Choosing an air pump is among the first things you would do when you plan to keep an aquarium. It is an accessory that pumps air outside of the tank into the tank using an outlet. What the air tank does is it oxygenates the water in the aquarium tank to the benefit of the fish you are keeping. Not only that, it also gives the aquarium a nice aesthetic, imitating underwater bubbles.
How, then, should you choose the best air pump for aquarium. Before trying to find an answer to this question, you need to examine first what an air tank is and why you need one to guide you in finding the air tank that would work best for you.
What is an air pump and why do you need one?
Air pumps mechanically force air from your surrounding into your aquarium. Not only does an air pump provide oxygen, it also regulates water circulation, work with different ornaments, and operate power filtration tools. This versatile equipment is responsible for the creation of water bubbles, which indicate the presence of oxygen that your fish need. Most powerful aquarium air pumps feature numerous accessories which you also need to examine.
Some Air Pump Accessories:
Air Stones – one important accessory to the air pump is the air stone. Attached at the end of the tube of your pump, air stones are porous materials that release thousands of bubbles. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it also serves the purpose of pushing toxic gases and materials to the surface of the water so that they can dissipate. They come in different sizes and shapes. There can be simple sand air stones or discs, or bars made out of porous, synthetic materials.
Airline tubing – connecting the air pump to the air stone requires a tubing. Airline tubing can also connect the air pump to any other devices located inside the tank. Some airline tubings are ozone resistant and can be used on ozone reactors.
Check valves – among the most important parts in installing every air pump. This is installed in the airline tubing. What this does is to make sure that air passes through the tube only in one direction, preventing water from coming out through the tube in case there are power stoppages or when the air pump’s not plugged. Not only will back siphoning destroy your air pump, it could also be electrically hazardous.
Gang valves – When air pumps need more airline tubing to supply oxygen, gang valves are utilized. Usually they come in five sets, but can also go beyond that depending on necessity. Using the gang valve, air flow may be adjusted individually if one desires to create different effects from each air stone or ornament.
T-valves or connectors – Using different airline tubes, air flow may be changed depending on how you desire it to. Replacement part kits – because air pumps may be damaged, replacement kits are available. They usually include air filters, retainer plugs, diaphragm, rubber brushings, screws, and valve flappers. Specialized wrenched are also included that may be used for repairs. Maintaining air pumps is very essential to ensure longer use.
Types of Air Pumps:
General purpose – these are used for general aeration purposes, or running sponge filters, ornaments, or undergravel filters. These come in several sizes and different models. This can be a deep water aquarium air pump for larger and deeper tank. Usually, this type of air pumps utilizes standard aquarium airline tubes.
High Output Aquarium Air Pump – when you have a very large aquarium, multiple aquariums, aquariums that require high pressure, or those that have large air stones, these pumps should be your choice. They are designed to produce more air. Their design could either be diaphragm or piston. Having more power that general purpose air pumps, this type of air pumps operates loudly compared to others.
Battery powered – these are air pumps you do not need to plug in. Because they run on batteries, these are most useful when there are power outages and are less hazardous electrically. There are battery powered air pumps that could have dual functions – working on A/C power when conditions are normal, then operated on D/C power when there are outages.
Advantages of a Good Air Pump
Aeration – the same with other animals, fish need oxygen to “breathe” and survive. Using their gills, they absorb dissolved oxygen in the water. While the aquarium has the ability to absorb oxygen that’s present at the surface of the water, this absorbed oxygen may not be enough to sustain the life of your fish (depending on the number of fish and the size of the tank).
Using air pumps and air stones, exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen is greatly increased, and these gases’ dissolved concentrations are maintained at safe levels. This usually happens because of how bubbles directly transfer gases, and also because of the agitation on the surface that escaping bubbles cause.
Decoration – the bubbles that air pumps produce can also be part of the decoration. It gives the aquarium life and movement – the same life and movement present in the fish natural habitat. Some air stones and air pumps come with ornaments of different kinds and sizes. Others even come with lights to add more effect to the aquarium.
Filters – several filters are functional when attached to air pumps. What an air pump does is that it drives the water through these filters to undergo several filtration processes that could maintain the purity of the water in your aquarium. Through this as well, aerobic bacteria are provided with oxygen. These aerobic bacteria are helpful as natural and biological filters in your tank.
Protein Skimmers – you would want to remove protein and different organic wasters that may be present in your aquarium. Protein skimmers that do this job usually use air stones to create foams and bubbles. Wooden air stones are typically used so that bubbles produced are very fine, therefore increasing efficiency.
Here are 10 best rated aquarium air pumps you can choose from:
Lightweight at 1 lb, Aqua-Supreme 59942 Aqua Supreme AP-8 Air Pump has eight outlets, making it more flexible. You can assemble this air pump very easily and manipulate it without trouble.
Because this uses lesser energy than others, you don’t need to worry about power consumption. Using only 7 watts power in every pump, this helps you save money and resources compared to using other air pumps. This also operates quietly, maintaining conducive environment for your fish.
The pressure control knob of this air pump would allow you to easily adjust pressure it produces.
Featuring eight outlets, Active Aqua Air Pump cycles a maximum of around 7 water gallons every minute and 400 gallons per hour. With its multi-level muffler, this air pump could function very quietly, so you don’t have to worry about your fish getting disturbed.
To make the air flow output steady, Active Aqua Air Pump has a special artificial rubber. This could also allow you to easily and freely adjust the air pump’s pressure. Consuming only 6 watts per minute, this could save you a lot of energy (and money of course).
What makes this one of the best fish tank air pumps is that it is battery operated. In case of power outages, Silent Air B11 Battery Operated Aquarium Air Pump could still work effectively while maintaining the same efficiency as other electricity-powered air pumps.
This can handle up to 55 gallons of water. Powered by 2 D batteries, you can use this air pump continuously for 48 hours. Its versatility is manifested by how it could immediately switch from using electricity to using battery as soon as electrical systems are interrupted.
Featuring six to twelve outlets, this air pump is used by many in providing oxygen not only in aquariums, but also in fish farms and hydroponic systems. This comes with a chrome air manifold. Durability is also assured by this product, as premium materials are used for its pistons and cylinders. This air pump could also operate silently even without applying oil on it.
Since EcoPlus Commercial Air 5 weighs only 6.5 pounds, you can easily carry it around and install it. Plus, you can buy this at a very affordable price.
What’s best about this product is that it operates quietly yet it retains its motor power. Fluval Q1 Air Pump is uniquely and elegantly designed so that you can easily carry and install it. Its advanced swing-arm and diaphragm design also provides consistent air flow.
Its quiet operation is due to the outer casing that’s double-wall and very thick. Its pump well is integrated and its baffle chamber suppresses noise. Reliable and lasting, this product is always mentioned in best aquarium air pump reviews, justifying its efficiency.
This air pump features two outlets, designed to prevent water stagnation through the water movement that the air pump produces. Because of its two vents, it can give oxygen to two fish tanks at the same time, making it more flexible than other air pumps. Or, if you like, you can place two vents in one tank to produce more bubbles and water movement.
Due to its multi-level muffler, this air pump works quietly. This comes with two air stones and two silicone tubes that are 3.28 and 3.77 feet, respectively.
Active Aqua Commercial Air Pump is best if you want to use several air stones at once. This is one of the high pressure aquarium pumps that also produces high output with a quiet operation because of its multi-level muffler that is rated GPH 1750. It features a special rubber that could make the air flow steadily and could help you freely adjust the output.
Because of its multi-outlet divider, you can easily turn each outlet of the air pump on and off depending on your desire. This product comes with a one-year warranty.
Getting its name from its quiet operation, Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications is among the best fish tank air pumps that may be used in large aquariums and deep waters down to eight feet. It provides power simultaneously even to air stones that are in different aquariums.
Since this comes with a limited lifetime warranty, you can be ensured that buying this product is a correct choice. It has a dome-like design and feet made of rubber so that you can easily stick it on the glass of the tank.
Just like the Tetra Whisper Air Pump for deep water, this air pump also works silently. What draws this apart from the typical Tetra Whisper Air Pump is that this can handle up to 60 gallons, making the product more flexible.
The dome design of the product flattens the noise it produces. It has a suspended pump motor and feet made of rubber for easy mounting. This air pump is compatible for accessories like sponge filters, air stones, and other ornaments.
The patented baffle system of this air pump makes its operation silent. This quiet operations prevents disturbance among your fish. You can also attach this to whatever accessories and it could still provide power enough for your fish tank. It can power fifteen various ornaments and filters.
Despite its small size, which makes the air pump easier to carry and install, it is made out of durable material and you can trust that even after long use, you can still use this air pump.
Air pumps are helpful not only in giving aesthetics to your fish tanks but, more importantly, to improve the health of your fish. Choosing for the most effective air pump is also deciding what would help your fish best and which would efficiently maintain cleanliness in the aquarium water. The list of the most powerful air pumps provide you with a lot of options, and all you need to do is choose which would work best for your needs.