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How To Choose Air Pump For Aquarium

By John DoeLast update: 2023-02-25

An air pump for aquariums is an electric device with the function of bringing air into the aquarium and they can be used to control air-operated devices such as air stones, bubble decorations and foam filters. sea.

An air pump is placed inside the aquarium that supplies air through a long tube called an air duct. Therefore, most air pumps are impervious to water and be careful not to get them wet. Besides, some air pumps are very suitable for saltwater and freshwater environments. In general, the operation of the air pump is quite simple, consisting of only a magnet that turns on and off. After the magnetic pad turns on and off, it pulls the lever down. Next the levers move and pump a diaphragm, drawing air in and pushing air out of the pump.

Moreover, the power supply of the air pump has become a popular aquarium accessory. If you want to create small bubbles inside the aquarium or design a stone into the air pump, filter the water. Install a sponge filter or gravel filter on the air pump if you want a clean water environment.

On the other hand, there are a number of other air-powered aquarium equipment including balloon decorations and protein separators. However, to better understand the air pump for aquariums, please continue reading the article below.

1. Some basic types of air pump for aquarium

1.1 Plug-in air pump

Plug-in air pumps are one of the most popular as they require little work like plugging it into the power strip, then turning on the power and it will continuously pump air into the aquarium. However, plug-in air pumps do not have an on and off button but when connected directly to your outlet they will work until unplugged.

1.2 Battery operated air pump

Almost all types of pumps are small in size and operate mainly on batteries, although the batteries need to be replaced when they run out, but this is their advantage to be able to move and not need to be plugged in. Also you can find an air pump as it is a safety precaution in case of power failure. The main advantage of this type is that it is suitable for use when transporting fish, backing up energy in case of power failure. However, the downside is that there is significant noise. Besides, it also provides you with a D-size battery pack to power most battery-powered air pumps.

1.3 Battery backup air pump

These are the most expensive and can save your aquarium. The combination of the above two air pumps are combined into a single unit. But for this type, you just need to plug this air pump in, the machine runs continuously until the power goes out. When that happens, the machine automatically switches to battery power.

1.4 Diaphragm

An air pump that moves by vibrating a diaphragm at a high frequency. The diaphragm is made of a flexible material such as rubber, which can expand and contract to cause pumping action. Often in diaphragm pumps, a magnetic material is attached to the diaphragm, which is then moved by an induction coil. The induction coil generates an oscillating magnetic field with a frequency of 60 HZ, known as the frequency of the electrical grids in the Americas and Europe of 50 HZ. These oscillating magnetic fields will cause the material to push the diaphragm in and out on its own.

In the process of rising, the diaphragm pulls the air in and opens a valve through a small filtered inlet on the pump body. During the descent, the diaphragm will help push the air out of the outlet port right into the air passage. This process requires very few moving parts.

1.5 Piston

They often have complicated mechanical construction, but they can produce air with higher capacity. They work similarly to an automobile's internal combustion engine in that a piston moves up and down in a closed cylinder to create pressure. If in the upward direction, air is brought in from the medium through a valve. Next, the pistons are directed down to close the intake valve and compress the air in the chamber. Finally, the outlet valves are opened and the high-pressure air is exited from the cylinder. The main advantage of the machine is that it can run at very high power. In addition, they can bring air deeper into the water because they produce higher pressure air than diaphragm pumps. As they tend to be more durable than diaphragm pumps, they are used in commercial applications.

2. Checking an air pump for aquarium

To understand the exact noise level of each pump, we will first use specialized testing equipment. It is a sound meter and it is understood that the higher the reading, the louder the air pump.

Usually the decibel meter is a sensitive device and easily picks up any noise in the room. If we want to reduce the noise, we test it at night with certain results. We choose an empty room and put the pump in it, then we can measure 30 - 130 dB. So any background noise should not affect this result. This test is based on our taking 6 inches from each air pump. In addition, to avoid external influences, the meter is left in the air.

Next step, we will test the power of each air pump. Generally, each amount of air the pump produces is measured in gallons per hour (GPH). Air pumps typically list sizes in one of two ways:

Watts: tank size (in gallons), but the results above do not give a realistic measure of how much air the pump produces at different depths. In this way, we switched to the solution of self-drilling holes in a piece of sewer pipe at three different heights of 10 inches,

20 inches, 30 inches. Continue running rows of unequal length into each hole. These pipes are placed submerged in the water tank, 1 inch from the water line. Next I need to put a water bottle filled with water on top of the pipe. Every time the air pump is connected, the bubbles flow up the pipe and into the bottle, pushing the water out. This we looked at for a long time to test each air pump sucking out a liter of water from the bottle. Finally, the flow rate is calculated in liters per minute (LPM), and converted to gallons per hour. Any air pump with an air knob is set to allow maximum air flow.

3. Dimensions of the air pump for aquarium

Before choosing the right air pump size, it is necessary to rely on the current aquarium size to choose the size of the air pump. Almost, it all depends on back pressure. The deeper the aquarium, the more pressure the air pump needs to overcome, which will severely limit the amount of air the pump can deliver. for the tank.

Often a small air pump can blow lots of air bubbles in a 10-inch-deep tank and create ripples in a 30-inch-deep aquarium. Therefore, choosing the right sized air pump makes all the difference as to whether the compressed air filter or sponge is working correctly. On the other hand, if you use an air pump that is too small for the depth of the tank, the inner diaphragm will quickly tear. In general, brands base on the right aquarium size for it, in gallons. The air pump is suitable for aquariums up to 40 gallons, however it still cannot guarantee the generation of enough air to power the unit, especially if the aquarium is connecting multiple devices.

4. Airstone of air pump for aquarium

To increase aeration gently and with moderate flow, you need the following amount of air per ice:

Small aquarium (<15 gallon): 10 - 20 GPH

All other aquariums: 20 - 30 GPH

5. Sponge filter for air pump

A lower number equals the amount of air required for the sponge filter to work effectively. However, for larger math operations you should be concerned with a higher number as this will maximize aquarium water flow, resulting in stronger filtration.

Single sponge filter: 8 - 14 GPH

Two-arm sponge filter: 15 - 22 GPH

If you just want bubbles for decoration you can get out with less airflow and 30% air level is a steady number for you. Because it always has air lost at the connection points of the valve and the runway. Thus 30% will solve the best amount of air loss.

6. Noise of air pump for aquarium

There are several air pumps on the market that will make noise, and if you're concerned about noise, look for a model that features noise reduction. But periodic equipment maintenance also needs to be taken care of.

Occasionally there will be pumice stones and other accessories at the end of the air pump that are dirty or covered with dirt, which will make the air pump difficult to run and make a lot of noise. You need periodic cleaning to ensure durability and long-term use.

7. Compatibility with aquarium

Air pumps often help circulate oxygen and remove unnecessary gas from the aquarium water. If the air pump is too small, it will not function properly. Make sure that the air pump you are buying is compatible with the size of the tank and other accessories such as air stones or sponge filters.

8. Power of air pump for aquarium

In general, air pumps are powered by plugging in, but some machines will run on batteries. Therefore, you need to pay attention and equip an additional backup power source for the air pump if there is a power failure.

9. Filtration air pump for aquarium

Under-layer filters or sponge filters rely solely on an air pump to provide pumping power to them. They mostly rely on the Venturi effect to circulate the water throughout the aquarium. The water is then pulled through the gravel or porous material by the force of the rising air bubbles. These types of filters are useful in situations where a powerful water propeller-powered filter cannot be used. This has happened in spawning tanks where small fish can be sucked into the propeller filter, including adult fish that are difficult to swim so it is advisable to choose a tank habitat with a pump driven filter. gas.

10. Aesthetics of air pump

It's common for people to add an air pump to the aquarium to add a bit of visual appeal to the fish's environment. Creating a bubble wall or column of bubbles can add dramatic effects to the interior of the aquarium. These effects will propagate to the room in which the tank is placed by creating a shimmering light show or creating a new sensation in the viewer.

11. Ornaments of air pump for aquarium

A few aquarium decorations rely on air to power the action. Some decorations like the old pirate treasure chest will open when there is enough air under the lid below and this is a decoration everyone is familiar with. Besides, there are many modern decorations such as underwater lights which are controlled indirectly by the aquarium air pump. Most of these decorations use the force of air to power small motors that can run low-power LEDs. These lights can then shine through the air bubbles, creating a very dramatic effect, especially at night when the main lights are turned off.


An air pump for the aquarium will provide the friendly environment to bring the air into the aquarium in person, but also be used to control air-powered devices such as air stones, bubble decorations and sponge filters. Otherwise, investing in a modern air pump gives you many new things.

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