Which aquarium air pump should I get?
You can see our full lineup of air pump equipment and accessories, but 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 suited for different types of applications, so choose the right one that fits your needs:
Recommended Air Pump for Small Tanks, Fish Transportation, and Power Outages
USB nano air pump
The USB nano air pump is well-suited for nano tanks, larger aquariums that need an extra air stone, and even outdoor mini ponds (if protected from extreme weather). Because the air output is slightly lower than your standard air pump, it operates almost silently, uses very little electricity, and provides slower flow for betta fish, shrimp, and baby fish.
The USB power cord gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to powering the air pump. You can plug it into a regular wall outlet (adapter included with the product), a car with a USB outlet or cigarette lighter adapter, or a USB battery pack for surviving power outages and short drives.
Recommended Air Pump for Large or Deep Tanks
Aquatop AP-50 and AP-100 air pumps
If you need a little more pressure to provide air to deep tanks, try the Aquatop air pumps. The AP-50 has one outlet for air and is rated for 20- to 50-gallon aquariums, whereas the AP-100 has two outlets for air and is rated for 50- to 100-gallon aquariums. Both models have an adjustable air flow dial to provide the right amount of bubbles for your aquarium. As with most air pumps, they plug directly into the wall outlet and therefore are not as portable as the USB nano air pump. Also, because of the greater air output, the Aquatop pumps are louder than the USB air pump.
Recommended Air Pump for Multiple Tanks
Medo LA-45 linear piston air pump
If you have dozens of fish tanks in your care, you may not want to buy an individual air pump for every aquarium. The Medo LA-45 linear piston air pump is what we personally use in our retail fish store and personal fish rooms to run a central air loop system that feeds into each of our fish tanks. Rather than operating on traditional diaphragm technology, it uses pistons (like in a car engine) to pump 47 liters of air per minute, resulting in a quieter, more reliable machine. This pump handles roughly 47 fish tanks (depending on the size of each tank) and can be easily used in conjunction with another linear piston air pump to boost the output of your air loop system as needed.
For more information, make sure to read our full article on How to Use an Aquarium Air Pump (and Make It Quieter).