A silently working air pump is- every aquarium owner’s dream! But alas, do they really exist? Well, a completely quiet air pump may be scarce, but tolerable noisemakers are available. After all, a continuous RRRRRRRRRRR sound is so dull and sometimes annoying.
I can reveal some tricks to make your air pump more soundless, and believe me, they are pretty handy. All you need to do is, invest some more money, but don’t worry; not too much. ‘How to make aquarium air pump quieter’ – let’s explore the solutions.
Why Does An Air Pump Make Noise?
It is somewhat unavoidable! Aquarium air pumps will make monotonous noise with a continuous air supply. But if you understand the primary reasons why an aquarium air pump makes noise, you can take inhibitory actions to minimize it.
The Fast Moving Diaphragm
The air pump has fast-moving internal parts. When power is on, a rubber diaphragm moves in and out very quickly to pump out air through airlines. The moving parts cause vibration and noise due to friction. If the rubber diaphragm’s smooth surface becomes rough over time, the pump begins to be noisier.
Vibration On A Hard Surface
Wherever you let the air pump sit, it will vibrate on the facet, and if the surface is hard, it creates noise. The pump can make more or less sound depending on the surface’s nature. If you keep the pump on a noisemaker like metals, it will start ringing the bell whenever you power it up.
The Bubbling Noise
It happens with big pumps with strong airflow as they create lots of giant bubbles. Bubbles make noise when they pop at the surface. A bubbling sound might not be that unpleasant if you hear for a short duration but very tiresome with a long, non-stop buzzing.
How to Quiet Aquarium Air Pumps
I will suggest a series of tips to make your air pump quieter. You will get a better result if you follow them sequentially. The initial four steps should be enough to combat obnoxious noise. If not, I have more remedies in later sections.
1) Place The Pump Above The Water Surface
Place the pump somewhere higher than the water surface level. In this position, the pump will utilize gravity head benefit and need less force to pump out air (resulting in low vibration.) The right placement will give the air pump less stress due to reduced back pressure, so your pump works silently.
If you place the pump above the water level, it works quietly, and at the same time, there is no chance of accidental water backflow to the pump.
2) Lift The Air Outlet (Airstone/Decor) Up
If you place the airline endpoints at the bottom of the tank, the pump will have to work against more pressure. As water pressure is higher at more depth. You can raise the airstone (or the air supplying decor, whatever you have) and position it near the water surface to reduce pump noise.
The philosophy is the same as described in the previous point. The reduced back pressure will give less vibration, hence the sound.
3) Put The Pump On A Sponge Padding
The vibrating pump makes noise with the surface where it sits. You can effortlessly solve this problem with some household items. Place a towel, block of sponge, foam, or other soft materials under the pump to cushion its vibration.
Additionally, ensure the pump sits firmly in the cushion and the whole arrangement rests on a solid surface.
4) Use Airstones To Produce Smaller Bubbles
To prevent bubble popping noise, you can use airstones. If the pump is strong enough to produce too many giant bubbles continuously, the bubbling sound becomes irritating.
An airstone makes smaller bubbles that do not make much sound when popping at the surface. Still, you cannot entirely avoid the bubbling sound.
Is Your Aquarium Air Pump Still Noisy?
Probably your pump is suffering from a problematic diaphragm or clogged outlets. In both cases, the pump will induce increased vibration, hence higher noise. However, let’s have a check on those points and get solutions.
1) Clean the Air Outlet Device (Decor Or Airstone)
Check the air outlet device, the airstone, or any other decor, whatever you use. If it is clogged, airflow restriction will impose extra load on the pump, enhancing its noise.
The inspection process is straightforward. Pull off the airline from the pump outlet and take the airstone/decor out of the water. Now you need to clean the open end of the air tube thoroughly and gently blow air into it. If it is hard to blow air through the pipe, the holes at the end are indeed blocked. Perhaps you need a thorough cleaning.
2) Fill Any Unused Air Outlets
Air pumps with multiple outlets would create noise if any of the holes left unused. So, utilize all the outlets or fill the spare ones. The fix is simple, just cut a short tube and attach it to the unutilized outlets. In this way, you will be able to make the pump quieter.
3) Replace the Air Pump with A Quieter One
If the diaphragm is faulty, no outside remedy can lessen internal noise. The rapidly pumping diaphragm moves in and out a million times per day and naturally loses its smoothness.
Only internal parts replacement for such a small pump is not feasible. So, the ultimate solution is to get a new pump with a good reputation for quality and quietness.
4) Hang the Pump Up
If your pump is not so big and weighty, you can use this technique. Hang it by the power cord or tying it with a rope. A hanging pump does not touch or vibrate against anything, so it will not make noise.
Additional Tips to Get Rid of Noisy Air Pumps
Follow these tips during buying time, and there is a big chance that you will not have to search for a solution later.
Do Not Buy A Cheap Pump
A learned person stated an excellent piece of advice “you buy cheap, you buy twice.” Compromising with the quality for cost is never a good idea. A cheap aquarium pump could become noisy after running a short time. So, invest money to buy the right quality pump, and be picky.
Buy A Pump with Adequate Capacity
Never buy an undersized pump. Instead, the bigger is always better. A bit of excess oxygen will do no harm to your aquarium unless it breaches the safe oxygen limit, and you can still bleed off any unused air. But an undersized pump runs out of its capacity and makes noises of stress.
Do Not Place the Aquarium in A Small Living Room
Even a decent noisemaker aquarium pump might sound very annoying in a small room, especially in the sleeping nighttime when the whole world remains quiet. So, my suggestion is not to place the aquarium in your living room. Especially if the room is small and you are sensitive to sound.
Noisy Aquarium Air Pump FIX – A Video Tutorial
An astonishing study by FishLab shows that the tolerance of aquarium pump sound is solely a subjective matter. The same pump that one person considers quiet might be an annoying noisemaker to another person.
The same study reveals an irregular clattering maker is often considered more irritating than a consistent hum. Even the hum makers were actually louder according to sound meters.
So, it is actually challenging to suggest a particular pump suitable for an individual in terms of quietness. The most silent air pump could be intolerable for many people, especially during sleeping time, and if they keep it in the bedroom.
In a general agreement, any pump producing more than 45 dB is undoubtedly annoying to all. So, try to keep your pump’s sound below this benchmark.
Hopefully, this article helped you to fulfill your intent. I would be glad to hear if you have anything about this topic to share. Please feel free to put a comment below. Happy fishkeeping.