Quietest Aquarium Air Pumps 2020: Reviews and Buying Guide
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“Live and let live.” This is a code that I live by.
My code extends to non-humans as well. Be it my pet dogs or fishes in the nice big aquarium I have in my living room, I strive to make life a bit better for them each day.
That’s why I’m a vocal advocate of installing air pumps in aquariums.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Quietest Aquarium Air Pumps
For those of you who don’t know, air pumps are devices that create a water current in fish tanks and oxygenate the water by infusing air particles in the process.
This helps fishes by mitigating their oxygen demands. Some air pumps even run additional devices like under-gravel filters and decorative objects.
But, there’s a problem.
As these machines run on motors, these can be noisy at times. Add to that the casing which vibrates constantly creating an engine-like sound.
To solve this problem and to keep our fish buddies in a healthy environment, let’s discuss some of the quietest aquarium air pumps with sound masking technology.
In this article, I’ll be reviewing the top 5 contenders and telling you why I chose them in the first place. Take the maintenance tips at the end as a bonus. Let’s dive in!
Benefits of Owning a Quiet Air Pump for Your Aquarium
If you are looking for a quiet place for your fishes and want to preserve the tranquility of your house, getting a silent aquarium air pump will help.
Besides this obvious perk, I advise people to get these devices for two more reasons.
Firstly, these pumps oxygenate the water in your fish tank. Meaning, they pump air and oxygen into the tank. It helps the fishes to breathe normally by removing the CO2.
When putting more fish in a confined space, you’d have to worry about oxygen reserves.
With these devices, new oxygen molecules inhibit the water. So, no worries there.
Secondly, the pumps help a great deal in creating an artificial water current by moving the water around. This prevents stagnation.
How to Choose the Perfect Machine for the Job?
This is easier said than done. For a hobbyist, scouring through hundreds of machines with the hopes of finding a perfect one is like swimming in a haystack for a needle (you get the point, don’t you).
Take my advice and buy a device that satisfies the following parameters.
Choose a Robust Model
People will say, “These things are cheap by nature.” We can afford to take the damage and buy a new one.”
Yet, secretly, we all want our devices to keep working for us for three to five years. That’s why we need a sturdy air pump by our sides.
The benefit of choosing a robust build is that the machine will not vibrate violently when running at full capacity.
For example, pumps from Hygger have rubber columns and a steel casing that support the core motor.
Thus, it doesn’t get damaged by shocks and vibrations.
Check The Size of Your Fish Tank/Aquarium
The product you choose should be able to perfectly aerate the fish tank.
That’s why the best practice is to look at your tank size and then go for a device that circulates air inside the tank to good effect.
The makers usually mention the capacity of each product on the packaging.
Take note of the capacity. This is of utmost importance. If the pump is too small for the tank, it won’t circulate air to key parts of the aquarium and cause problems.
Purchase one too big and you’ll risk unnecessary vibrations, loud sound, and of course; electricity bills.
Are You Running Additional Items Using the Device or Not?
Depending on the answer, the quality and the size of the device will change.
For example, people can connect filters with an air pump. I for one am a big fan of decorative objects.
I just connect them with my air pump to alter the look of my aquarium every now and then.
These additional objects require more power consumption.
Obviously, the pump needs to be bigger than usual to help to accommodate a powerful motor.
But if people pair just the one device or none with the machine, cheaper products with smaller sizes will do. It is also more energy saving.
The Noise Factor
This is the most important aspect when one’s trying to make his/her room as much noiseless as possible.
Always make sure to look at the packaging or manual to see how much noise the air pump makes. For me, 30 – 35 dB is extremely quiet and just over 40 dB is acceptable.
The best quiet aquarium air pumps have powerful mufflers and baffle chambers at work.
Protective casings are also employed to negate vibrations.
If possible, go for a pump that utilizes magnetic bearings like Mylivell or Hygger (more on these later). These things minimize friction and noise in the process.
If you still think the sound is too much to bear, you can always choose to take DIY measures that’ll dampen the noise.
Click here for an infographic of the different noise levels in comparison.
What’s the Power Source of the Device Going to Be?
If you look closely, you’ll notice that these machines receive power from different sources. There are devices that run on AC power.
Cheaper ones rely on batteries. High-end air pumps are compatible with both the variants.
In my experience, smaller fish tanks can be oxygenated by battery powered air pumps. Larger ones require one with AC compatibility.
There are machines that run on Piezoelectric System. These devices require low power and save you precious electricity bills.
You may have to loosen up your wallet a bit if you choose to buy such machines.
Sorting through hundreds of machines and narrowing down on top 5 quietest air pumps is difficult.
Very difficult. I had to put in a lot of hours into this. Finally, I’ve come up with some of the best in the business.
So, here’s the list for my readers.
Quietest Aquarium Air Pumps 2020
Active Aqua Air Pump comes in four different sizes. People can choose the ideal size according to the demands of their aquarium.
The variants and not super costly at all. You can get these machines at a price under $100.
This Active Aqua air pump is a lifesaver as it requires only 6 watts of electricity to run itself. If you are on a quest to establish an energy efficient home, this product from Hydrofarm is the one to get for your fish colony.
Don’t worry about the consistency of the air flow rate. There’s a special rubber diaphragm inside. It pumps air out through the outlets at a constant rate.
Want to regulate the flow rate? You can with this adjustable air flow! Just use the pressure dial on top. It’s easy to operate using fingers.
So, how good is it at its job? Very.
While testing, I put the Active Aqua air pump in an aquarium of sluggish fishes. The fish tank was covered with three feet of water inside. I could still see bubbles form on the surface.
The speed with which the air was pumping impressed me to no end.
I know it’s quiet. But is it silent enough to let people go about their daily business without a hitch?
Yes, this little pump makes 45 decibels of noise when it’s at its peak. This is well below the level of human conversation’s sound of 60 decibels.
Wondering how an air pump manages that feat? It’s by virtue of several internal mufflers that dampen the noise.
People who are interested in coupling this thing with a filter should use a T-Valve for that. This is a device that is at its best while staying outside of the aquarium.
If the climate of yours is wet or too humid, put a cloth over the device to protect it from environmental forces.
This means the machine is able to run on extremely low power output. This little wonder requires 1.8W of power to function properly.
Mylivell air pump has a ceramic plate. A lack of a motor and shaft gives it a compact shape.
Complicated motors and EMIs contribute to shortened service lives of a number of devices. This aquarium air pump is different. It’s lightweight and this thing lasts long.
Wondering just how quiet it is?
Having no motor allows Mylivell to be noiseless to the extreme level. This thing generates noise below 33 decibels.
People will have the services of a superior air stone as a part of this machine. This efficient airstone can work with fish tanks up to 13 gallons of capacity.
How’d we know the stone is working? By seeing the spread of bubbles on the top. It’s perfect for fishes and betta shrimps out there.
Working with this pump is very easy. The first step is to connect the air tube with the air stone.
There’s an outlet at the side of Mylivell pump. You’ll do well to connect the outlet with one end of the tube. The next thing to do is to attach a sucker at the opposite side of the pump.
I attached this pump on the back wall of my aquarium. But hey, this thing is not water resistant or waterproof. So, let it come into contact with water.
The last thing to do is to connect this with an electric socket for power.
Just a word of caution: Don’t get hyper when it stops working. Patiently check the air tubes for clogging issues and dirt.
Regular maintenance is a thing you can’t ignore with these machines at any cost.
Anybody can get the quietest aquarium air pump for small-sized fish tanks or aquariums.
But what about the big boys?
Which product can ensure a good air circulation inside a huge aquarium?
Well, say hello to Fluval Q1 air pump.
This little device is pretty handy when it comes to taking care of big aquariums.
How big? Fluval Q1 is a good way to supply air into 80 gallons of water.
People who have larger aquariums should try Fluval Q2 that grants air flow into 50 – 160 gallons of water.
This little pump is based on a diaphragm-style design. The entire pump moves slowly like a diaphragm of our body while it pumps out air.
This pump is also energy saving. I like the motion as there’s hardly any wasted movement or energy from Fluval Q1.
Another aspect my readers would find interesting is the “Swing Arm” design. This is where the motor gets its power from.
People will immediately notice the double-wall construction as well. It grants your air pump some much-needed longevity.
One other thing the double-wall construction is good for is the noise suppression. The two walls hardly let any noise of the motor escape.
Then, you have the baffle chamber. This chamber muffs the sound. One could still hear it from 10 feet away but it’s not as noisy as Whisper 60 or Whisper 100.
One can use standard air tubes with this thing. People will be happy to know that this machine runs at 3.4 psi of pressure.
Also, it’s water resistant. If you want, you can put this inside your aquarium waters.
I like how it creates water currents besides pumping the oxygen in the water. This is one of the benefits I looked for in my machines.
People have the services of two outlets as a part of this device to get the air inside their fishing tanks.
Plus, it has two outlets that help driving more air than a conventional pump. I’m not complaining!
The great thing about hygger is that you get a pump that has magnetic bearings. These things have little to no contact with the moving rotor inside.
The result? Low friction and better service life with the high-speed air circulation we all want.
When I say, “This machine is quiet,” I mean ultra-quiet. The magnetic bearings contribute to reducing vibrations while running the motor. The entire thing is put in a stainless steel casing that reduces noise.
You can depend on the rubber columns (4 in number) the makers used to support the casing of the motor. It further dampens the noise.
Don’t get tired, there’s more!
You have rubber feet at the bottom that are shockproof. Yes, even shaking won’t cause this thing to make huge noises.
In the end, you’ll hear sound at a scale of below 35 decibels. So, yes, hygger has put a quiet aquarium air pump for users to get.
Believe me or not, this thing can pump out 250GPH worth of air or 16 liters per minute. This is what I mean when I say hygger air pump is a high output machine.
This little beast can pump out air to an aquarium having up to 600 gallons of water.
It’s safe to say that the makers intended this machine to suffice for commercial fish tanks as well.
This is not too good at holding water back. I suggest you guys put it above your tanks. If you decide to keep it at the bottom, make sure to use a check valve on in the tubes.
It prevents water from getting in when there’s no power.
Also, please soak the air stones into the water for 10 minutes. This will allow the device to efficiently create bubbles when moving water and oxygenating it.
In my experience, it’s best for fish tanks with a water depth of 4 inches.
Any more and you’ll find the performance dwindling from a mark. At its very best this thing can circulate 275 cubic inches of air per minute.
Have a fish tank of guppies and goldfishes? Use this thing for oxygenating the air. You won’t regret it.
Believe it or not, this little thing has 2 outlets. If you think 275 cubic feet of air movement is too little, this increases the air flow.
With 2.0 PSI of pressure and some big air stones, Supreme Air Pump is stable when at work. This thing consumes 3.5 watts of electricity.
I must say, this is one of the entry-level air pumps this brand has to offer. Yet, this model works like a charm. You’ll find it easy to operate.
All one needs are a T-tube, few air stones, and a power outlet. One can regulate the air flow rate too! This is thanks to a dial on top, making it an adjustable flow.
Wondering how quiet this machine can be? According to one of my friends, this little device generates noises closer to 31 decibels when measured. This is very quiet according to my standards.
In fact, it’s less than half of the sound our microwave ovens make.
Just a tip: If you want to reduce the noise level further, make sure to put it under the fish tank within a basket.
Seal the opening of the basket with a tight lid. Voila! You have your own makeshift noise suppressor for the device.
How to Keep These Air Pumps Running for Years?
It’s easy to spend some money on these small machines, put them inside our fish tanks, and forget about them.
We don’t look back at them until they are done and dusted AKA damaged. Then, people buy a new one right away.
However, proper maintenance can save us some extra bucks. Here are my short tips on using such tools.
On the Quietest Aquarium Air Pumps
Many would argue that a machine pumping air is something like an add-on to your fish tank. I beg to differ.
To me, it’s a necessity. Air pumping devices create a flow of water and keep our fish buddies from suffocating. The effects are evident in a mid to large-size tank.
These are cheap and effective ways to keep the fishes playful and healthy all the time.
If you ask me which is the quietest aquarium air pump out there, I’d say it’s a tie between Mylivell and Hygger. Fluval Q1 came close but these two products swept me off my feet with the price vs. performance ratio.