Aquarium air pump vs water pump

Air Pump Aquarium

Consider having a conversation about flow at Everything Aquatic forum:

For additional information about why to use sponge filtration please see our Sponge Filtration Article (“Sponge Filtration Information”)

For pump Specifications to help match a pump to your needs:

For high quality sponge filters please see;

For a good power head please see

For air pumps please see

Additional video for Power Head Compressions. Flow Demo


JesusReallyDoesLoveYou dot com says:

Thanks, Devon, good info!

1033141 says:

can you send me those two to holland?

Dennis Younger says:

you talk too fast otherwise good vid


thanks for this one! I’m using both systems in my Oscar tank and Fantails tank…a bestof two worlds.

poh mao sheng says:

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?

kazuma koi says:

would you prefer the air pump over the water pump for GreenSpottedPuffers?

Weslin Camden says:

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?

Xerjay Pevida says:

thanks for this i use those two powerhead and air pump for my 600 gallon tank!!!!

Siddhun Karthik says:

Ok, Thank you.

Paul Abordo says:

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

Unpwnable says:

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.

Linda D says:

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?

strawberryyogurt0 says:

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.

canibalcabageyes says:

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 ?

HumansAreTheEnd says:

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..

Helen Slawsky says:

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

An͋gȅlos͍ says:

water pump!!!

American Aquarium says:

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

Joseph Karthic says:

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?

Anthony Francisco says:

What does turning over your aquarium mean?

Head3000 says:

Good explanation

Mickey Mouse says:

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

AquaLady 420 says:

Simple and sweet! Love it!

deanmark montinola says:

Sir it is ok to use only filter that dont have air pump in pond???

Siddhun Karthik says:

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?

PunkSkaful says:

I heard that a biotope tank requires faster flow of water, because these river has rapid flow of water

Shadman Wahied says:

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.


Chris Nunya says:

Cute voice Devin 😉

American Aquarium says:

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

dan lee says:

what use more power? power head or sponge filter?

Kenney says:

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. 🙂

Travis Scoble says:

with the air filter where is your bio media?


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

James Feenan says:

just subbed, great info and something i didn’t know looking forward to more of your videos

Nathan Venkat says:

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

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