Whether you’re running a fish farm, hydroponic garden, or simply setting up an aquarium as a hobby, you’re going to need a reliable way to maintain stable oxygen levels in your water. One of the most effective and available ways to do that today is with an aerator — also known as an air pump. Luckily for you we’ve already scoured the market, and below, you’ll find five of the best air pump brands currently available, and a pump from each that we think you’ll love.
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Our Top Choice
Marine Metal Power Bubbles Aeration System
Marine Metal Products is a family-owned business that have been specializing in water aeration technology for over 50 years.
Produces 99.5% saturation of dissolved oxygen. Consumes only 5.52 watts per hour.
Bigger tanks will need a larger aerator.
EcoPlus Eco Air 4 Adjustable Air Pump
EcoPlus specializes in providing superior-quality hydroponic gardening pumps that are suitable for aquariums and pond applications as well.
Affordable aeration solution. Pumps air at rates up to 365 gallons per hour.
Doesn't come with check valves to prevent water backflow into pump.
Hydrofarm Commercial Active Aqua Air Pump
Hydrofarm is a hydroponic and high-intensity grow light wholesaler that provides quality aeration products with quick delivery times.
Ideal for running several waterfarms. Three sizes to choose from; 6, 8 or 12 outlets. Sturdy. Good for commercial use. High pump capacity (GPH).
Hobbyists or home users may find this to be excessive.
6, 8 or 12 Outlets
700, 1100 or 1750 Gallons
Tetra Whisper Deep Water Aquarium Pump
Tetra’s claim to fame is the development of flake fish food and it’s been creating aquarium equipment since 1951, making them a pretty big deal!
Powerful and quiet air pump with a pump depth of up to 8 feet. Choose from 2 sizes; up to 150 gallons or 300 gallons. Quiet technology. Powerful.
May not be necessary for shallower aquariums and tanks.
Uniclife Nano 10 Gallon Aquarium Air Pump
Uniclife is a versatile online retailer that offers a variety of products ranging from aquarium supplies to inhalers.
Compact design. Operates at less than -33db, nearly half the volume of other air pumps.
People with larger aquariums will need a higher capacity air pump.
Now that you know a little more about the various types of air pumps and the different settings each one is best suited for, you can make an informed decision about which air pump is right for you. Let's take a look at the finalists in our top 5 countdown!
Our Top Choice
The Marine Metal Products Power Bubbles Aeration System is perfect for crowded livewells, aquariums, and water renewal systems. Have a smaller tank? Save some money and check out the A1 110V Marine Metal Products Air Pump!
Marine Metal Products 12V DC Power Bubbles Aeration System
Marine Metal Products was originally started in 1959 by engineer Dick Alexander and investor John Fry. They had created a long aerator out of a brass shaft and a 12V motor that was originally used in the citrus industry. It wasn't long before they realized their products could benefit as a fish tank aerator. Since then, Marine Metal Products has expanded its product inventory to include a large variety of versatile aeration solutions. Its aerators produce high levels of oxygen saturation and consume very little power.
The Marine Metal Products Power Bubbles 12V DC is a white-colored aerator with a six-inch power cord topped with battery clips made of copper designed for tanks up to 35 gallons. It comes with ten feet of airline tubing, two large air stones made from weighted glass beads, a T adapter, and two anti-siphon valves to prevent the aerator from taking in any water. The adjustable mounting screws and clip allow you to mount the aerator in any place convenient for you with minimal effort or hassle.
The EcoPlus Eco Air 4 Outlet Air Pump is perfect for hydroponic gardens, fish tanks, and aquariums, and is made of durable metals. Looking for more power and control? Be sure to look at the EcoPlus Eco Air 8!
EcoPlus Eco Air 4 Adjustable 6.5 Watt Air Pump with Air Control Kit
EcoPlus is an online retailer specializing in hydroponic gardening aeration solutions. Its products are reliable and versatile enough to be used in a variety of aeration applications such as fish farms, ponds, and aquariums. EcoPlus offers a wide variety of products ranging from water pumps to water chillers. Its air pumps are proven reliable and deliver unmatched performance for their value.
The EcoPlus Eco Air 4 Adjustable Air Pump is a grey and black air pump that’s ideal for indoor gardening and hydroponic situations. The air pump is very affordable and can pump the equivalent of up to 365 gallons per hour. It has a dual chamber oscillating pump for high output as well as providing stable pressure. Its ultra-quiet operation is the result of its innovative double dampening system that allows it to operate with minimal noise.
Additionally, the housing that encases the air pump is heavy-duty and water-resistant to prevent the pump (or you) from being damaged. Remember that it’s designed to sit above the water without a check flow valve, and if you’d like to place the pump below water level you may need to buy additional hoses. Best of all, it has four outlets – talk about convenience!
The Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump is a sturdy commercial air pump with three size options. Choose from 6, 8 or 12 outlets. Not looking for a commercial-grade aerator? Take a peek at the Hydrofarm 4 Outlet Active Aqua Air Pump. It’s smaller size (and price tag) might suit you better!
Hydrofarm Commercial Active Aqua Air Pump with Multiple Outlets – Available in 3 Sizes
Hydrofarm has been in business for over thirty-nine years and is committed to being a leading wholesaler in horticulture products. With seven distribution centers across the United States and extended hours of operation, Hydrofarm prides itself on quick delivery times as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service. It offers a large variety of hydroponic solutions ranging from air pumps to growing media.
The Hydrofarm 8 Outlet Active Aqua Air Pump is a beige and black air pump with a small plastic hose and metallic 8 outlet divider, perfect for commercial fish farms and hydroponic gardening. It operates on 120 V AC and consumers 60 watts per hour. It has an electrical magnetic air compressor that pumps air at the equivalent of 1100 gallons per hour. The casing for the cylinder and piston is made out of an aluminum alloy designed to be lightweight and wear and tear-resistant.
If you’re worried because you didn’t want an 8 outlet pump, then fear not! This great product also comes with 6 outlets (20 watts, 120 volts and 700 GPH) or 12 outlets (120 voltage and 1750 GPH). So, simply pick the one best suited to your current or future aquarium!
The Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump was designed specifically for deep tank applications with significant back pressure. Not looking for a deep tank aeration solution? Check out the Tetra 10 Gallon Whisper Air Pump for a smaller size, better suited for home-use.
Tetra Whisper Deep Water Aquarium Air Pump for Up To 8 Foot Depth – Available in 2 Sizes
Tetra began in 1951, and is the largest global manufacturer of ornamental fish food. It offers thousands of products to over a thousand dealers worldwide through its three brands: Tetra, TetraFauna, and TetraPond. Tetra has a wide variety of aeration solutions readily available for hobbyists and professionals alike.
The Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump is a slender black air pump designed to aerate deep water tanks. It operates at a depth of up to 8 feet with a capacity of up to 150 gallons OR if that’s not enough, you can also get it for up to 300 gallons! It can operate multiple air stones, long decorator air stones, and protein skimmers for saltwater. Tetra is so confident in the reliability and performance of the whisper air pump that it also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. Although it’s great for deep tank applications, it may not be ideal for shallower tanks.
The Uniclife Nano Aquarium Air Pump is a compact air pump designed to quietly aerate 10-gallon tanks. Have a larger tank? Check out the Uniclife Adjustable Oxygen Air Pump! It can accommodate a 20 - 100 gallon tank.
Uniclife Nano 10 Gallon Aquarium Air Pump Silent Fish Tank Oxygen Pump with Airstone and Silicone Tube
Uniclife is an online retailer that specializes in aquarium supplies and aeration solutions. It has a large selection of air pumps and alternative aeration solutions for hobbyists and professionals alike. The Uniclife Nano Aquarium Air Pump is a white, palm-sized air pump designed for tanks with a capacity of up to ten gallons.
It consumes a little more than one watt per hour and produces less than negative thirty-three decibels of sound. It operates at 110 to 120V, making it a great choice for your smaller tank. The Uniclife 10 Gallon Aquarium Air Pump comes backed by a twelve-month warranty and lifetime technical support. It’s an excellent choice for smaller tanks, quiet homes, and energy efficiency - however large tanks will require a higher capacity air pump.
When searching for the perfect aerator for your hydroponic garden, aquarium, or fish farm, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration. For example, how much water are you trying to aerate? Buying a commercial-grade air pump for a small ten-gallon tank resting on a tank stand in your living room isn’t very practical, and neither is purchasing a ten-gallon air pump to try to run four livewells. You’ll have to either know or have a strong idea of what setting you’ll be using the air pump in.
Fish and plants need a number of things to live happy and healthy lives. They will need appropriately sized tanks, fresh filtered water, food, and, of course, oxygen! Choosing the best air pump for you can keep your favorite pets comfortable and cozy in their home!
As you’re browsing through the various pumps in this guide, you’ll notice that aquarium air pump pricing ranges anywhere from about $17 all the way up to around $60. The price difference between one air pump and another is influenced by a number of factors including its energy efficiency, pressure and depth that it can pump at, as well as the materials used to house and encase the pump itself. Although a cheap air pump might seem like a great idea while looking at your bank account, those extra dollars and dimes will ensure that you’re getting a better quality air pump that won't need to be replaced in just a few short months of use.
Aquarium and commercial-grade air pumps come with a variety of different features. One of the features you’ll be looking for in an air pump or aerator is whether it comes with check valves. Check valves ensure that even if you put the air pump lower than the water level in the tank, that no water will back up through the tubing into the air pump, which could cause damage. In the spirit of avoiding damage, it’s also a good idea to pay attention to whether the pump can be fully submerged or if it just has a water-resistant casing and shouldn’t be put into the water at all.
Another feature to look for when choosing an air pump is the number of outlets that are available and the output pressure it can generate. Air pumps with multiple outlets can generally be used to oxygenate multiple tanks, so long as the pump isn't trying to fight against more water pressure than it was designed for. Air pumps with lower output pressures are usually used for shallow tanks, while air pumps with higher output pressures are usually used in commercial or deep tank settings.
Construction and Design
Quality is very important when choosing a reliable aquarium air pump. Most shallow water air pumps are generally made out of sturdy water-resistant plastics, while deep tank commercial-grade air pumps have aluminum alloys in their housing. This is because the air pumps designed for smaller tanks will be under less stress and lower pressures during operation than their commercial-grade counterparts. The air outlets on both types of air pumps are generally a type of metal due to the fact that the outlet will receive a lot of wear and tear while switching out the air line tubing.
Performance and Ease of Use
The great thing about aquarium air pumps is that they’re extremely easy to use. You either connect the battery clips to the appropriate battery or plug it into the wall outlet. As soon as the power hits the motor it should start spewing out air to be dissolved into the water.
Some air pumps come with knobs so that you can control the amount of air output the pump is pumping, while others will have you set a timer through a computer or similar device that applies power to the air pump in intervals as needed. It should be noted that most come fully assembled or partially assembled with easy-to-follow instructions.
Hopefully you’ve found this guide to be informative and useful in your air pump search. If you haven't found the perfect aeration solution for you, remember that each of these brands has a wide variety of affordable air pumps available for different tanks.
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