Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Aquarium air pump vs water pump

Aquarium air pump vs water pump

Hey guys, Devon here from American Aquarium
Products, and we’re back with another informational video, that we feel will answer some of your
questions about air pumps, vs power head pumps. People commonly ask what is the difference
between these pumps and which is better for their set up. A good place to start is thinking about what
type of set-up you will have, and if there are any other filteration or setrilization
that will be added to the tank. Typically you would use the power head in
this case because the power head can be directly hooked up to these accesories. Another aspect when choosing between these
two pumps is water circulation and aeration. Take a look at the differences between these
two pumps. A good rule of thumb is turning over your
aquarium five to six times or even eight to ten times depending on bioload per hour. This is important to maintain a beneficial
bacteria and attaching a sponge to either of these pumps will give you maximum aerobic
filtration to determine what kind of circulation you need. Power heads give you more of a directional
flow with it’s of water movement, this flow is perfect for continuing the nitrogen cycle
and creating an environment that some fish are used to. An air pump with a sponge give you more of
a circular motion that draws water into the sponge and out the top of the lift tube this
is perfect for an overall calmer tank. There is also a lot of water surface tension
that is being broken releasing Co2 and Oxygenating the water this is a huge benefit, but can
also be a problem in tanks with plants that requre more Co2 than oxygen. We don’t see this much of a problem with the
power head but this could also be a benefit. To quickly sumarize my points both of these pumps
are a good choice and can even be used a the same time, determine the kind of water movement
you need and go from there. Simple and sweet, I hope you learned a little
bit about pumps, my name is Devon you guys have a good one.

59 comments on “Aquarium air pump vs water pump

  1. Hi Carl,
    Now a days, I see power filters come with spray bars. It is supposed to be allowed the filtered water outlet to flow from top, just above the surface of water. I was told, when this type of spray bar attached power head filters used, then the Air pump with sponge filter is not required, as the power head filter compartment has the sponge inside and the outlet water takes up the oxygen from air while flowing down on the surface. Is it right and stands true?

  2. Yes & no.
    Many power heads also supply diffusers which can also aerate.
    As well, using an air pump creates a different flow pattern than a power head or internal filter
    Finally, as per the sponge itself, now all are equal; there is a reason ATI has a patent for their sponges, these sponges can contain vastly more bacterial colonies than most other sponges, including those used by most internal filters
    See the link to "Sponge Filtration Information" in the Details section of this video

  3. Hi. i have a powerhead submersible pump which came with a air injection feature but due to me putting the pump way down it doesnt produce bubbles but instead aerate the water at the btm of the tank. what i would like to know is if there is no movement on the surface would i still get oxygen? even thought there is movement at the bottom?

  4. It is breaking surface tension that exchanges CO2 and oxygen, so you need to aim it in a way that breaks the surface tension.
    This is explained in the first article referenced in the details section of the video, please give it a read for more details

  5. what power head and sponge filter are you using at the end of the video. and can you attach a spray bar opposed to having it just flow out ?

  6. Devin, I don't think an air pump would have a negative impact on aquatic plants unless you are artificially adding CO2 to your planted tank..

  7. Watching video after video, and no one can tell me how to install the stupid thing! It didn't come with any instructions. I don't know where the tube goes, or why it's even there! I'm sure there's a simple answer, but I can't understand why just ONE person won't bother to TELL!! 

  8. I use both systems. Powerhead for daytime and sponge type for nighttime, when my oscar goes to "sleep" in one spot…

  9. Hi, need some help, i do have a 142 galons aquarium and 3 blood parrot fish, 5 catfish shark, 1chiclid and 1 garb and some plants, my problem is after a water change 3-4 days after it is murky again, what overhead specs do i need? Thanks

  10. I use a sponge filter with air pump but I still see fish poop sitting near by the sponge filter..Why is that? Do I need to increase the air flow? I have sand in my tank..Is it because of that?

  11. My favorite setup was to use the powerhead for my filter and then an air pump for a bubble wand at the back which not only oxygenated the water but also provided a nice visual effect. 🙂

  12. Hey Im new to this. I need a water pump that has a slow flow to run to my electric ionizer which takes 1/4 inch reverse osmosis tubing. do any of these pumps have the ability to run that kind of thin tubing from them? Or is there some kind of converter fitting I could use to go from this pumps standard tubing down to 1/4 inch

  13. am having flowerhorn.which is best internal filter or sponge filter or top filter or hang filter or totally confused so Pls clear ma doubt

  14. I use AquaClear50 (402) water pump , 270 gph for my 29 gallon with bottom filter plate, cycles all water 9.3 times per hour.

  15. Could the water coming down from the HOB filter count as the water pump powerhead? Since u can see it is moving the water around.

  16. I have a warmer Amazonian tank with a HOB filter ATM. I'm getting diatoms and started using primarily RO water (My tap is very hard and 8.4pH…) and they are clearing up some. I was suggested to increase flow for 1.) more oxygen 2.) More current to prevent diatoms. It seems like I would need an air pump and a powerhead to adequately meet those needs… I'm wondering which would be better in my case if I were to pick one?

  17. Can you create a video demonstrating those white diffusers (vs a traditional airstone) you guys have available on your website? I would like to see the bubble size differences and their respective effects in conjunction with ATI sponge filters. (note: I recently bought the II and III ATI sponge filter from your website, and am currently using a Petco black airstone in both, but am considering using the air diffuser). Plus, how durable (i.e. lifespan) are these air diffusers. I noticed that it's cheaper going through ebay for the $8.99/10 pack with free shipping, but you guys have it priced at $0.99 cents for 2 diffusers through the website, but unfortunately shipping cost through the website completely offsets or makes the diffuser too expensive via your website.

  18. Is there anyway to reduce air flow on an air pump that is running into a sponge filter? i have a betta fish rn in my 10 gallon tank (looks exactly like the one on the video) and i feel as though it is stressing the fish out because of more surface movement.


  19. Hi american aquarium i want to know if I want to use either on my crab tank. which one do you think I should us?

  20. Air pumps are way too noisy as hell and not necessary but cheaper specially if you are using a sponge filter. If you are using a water pump for your water filter, just allow the water to splash down to agitate the water and cause bubbles in the water. If you are using a hang-on back filter, the surface agitation is sufficient enough. If your using over the top filter, just remove the nose to get higher elevation hence better water agitation. Use common sense for other kinds of water filter.

  21. Powered filters are cheaper than air unless you are running multiple tanks from the 1 pump. The best filtration for fry or small fish in my opinion is a HOB or canister with sponge over the intake. I use both and love it but internal filters can be great unfortunately they are just too ugly and intrusive for my liking.

  22. So, you get more oxygen with the one that causes more bubbles, than with out the bubbles? Sorry, I'm new to all this, just trying to figure out which is best

  23. I'm looking a way to turn an air pump with a stone, I want to remove the stone, and make water flows (like in a river). How to put the tubes to do that?

  24. Powerhead is useful in both ways, can aerate water by connecting spray bars while the other end on filtration space

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