12 Best Aquarium Pumps 2019 (Submersible and In-Line)

Best Aquarium Pump

A critical component required for the survival of every animal is oxygen. Above water, oxygen is very plentiful but for fish, turtles and other water creatures, oxygen can become very scarce without a proper water circulation system.

This is where aquarium pumps come in. Well, if you have a good filter operating a small-sized fish tank, an aquarium pump is not that necessary, unless if the pump is the one that is running the filter.

However, for big tanks that host a lot of creatures, an aquarium pump is necessary for keeping the water properly aerated. This article gives an in-depth review of the best aquarium pumps in the market so as to help you pick the most suitable one for your fish tank.

You can also read other product reviews of aquarium air pump, aquarium filter, CO2 diffuser, UV sterilizer aquarium, protein skimmer

12 Best Aquarium Pumps – Reviews

Product Name

Image

​Features/Benefits

Rating

Current Price

1. Tetra Whisper Non-UL Aquarium Pump


Tetra Whisper Non-UL Aquarium Pump

Affordable aquarium pump with an innovative dome shape design and rubber feet for canceling out vibrations

4.1

2. VicTsing 80 GPH Submersible Water Pump

VicTsing 80 GPH Submersible Water Pump

Small-sized submersible aquarium pump with an adjustable flow rate and a very quiet and energy efficient 4-watt motor.

4.2

3. Kedsum Submersible Ultra Quiet Water Pump

Kedsum Submersible Ultra Quiet Water Pump

Submersible aquarium pump with a quiet 40-watt motor that circulates the water at 550 GPH with a max lift of 5 feet for fountain creation.

4.2

4. Tiger Pumps Submersible Aquarium Pump

Tiger Pumps Submersible Aquarium Pump

Compact submersible aquarium pump with an adjustable flow rate and a durable construction that is salt and acid resistant

4.4

5. Homasy Submersible Water Pump

Homasy Submersible Water Pump

Top rated submersible aquarium pump with an energy efficient 25-watt motor that gives a max flow rate of 400 GPH and a max lift height of 6.9 feet

4.5

6. Simple Deluxe LGPUMP1056G Submersible Water Pump

Simple Deluxe LGPUMP1056G Submersible Water Pump

Powerful 1056 GPH submersible aquarium pump with a pre-filter sponge and epoxy-resin coated critical motor components for more durability

4.0

7. EcoPlus Submersible Water Pump

EcoPlus Submersible Water Pump

Versatile aquarium pump that can be used both on land and in water while being very easy to maintain

4.0

8. Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump

Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump

Expensive 300-gallon tank air pump with a powerful but silent motor that makes it capable of pumping air up to 8 feet deep.

4.3

9. Marineland Penguin Power Filter Aquarium Pump

Marineland Penguin Power Filter Aquarium Pump

Practical aquarium pump that combines the circulation function of the pump with a 3-stage filtration system for purifying the water.

4.3

10. Fluval Aquarium Air Pump

Fluval Aquarium Air Pump

Aesthetically good looking aquarium pump that is available in 2 options: a Q1 with 2 outlets and a Q2 with adjustable flow control

4.1

11. VicTsing Ultra Silent Aquarium Air Pump

VicTsing Ultra Silent Aquarium Air Pump

Small-sized aquarium pump with a multi-level muffler for quiet operations and comes with several accessories for immediate use straight out of the box

4.0

12. Vivosun Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic Systems

Vivosun Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic Systems

Heavy duty aquarium pump with an energy efficient piston pumping system and comes with an external distributor for creating multiple outlets

4.1

1. Tetra Whisper Non-UL Aquarium Pump

Tetra Whisper Non-UL Aquarium Pump

This aquarium pump is as innovatively designed as it is quiet. The innovative design is actually the biggest contributor towards the smooth and quiet running of the unit.

A dome shape keeps the pump’s housing suspended inside and this helps dampen the vibrations a lot. This is further boosted by the wideness of the dome, which spreads the vibrations across a large area, while the rubber feet help absorb them.

Inside the pump, diaphragms provide the pumping action to aerate up to a 10-gallon aquarium. Dampening chambers, as well as a thick dome wall, minimize the sound and vibrations from these diaphragms, making it one of the quietest aquarium pumps.

This is the same design that is used in the larger 20 – 40, 40 – 60 and 60 – 100-gallon tank Tetra pumps in this range. The result of this is a whisper-like noise from the pump, which is actually why they are named so.  

On the downside, the pump is rated Non-UL, which means that its circuitry is not approved by Underwriters Laboratories for safety purposes. It also does not come with the required piping for a complete installation.

However, it is the most affordable pump on this list and thus, worth the money.

Pros:

  • Unique wide dome design for dampening vibrations.
  • Rubber feet absorb vibrations.
  • Thick dome wall and dampening chambers for noise cancellation.
  • Affordable
  • Available in different sizes.

Cons:

  • Non-UL rating.
  • Does not come with the required piping

2. VicTsing 80 GPH Submersible Water Pump

VicTsing 80 GPH Submersible Water Pump

VicTsing’s unit is probably the best submersible aquarium pump for a couple of reasons. It is a very small-sized pump, which means that it occupies a very tiny space inside the fish tank.

Installing the unit is also quite easy. Being submersible, no piping is required. You only need to use its rubber suction cups to attach it easily on a suitable side wall and that’s it.

Once installed, the unit has a max flow rate of 80 GPH, which is pretty decent considering its size. This flow rate is adjustable using a very intuitive dial, with a maximum water lift of 2.6 feet from the pump outlet, making it possible to create a water fountain for better aeration.

This operation is powered by a very efficient and quiet 4-watt motor, which drives a durable, corrosion-resistant stainless steel impeller.  

The pump’s problem though is that it can clog up very quickly, but is also very easy to disassemble and clean without requiring any tools.

If you mistakenly run the product without any water load, it can get spoilt very easily. However, it is backed by a 12-month warranty and is also very affordable, which makes it very easy to replace.

Pros:

  • Easy to install.
  • Adjustable flow rate.
  • Efficient and quiet motor.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Clogs up quickly
  • Can be easily damaged when operated dry

3. Kedsum Submersible Ultra Quiet Water Pump

Kedsum Submersible Ultra Quiet Water Pump

Kedsum’s submersible pump is like a big brother to VicTsing unit above. The similarities between the two lie in the submersible construction, installation via suction cups and being easy to disassemble for cleaning purposes.

For the upgrades, this pump has a more powerful 40-watt motor, which delivers a flow rate of 550 GPH and is recommended for 130-gallon tanks.

The motor can provide a max lift of 5 feet for creating bigger water fountains. Despite being this powerful, the motor operates very silently, leaving you with a very quiet environment.

The product is available in 3 other sizes, which include a smaller 320 GPH unit and bigger 660 and 770 GPH units. These give you more options to work with for differently sized fish tanks.

However, regardless of the size, each of these does not have an adjustable flow rate. Instead, differently sized nozzles are included in the package for flow rate adjustment. Although this system works, it requires some manual work when switching between the nozzles.

Pros:

  • Easy to install using suction cups.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Fast flow rate
  • 5 feet max water lift.
  • Available in 4 sizes.

Cons:

  • Water flow rate is not adjustable
  • Consumes a lot of power

4. Tiger Pumps Submersible Aquarium Pump

Tiger Pumps Submersible Aquarium Pump

Tiger Pumps’ submersible unit is compactly designed so as to occupy the tiniest space inside your aquarium while delivering superior performance.

The pump is only 2.58 × 1.61 × 1.94 inches and very lightweight but inside it has a quiet 6-watt pump that delivers a max flow rate of 120 GPH at a max lift height of 6 feet.

This makes it possible to create a fountain or waterfall design depending on the aquarium for maximum aeration.

A rotating screen on the pump’s intake is used to adjust the flow rate while half and quarter inch nozzles control the pump’s output. It has suction cups for easy installation and a 5-foot heavy duty, waterproof cord for powering the unit underwater.

Construction wise, the product is made using next-gen acid and salt-resistant material throughout, and this makes it ideal for aquariums, fountains, ponds and hydroponics systems. Basically, the pump is very versatile in terms of its application areas.

On the downside, the pump clogs up quite easily though disassembling it is a very easy task for cleaning. You should also take care not to run it dry because it can easily burn.

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight.
  • 6-foot lift height
  • Adjustable flow rate.
  • Acid and salt resistant construction
  • Easy to disassemble for maintenance purposes

Cons:

  • Clogs up easily.
  • Gets destroyed quickly when left to run dry

5. Homasy Submersible Water Pump

Homasy Submersible Water Pump

Homasy’s submersible unit is the top-rated aquarium pump in this review because it provides a proper balance between good performance and energy efficiency.

The unit is run by an energy efficient 25-watt motor that gives a max flow rate of 400 GPH, making it ideal for mid-sized and large aquariums. Additionally, this flow rate is adjustable, giving you more flexibility over the circulation process.

With this motor, the pump can lift the water up to 6.9 feet through its 0.51 or 0.61-inch nozzles, which is pretty high and good enough for creating waterfalls or fountains.

For installation, suction cups make it possible to attach the pump onto the aquarium glass or acrylic wall while a 5.9-foot power cord gives the required allowance to sink it down up to the desired depth.

Clogging is a big issue for submersible pumps and this one is no different. However, it can be easily dismantled without using any tools and this makes it very easy to maintain.

Pros:

  • 400 GPH flow rate
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • 6.9-foot water lift
  • Easy to install using suction cups
  • Easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Requires regular cleaning due to clogging

6. Simple Deluxe LGPUMP1056G Submersible Water Pump

Simple Deluxe LGPUMP1056G Submersible Water Pump

Simple Deluxe’s submersible water pump is quite expensive but it has the features to show for it.

For starters, the unit has a pre-filter sponge that prevents large debris from getting inside and clogging the impeller. This has a huge positive impact on the life of the pump. However, it also expands the overall size of the product and thus, occupies a big space inside the tank.

On the inside is a polished aluminum oxide ceramic impeller shaft, which is 3 times as hard as stainless steel.

Crucial internal components of the motor are coated with an epoxy resin to prevent unwanted conductivity and corrosion of their metallic parts. Overall, this design, from the filter sponge to the epoxy coated components, makes this pump very durable.

The motor itself is quite powerful. It gives the pump a max flow rate of 1056 GPH and can shoot water up to 12 feet high. This makes the unit very versatile because, with such power, it can be used on hydroponic systems, fountains, and aquariums among many others.

Pros:

  • Pre-filter sponge
  • Polished aluminum oxide ceramic impeller shaft
  • Epoxy resin coated critical internal components of the motor
  • 1056 GPH flow rate
  • 12-foot water lift

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Quite big in size

7. EcoPlus Submersible Water Pump

EcoPlus Submersible Water Pump

The EcoPlus water pump was designed with two things in mind. One is versatility and two, ease of maintenance.

Versatility is incorporated in the form of being both a submersible pump as well as an in-line pump. This unit can be used both on dry land and in water and this makes it ideal for a number of projects, which include hydroponics, fountains, ponds and of course, fish tanks.

For ease of maintenance, a powerful oil-free rare earth rotor magnet is used inside the motor, and this does not require regular oiling from time to time. Additionally, a sponge filter is used to filter out large particles from penetrating and clogging the pump on the inside.

These might seem like simple features to have but they have a very big impact on the maintenance requirements of the pump.

Inside the housing, a 36-watt motor runs the water at 396 GPH and can propel the water upwards at a distance of up to 6.5 feet.

However, with this pump, the flow rate is not adjustable, though it comes with 4 differently sized outflow fittings that give a little control over the output. 

Pros:

  • Can be used as both a submersible and an in-line pump
  • Sponge filter keeps debris from going inside
  • Powerful motor.
  • 396 GPH
  • 6.5-foot water lift

Cons:

  • The flow rate is not adjustable
  • High power consumption

8. Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Application

The Tetra Whisper AP300 is the most expensive pump on this list but it is a very powerful air pump. It is available in 2 options, which include an up to 150-gallon tank pump and this one that is suitable for up to 300-gallon tanks.

This unit’s power lies in its deepwater capabilities. Being an air pump, it is designed to pump air down to depths of up to 8 feet, which means that you can comfortable aerate large, deep tanks using this.

Additionally, the unit has a powerful motor that can run up to 10 accessories (air stones) in one or more tanks at a depth of 2 feet for better and quicker aeration of the water.  

Despite having such a powerful motor, the pump operates very silently, which is actually what the Whisper in its name signifies.  

If you are worried about the cost, a limited lifetime guarantee assures you of a replacement or a repair in case of any malfunction. 

Pros:

  • Available in 2 options.
  • Designed for deep water aeration
  • Can power multiple accessories
  • Operates silently
  • Limited lifetime guarantee.

Cons:

  • Not a multi-purpose use pump. Only suitable for aquariums
  • Expensive

9. Marineland Penguin Power Filter Aquarium Pump

Marineland Penguin Power Filter Aquarium Pump

Marineland’s Penguin product is quite bulky but it is more than just a pump. It combines the pumping action with a filtration system to provide water circulation for aeration and filtration for water purification simultaneously.

This filtration system comprises of a mechanical filter for removing dirt and debris while a chemical filter containing activated carbon removes odor and discolorations.

The final step is biological filtration, which is basically a bio-wheel that supports beneficial bacteria for eliminating toxic ammonia and nitrites from the water.

With this pump, you do not need to have a separate filter for your 30 – 50-gallon tank. There are also different sizes for an up to 20-gallon tank, a 20 – 30-gallon tank, and a larger 50 – 70-gallon tank, giving you multiple options to work with.

On the downside, the unit water flow is not adjustable but this is not a big issue because a constant output works very well in filters.

Pros:

  • Gets rid of dirt and debris from the water
  • Eliminates bad odor and discolorations
  • Eliminates toxic ammonia and nitrites
  • Available in 4 different sizes

Cons:

  • Filtration system makes it a bit bulky
  • The flow rate is not adjustable

10. Fluval Aquarium Air Pump

Fluval Aquarium Air Pump

Aesthetically, this is a very good looking pump. It looks like a book with grey pages and a black cover. However, this body is not only made like this for the looks. It is a noise suppressing baffle chamber that makes the Fluval pump a very quiet unit.

Although it has only one air outlet that is capable of powering a single accessory, this Q2 has an adjustable flow rate, and this gives you more control over the aeration process.

If you prefer having more outlets, you could opt for the Q1, but this has no adjustable flow control and is ideal for smaller 45 – 80-gallon fish tanks. The Q2 is capable of handling 50 – 160-gallon aquariums but is slightly more expensive than the Q1.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically good looking
  • Operates quietly.
  • Available in 2 sizes

Cons:

  • Not a multi-purpose use pump. Only suitable for aquariums
  • Q1 has no adjustable flow control while Q2 has a single outlet

11. VicTsing Ultra Silent Aquarium Air Pump

VicTsing Ultra Silent Aquarium Air Pump

VicTsing’s aquarium pump is very silent and also very small in size. This makes it very easy to carry and very comfortable to use inside the house.

The quiet characteristic is made possible by a multi-level muffler, which reduces the pumping noise to less than 35dB. Such a noise will not even affect your sleep at all.

For outlets, this unit has two of them but without flow control adjustability. However, it comes with all the piping and 2 air stones as accessories, making it usable straight out of the box for aerating one or two aquariums simultaneously.

Although small in size, the pump is run by a relatively powerful motor that pumps in the air at the rate of 55 GPH to a maximum depth of about 2 feet and is capable of handling up to a 45-gallon tank.

An important thing to note is that the pump is not waterproof and thus, it should be carefully installed in such a way that it cannot fall inside the tank.

Pros:

  • Small in size
  • Very quiet
  • 2 outlets
  • Comes with several accessories
  • 55 GPH at a max depth of 2 feet

Cons:

  • The flow rate is not adjustable
  • Not waterproof

12. Vivosun Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic Systems

Vivosun Air Pump for Aquarium and Hydroponic Systems

From the external appearance, you can tell that this is a heavy duty pump. It is quite bulky but this size houses a piston pumping system, which is more durable and more efficient at pumping large volumes of air.

This is quite evident in its 950 GPH max flow rate while the motor that runs the system is only rated at 32 watts. However, the pump generates quite a lot of heat but this is taken care of by the aluminum construction with fins for superior heat dissipation.

The product has a single outlet but it comes with a distributor that splits the air into 6 channels, but this varies according to the pump size.

The 285 and 332 GPH options come with a 4 channel distributor, the 1110 GPH an 8 channel distributor and the 1750 GPH a 12 channel distributor to cater for the large air volume.

With this many outputs, the unit can be used to aerate multiple aquariums, hydroponics systems, and even ponds at the same time.

Pros:

  • Durable and efficient piston pumping system
  • 950 GPH flow rate
  • A durable aluminum body that is also good for heat dissipation
  • Comes with a distributor for creating multiple air channels
  • Multi-use applications

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Generates a lot of heat

How to Buy the Best Aquarium Pumps

How to Buy the Best Aquarium Pump

1. Submersible or In-Line Aquarium Pump

Air pumps aside, water pumps are available in two types.

Submersible pumps: These are installed inside the water. They are usually very quiet because apart from having their own silencing technology, the water greatly helps in dampening the noise and vibrations. However, they occupy space inside the tank and might be a bother to the fish if they are very big.

Because of this, they are usually small in size, which makes them only ideal for small tanks.

In-Line pumps: In-line pumps are installed outside the tank. They do not interfere with fish’s space and thus, are very friendly to them. In-line pumps are therefore the ideal choice for bigger tanks because they can have a large body to accommodate more pumping power mechanisms inside.

However, with this size, they are usually noisier and more expensive than their submersible counterparts.

2. Aquarium Size

A critical factor to consider before buying any aquarium pump is the compatible aquarium size. All units are rated for a certain aquarium size in which they can provide efficient oxygenation.

For instance, if you own a 70-gallon aquarium, a pump that is rated for a 50 – 100-gallon tank will do.  

3. Flow Rate

The flow rate is important to consider because, for air pumps, it shows you the amount of air that you can pump into the water for oxygenation per time. For water pumps, the flow rate shows you the amount of water that you can turn over when oxygenating the water.

Generally, if you have more animals in your tank, you will need a faster flow rate (measured in GPH) so that the water can be sufficiently revitalized to handle the many creatures.

A slow flow rate will only work if you have fewer animals because they require less oxygen from the water.

4. Ease of Use

An aquarium pump’s ease of use can be considered in terms of 2 things. First, is the ease of installation. Generally, pumps with suction cups are very easy to install.

Although in-line pumps with rubber feet can also be considered as easy to install, they can move around a bit due to the motor’s vibrations, which means that they might require fastening to a rigid ground or body.

However, with suction cups, once pressed in, the pump can stick on walls of smooth surfaces, including aquarium walls very easily.

Second is the ease of maintenance. Air pumps general require little or no maintenance at all and thus, are the easiest to maintain.

With water pumps, ensure that they can be easily assembled and disassembled as well as cleaned without requiring any tools if you want to have an easy time maintaining it.

FAQs

1. Do I really need the aquarium pump?

An aquarium pump is not really necessary if you have a small tank and a filter to clean it. While purifying the water, this filter also circulates the water for aeration purposes. However, if your filter requires an external pump to run it, you will need one for this purpose.

The only instance in which an aquarium pump is necessary is if you own a large aquarium. Due to the large volume of water and possibly a large quantity of fish, a filter will not be enough to aerate the water. You will need to have one or more water or air pumps to help with oxygenation.   

2. What size do I need?

This depends on the size of your aquarium. Aquarium pumps are usually rated by tank size and you should check this property before buying to ensure that it is compatible with your tank.

3. How loud is an aquarium pump?

This depends on the technology used to silence the pump. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The lower it is, the quieter the pump.

4. How do I clean my aquarium pump?

For air pumps, cleaning is not really necessary. However, for water pumps, clogging is inevitable. In such times,

  • Unplug the pump from the power outlet.
  • Disassemble the pump.
  • Clean the intake manifold and impeller from any debris.
  • Reassemble the pump.
  • Install it either as a submersible or in-line pump and plug it in.

Conclusion

As you can see, aquarium pumps are very important components for keeping your fish healthy. Although not necessary in some instances, they can be used to make the aquarium look lively due to the bubbling effect.

With this in mind, this article will give you a better understanding of how these products work and consequently help you pick the best aquarium pump for your fish tank.