Best Aquarium Pump – Top 5 Reviews, Guide, Tests, FAQs, More

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You’ll agree with us when we say that there’s not a lot of content out there to properly research what aquarium pump would be most suitable for your aquarium. 

That’s why we decided to thoroughly test out popular aquarium pumps and bring you this article to help you out in your search. 

Today, we’ll discuss what an aquarium pump can do for you and what you should look for in an aquarium pump in order to get the most value out of it. 

Top Pick

This product takes up minimal space and is built to last as well. It can be used in many kinds of aquariums and you will also find that it operates extremely silently too.

Runner Up

This product can be used on dry land or can be completely submerged. It’s incredibly sturdy and has a powerful built-in motor that makes it very versatile.

Also Great

The ability to be easily disassemblable makes this product very easy to maintain. It comes in many different sizes and it uses minimal power during operation.

After a lot of speculation, we decided on these three as the most effective aquarium pumps out of all the ones we tested. 

Now, let’s take a detailed look into the top 5 best aquarium pumps. 

Best Aquarium Pump - Best 5 Reviews

1. All-Around Best Aquarium Pump - Tiger Pumps Submersible Water Pump Review

This incredible product is something that was the biggest surprise for all of us throughout this product-testing process. It came from a company we’d never heard and it blew us all away with its performance. It performs much more effectively and consistently than aquarium pumps from far more reputable brands. 

Its body is extremely sturdy and you can really tell a lot of thought was put into its design since it’s extremely easy to handle and set up. You’ll also have no trouble cleaning it since it’s very easy to disassemble. 

Features of Tiger Pumps Submersible Water Pump – Best Aquarium Pump

  1. Dimensions: 2.6 inches by 1.6 inches by 1.9 inches
  2. Weight: 12.6 ounces
  3. Adjustable flow rate
  4. Maximum flow rate of 120 gallons per hour
  5. 6-feet long power cord
  • Extremely quiet
  • Durable
  • Comes with a money-back guarantee and a 12-month warranty
  • Incredibly compact
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Not suitable for larger aquariums

If you want an aquarium pump with solid and consistent performance then this is the product for you. It’s extremely easy to install and works like a charm for a very long time.

2. Best High-Capacity Aquarium Pump - EcoPlus Submersible/Inline Water Pump Review

Aquarists who buy aquarium pumps often run into the trouble of not being able to find tubing that is compatible with the aquarium pump. That is where this product excels. It’s suitable for many different kinds of fittings so you’ll easily be able to find some tubing that can fit it properly. 

Another great thing about this aquarium pump is that it’s up to you whether you want it outside your tank or if you want it submerged inside it. It’s ingeniously designed so that you can put it both inside or outside your aquarium.

Features of EcoPlus Submersible/Inline Water Pump

  1. Comes in many sizes 
  2. Flow rates of different sizes ranging from 75 GPH to 7400 GPH
  3. Two variations: one with adjustable flow rate and one with fixed flow rate
  4. Inlet and outlet fittings included
  5. 5.75-feet long power cord
  • Number of different fittings for different kinds of tubings
  • Highly durable
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Comes in a large variety of sizes
  • Can be used as an external or submersible pump
  • Uses more electricity than most of its competitors

If you’re worried about compatibility issues with your aquarium pump then this is the product you’re looking for. It’s incredibly well-made and will provide you with all the things you need to effectively aerate your aquarium.

3. Best Silent Aquarium Pump - KEDSUM Submersible Water Pump Review

This lovely piece of equipment was a breath of fresh air for us. We’d been going through a run of very loud aquarium pumps and then this product came in with its quiet operation which was very pleasant. 

Its submersible nature makes it great for dampening the sound and the vibrations it makes inside the water are extremely minimal which your fish won’t even notice. Unlike most submersible aquarium pumps, this product is specifically designed so that it does not make your aquarium temperature rise in the slightest.

Features of KEDSUM Submersible Water Pump

  1. Comes in five different sizes
  2. Flow rates ranging from 170 GPH to 770 GPH 
  3. 3 different-sized outlet adapters
  4. Fully waterproof
  5. Maximum lift height: 6 feet
  • Very quiet
  • Small in size
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Easy to clean
  • Low power consumption
  • Tends to clog relatively easily

If you’re worried about your aquarium pump being too loud or stressful for your fish, then this product is perfect for you. It’s very easy to mount onto your aquarium and it won’t disturb you or your fish during operation.

4. Best Aquarium Pump with Smart-Control - FREESEA Submersible Water Pump Review

A lot of submersible aquarium pumps become easily damaged if they are accidentally run dry or without adequate water inside them. This can usually lead to the motor inside them burning out and them becoming irreparable. This product avoids that through a feature known as smart-control. This feature essentially detects when the motor is getting too hot and automatically shuts the aquarium pump down. 

It’s incredibly durable and with this convenient feature, you can rest assured that this aquarium pump will be operating effectively in your tank or pond for a very long time.

Features of FREESEA Submersible Water Pump

  1. Comes in five different sizes
  2. 100% submersible
  3. Flow rates ranging from 160 GPH to 1100 GPH
  4. Energy-saving design
  5. 5.9-feet long power cord
  • Large range of flow rates
  • Comes with a 12-month warranty
  • Easy installation
  • Low electricity consumption
  • Easy to maintain
  • Quite heavy and bulky

If you’re concerned about your submersible aquarium pump becoming damaged due to dry-running then this product is ideal for you. It’s very easy to mount and circulates water very consistently.

5. Best Affordable Aquarium Pump - Uniclife Submersible/Inline Water Pump Review

Aquarium pumps are often just a dream for some aquarists due to their high price tag; That’s where this product comes in. Its reasonable price makes it easily available to many fishkeepers and although it has a cheap price, there’s nothing cheap about its performance or build quality. 

It can go head-to-head with most of the other entries on this list and in addition to being affordable, it’s also very easy to set up and has user-friendly controls. This makes it the aquarium pump of choice for novice fishkeepers.

Features of Uniclife Submersible/Inline Water Pump

  1. Available in two sizes
  2. Available in flow rates of 400 GPH and 800 GPH
  3. Comes with a 6-feet long power cord
  4. Comes with two types of tubing
  5. Adjustable water flow rate
  • Shock-proof
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Extremely silent
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Budget-friendly
  • Requires more maintenance than its competitors
  • Can burn out if accidentally run dry

If you’re low on cash but still want effective water circulation in your aquarium then this is the product you’re looking for. It’s very well-made and offers consistent performance with an easy setup process.

best aquarium pump

Buyers’ Guide

What is an aquarium pump and how does it work? 

Most aquariums these days have an aquarium pump that they are utilizing. An aquarium pump is a piece of equipment that helps keep the water circulating throughout your aquarium so there’s a constant movement inside it and as a result, the water stays well-aerated and oxygenated. 

What are the different types of aquarium pumps?

There are mainly three different types of aquarium pumps. These types are: 

  • Inline Water Pump 

Inline water pumps are great since they are located on the outside of your aquarium. Most water pumps have a tendency to get a little heated so you won’t have to worry about this aquarium pump heating up your aquarium since it’ll be outside. Inline water pumps can generally move a lot more water compared to other types of water pumps but they are also comparatively louder.

  • Submersible Water Pump 

As the name suggests, this type of water pump is placed underneath the water of your aquarium. It’s often utilized in the sump of a wet or dry filter. Since it is underwater, it tends to make a lot less noise and a submersible water pump is usually a lot simpler to install onto your aquarium as well. However, a submersible water pump can definitely raise your aquarium’s temperature sometimes so you may have to account for that by investing in a chiller or something similar. 

  • Air Pump

An air pump works by forcing air from the atmosphere into your tank. It’s a basic setup that a lot of beginner fishkeepers tend to use. Bubbles are created inside your aquarium as a result of this type of aquarium pump and it’s a great way to keep your aquarium oxygenated. Air pumps are usually much smaller in size and cheaper. 

How can I judge which aquarium pump is most suitable for me? 

There are a number of aspects you can look towards that can help you decide what aquarium pump would be most suitable for you and your aquarium. Some of these aspects are: 

  • Flow Rate

Flow rate is the most important aspect that you should consider as it’s going to depend highly on what your aquarium’s size is. If your aquarium pump’s flow rate is too high, it will create currents that are too chaotic inside your aquarium; if it’s too low, you’ll find your water to be a lot less adequately aerated. 

A good rule of thumb is to have an aquarium pump that circulates 4 times your aquarium volume per hour. For example, if you have a 10-gallon tank then you should get an aquarium pump that has a flow rate of around 40 gallons per hour. 

  • How Much Space You Have

Larger aquarium pumps tend to take up a lot of space and along with space, they also require all sorts of tubing and pipes. Keeping this in mind, you should think about how big the aquarium pump you intend on buying is and whether you have enough space in your tank to accommodate it. 

How do I install my aquarium pump?

The installation process varies widely depending on what type of aquarium pump you have. In-line aquarium pumps need to have their tubing first fitted into your aquarium before they can be powered on. For an in-line aquarium pump, we recommend you first read the manual and see what type of modifications are required to your tank to properly accommodate the tubing. Once those modifications are done, assemble your aquarium pump, attach the tubing to it, ensure everything is correctly connected and turn it on. 

For a submersible aquarium pump, you need to fully submerge it in water. No part of it should be above water as this can cause it to overheat. Its setup process is quite similar to that of an in-line aquarium pump except you have to ensure it’s completely underwater and also keep an eye on your aquarium’s temperature once it starts operating. 

How do I maintain and clean my aquarium pump?

You should maintain your tank by performing thorough cleanings twice a week and the sponge present inside the aquarium pump should be replaced every 1 – 2 months. 

Removing all the gunk, debris, waste and food from the inside of an aquarium pump can be quite a difficult task. We highly recommend that you turn off your aquarium pump during feeding as this can highly mitigate the amount of food that gets sucked into it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where should I place my aquarium pump in my tank? 

As we’ve discussed above, the placement of your aquarium pump depends entirely on what type of aquarium pump you have. 

If you have an in-line aquarium pump, it’s placed outside your tank. A good place to hide the pump is inside your aquarium table’s cabinet.  

If it’s a submersible aquarium pump, it should be placed in a corner of your aquarium and you can definitely use ornaments, plants or other decorative objects to hide it from plain sight. 

Air pumps are usually placed underneath decorative ornaments so it looks like these ornaments are emanating bubbles. 

Does my in-line aquarium pump have to be above my tank? What happens if it isn’t?

This is not absolutely necessary but it can be a good idea to have your in-line aquarium pump at a higher position than your aquarium but not directly above it. This is because in-line aquarium pumps are not waterproof and there is a chance that they could get damaged if water from your aquarium falls on it. Thus, a great way to prevent any sort of spillage onto your in-line aquarium pump is to have it at a higher height than your aquarium. 

Can I turn off my aquarium pump at night? 

Yes. As long as your aquarium filter is running constantly, you can definitely turn off your aquarium pump at night to save up on electricity. Your aquarium filter will be able to circulate water well enough for it to be adequately aerated.

How soon can I introduce fish into my tank after installing my aquarium pump? 

If you’re just setting up your aquarium then you should definitely hold off on introducing your fish immediately after setting up your aquarium pump. You’ll need to turn all of your aquarium equipment on and let it run for a few days or weeks. This helps the growth of beneficial nitrifying bacteria inside your tank which will help in biological filtration. You can tell when your tank is ready for fish by testing it for ammonia. If the ammonia levels are zero, that means the tank is ready for fish. 

Can fish survive without an aquarium pump? 

Yes. Fish can definitely survive without an aquarium pump as long as the water is being effectively circulated. Sometimes, a powerful enough filter is adequate enough for this to be the case. You don’t need an aquarium pump in every type of aquarium but it can definitely be beneficial to have one. Larger aquariums generally require an aquarium pump a lot more than smaller aquariums since larger bodies of water need a stronger force in order to effectively circulate the water.

How can I aerate my tank in the case of a power outage or malfunction in my aquarium pump? 

A great way to keep your aquarium aerated during a power outage or malfunction is to use a large pitcher or a cup. Simply put the pitcher inside your aquarium and fill it up with the aquarium water. Lift it up adequately high and pour the water back into your aquarium. The water will pick up oxygen on its way down back into your tank, thus, aerating and oxygenating your tank. 

What should I do if my aquarium pump is too strong for my fish? 

There are a number of things you can do. 

Firstly, most aquarium pumps come with the ability to adjust the flow rate. You should check whether your aquarium pump has it or not and adjust the flow rate if it does. 

If it does not have an adjustable flow rate then you can employ some other methods to tone it down. Firstly, you should look online or from your local pet store for a flow-restrictor. This is a small piece of equipment that can be fitted onto your aquarium pump’s intake valve. You can then tighten it to restrict the flow of water as much as you want, thus, slowing down the flow rate. 

Why do my fish stay at the top water surface of my tank? 

If your fish linger at the top surface of your tank, this is a sign that your aquarium’s water is not adequately oxygenated. Your fish are coming to the surface to take in oxygen from the air. 

If you see this happening inside your tank then you should increase your aquarium pump’s flow rate if it has that option. If it does not then we suggest investing in a stronger aquarium pump.

How often does my aquarium pump need cleaning? 

This depends highly on how big your aquarium is and how much fish you have inside it but generally, you should check for whether your aquarium pump needs cleaning or not after every 3 – 4 days. 

Should I leave my fish in the tank when I clean my aquarium pump?

Again, this depends on how big your aquarium pump is and what type it is. Obviously, you won’t have to take your fish out if you have an in-line aquarium pump. If you have a submersible water pump, you’ll have to judge whether you can effectively clean it without disturbing your fish too much. If you can then that’s fine but if you feel that the experience will be too stressful for your fish, you should move them to another temporary tank during cleaning.

Final Verdict

Aquarium pumps are quickly becoming a large part of the conversation among aquarists. When it comes to providing a stable environment to your fish, it’s no longer just about filters but also about aquarium pumps.

In the end, we’ve chosen the Tiger Pumps Submersible Water Pump as the best of the bunch. It’s incredibly lightweight, easy to handle and works like a dream. 

This brings us to the end of our post for the best aquarium pumps. 

Let us know in the comments what aquarium pump you’re using.

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