Some of my friends have bought an aquarium because having one in the home is supposed to enhance relaxation and help give you a good night’s sleep. But many have told me this isn’t really the case. That’s because when you finally get to bed, you’ll hear the annoying sound coming from your water pump for
I used to have this problem and my wife would complain every night about the noise. So that’s when I made the decision to find the quietest aquarium water pump I could possible get.
If you are looking for a more advanced setup check out my return pumps guide.
What Is a Water Pump and Why Do I Need One?
It’s not as if I can just get rid of the water pump altogether. It’s an integral part of the aquarium setup, and you’ll likely need one for one of your filtration systems. Its job, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is to pump water so that the water can move from one place to another. Either you’ll need the water pump to push the water in your filtration system, or you’ll need it to move the water back to the aquarium after it has been cleaned.
It can also be used to push water into other sorts of devices. These may include your wave makers, protein skimmers, or UV sterilizers. You can use it to create currents in your aquarium. And of course, it’s very handy when you need to fill or drain your fish tank.
So since it’s a pump that pushes water, it has a component that’s almost guaranteed to make noise. Yep, it has a motor. And we know that a motor will vibrate.
But you have to live with it because of the benefits it offers. If your filter needs it, then without it you end up with a dirty tank and dead fish. You have all sorts of devices that run need it too. And the current it creates can make your plants sway gently, creating a hypnotic effect. Its ability to drain and fill your tank with water also helps you with your regular water change, which you’ll need to do if you want to keep your water clean and your fish healthy.
Where to Place It?
You have two main options. One is you get an aquarium submersible water pump which you can then place in the tank and under the tank water. This minimizes your space requirements and you won’t need to drill holes in the tank. These things are actually much easier to install.
Many experts say that this is your best aquarium water pump choice if minimizing noise levels is a priority. After all, your pump is underneath all that water. On the other hand, it’ll take up space in the tank, and its motor can also affect the temperature of the water by making it warmer.
Or you can use an in-line pump, which you place outside the aquarium. You’ll have to keep this completely dry because usually they’re not designed to be placed under the water. You’ll also need inlet and outlet hoses through which the water will travel to and fro. If you don’t have predesigned holes in your aquarium, you’ll have to do some drilling.
Since it’s an external device, it won’t use up space in your tank, which is crucial if it’s not all that big to begin with. And they also don’t affect the temperature of the water. However, they’re noisier, and you’ll also need some additional space besides the space your aquarium occupies.
What Size Do I Need?
First you have to find out the GPH rate (gallons per hour) you need. This is dependent mainly on the size of the tank. The generally recommended rate is 4x your volume, so if you have a 55-gallon tank you need about 220 gph.
However, you may need a higher rate if you have large fish or if you have a reef tank. And you may want to lessen the flow rate if you have live pants or very small fish.
Then you may also need to note the head height. This is the distance between your water pump and the highest point the water will be pumped to.
Since we’re mostly concerned about performance and noise, gph and motor noise will be the main considerations.
Water Pumps Reviews
So now that we know why we need a water pump, let’s pick one that’s not so darn noisy. And that means mainly going with the submersible model. And here are some choices.
This is a versatile pump that can be used in-line. But since our point is to find a quiet one, we can use it as a submersible.
We have lots of GPH models to choose from, ranging from 75 gph up to 7400 gph. If you’re a beginner, then the 39 gph model should suffice, as it can work for a tank up to 99 gallons in size.
This comes with a 36W motor, and it measures 8.6 x 5.7 x 4 inches with a weight of 2 pounds. Its power cord is 69 inches long, so you have that distance limit to a power outlet.
It also includes various fittings you can screw on the pump, which you can then use to accommodate tubing of various diameters.
- It’s extremely quiet.
- It’s very reliable, with some users reporting that it’s been used for years.
- There may be some complications when you use it in-line.
This is another submersible pump, but it’s a small one. It only measures (H) 3.3" x (W) 1.8" x (D) 2.6”. And it hardly weighs anything.
Yet despite its tiny stature, it still delivers an impressive flow rate of 158 gph.
That “600” in the name refers to liters (it’s made in Germany, where they use metric) so that’s 158 gallons.
- Its small size means that you can easily hide it, so it won’t distract from the beauty of your aquarium. It also means more space inside the tank for other items.
- It’s quiet too, unsurprisingly.
- Its German-made, so you can rely on its reliability.
- You even get a 3-year warranty.
- You can also adjust the water flow if you have a smaller tank.
- It does have some exposed steel parts, which may not be the best idea for saltwater use. On the other hand, the Eheim website insists that it’s also suitable for saltwater.
Once again we have a tiny pump at 2.2 x 1.8 x 2 inches at 9.1 ounces in weight.
This is meant for nano tanks or even medium-sized aquariums, as it offers a flow rate of 130 gph. But that’s adjustable.
- Again, it’s small so it doesn’t take up space and you can easily hide it.
- The flow rate is adjustable.
- It works for both fresh and salt water.
- It’s designed to make very little noise.
- Some people have trouble with the setup and attachments.
This one is a bigger model at 6.2 x 4.4 x 6.5 inches, with an adjustable flow rate from 317 to 608 gph.
That’s enough for a 152-gallon tank.
- For its size (meaning, don’t compare it to the smaller units), it’s quiet.
- The flow rate is good for larger tanks.
- It even looks great, and that’s good because it’s difficult to hide it.
- You know how some motors need a break-in period? This one does, too, and it’s this that has caused a lot of noise complaints from users. You’ll need a few weeks for it to quiet down, although you may think that it’s only because you got used to the hum.
This one has an 8W motor, but that’s enough for a 158 gph flow rate. That’s enough for a 40-gallon tank.
It’s also a bit small, and it only weighs 13.6 ounces. The diameter is 5/8".
- It’s very quiet.
- The installation is somewhat easy.
- The flow rate supposed to be adjustable, but this can stand some improvement.
I’d pick the EcoPlus because if your priority is to eliminate the noise it’ll have to be submerged in water. And that means any issues with in-line use aren’t really a problem for me. But these issues can be easily resolved with some tenacity and experience, and that will make it more useful for ponds and fountains.
Anyway, it’s not just quiet. It’s also extremely reliable, so it doesn’t add to my maintenance chores. You also have a lot of
And I’m not the only one who likes this water pump either. It has a solid rating on Amazon, which means many aquarists consider it the best aquarium water pump available today.