We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Best Aquarium Pumps for a Clean Tank

  1. AquaMiracle Submersible Aquarium Pump
  2. FREESEA Submersible Aquarium Pump
  3. VIVOSUN Submersible Aquarium Pump
  4. Tetra Whisper Aquarium Pump
  5. Buyer's Guide

Aquarium pumps are a must for almost all fish tank owners. They help keep your tank clean by pumping water through the tank's filter. Not all aquarium pumps are created equal; you’ll need to select the right one for your needs primarily based on the size of your tank. Here's a list of the best aquarium pumps in 2022 for you to choose from.

Detailing the Best Aquarium Pump of 2022

AquaMiracle Submersible Aquarium Pump - Top Pick

This high-performance water pump is easy to install and maintain. It is ideal for use on a wide range of water features such as fountains, ponds, hydroponics, and more. It's an energy-efficient pump and thanks to its epoxy-sealed motor, you don't have to worry about water leaking into the motor. You can completely rely on these aquarium pumps by AquaMiracle since they've been well-tested vigorously to withstand underwater elements seamlessly! You have multiple pumps to choose from depending on the amount of GPH (Gallons Per Hour) your tank needs.

FREESEA Submersible Aquarium Pump - Runner Up

If you've got a small-to-medium sized aquarium, this is the pump you need to go for! It'll not only look good but it'll also be possible for you to cover it with cool plants! It doesn't make much noise so that's a benefit if you're getting it for your office or home! It comes with an adjustable flow rate to customize the amount of GPH. You can mount the suction cups and two nozzles directly onto a glass surface so you have flexibility on where you want your pump to be placed.

VIVOSUN Submersible Aquarium Pump - Honorable Mention

If you're looking for an energy efficient solution as your aquarium pump, this is a customizable, durable, and reliable choice! The VIVOSUN Pump has an adjustable flow rate up to 800GPH as well as 3 nozzles fit for different types of tanks. Unfortunately, the green color is the only option, so if you wanted an all-black pump, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Tetra Whisper Aquarium Pump - Contender

This aquarium pump comes with excellent airflow, is quiet, and easy to use. Moreover, it has this patented dome shape that makes it look really cool! It comes with sound dampening chambers so the operation is quite smooth and quiet. It is bound to serve as a great addition for your small, medium, or large aquarium.

Buyer's Guide

Why do you need an aquarium pump?

Halt for a minute, and think about how you are surviving in this world. You’re a human, and you require oxygen to stay alive like any other living being.

Fortunately, you’re also a mammal with those big lungs to gulp oxygen from the air and fulfill your necessities. Well, fish don’t tend to be that lucky.

Unlike mammals, fish are a group of animals who survive in aquatic conditions. They have gills to filter oxygen from the water and survive.

In natural water bodies, there is a huge surface area available. Oxygen can easily diffuse into the water and enable fish to lead a healthy life. You cannot say the same for aquariums, especially the ones housing lots of fish.

The oxygen in aquarium water gets used up quickly. Installing an air pump ensures the fish have a constant supply available for survival.

Apart from this, it is also essential to place a water pump in your aquarium. This particular pump circulates and filters the water, making the quality better.

Types of an aquarium pump

Aquarium pumps come in a diversity of types. Some brands have even introduced hybrid variants by mixing different types. Fundamentally, there are only two types of aquarium pumps.

Water Pumps

These pumps filter, circulate and regulate the flow of water. Hence, fish have a better and healthy environment for survival.

Generally, water pumps are quite powerful. The smallest of water pumps can generate a good flow rate in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium water pumps have further sub-types, which include:

-Submersible water pump

The submersible water pump encloses the motor, mechanical parts, and all other electrical controls within one frame. It does not need any other separately attached component to function.

Since it remains submerged in water, the unit focuses on pumping only. As a result, the performance is efficient.

The installation is pretty simple too. Find a suitable position inside the tank, place, activate, and that's it.

Also, the pump produces minimal noise. However, it may transfer the generated heat to the water. You can place a cooler to resolve this issue.

-In-line water pump

Unlike submersible ones, the in-line water pumps are present outside the water. It is not a standalone unit and requires several other attached parts to function. So, installing it might take some time too.

These pumps are capable of handling great water quantities. Plus, since they're outside, they do not heat the fish water. You don't need to invest in a water cooler.

Air Pumps

An aquarium air pump's core function is to suck the air from the atmosphere and push it into the water in bubbles. These bubbles release oxygen and help the fishes breathe. People also use air pumps to power sponge filters, airstones, and decorations.

It is a mechanical unit powered by a battery in most cases. Thus, it sits outside the tank. You need to connect several parts to make the unit work, which may require professional assistance.

Features to choose the Best aquarium pump

In the market, you will come across a plethora of aquarium pumps. And each one of them features a unique set of pros and cons. So, how to choose the best aquarium pump?

Well, it is fairly simple if you know about the factors to consider. These factors will help you evaluate the worth of an aquarium pump according to your specific needs.

Below, we have compiled and explained them for your assistance. We hope it helps!


The size of an aquarium pump should be according to the tank. Calculate the tank dimensions and choose one that fits the best. In the case of air pumps, consider the things that the pump will power and their size.

Will it be pushing air stones and decorations too? Are these items large?

Purchase a larger air pump than required if the answer to these questions is a yes.


Usage All aquarium pumps require some power source to operate. These pumps will either have batteries or a connection to an electrical outlet. Hence, you will have to pay for the consumption at the end of the month.

If you've budget restraints, then do examine the energy usage of the selected aquarium pump. You will find it expressed in wattage in the product details.

Filtration & Flow Rate

From canister to sponge filters - there are numerous pump filtration options available for aquariums. Choose one that performs efficiently in your particular tank of water. Usually, people opt for a sponge filter due to its large surface area and low prices.

In aquarium water pumps, you also need to consider the flow rate. It refers to how speedily water circulates in the water tank. Typically, freshwater fish prefer less flow rate, and saltwater fish prefer a higher.

How much does an aquarium pump cost?

The cost of an aquarium pump depends on the features and brand. Generally, a feature-rich aquarium pump from a reputable seller will come at a higher price. It means you can get a quality pump in the range of $50 to $200.

However, sometimes, new manufacturers sell quality products at entry-level rates too. It is to promote their items and make a name in the market. You may find amazing aquarium pumps that cost as low as $7!

Best Aquarium Pump FAQS

Where does the air pump go in a fish tank?

Essentially, the air pump stays outside the fish tank. You need to place it on a flat, stable surface. Also, make sure there is sufficient space available to adjust the wires and power outlets.

How long do aquarium pumps last?

Typically, a quality aquarium pump lasts anywhere from 10 to 15-years. However, exposure to saltwater can decrease its lifespan significantly. For longevity, maintain the pump regularly and invest in durable products only.

Are a filter and a pump the same thing?

No, the filter and pump are two entirely different things.

A filter is a layer of material that pushes the fish water through itself. In this process, it holds back larger, harmful substances and lets the water pass. Hence, it eliminates germs and makes water quality better.

Comparatively, an aquarium pump either pumps air or water into the fish tank. So, you can use it to either aerate water or ensure circulation. Both of these help maintain standard circumstances for fish survival.

In most cases, a filter is present in an aquarium pump. You can opt for these to avoid separate purchases and installation.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top