Best Aquarium Air Pumps for Discus Fish

Best Aquarium Air Pump for Discus fish – The Complete Guide

Water circulation in your Discus fish tank is very important. The main purpose for the water circulation in the fish tank is to enable the Discus fish has enough supply of oxygen. There are two ways one can ensure water circulation in a fish tank, namely; by use of power heads and by use of air pumps. The best aquarium air pump tend to be a little more pricey but worth the money.


A powerhead is a water pump that is submersible and its main purpose is to ensure there is water circulation in the fish tank. The powerheads are normally attached to the “lift tubes” associated with under gravel filters. They usually pull the water in the fish tank through the lift tubes. The outlet of the powerhead can be directed anywhere as long as the water circulates well throughout the fish tank as well as the surface is always stirred. Powerheads normally tend to be used more than air pumps in larger fish tanks.

Air pumps

An air pump is a device that is responsible for bubbling air through your fish tank. It serves two main purposes:

i. The air pump maintains the oxygen concentration. This is a critical role which is necessary for Discus fish in the fish tank. If however your fish tank has regular water movement on its surface agitation when an air pump isn’t fitted then you can do without it. An example of this situation is when external filters are fitted in the fish tank.
ii. The air pump forces water through the filter in the fish tank. If you have fitted your fish tank with an under gravel filter then an air pump produces bubbles that will force the water into the uplift tubes. This will in turn leads to pulling of the water through the filter. This however functions when you have a small fish tank; otherwise you will need a powerhead in case of a larger fish tank.

Choosing the best aquarium air pump for your Discus fish tank depends on what you need an air pump for. As discussed above, there are situations when you don’t need an air pump in your fish tank. Below are factors to consider when deciding on the best air pump:

1. Decoration or oxygenation
A medium-pressure air pump, such as the Whisper Air Pump, and an air-stone or bubble wand, will help you add a decorative bubble backdrop in your Discus fish tank and then at the same time helps you remove unwanted gases in the fish tank. More so, the surface movement or water agitation caused by the air bubbles caused by the air pump also adds oxygen to your Discus fish tank. In order to obtain the best results, always go for an air pump that is rated one tank size larger than your Discus fish tank.

2. Under-gravel filters.
When you have fitted your fish tank with under-gravel filters, there are air pumps with medium to high pressure that are designed to work at a substantial depth which you can buy. This means therefore that the kind of filter you have fitted in your fish tank determines the air pump that is best for you.

3. Foam and corner filters or “action” ornaments
When you have form and corner filters as well as some ornaments fitted in your Discus fish tank then you need a small, low-pressure air pump. An example of such a pump is Azoo model 2500.

4. Wood air-stones
If your air pump is fitted with wood air-stones which are more often used with protein skimmers, then you require a high-pressure air pump. Examples of such air pumps are Tetratec Air Pumps and Lift Pump.

My recommendations for the best aquarium air pump:

1. Penn Plax Air Pod with Battery Back Up – this is my personal favorite. I have it on all of my discus tanks. It uses 4 D cell batteries in the event that you lose power the pump continues to run. This pump costs about $60-$70. The only downside it tends to be a little loud at times so you need to place it on top of foam to filter the noise a bit. I have been using these for years with great results.

2. Whisper Air Pumps – these are the best if you are looking for quiet air pumps. You can’t even hear them running!

In conclusion, the best aquarium air pump for your Discus fish tank depends on a number of factors and therefore may be different from one fish tank to another.

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  • Suzie huddleston
    Posted September 14, 2017 8:30 pm 0Likes

    Hi..thanks for all your passion and good information your sharing with us fellow discus lovers. I have a 55 show tank and I am currently using a floral 405. Up to 100 gallons as well as undergravel with 2 powerheads.
    Overkill? Can I loose the power heads? Global really moves the water!

    • discusguy
      Posted September 15, 2017 8:51 am 0Likes

      Thanks for the comment. Yes- you can definitely do away with the power heads. Discus prefer slow moving water so the power heads do the complete opposite. You have more than enough filtration.

  • Chad king
    Posted September 24, 2017 3:35 am 0Likes

    30 years of having fish tanks. Thank you for the ten discus. After less then a month they are rad!!! Large, colorful, playing in the currents. Skittish is going away superbly. Some are almost 4 inches. Lol. Cool fish. And they can learn currents very well. Thanks again?

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