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Do Glofish Need an Air Pump? (All You Need to Know)

When it comes to unique aquarium fish that is also not rare, show me a better option than glofish, I will wait. So, you decided to buy some colorful and glowing glofish but wondering, will they need an air pump? Here is a detailed guide about glofish and their aeration requirements.

Do glofish need an air pump?

Glofish tank must have an aeration system for healthy and active glofish. That can be an air pump, or most of the time, a filter that creates air bubbles will do the work comfortably. Those Filters should be enough for small tanks, but more giant tanks require an air pump. 

Did you know glofish are genetically modified fish? The glowing characteristics come from glowing jellyfish. They are about the best size for an average home aquarium, and it is easy to keep them too. For this reason, glofish is getting popular among fish keepers.

They do not need a high-tech setup, but a source of aeration is a fundamental need. But if we compare, a sound filtration system is far more essential for the glofish. Luckily, most filters come with an aeration system or agitate the water that works in the same way.

There are some significant problems with a tank without any aeration. The oxygen level in the water drops, and the fish can become suffocated and incredibly stressed. The aeration creates some current that mimics their natural habitat.

The current in the water is essential to control the demise zone and algae build-up. When the fish gets current and enough oxygen in their blood, they look more playful and active.

Some fish do well without aeration sources like guppies, but glofish does require that. Without filter and aeration, they will not live longer than a week.

The good thing about the air pumps is they are pretty affordable. Air pumps also boost the aesthetics of your home aquarium. You can choose different types of air stones depending on your choice and tank. Havier air stones are better as they are more stable.

However, if you think of relying on filters for aeration, you should know that two kinds of filters do not help make tiny air bubbles. They are under gravel filter and canister filter. Those filters do not create enough water movement to mix air oxygen with the water molecules.

Can GloFish survive without an air pump?

Glowfish can survive without an air pump only if your filter provides a bit of aeration. The thing is, glofish do not require a lot of air to live. Glofish are generally kept in medium-sized aquariums under 20 gallons.

But if you keep the glofish in a bigger tank than 20 gallons, aeration becomes vital. The best thing you can do is keep both an air pump and a filter that assists the aeration in a mid-size tank.

But in a small tank, only a filter should do that work. Over aeration in a small tank will create unnecessary water current, which is unsuitable for the fish.

The fish will show signs of stress and act differently when there is a lack of oxygen in the water. Keep reading to find out tips to know if your glofish is getting enough oxygen or not.

4 reasons why glofish needs an air pump

It is best to keep aeration for all the aquarium fish even if some species do not require heavy aeration. Little oxygen gets mixed with the water when the air passes through the water, as oxygen is soluble. That oxygen helps fill up the oxygen that the fish are continuously using.

Because of the following reasons, air pumps are essential for the glofish.

It helps the water to agitate:

Water agitation is a must for a healthy aquarium, and it accelerates the gas exchange process of water.

The gas exchange is not only about oxygen. The agitation also helps to remove excess Co2 mixed with the water. A continuous circle of the gas exchange process results in a healthy and happy fish.

Water current:

A little water current is essential for the glofish. Little water flow helps the fish to keep active. However, a high water current can also make the fish stressed. Air pumps are helpful to create a gentle water current, and you can also adjust the air pressure.

Oxygenate the water:

The soluble oxygen of water is essential for fish respiration. In nature, because of the surface area, tide, and water movement, water always gets sufficient oxygen necessary for marine life. But in aquarium water, this does not happen. 

That’s why an air pump is essential for most tanks.

Protects from algae invention:

When Co2 increases and O2 decreases, it creates an ideal condition for the algae. Air pump helps to prevent algae growth and reduce lots of work.

How do I know if my glofish needs an air pump? Will an air pump help my sick glofish?

The glow fish’s gills will move faster; they will swim at the surface of the water and become inactive if your tank has low oxygen and needs an air pump. If you look at the fish closely, you may notice the fish’s color is fading and looks unhappy.

If you find a sick glofish, keep it in a separate tank with the right temperature and air pump. A sick glofish will not survive long without an air pump.

If you are new to the fish-keeping hobby, you are probably looking at them now and then. Of course, you should enjoy its beauty, but if you are the owner, It is better to know how to look at the fish and what to look for.

If you pay close attention to your fish, you may save or cure some fish you don’t want to lose. You can not cure many fish diseases once the symptoms get severe.

How can I oxygenate my glofish water without a pump?

So, you are just wondering whether it is possible to oxygenate your goldfish without a pump. Or you don’t have an air pump, and your fish are showing signs of stress?

Before answering that, I want to inform you air pumps are cheap, and you can easily find one under 10$. You can look online or nearby aquatic pet shops for an air pump. Here are some different ways to keep glofish without an air pump.

Aquarium filter:

Aquarium filters take the water in a release after filtering. Most power filters contain a small air tube that allows some air to get mixed with the water. Even you don’t have it set the filter in the surface level of water. 

Note that a high water current is also bad for your fish.


You can aerate your aquarium water manually if you don’t have an air pump now and have suffocating fish. Just take a bowl, fill the bowl with aquarium water and drop the water back in the aquarium from a higher position. 

Repeat the process for several minutes.

If your air pump is broken, continue doing this every few hours before getting a new air pump.

Regular water change:

It is not that practical, but it is possible. If you change a percentage of water every one or two days, you are replacing a little oxygen in the tank. However, this process is not healthy for the fish and the tank cycle.

Do glofish need air bubbles? Do glofish need an aerator?

Glofish do need a decent amount of air bubbles for a healthy, active life. You can not keep glofish without aeration. Suppose you have just a filter that does not help aeration. The glofish will get clear water, but they will not get sufficient oxygen to live.

The glowing fish will not pass away without an aerator in a short time. But they will become stressed, inactive, and lose appetite. When that happens, the glofish does not last more than a month.

What do GloFish need in their tank?

Glofish can be a fantastic addition to your community tank. They live happily with other fish and have a bit of schooling instinct. They are very active and hardy little fish that can live for 3-8 years.

But what do they need for healthy and comfortable long life? Check out the list below to find out.

  • Get a tank bigger than 5 gallons.
  • Keep at least 5 glofish while 9-10 is best.
  • Feed them fish flex or frozen daphnia and other live food.
  • Ensure sound filtration system.
  • Keep the water temperature 75 degrees to 82 degrees F.
  • Add aeration system.
  • Change 40-50% water every week.
  • Keep plants or stones so they can hide and explore.

Final Thoughts

The air pump is essential for glofish but if you have a filter that makes bubbles, the glofish should be fine without an air pump. However, a bigger tank than 20 gallons must have an air pump. If you see fish are swimming at the surface for long, you may need to increase the aeration rate.