aquariums up to 300 gallons.

  • Active Aqua 4 outletsEditor's rating: Check on
  • Model: Active Aqua air pump, 4 outlets
  • Flow rate: 240-GPH
  • 1-outlet, 2-outlet and 8-outlet models are also available for your choice.
  • Super silent with multi-level muffler
  • Maximum decibels is 45 db and maximum amperage is 0.08 A
  • Low power consumption. 6 watts, 15 liters per minute

This air pump has 4 outlets and is a great choice for people who want to buy an air pump to operate many aquarium devices and ornaments. It comes with a special rubber to keep a steady airflow output and pressure that can be adjusted freely. With 1-year warranty from the manufacturer, you should not hesitate to buy this product.

  • Fluval Q1Editor's rating: Check on
  • Fluval Q1 for aquariums up to 80 gallons
  • Fluval Q2 for 50 – 160 gallon fish tanks
  • Powerful, reliable and quiet operation
  • Adjustable flow control
  • Warranty: 2 year warranty.

Fluval Q1 and Fluval Q2 are two aquarium air pump models manufactured by Hagen Fluval. While Fluval Q1 can be used for aquariums up to 80 gallons, Fluval Q2 is used for 50 – 160 gallon fish tanks. If you are a fan of Fluval’s products, these air pumps are best choice for you.

Benefits of fish tank aerator

To increase the aeration for your fish tank

When people bring into their homes certain species that they want to take care, it is very advisable to copy or imitate the original habitat of that certain organism. This is important because by doing so, you will make it easier for these organisms to cope and adapt easily to their new environment. This can be applied greatly to the fish that you put inside an aquarium. Copying their habitat can be achieved easily through the use of the right equipment such as aquarium filters, LED lighting, heaters, aerators…


Contrary to the popular belief that a fish tank air pump ‘supplies’ oxygen, the air pump actually promotes the dissolved oxygen. The increased dissolved oxygen means better and efficient gas exchange and minimizing of the harmful effects of other dissolved gases like ammonia. Ever wondered, that the oceans actually don’t have a huge air pump. Aeration is provided due to the super – sized surface area and the movements of the marine life in it.

The surface area inside the tank is obviously not as large as the surface area of other bodies of water so it also means that there is not enough oxygen circulating inside the aquarium. The benefits that aerators bring come into this picture. People use these aerators to help produce more oxygen for the fish inside the aquarium. This is really very helpful because it duplicates the original habitat of the fish to the highest possible level. As a result, fish easily feel that they are not far away from their original home.

To operate some aquarium filter types

Some aquarium filter types such as undergravel filters, corner (box) filters, sponge filters and some types of protein skimmers need to be powered by aquarium air pumps. When these filters are working, the air is pushed from the air pumps to the filters and then it escapes out of the water that makes a power to keep the filters working.


The sponge filter in fry tank powered with an air pump

In the filters use air pumps as their main power to operate, the air increases the dissolved oxygen content not only for the fish but also for the nitrification bacteria to build up and best perform biological filtration that keep the water clean and safe for fish.

To create a dynamic look with action ornaments

Using air pumps to create a dynamic look when used with such items as bubbling air stones with colorful LED lighting or to operate other aquarium action ornaments. The disturbances in the flow and agitation in the water helps operate some action decorations such as skeleton, spinning wheels… and make them look alive.

Saim Windmill Live Action Aquarium OrnamentsSaim Windmill Live Action Aquarium Ornaments Penn-Plax Skeleton at the WheelPenn-Plax Skeleton at the Wheel Saim Tropical Clam Live-Action Aerating Aquarium OrnamentSaim Tropical Clam Live-Action Aerating Aquarium Ornament

You can use some air pump accessories such as airline tubes and T-connectors to operate many action ornaments with a same good flow rate air pump.

Aquarium air pump accessories you may need

Airline tubes and suction cups

Penn Plax standard airline tubesPenn Plax standard airline tubes 3/16-inch, 26-feet aquarium airline tubing with 6-pcs suction cups3/16-inch, 26-feet aquarium airline tubing with 6-pcs suction cups Air line pipe tube pump suction cupsAir line pipe tube pump suction cups

Tubing connectors and valves

Air tube tubing T-connectorsAir tube tubing T-connectors Air pump control valvesAir pump control valves One way non-return air pump check valveOne way non-return air pump check valve

Air stone or air diffuser

Air stone bubble diffusers with various shapesAir stone bubble diffusers with various shapes Disk air stone with underwater LED lightDisk air stone with underwater LED light Round air stonesRound air stones Penn Plax bubble-wall air diffuserPenn Plax bubble-wall air diffuser 2-Piece air stone bars2-Piece air stone bars Volcano ornament bubbler kitVolcano ornament bubbler kit

Is an air pump necessary for fish tank?

Whether you really need a fish tank air pump is dependent on the fish you plan to keep in. Therefore, the answer to the question is a Yes or even a No, sometimes. For the large fish tank with small amounts of fish, you don’t need any air pump. Otherwise, for the small fish tank at home, an air pump is very much needed if your fish are high aeration need.

For large tanks enclosed though, the fish tank air pump is needed and is a requisite for ensuring that the fish live well! The huge closed fish tanks open for public exhibition are actually fitted with high performance, high capacity air pumps which provide optimum oxygen to the aquatic life underneath.

Bigger fish like the tiger, etc may require a fish tank air pump especially if the fish population density is high. Higher the number of fish, more rapid is the oxygen depletion in the water. Therefore an optimum ratio of fish should be maintained along with the functional, decorative items in the tank.

For Goldfish or Koi fish, too much of dissolved oxygen in the water can be detrimental for them. But keeping in mind, the amount of waste generated by a single goldfish, it is imperative to use one fish tank air pump. These are very sensitive creatures and respond to the even minutest changes in the water.

  • Tetra Whisper - Best and quietest aquarium air pumps for various tank sizes
  • Tetra Whisper - Best and quietest aquarium air pumps for various tank sizes
  • Check on

1 comment

  1. I don’t understand – I tried Fluval Q2 and Tetra 100. 90L fish tank with 3 air stones. How they can be marked as silent if both of them were terribly loud. This is my first fish tank and I have tried so far Hailea 5305, Hailea aco-9601, Fuval Q2, Tetra 100, Eheim 100. All of them is terribly loud apart from Eheim 100 which I am using now. That is the only pump to which I can use ”quiet” (not silent). And all those advice’s about putting something on, something underneath doesn’t help. As people are saying – they are loud by design. So, when people are ecstatic about how silent the new pump is, the question is – compared to what?


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