Aquarium Fish

Aquarium Air Pump

Online Aquarium Fish Magazine | About Aquarium Air Pumps

What are Aquarium Air Pumps?

An aquarium air pump is a device that forces air usually through tubing for various purposes. These purposes usually include powering a sponge filter, a decorative ornament, add oxygen to the water, increases surface agitation, or add bubbles for decorative purpose.

Where do I get one?

You can buy an air pump at a local pet store or online at most sites.

Do I need anything else?

To operate an air pump you need tubing, and if you have your air pump below your tank water level you need a check valve. A check valve will prevent the water back siphoning into your air pump if there is a power outage or if your air pump fails. You can also buy a gang valve to power more than one application with one air pump. NOTE Gang valves do NOT substitute for a check valve. If using a gang valve you still should use a check valve if your pump is below the water level.

Check Valve Gang Valve

What Type of Air pumps are there?

There are two main types of air pumps. The most popular and practical type is electric which you plug into an outlet. With these you can also get one with just one outlet, or multiple outlets which you can put more than one airline tubing into, and power multiple items with one pump without a gang valve. The other type is battery powered which can be useful in power outages but tends not to be practical in the long run.

US Brands

Tetra Whisper Air Pump (better for powering ornaments)
Whisper Air Pump
TetraTec Deep Water Air Pumps (more powerful, better for use with protein skimmers and deep tanks)
TetraTec Air Pump
- Others that are a bit less popular are elite air pumps, aquarium pharmaceuticals rena air pumps and marine land air master air pump.


- Hagen Air Pump (recommended by Tom)
- Rena Air Pump (recommended by Tom)

UK Brands

Clear Seal, loud but very effective and powerful. (Recommended & reviewed by timg)
Clear Seal Air Pump
Tetratec air pump, it is reliable and very quiet (Recommended & reviewed by gwenz) Rena Aquarium Air Pumps 100 (Recommended & reviewed by gwenz)

Aquarium Air Pump Applications

Applications include powering:

  • Air stones
    Air Bubbles
  • Bubble wands
  • Bubble walls
  • Decorative ornaments (ex. Divers, treasure chests, water bridges, Ferris Wheels)
  • Skimmers
  • Sponge Filters (a cheap effective filter, especially helpful in tanks with small fish)
Description of Sunken Bridge (by none other than Dave himself)

Sunken Bridge The Sunken Bridges Aquarium Decoration Collection features the Venice Old Bridge. At 15" x 3" x 7" high this "super-bridge" will take up a big part of a 10 gallon tank and be a real treat for fish that love bridge decorations. It's especially fun for Bettas, not just for the numerous arches, but the "landing strip" at the top of the bridge that leads into the caves on either side. The one side has a connection for an air hose to allow the bridge to function as an air bubbler. Definitely a decoration worth buying and great entertainment for your fish.

How to set up an air pump

  1. Read the instructions of your particular air pump thoroughly.
  2. Take your air pump, check valve (if needed), gang valve (if needed), and tubing out of the packages.
  3. Cut the tubing to your desired length. If need cut two sections if using a check valve. If using a gang valve, cut as many sections as needed.
  4. Place pump in desired location and connect your pump to your gang valve and/or check valve if needed.
  5. Place what the pump will be powering inside the tank.
  6. Connect the application in the tank to the check valve/pump/gang valve via tubing.
  7. Check to make sure everything is secure and all precautions/safety measures have been followed in the instructions.
  8. Plug your pump in.
Note: This is only a guideline, there are many other ways to set up an air pump, but all instructions for you specific air pump should be followed.

Links to air pumps mentioned:
US Brands

Tetra Whisper Air Pump
TetraTec Deep Water Air Pumps

UK Brands

Rena aquarium air pump

Canada Brands

Note: These are not the only places to get these products, they are simply a link for you to get more information on the product.

Photo Credits
Austin, Timg, Dave (FLBettaCouple)

About the Author:
My name is Austin or atmachine on the forum. I run cross country and track for my school and also enjoy reading, paintball, and of course keeping fish. I have a 29 US gallon freshwater tank along with a 5.5 US gallon saltwater tank. My fish and inverts that I keep include guppies, angels, bettas, otos, plecos, rasboras, gobie, shrimp, snails, crabs, mushrooms, polyps, and feather dusters.

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