BEST Quietest Aquarium Air Pump in 2020?

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What is the Quietest Aquarium Air Pump in 2020

Just like your fish, no two aquarium air pumps are alike.  A good air pump will circulate the water filling it with dissolved O₂ without driving you crazy with the incessant humming sound.

The quietest aquarium air pump available today are the:

These three are the quietest aquarium air pumps.  Yes, there are four listed above the AP150 and AP300, but they are essentially the same, but one motor is more powerful than the other and used for different size tanks. 

The Eheim aquarium air pump  Tetra Whisper air pump AP150 and AP300 are expensive, quiet, and efficient aquarium pumps.  The Mylivell Ultra silent air pump is perfect for an airstone in a small aquarium but not as an attachment for a sponge filter.  These three fish tank pumps may not meet everyone’s needs.

This article compares the quietest air pumps, the budget air pumps suitable for medium to larger aquariums that don’t generate too much noise. Battery operated air pumps for aquariums to use in an emergency or when the power goes out with useful YouTube videos for you to hear the air pumps before you decide which one is the best for you.

Do I need an Aquarium Air Pump?

Do you need an air pump to have a healthy and happy fish tank?  The short answer is no; you don’t.  Many fish tanks run without one, and with proper care and maintenance, you will have enough oxygen.  External filters will clean the water and keep it moving.  Just because you don’t have to have an aquarium air pump doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one. 

The list of benefits the air pumps have on an aquarium is dependent on what you attached to it. Two benefits, regardless of the attachments, are increased water surface and water flow.

How Does an Air Pump Work in an Aquarium?

This question has two parts, how does an air pump work? And what does an air pump do in your fish tank?

How Does an Air Pump Work?

Regardless if you use an air pump in a fish tank or a pond, it works by electromagnetism.  For larger air pumps, more coils, and arms are used and may have multiple or larger outflow pipes.

The plastic compartment filled with copper wire coils around a tube of metal, creating a north and south pole which alternate as current passes through it.  An arm connected to a magnet is pulled back and forth.  The oscillating arm opening and closing the diaphragm and thus pulls air into and out of the pump.

The electricity flowing through these coils can be electric (usually the quietest pumps) battery or in an ideal world electric pump with a battery backup, which will keep it running when the power goes out crucial if you are on holiday.

Are you preparing your fish tanks for a holiday?  Battery operated air pumps for aquariums with a sponge filter and an automatic feeder you can rest assured your fish tank will be self-sufficient.

What Does an Aquarium Air Pump Do?

The benefits of adding an aquarium air pump:

  • Air pumps increase the water surface area
  • It Increases the flow of water to the fish tank
  • If attached to either a sponge filter, under gravel filter or protein skimmer it improves the filtration of the system
  • Adds bubbles your fish interact with

Increased Water Current

Stagnate water is not suitable for any body of water, including ponds pools and aquariums of various sizes.  Pests and other biological material building-up and turn the water green and toxic.

Water movement or current differs between fish, match the fish to the correct current.  Some fish, like Koi, need high current, using the water flow to stretch their fins, whereas other fish like angels prefer moderate currents of water to play around in.

Overtired fish may suffer premature death, and this is where a water flow valve is indispensable.  Some aquarium air pump have it included, but if the one you want doesn’t have one, it is cheap and easy to install. 

Aquarium Air Pump and Gas Exchange

Fish breathe as they pass water through their gills and absorb oxygen (O₂) from the water through the gas exchange and release carbon dioxide (CO₂) into the tank.  In water with high levels of O₂ fish and good bacteria thrive.  Low O₂ levels could lead to hypoxia.

Fish gasping by opening and closing their gills quickly or moving higher in the tank than they usually would is an indication of low levels of oxygen, but at this time, it could be too late to save your fish. 

Testing the oxygen levels in your fish tank is crucial you can use an oxygen meter to check these levels.  In an emergency, complete a high-level water change to increase the oxygen level of your aquarium. 

Check out – How to Clean a Freshwater Fish Tank (A Step by Step Guide) 

Gas exchange CO2 and O2

We all know that CO₂ is harmful to your fish, but how does your tank get rid of CO₂?

CO₂ is exchanged in two ways:


Gas exchange:  water needs to rise to the surface of the aquarium, and CO₂ is exchanged for O.


Plants photosynthesize absorbing CO₂ and releasing O as dissolved oxygen into the tank.  When lights are turned off, this process is reversed.

The benefits of a planted aquarium are endless; you may want to consider adding them to your fish tank.

Also read – Aquaponics Fish Tank – Take Your Hobby to the Next Level

Factors that influence low oxygen levels in your fish tank

  • Temperature: As the temperature of the water increases the oxygen level decreases
  • Salinity: The more minerals and salts present in the water the less oxygen it can hold
  • Atmospheric pressure: This decreases the amount of oxygen in your water
  • Overstocked aquariums both fish and plants not exposed to light for long periods
  • Algae not exposed to light

For control over the minerals in your water, using RODI water is a good option. Check out – How to Use RODI Water to Create the Best Water for Your Aquarium

To increase the O₂ levels in your tank, you need to circulate the water, and that’s where an aquarium air pump comes into play.

How to Fix an Aquarium Air Pump?

How to repair an air pump for an aquarium is easy. The diaphragm of the aquarium air pump are made of rubber and will harden and perish over time.  Most air pump brands sell replacement parts.   Air tubing is replaced every 12 to 18 months.

Repairing a fish tank pump is as simple as removing the broken parts and attaching the replacements.

Other Than the aquarium air pump What Else Do You Need

Many aquarium air pump have some of these accessories as attachments before you make your purchase decide which fish tank pump you need.

Airline tubing attaches your aquarium air pump to other elements (airstones, filters, or skimmers). It is cut with scissors to the required length, pushed over the inflow and outflow points on the various attachments and accessories like valves, the air pump, and other bubble makers.

Aircheck valve in the case of a power outage or failure of the pump it will prevent back siphoning and damage to the pump as water runs through it.  Air flows according to the directional arrow through the valve opening and a rubber lip. 

The rubber lip closes as water moves from the other side and thus stops the movement of water from siphoning out of your fish tank.  This valve will add back pressure to the pump.  If you are planning to install your pump higher than your aquarium, it is unnecessary but still a recommended attachment.  Attach the aircheck valve after the airflow valve.

The airflow valve will allow you to have control over the amount of air you are pumping into the system.   It’s the same principle as holding a part of your hose pipe closed, and this increases the amount of pressure placed on the same amount of water as it flows through the hose pipe.  The airflow valve increases the pressure on the air flowing through the aquarium air pump.

The increased pressure increases speed output and current flow.  The amount of current you need depends on your fish, and having a versatile option is a good idea but not essential.

A foam mat to dampen the noise and is optional

Factors to Consider Before Buying An Aquarium Air Pump

  • The current water requirements of your fish
  • The accessories you want to add
  • The depth and size of your aquarium
  • The placement of your air pump fish tank
  • The amount of noise you can tolerate

Aquarium Air Pump How to Use It Effectively Is to Add It to Accessories

Aquarium air pump are most effected attached to a device in which one you select depends on your personal needs, which makes the question of what is the best air pump for my aquarium? Almost impossible to answer.  That depends:

  • First, the size of your aquarium, the incorrect pump size will affect the amount of backpressure and the airstone or sponge filter may not work as well as it should.
  • The amount of current you want to create
  • How many devices and specifications measured in gallons per hour (GPH) used with the air pump. Add the amount of air per addition to calculate the amount of air you will need.  In this instance more is more
  • A fish tank 18 – 20 inches in depth is a deep tank

Protein Skimmer Filter

A protein skimmer is not just air and bubbles but removes broken down uneaten food, fish waste and suspended particules removing it from the water and collecting it in an easy to clean cup.  

This machine is simple, keeping the bio build up from staining your fish tank glass and water in addition to increasing the surface air.  A protein skimmer works by pumping air into the water.  The pollutants are agitated into a foam.  The foam spills over into a cup that can be removed and cleaned.  Easy but sufficient for reef fish tank maintenance.

Sponged Filter

A sponge filter provides your fish tank with mechanical and biological filtration with the added benefit of increasing water flow in the lower parts of your fish tank.  It can be used alone or attached to a bubble decoration for smaller and quieter bubbles.

The additional carbon filter can be attached for chemical filtration, but it is not recommended.

Under-Gravel Filter

An under-gravel filter is one of those items that are better in theory than real life.  It shares the benefits of a sponge filter with the added improvement of hiding it under the substrate.   Wait, don’t get happy.  The disadvantages outweigh the benefits.

  • Fish waste collects on the bottom
  • Removing it to clean it is a problem
  • You cannot use it with diggers water pressure will be pulled through the open area and not through the primary filter and thereby rendering filtration useless.

Bubble Decorations

Did you know the fish play and interact with the bubbles?  It is relaxing for you to watch, but fish are curious by nature and will play with the bubbles.  Smaller fish use the bubbles to ride them to the top of the aquarium.  It is pretty to look at, and the fish love it too.

What are the Quiet Aquarium Pumps for an Aquarium?

We have generated a list of aquarium air pump for different size fish tanks, consider your air output needs when selecting the right pump for you. 

What is the quietest aquarium air pump? Mylivell Ultra Silent Air Pump is only suitable for small aquariums.  Sound is measured in decibels and not for being annoying, and that is the factor that you have to consider.  A sound may be higher or the same in decibels, but being more constant may be less annoying.  What is annoying to some may not be annoying for others.

The next three aquarium air pumps are not only the quietest but the least annoying.  For those who need a large amount of airflow, then the Eheim Air Pump or the Tetra Whisper Air Pump AP150 or the AP300  is the choice for you if it is too much airflow decrease the level with an airflow valve.  For those of you with smaller tanks (no more than 13 gallons on this model), then the Mylivell Ultra Silent Air Pump is for you.

Best Quietest Aquarium Air Pump in 2020

#1 – Eheim Air Pump 400


This fish tank pump is a powerful and quiet air pump.  Available in various sizes and the best part, it comes complete with air tubing and airstones.  It has a hook that will allow it to hang against the fish tank or a wall making it easy to hide and less noisy if the device is not vibrating against something. The best part is the 200 or 400 series has adjustable airflow valves for each outflow pipe, making the airflow independently flexible for each element connected to it.


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Our Verdict​

This aquarium air pump is the best for larger fish tanks.  Side note the larger the air pumps motor, the louder hum it makes.  Nothing could beat the Eheim air pump about the noise annoyance level.   It has rubber endings to dampen the sound more.

#2 – Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water AP150 and AP300



The Tetra Whisper Air Pump AP150 and AP300 costs more than the Tetra Whisper but outperforms many others in both efficacy and output.  Available in 150 or 300 GPH options.  If you need larger fish pumps, this is one of the best.  With this pump, you have enough strength for multiple airstones and work well with protein skimmers too.



Our Verdict

Compared to the Eheim Air Pump and the Tetra Whisper air pump AP150 and AP300, both are effective and quiet.  I prefer the noise of the Eheim Air Pump and the price of the Tetra Whisper AP150.

#3 – Mylivell Ultra Silent Air Pump



The Mylivell Ultra silent works differently to the electromagnetic pumps driven by a ceramic plate. This fish tank air pump has two color options (black and white) but is not suitable for large tanks only up to a 13-gallon tank. It comes with air tubing and an airstone.  If you are not using a check valve, place the pump above the water level (add the check valve).  It comes complete with airstone and tubing.



Our Verdict

What is not to like about this product?  If you want to run an airstone and have a small fish tank go for it. 

If you want to add a protein skimmer or sponge filter, consider the other fish tank air pumps in the next list.

Its cousin is as quiet and can be used up to 40 gallons, but only if you have low water flow needs like in an angelfish tank.

Budget Aquarium Air Pump

Unfortunately, the quietest aquarium air pump are only for small or large fish tanks for those in between this list is for you – a few simple steps to decrease the noise.

#4 – Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump



This aquarium pump is powerful and comes at a convenient price.  The noise level is higher than some, but if you are on a budget, this is a good option.  This aquarium air pump is available with many different size tanks with similar features, select the correct choice for you. This fish tank air pump has enough pressure to use in deep aquariums.  The dome shape cuts noise by flattening the sound waves, but adding a mat will help too.



Our Verdict

This is a capable, powerful aquarium air pump.  The sound is a disappointment compared to the Tetra Whisper Air Pump AP150 and AP300, which delivers more bang and less noise.  To be used with small to medium fish tanks and you have enough power to run air sponges and protein skimmers.

#5 – Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump



The active aqua air pump doesn’t need an air valve control but has a built-in with a muffler for noise control.  It has a good amount of power and available in different sizes and output connectors depending on your tank and air output requirements.



Our Verdict

This is a powerful, sleek air pump. I found the noise to be irritating but if you are not sensitive to sound it is an excellent device and compared head to head against the  Tetra Whisper Easy to Use Air Pump the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump wins hands down.

Battery Operated Air Pumps for Aquariums

These are suitable in an emergency or for transporting your fish tank, but as a permanent pump, they are not recommended.  These air pumps will circulate water and provide oxygen to your tank, but the output is not high.

#6 – Elite Marina Battery Air Pump DX


Elite Marina Battery Air Pump DX is a battery-operated aquarium pump.  The price and performance are both excellent but you are going to have to change the batteries regularly, the costs of which will add up quickly.  It comes complete with an airstone and long stretch of tubing. The only thing you could add is an airflow valve.



Our Verdict

This fish tank pump would be my first choice for a battery-operated air pump to use in an emergency as a backup pump; it can be an excellent addition for you.  The downside is the number of batteries you need to use to power this aquarium air pump but it generates a fair amount of energy which is better than the alternatives.

#7 – Petacc Automatic Fish Feeder



This fish tank pump connects with a USB power cord that charges a battery for 12 hours.  If the power is disrupted, the battery will kick in.  The Cobalt Rescue Air has a power bank an impressive run time.  The airflow through the pump alternates at 10-second intervals will increase the battery life during use.  This feature cannot be underestimated.



Our Verdict

Many of the pros are available on other devices, and the output is insufficient.  Head to head the Cobalt Rescue Air Pump stands out, but for extended absence having an auto power on and off is a better option.  In an emergency, the Elite Marina Battery Air Pump DX will provide better flow and oxygen and as your primary filter may be compromised the added filtration is needed at times like these.

How to Set Up an Aquarium Air Pump

  • Attach the air tube to the air pump cut the air tubing about an inch or two away from the air pump
  • Push a flow valve onto the pipe attached to the aquarium air pump (if necessary)
  • Attached the uncut tubing on to the other side of the flow valve
  • This step is highly recommended if you need to move your fish tank pump later, you will have more placement options. Cut the air tubing about an inch or two away from the flow valve. 
  • Push the check valve onto the line with the arrow pointing away from the air pump
  • Push the air tubing onto the other side, and lastly, attach the accessory you wish to run and place it in the fish tank. Follow manufactures instructions for installation of air pumps and accessories (airstones must soak for an hour and sponge filters have to be squeezed out.)
  • Turn on, adjust the size of the air tubing after placement.
  • The current of the water needs to be corrected, so you must play with the airflow valve until you have the correct current speed for your fish.
  • If you are adding a sponge filter to your air pump check the accessories that come with it before buying air tubing or valves.

Aquarium Air Pump How to Use

Fish tank pumps are best paired with a filter or a bubble decoration, and both can be attached.  Every attachment increases the backpressure of the air pump, reducing the airflow.  Purchasing an aquarium air pump with more output than you need and has a flow valve will eliminate this problem and can be attached to more decorations or multiple fish tanks with air tubing adaptors.

FAQ’s on Aquarium Air Pump

Can your aquarium have too much oxygen? Too much oxygen is not a common problem but can lead to the death of your fish.  Supersaturation occurs in different ways.

  • Heating an aquarium quickly the O₂ becomes trapped
  • Leaking or compromised air pumps or pipes
  • A change in the pressure to the water

No matter the cause, the result is the same.

Gas Bubble Disease and this is bad as it causes emboli, which forms inside the body of your pets, visible by the bubbles appearing around the gills and eyes.  The body equilibrates with high pressure drawing gasses from the blood vessels and veins. Treatment for Gas Bubble Disease includes antibiotics, valium, and anti-inflammatories.  Other visible signs include reduced appetite, lethargy, and your fish may suffer from convulsions.

Once the gas bubbles appear, the fish may be passed the point where saving them is an option, thus testing the O₂ levels of a fish tank from time to time is key.

Checking your equipment and conducting tests of the various elements inside the aquarium will prevent the supersaturation of water.  Monitoring your fish for changes in behavior and swimming pattern will help detecting the disease before any visible markings may appear.

What Size Air Pump Do You Need for a 55 Gallon Aquarium? The best air pumps for a 55-gallon fish tank is the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump if you don’t mind a little noise.

How to Make Air Pump for Aquarium at Home? A homemade aerator for a fish tank is possible, but as it draws water from the aquarium, it is not advisable to make one.  It may draw too much water and flood your floor, empty your fish tank, contaminate the water, and gives you the added job of emptying the container regularly.

How to Make Aquarium Air Pump Quieter? To quiet an aquarium air pump, add a foam mat under the device to decrease the vibrations from the surface.  Moving the fish tank air pump away from the aquarium as glass amplifies the sound.  If you have an air pump sponge filter adding an airstone will make the bubbles smaller and makes the bubble breaking sound softer.

How to Make Aquarium Filter Using an Air Pump? Adding a sponge filter to an air pump converts it into a mechanical filter that is easy to clean.  Useful bacteria grow on the sponge, turning it into a biological filter.  Although adding a carbon filter using an L pipe is possible, turning it into a chemical filter too, it looks untidy.  Adding your air pump to a protein skimmer will create a filter too.

The Best Aquarium Air Pump 

We started with the quietest, but we need to end with the best air pumps. 

The Eheim air pump quiet and efficient aquarium pump for smaller tanks; they have controllable valves that allow you to modify the flow output if you want.

For a fish tank of 60 gallons, the Hydrofarm active aqua air pump is the best for you.  Smaller fish tanks that need to be silent like in a bedroom using the Mylivell Ultra-quiet Air pump is perfect.

Check out – The Best Freshwater and popular Saltwater Aquarium Fish for a 55 Gallon Tank

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