Hands up if you have a fish tank addition. It starts with one, and then another, and another until you suddenly have a room full of aquariums. This is very typical as one gets into this hobby. My advice is not to fight this urge but to plan for it. This starts from having the right accessories. In this article, we are going to look at an air pump that can service multiple aquariums.
My Choice: Tetra Deep Whisper Ap300 Review
Unlike other review sites that give you a gazillion choices (and making it confusing), I am just going to recommend the one I used and it is the tetra deep Whisper AD300. (Sorry for the bad photo. I took it long time ago using whatever crappy camera I have)
I wouldn’t say it is best of the best but with its price, I think it is pretty good value for money. Specifically, these are the reasons why I bought it and continued to use it:
- Very powerful. Powerful enough to move meaningful amounts of air across 2 feet and 4 fish tanks. That was my set up and it works pretty well. Look at the photo below to see how much air bubbles this thing can produce!
- No more noisy pumps. The AD300 is a vast improvement over the 40, 60, 100 models which can be pretty loud in comparison. It is so silent that the sound from the air bubbles can be hear more clearly. At least my wife is happy about it.
- Reasonable product life: about 2 years before you need to start replacing the rubber parts. If you know how to get them replaced, the pump will still perform great after 2 years.
(See the amount of air bubbles being pushed through in this 150 gallon tank)
However, do note this air pump don’t come with air regulator for air flow control and there is only one outlet. If you want to service multiple fish tanks, you need to purchase an additional attachment. I bought the gang valve. You can go with this or any splitter.
Another ‘down’ side is that the price is not cheap. In this case though, you pay for quality. If you run deep tanks or need multiple air flow, it will do the job for you. Other models might be cheaper but they either lack power or are noisy. You can see my recommendations for cheaper alternative later in the article.
What to look for in an air pump that can service multiple fish tanks
These are my considerations when I bought mine
- Power: Number one priority is of course the power need to power the pressure needed for multiple tanks. You also need to consider the length that the pump needs to cover. Most of the brands might not carry enough power to generate good bubbles over longer distances. No bubbles = no nice display/no airflow
- Noise Level: If you have read my reviews on the quietest air pump, you know how much I hated noise. At night, my old pumps were endlessly humming, vibrating, buzzing etc that they were driving me up the walls. I was so happy when they were replaced.
- Adjustable airflow: Very important because you never know if the air flow might be too strong for your fish tank size. Having the ability to adjust takes away this risk.
The Tetra Whisper AD300 is not quiet!
During my online travels to aquarium forums and Amazon reviews, I hear some complaints about this pump not as quiet as they thought. This contradicts my personal experience. In digging further, these reasons below might be causing the dissatisfaction:
- The positioning of the pump on a hard surface might lead to vibrating sounds as air flow is pumped through. If you rearrange the pump to avoid contact with hard surfaces, such as hanging in the air, it might reduce the noise level.
- The rubber mechanism might be faulty. If it is broken, either because of a faulty batch or during shipping, it can create a lot of noise when being used.
- They are using the wrong model! Tetra Whisper carries a few models meant to address different tank sizes. As mentioned, the 300 is much quieter when compared to the lower numbered models. The difference is quite significance. Even between the Whisper 100 vs 150, you can hear the difference in noise created. I suspect those who complaint might not be using the 150 or the 300 model.
I know some of you will not want to pay $70 (prices might change from the time of writing) so here are some cheaper alternatives:
- Top Fin 8000: For those who have multiple tanks that are smaller and uses sponge filters, you don’t need the power that the whisper AD300 can provide. Try this instead. It is 2 times cheaper, comes with 4 outlets and has enough power to create bubble in small gallon tanks. The downside is the noise. This model is not a quiet pump. If you want to buy this but worry about the noise, here are 2 tips
- Don’t let it touch any hard surface
- Put it under some foam will help
- Eco Pumps from Kensfish.com: I have not used them personally but hear good things. Similar to Top Fin 8000, it is cheap and works reasonably well with multiple small tanks. Noise is again a problem
Do not Buy
Even if you do not trust my recommendation of the best air pump for multiple tanks, at least do not buy the following.
- Top Fin Aqua Supreme 5994. Loud pump that did not carry the same level of power as the Tetra Whisper AD300. Pricey as well so I would avoid this.
Having a single pump to manage multiple aquariums can simplify the maintenance work. The downside is of course the risk. If the pump goes down, all your fish tanks will be in trouble. Having said that, if you keep a spare around or just monitors the pump regularly, there shouldn’t be any such risk.