How to Quiet Aquarium Air Pumps

Air stones emit bubbles into an aquarium for water aeration.

Air stones emit bubbles into an aquarium for water aeration.

Noisy aquarium air pumps make tapping sounds on a surface, or can just be annoying. Air pump noise detracts from the solace of running water and fish swimming gently around in your aquarium. A few tips and tricks reduce the pump sounds with only a few household items.

Air Stone

Wash your hands with soap and water, rinse them and dry them thoroughly with a towel. You should always have clean and dry hands before reaching into your fish tank so you do not contaminate the water.

Grasp the air stone and lift it gently out of the aquarium. The air stone may be near the top of the tank or attached to an ornament that moves at the bottom. Air stones emit bubbles into the water.

Hold the air stone in one hand and pull the air tube off it with the other hand. The air tube leads from the air pump to the air stone.

Cut a piece of a straw about 2 to 3 inches long with scissors. Place one end of the straw into the air stone where the air tube fits. Gently blow air into the straw. If it is very hard to blow air through the stone, the stone is clogged and needs replacing.

Pump Height

Examine the height of your pump in relation to the water level of your aquarium.

Place the air pump bottom higher than the top of the water level. This prevents pump back pressure, which increases the noise of a pump.

Position the air pump on a solid surface. Hollow surfaces echo vibration sounds and increase the sound of the pump.

Air Pump Padding

Place a kitchen sponge under the air pump to absorb the vibrations of the motor. Air pumps vibrate while in operation and can make tapping noises on a hard surface.

Position your air pump inside of a sturdy box without a lid, such as a heavy cardboard box.

Set the box on a solid, thick surface to absorb sounds and keep the air pump from moving. A box keeps the air pump on a solid surface and does not allow it to fall off.

Items you will need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Air stone
  • Straw
  • Scissors
  • Box
  • Kitchen sponge


  • When air stones are clogged up, they put excess pressure on the air pump to blow harder and increase the noise level of the pump. Air stones produce airwaves to supply oxygen for fish.
  • Placement of an air pump higher than the water level prevents the pump from suctioning water through the air tubes during a power failure or mechanical failure. If this occurs, water will flow out of the aquarium and onto your aquarium stand, flooring and furniture and kill the fish inside.


  • Do not place an aquarium air pump on a stereo speaker. Speakers are designed to amplify sound and they increase the air pump noise.
  • Never place an air pump directly on an aquarium. This action transfers vibrations to the fish in the tank and can be irritating to them.

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About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

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