Do Goldfish Need Air Pumps?

Well, first off, what does the air pump do?

An air pump has three main benefits.

It adds bubbles to the water which adds oxygen.

It helps to break up the surface of the water, adding even more oxygen.

An air pump also forces the water to circulate, therefore, creating even more oxygen in the water, and it helps the filter out as well.

If the water surface is not broken up enough by the filter, the carbon dioxide can increase and then your fish will start dying.

Water filters rely on the oxygen in the tank to help break down waste materials.

If you don’t have enough oxygen in the tank, bad chemicals released from the fish’s waste will accumulate and then your water will get all gross.

Adding in an air pump, is a good way to ensure that a lot of water will be breaking up the surface and that you will have adequate oxygen for both your fish and the cleaning filter. 

do goldfish need air pumps

Now, normally the water flowing from the filter would be enough, however some people just like to watch the bubbles in the tank.

For each person it’s really a different reason for having the pump.

Not all fish tanks are going to require that you add in an air pump. It will definitely depend on how you care for it.

It also depends on the size of your tank, how many gold fish you have and how often you clean it out. If you have a filter, you’re in a good starting position.

Sometimes you will need an air pump because the water surface is not being broken enough.

For that you can also check your filter and make sure it’s the right size for you tank.

If the filter is working fine, adding a small hose with a bubble wand on the end, makes for a lot of bubbles to add in oxygen.

Maybe your tank has a smaller surface area. Taller, skinnier tanks tend to need an air pump because the water surface doesn’t get broken up as much as a short, fat tank.

Adding an air pump will break the surface of the water more often and allow more oxygen to be created.

Perhaps the temperature of your water is too warm.

Cooler water contains more oxygen so if it’s too warm in your tank, adding in an air pump like the Tetra Whisper will increase the oxygen and fish will be healthier.

If you have an overabundance of fish in your tank, they will be sucking up all the oxygen so fast that there won’t be enough for all the fish.

If you only have the filter, you will want to add in an air pump to greatly increase the amount of oxygen present in the water.

Other ways to tell when you might need an air pump:

Your fish are struggling to breathe.

If their gills are moving more than normal and at a faster pace, likely they are struggling to get enough oxygen to breathe.  

Decrease in activity. If your fish are swimming like the normally do or react much slower to your presence, they need more oxygen.

Staying at the surface and constantly gasping for air.

Fish only come to the surface to get a huge gulp of oxygen on occasion.

If you see your fish and it appears to be constantly hanging out on the top and sucking air in, it’s a good bet, they can’t breathe.

Keep a good watch on the health of your fish and the cleanliness of your tank.

Your fish will thank you.

Here are two fish tank air pumps we recommend:

This Tetra Whisper AP 150 Air Pump keep your aquarium oxygen levels high, helping keep your fish healthy.

The air pump has a dome shape and rubber feet which help flatten sound wave frequencies. This makes for a quieter operating air pump.

Whisper Air Pumps can be used in deep tanks (up to 8 feet deep), and have enough strength to power long decorator air stones, multiple air stones in one or more tanks, and protein skimmers for salt water aquariums.

Every Tetra pump also comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications,Black
  • POWERFUL: Tetra brand’s most powerful line of air pumps add dramatic bubble effects to customize your aquarium.
  • DEEP-WATER CAPABILITIES: Designed for tanks with significant back pressure – pumps air down to 8 feet deep.
  • VERSATILE: One pump delivers air to all your powered accessories.
  • RELIABLE: Never buy another pump or worry about oxygen in the water.
  • LIFETIME GUARANTEE: The advanced technology and exacting quality standards of this product allow us to offer a limited lifetime warranty (see product packaging for details).

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Staying on top of an aquarium can be difficult at times.

Fortunately, the team at Tetra has worked to create items that make it less demanding.

The Whisper Aquarium pump has a one of a kind vault shape and sound hosing chambers to limit turbulence and create a smooth, calm stream of air.

The design of the Whisper Air Pump eliminates sound producing vibrations which in turn makes it a quieter pump.

Tetra Whisper Air Pump 20 To 40 Gallons, For Aquariums, Powerful Airflow, Non-UL Listed,Blue
  • POWERFUL: Tetra Whisper Air Pump provides dependable airflow to your aquarium.
  • QUIET: Patented dome shape, suspended motor and sound-dampening chambers for quiet operation.
  • PROVIDES OXYGEN AND WATER MOVEMENT: Keeps underwater pets happy.
  • AVAILABLE SIZES: Select the proper size for your tank – 10, 20 and 40-gallon pumps have single air outlets, 60 and 100-gallon pumps feature dual outlets.
  • NON-UL LISTED: Reliable performance at an economical cost.

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API