How to Use an Aquarium Air Pump (and Make It Quieter)
Air pumps are commonly used with aquarium filters, decorations, and many other air-driven devices, but what exactly do they do and how do you know if your fish tank needs one? We will show you how to set up an aquarium pump and explain the best times to use it.
What is an Air Pump for Fish Tanks?
An air pump, a mechanical device that pumps air into the aquarium from outside, is an electrical device. Air travels from an air pump to a fish tank decoration or device using airline tube. Once it enters the water, the air creates bubbles, which float to the surface and pop.
Water movement is created by the rising bubbles and surface agitation. Good surface agitation is key to gas exchange in an aquarium. It allows for excess carbon dioxide (a waste product of your fish) to be released into air while new oxygen from the air is dissolved into the water. This article will explain how to add an air pump and a simple airstone to your aquarium to increase the oxygen level.
Does an aquarium require an air pump? Hang-on-back and canister filter types use an electric motor for water movement and are therefore not compatible with an Air Filter. However, air-driven filtration devices – such as sponge and undergravel filters – use air to move the water and therefore require an air pump. If you’re still unsure, read the instructions to see if your equipment or decoration needs an air pump to run.
Sponge filters are made with air pumps that create bubbles in the sponge to pull water through it and remove any particles.
What is an aquarium air pump used for? Air pumps are used in conjunction with many fish tank decorations and devices, such as a:
Air stone, also known as aquarium bubbler, is a device that creates finer bubbles using an air pump. This can be used for reduced noise, better filtration (when combined with a filter), and decorative appearance.
How to Install an Aquarium Air Pump
An air pump is responsible for sucking in air from outside of the fish tank and pumping it into a submerged aquarium apparatus. A few accessories are needed to help guide the airflow in the right direction at the right pressure. To get started, most people recommend purchasing a roll of airline tubing with a check valve. Other items may be required depending on your application.
Airflow from the pump to the aquarium equipment or ornament is directed by the tube called the “Airline Tubing”. – Check valve – prevents water from getting out of the tank. Air valve – controls air flow to the aquarium. T splitter – splits one airline into two channels. Gang valve — controls air flow from an air pump to four aquarium devices. Airline holder: Uses a suction cup for holding your airline tubing in place inside or outside of the tank.
This black tube is used to direct airflow from the air pump to the sponge filter.
These are the basic instructions for installing an air pump once you have purchased the aquarium device, decoration or air pump.
1. Then place the air pump outside the aquarium. Cut the airline tubing to the right length to allow for the connection to the aquarium device. You can leave some extra space in the airline tubing for future moves of the aquarium apparatus or air pump. 2. Connect one end of the airline tubing to the aquarium device and place the device inside the fish tank. Then connect the other end of the airline tubing to the air pump. 3. This step can be skipped if the air pump is higher than the aquarium’s top. If the air pump is positioned lower than the top of the aquarium, you need a check valve to prevent water leakage through the airline tubing. Cut the airline tubing somewhere between the sponge filter and the aquarium device, and attach the check valve in between so that the end of the check valve with the flapper (typically looks like a colored or horizontal bar) is facing the air pump. You can’t turn the air pump on if the check valve is installed backwards. Instead, flip it around.
1. To prevent water from getting into the wall outlet, create a drip loop using the power cable to the air pump. Then plug the pump in. You should begin to see bubbles from your aquarium device within a few seconds.
Specific instructions for installing your air pump and aquarium device can usually be found in the user manuals, so please consult them for more details.
How can an aquarium air pump adjusted? Adjusting the airflow may be necessary if there is excessive bubbling. Many air pumps have an adjustable dial that can be used to adjust the flow. An air valve can be attached to your pump to regulate the airflow.
Should my air pump be turned off at night? To ensure that your fish have good water circulation and oxygen, it is a good idea to keep the pump on throughout the day. If you are worried about the noise caused by an air pump at night, see the section below for possible remedies.
How to Make an Aquarium Pump Quieter
If you bought an air pump from the pet store, most likely it’s a diaphragm air pump, which uses a diaphragm that rapidly vibrates back and forth to suck in air from its surroundings and then push that air into your fish tank. The vibration can become very loud over time. These solutions can make it more quiet:
To cushion vibrations, place a towel, foam block, or any other soft material underneath the air pump. The air pump and its cushion should be placed on a stable surface that will not vibrate or amplify the noise. Hang the air pump by the power cable if it isn’t too heavy so that it doesn’t touch or vibrate against anything. Clean any aquarium accessories or decorations attached to your pump. It may be clogged with debris or algae growth. – Consider replacing your air pump with a quieter, smaller one – like the USB nano air pump. If the bubbles are too loud, you can add an airstone to the aquarium. The bubbles produced by the air stone are smaller and make less noise as they pop on the surface. You can read our article to learn how to place an air stone inside a sponge filter.
The bubbling noise from a sponge or air-driven filter is significantly reduced and the filter’s efficiency increased by adding an air stone.
What Is the Best Aquarium Air Pump?
After testing dozens and dozens of air pumps over the years, we have settled on three units that have superior reliability, low noise level, and reasonable cost. Each pump is best for different applications. Choose the right one to suit your needs.
Recommended Air Pumps for Small Tanks and Fish Transportation.
USB nano air pump
The USB nano-sized air pump is suitable for small tanks and larger aquariums that require an additional air stone. It can also be used to create mini ponds outdoors (provided they are not exposed to extreme weather). The output air is slightly less than standard pumps, so it works almost silently and consumes very little electricity. It also provides slower flow for baby fish, shrimp and betta fish.
You have a lot of options when it comes powering your air pump with the USB power cord. It can be plugged into any regular outlet (adapter is included), a car that has a USB outlet, cigarette lighter adapter or a USB battery pack to provide power for short drives and power outages.
Recommended Air Pump for Large or Deep Tanks