Aquarium Air Pump: Everything You Have to Know

aquarium air pump

If you love fish and are considering either getting a new, or first aquarium, it’s important you research first. Having a fish and an aquarium can be a very expensive investment if you want to maximize your tank to its very best. One of the most crucial parts of your tank is the aquarium air pump.

Before you go out and buy just any air pump, you’ll want to learn a few things about types, and set up information. To help you out, we’ve gleaned some information for providing your fish with the right kind of air pump, and how best to set them up.

Types of Aquarium Air Pumps

It’s important to have an aquarium air pump for your fish tank. These pumps help to push water into or pull it from the filtration systems. These pumps work by utilizing the pressure differences that exist between the intake and outgoing valves.

There are several different pump types:

  • Submersible pumps
  • External pumps
  • Power filter pumps
  • Aeration-powered pumps
  • Submersible Pumps

Submersible pumps are a type of pump that gets placed inside the aquarium itself. These pumps are driven by magnets, and despite their small size can be very efficient and effective.

  • External Pumps

External pumps are a type of pump that is placed on the outside of the aquarium. There are three main types of external pumps you will come across:

  • Centrifugal
  • Diaphragm
  • Peristaltic

1. Centrifugal External Pumps

Centrifugal pumps are a magnet driven pump. The pump utilizes a spinning impeller to draw water in from the outside of the housing and through a tube.

These types of pumps can draw large volumes of water through the filtration system in a short amount of time and tend to be used on tanks around 55 gallons and upward.

2. Diaphragm External Pumps

Diaphragm pumps don’t pump a steady stream of water. Instead, they bring in water in pulses. The motor in the pump will open and close, and this forces water to go in and out of a chamber.

3. Peristaltic External Pumps

Peristaltic pumps use a novel approach to pumping water. These pumps have rollers positioned along a flexible water tube. The rollers will move and glide over the tube and push the water in the direction the roller is going.

Generally speaking, diaphragm and peristaltic pumps are the kinds used by those with more experience at crafting the ideal aquarium. These two pumps are great at being able to deliver very specific water quality levels, while the centrifugal pumps are less complicated and easier to manage for rookies.

  • Power Filter Pumps

Power filters are another type of pump that is driven by magnets. These pumps get attached to filters and act together as a single unit.

The magnets in this pump are attached to the impeller in the filter and another magnet is attached to the motor. When the motor starts to spin it will cause the impeller to spin as well. This spinning will push water through a tube either away from or towards the filter itself.

  • Aeration Pumps

Aeration pumps use the effect of air-on-water that is already in a tube. When the air gets pumped into a tube that has water in it, the stream of bubbles will pull the water along with it in an upward motion.

This method is used for both bringing water to be filtered and returned back to the tank itself. This is a rather common and inexpensive filer that is great for smaller aquarium ranging up to 20 gallons.

How to Set up a Fresh Water Aquarium

Setting up a fresh water aquarium for the first time can be intimidating. But we’ve pulled together some information for you as you get started with your new aquarium.

  • Choose the right aquarium for your needs. This requires both some forethought and research. Think about what kind of fish you want, and how many fish you’ll keep. It’s important to remember that different types of fish need different amounts of room. You’ll generally be looking at aquariums between ten and fifty-five gallons.
  • If you have an aquarium that holds twenty gallons or more, you will need to purchase an aquarium stand. Double check to make sure you are purchasing a stand designed for the tank you are buying. Specifically, make sure the stand is designed for the weight of your aquarium once filled.
  • Next, you’ll need to make sure you have a space in your home where it will fit comfortably. It is important for your fishes’ health that you put the tank in a place where the temperature will remain consistent, and the light will not be overpowering.
  • Research and determine what fish would be appropriate for the tank arrangement you plan to set up. If you will be getting more than one type of fish, make sure that the different species are capable of coexisting.
  • Now, you’ll need to determine what kind of filtration system your aquarium needs. There are a ton of choices, and the important thing is not to get overwhelmed by choices. The filters suggested for beginners are power filters or an under-gravel filter.
  • Next, choose your air pump. You can use the information provided above to determine which pump is most appropriate for your aquarium.
  • Before you put in gravel, pump, filter, and all of the other supplies, you’ll want to check for leaks. Fill the tank with around two inches of water and wait for half an hour. If there does not appear to be any leakage, go ahead and feel the tank about 1/3 of the way and make sure the aquarium holds. Once you’re sure there are no leaks, drain the aquarium and continue on.
  • When you go to install the filter and pump, make sure to follow all the instructions included with these items. If you need additional help with your specific model of filter or pump, there are numerous Youtube videos you can look up as a reference for the proper way to install them.
  • Next, you’ll want to add an appropriate amount of gravel to the bottom of your aquarium. Two to three inches of gravel is usually recommended to help keep the fish tank going well. Before adding the gravel make sure it gets thoroughly washed – without soap.
  • Now, add your plants and decorations. Make sure the plants you get can go along with the fish you are wanting to have in the tank. Make sure you finalize the arrangement of your aquarium before you add the fish, to avoid disturbing the fish.
  • After any last adjustment to your aquarium’s decorations, go ahead and fill the tank with water. Make sure you leave a gap of about one inch from the top of the tank.
  • Now it is time to start the filter. Put water into the filter until the reservoir is filled, and then plug it in. After a few minutes, there should be a smooth and quite flow of water. After an hour or two check and make sure the temperature is remaining in a safe range and that the water is circulating with no issue and that there are no leaks.
  • If you are adding a heater to your tank, install it on the inside of your tank. It should be able to attach via the use of suction cups. Make sure that you place the heater as close to the mouth of the filter as possible so that the water that’s expelled will be heated. Then the warm water will circulate around the tank. Make sure you do not turn it on until the tank is completely filled with water.
  • Make sure that you add dechlorinator to your tank. Your average tap water will have chlorine and other harmful chemicals that will make your fish sick or even kill them. To make sure your fish are safe, it’s crucial to add a neutralizer to your tank, as per the included instructions.
  • For the maximum health of your fish, it’s highly recommended that you do a fishless cycle of your tank. This involves allowing the water to cycle for a few weeks so that the bacteria in the tank can grow on the rocks. During this several-week process, it’s important to monitor the various chemical levels. Once the chemical levels are safe, you’re ready for the next step.
  • Now, it’s time to purchase and introduce your fish. Instead of introducing all your fish at once, though, do so gradually. Start with the smallest fishes, adding four at a time every two weeks. Make sure the largest fishes are added last.

Setting Up Your Aquarium

For the healthiest, best aquarium, you’ll need the right air pump, filter, and other supplies. You should do a fair amount of research to determine each type of supply you need.

We’ve provided the basics so that you can choose the right pump, as well as the overview of setting up an aquarium. But don’t forget to make sure you know which kind of filter, what size tank, and which plants are right for your choice of fish.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here