How to Make a Fish Tank Air Pump at Home?

How to Make a Fish Tank Air Pump at Home?

Here are 9 easy methods to make a fish tank air pump at home. Air pumps are necessary to oxygenate the tank, and without an air pump, it is too hard to keep the aquarium well oxygenated.

How to Make a Fish Tank Air Pump at Home? Making a fish tank air pump is easy and you can make it yourself at your home using plastic bottles, motor, battery, air stone, and silicon pipes. You can build an energy-free air pump that does not require electricity to run it. With less time and cost, you can plan and make it at home with simple information.

How to Make a Fish Tank Air Pump at Home?

If you out of cost and want to make an air pump for your aquarium at home, here are some types of air pumps you can easily make with a few things.

Buying an aquarium and adding fish in it is not enough to keep them healthy in the tank. Fish are living organisms that need several nutrients and suitable environmental conditions to survive and grow in an aquarium.

Oxygen is the basic necessity of fish, and you have to provide them an adequate amount of oxygen in the tank. Different species require a different oxygenation level in the water, and you have to fulfill their requirement.

The equipment is available in every electronic or aquarium shop. You can also find it online on product selling sites. The only concern in purchasing it is its price, and it is difficult for some aquarium owners to buy aquarium air pumps for multiple tanks.

Considering the cost, you can make your air pump at home with a few things and tools. Remember, you have to be a little careful because any carelessness can harm the animals inside the tank. Little knowledge about the air pump and few guidance videos are enough for you to make it at home. 

Is it safe to equip the aquarium with a homemade air pump?

A self-made air pump is safe for your aquarium until you regulate and maintain it regularly. Some of these air pumps need rearrangement after few hours, and if you forget to do it, you can harm the fish inside.

Maintaining the tank conditions and water parameters is crucial for fish. Some fish are not resistant to even a slight change in water conditions.

For this purpose, you need to supply oxygen in the tank using an air pump. A homemade air pump performs the same function, but you have to regulate it consistently, especially the pumps that work without electricity. If you can manage with these air pumps, they are safe for fish tanks. 

While making these at home, consider the tank size and fish inside it as well. It is preferable to run them at smaller tanks first. If you can run and regulate them, you can make pumps for medium-sized and even fr larger tanks.

Types of the aquarium air pump you can make at home

Generally, you can make two types of air pumps at home, following simple steps. All you need is to gather the tools and required things and make them feasibly. These are:

Air pumps that require current

Like commercial air pumps, these also need electricity to work and supply air in the aquarium. They require a motor and battery and work almost similar to the commercial ones. You have to add a proper wiring system and switch button to this whole pump system. 

They are more reliable and long-lasting the energy-free ones. You do not have to regulate them as they work using current and do not require and rearrangement.

Air pumps that do not require energy

They are easy to make and do not require any current source. These pumps run on a simple principle in which you have to place and arrange their accurate position, and they will work without any effort.

These pumps need constant regulation and maintenance as they will stop producing bubbles after completing one circle. 

They need a manual operation in which you have to rerun and restart the cycle. You need very few things to make them, but they are not usually long-lasting and are less reliable than battery ones.

Methods to make an aquarium air pump at home

There are five different air pumps that you can make on your own. Three of them do not require electrical connection or current, and two need electricity to run. These simple steps will help you to make air pumps.

Plan and design

Before starting, you should make a rough sketch of the whole pump set up on paper or in your min. It will help you to organize and arrange things in a better way and frequently. It will give you an idea of the number of required things and the length of pipes. 

Tools and supplies required

Gather and collect all the tools and supplies before starting and place them by your side for your ease. The things you need are:

  1. Plastic bottles
  2. Hot glue or any other glue
  3. Driller 
  4. Tape
  5. Wires
  6. Battery
  7. Toy motor
  8. Extra bottle caps
  9. Plastic wheels or any other circles
  10. Aluminum wire
  11. Wooden sticks
  12. Pieces of wood ( 9 inches long and 5 inches wide)
  13. Silicon pipes
  14. Airstone
  15. Balloon or any elastic cloth
  16. Plastic Valves and joints 
  17. Hairband 

Homemade electric air pumps for aquarium

This method is for the air pumps that need current. Follow these simple steps to make it.

Take a plastic bottle of small size and cut it in half. Keep the top part with the cap and discard the bottom part. Take a balloon to cut it into a round shape. Cover it on the open part of the bottle piece ( opposite to the mouth part). Glue the balloon piece or use a hairband to tie it on the bottle.

Remove the bottle cap and drill and drill a hole in the center of the bottle cap. Cut a small round piece of balloon and make a hole in it. Paste it on the cap-hole on the inner side of the bottle cap. Recap the bottle with this cap

Take a plastic wheel or a round plastic piece and attach either a wooden stick or aluminum thick wire perpendicular to it. The length of the wire should be 5 inches. Glue this to the balloon of the bottle in the center.

Take a toy motor and weld the electrical wires on it. On the other side, attack a plastic piece or wheel on it with glue. Now take the thick aluminum wire and make it in a loop or hook shape from one side and glue it to the wheel from another side.

Take the battery and attach the motor wires to it. Also, connect a switch button to the battery. 

Take the wooden piece and attach the bottle laterally to it. Take the motor and attach it to the wood. The wire or stick on the bottle should get into the hook or loop on the toy motor. Now attach a battery to the wood.

Insert the silicon pipe into the bottle through the hole on the cap. Attach air stone to this pipe from another side. 

Add the air stone into the aquarium and switch on the button. You will see the motor working and bubbles forming inside the aquarium.

Make a Battery powered aquarium air pump at home

It is also a method to make an air pump that works using a battery and current. The steps include.

Step 1

Take one medium-sized bottle and cut it in half. Cover the open end with a piece of balloon and secure it with tape or a rubber band. Remove the cap and drill two holes in it. 

Take a plastic wheel and attach a stick to it perpendicularly. Now glue this cap-stick to the balloon of the bottle. Attach the bottle to a wooden piece.

Step 2

Take a balloon or any other elastic stuff cloth such as hand gloves and cut four pieces out of them. Two smaller and oval-shaped and two relatively large of 1.5 inches and make holes in these. Paste one piece onto the cap hole from the outer side. 

Paste the other piece on another hole from the inner side. Paste smaller pieces on these larger pieces in such a way that they act as a flap. It will create an inlet and outlet. Screw the cap on the bottle.

Step 3

Take a motor and attach a plastic wheel having a loop or hook-shaped wire and attach it to the wood. Attach wires to it from one side and weld these wires on the battery from another side. Attach the battery to a wooden piece. 

Step 4

Add a switch to the battery and pipe into the bottle. Add an air stone to the pipe end and place it in the aquarium. Switch on the button and see bubbles forming.

Homemade energy-free aquarium air pump

This method is to make an energy-free air pump. The steps include

Take two bottles and drill two holes in both the caps. Take a pipe of around 6 inches and insert one end in the bottle from a cap hole. Attach a valve or tap to the other end. Keep at least 4 inches out from the bottle.

Take another pipe and insert its one end into the same bottle through the second hole. 

Insert the opposite side of the pipe into the second bottle through a hole in the cap. Take one more silicone-pipe, and insert it in the second bottle from the second hole. Now attach air stone to its other end.

Fill the first bottle and place the air stone inside the tank. Open the valve, and you will see water passing to the bottle and bubbles forming in the aquarium. When the second bottle fills, drain the water and start again by filling the water in the first bottle.

Manual air pump for aquarium

Another method for the energy-free air pump and the steps are:

Take two bottles and attach them from the bottom. Remove the caps and drill one hole in them. 

Cut two small balloons pieces and paste them into the holes on the inner side. 

Drill a hole near the bottom of both bottles and insert a small piece of pipe in these holes, joining the bottles.

Drill hole near the neck on both bottles. Take a long pipe of around 16 inches and insert it into the first bottle from one end. Insert the other end into the other bottle. Cut the silicone-pipe from the center and add a joint that has one extra attachment piece. 

Take a small pipe and attach it to the third attachment part of the joint from one end. Add another joint on the other end having a valve. On this second joint, add a long pipe of around 12 inches and add an air stone.

Make the bottles stand vertically through support and fill water in the upper bottle. Add air stone to the aquarium and open the valve. Water will start moving in the lower bottle. Once the water fills the lower bottles, flip the bottles, so the lower bottles become the upper ones, and the cycle repeats, forming bubbles.

The easiest method to make a homemade fish tank air pump

It is the easiest method of making an energy-free air stone. Steps include:

Step 1

Take a bottle and drill two holes in its cap. Add two pipes in the bottle through holes. Attach an air stone to one silicone-pipe and a suction pad to the other silicone-pipe, leaving 2 inches from the end.

Step 2

You do not have to fill the bottle and keep it in a lower place. So the water of the aquarium will run through pipes into the bottle.

Step 3

Add air stone and other piper having suction pad into the aquarium. You will notice the bottle filling and bubbles forming through air stones. When bottles fill, dispose of the water and repeat the process.

Are homemade air pumps more efficient than commercial products?

When comparing the efficiency and working of manually made air pumps and commercial air pumps, it is right to say that commercial ones are better.

In terms of reliability and effectiveness, we can arrange them in different ranks. Typically, the first rank belongs to a commercial air pump, the second rank goes to battery air pumps, and the energy-free air pumps will come at third rank. 

For the commercial ones, you do not have to worry and care for their work, you have to switch on the button, and they will run throughout the day.

The self-made battery pump’s life depends upon the battery life and strength. On the other hand, the energy-free air pumps will run for a single fill or cycle, and you have to rearrange the system to recycle it.

Time required

These pumps are time-effective which means they will not take you too much time. It will take 40 to 50 minutes on average, while the maximum time can be 1 to 1 1/2 hour. When you are an expert in making projects yourself, you will make them in 30 minutes.

Also, the time depends upon the required supplies and tools. When you have all of these by your side, you will make it quickly while running for things after every step will take your extra time. Also, current-requiring air pumps will take more time than the electricity-free ones.


Considering the availability of all things, we can calculate the cost you will spend on making an air pump. It will cost around $5 to $10, depending upon the supplies available. When you have the battery, toy motor, plastic bottles, wires, the cost decreases to only $1 to $3 only. 

When you have to buy all these, including air stone and silicone pipe, the cost can reach up to $12, but it is rare as you can find out all these things from your home. 

Concisely, the overall cost of making an air pump at home can be 50% less than the commercial one. So the idea of making it at home is better when you have a low budget.

Benefits of making aquarium air pumps at home

Making air pumps at home is beneficial for the fish tank owner in many ways. Some of its benefits are:


These pumps are inexpensive and can save your money because you require few and cheap supplies for their making. Also, many of these things can come out of your home or wastes. When you have a small aquarium, these are the best choice than the expensive commercial ones.

Easy to make

The air pumps are too easy to make at home and do not require much effort and struggle. With a plastic bottle and pipes, you can make an air pump with the least knowledge. The construction and arrangement are far easy than any other equipment.

Reduction in electricity bill

Although commercial air pumps do not add a significant amount to your electricity bills when you are out of money, everything matters. These air pumps are the best way to reduce the overall electricity usage of an aquarium that ultimately leads to reductions in electricity bills.

Easy to discard

When you want to discard this manual pump system and want to buy a commercial one, you can easily throw the pump. There will be no regret in doing this because these pumps are too cheap and you will lose almost no money.

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