Do Goldfish Need Air Pump?

Most aquarium enthusiasts assume that keeping goldfish is an easy hobby. However, that is very far from reality.

Goldfish as any among the particular types of aquarium fish, they demand skills and caution from the aquarist.

If something went wrong with the water condition, you would end up losing all your fish. That is the key reason you will have to work hard to maintain the right water conditions in your aquarium.

Do Goldfish Need Air Pump?

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Do Goldfish Need Air Pump?

One of the things that you should never forget is the oxygen supply. So, to be sure that your goldfish are getting enough oxygen throughout the day, you will need a quality air pump.

Do Goldfish Need Aquarium Filter?

Even though an air pump will create oxygen for the fish, it does not provide all the needed oxygen. The other part of the air comes from the water movements on the water surface. Therefore, in addition to the air pump, you will need a quality filtering system.

Apart from ensuring that the water is clean, an aquarium filter will facilitate water movements on the tank surface, therefore, increasing the amount of oxygen inside the water. Like all other delicate aquarium fish, goldfish require very clean water but again, they are fond of making the water sludgy.

Cogged up or sludgy water does not move. That means that by filtering the aquarium water you will be increasing the movement of water on the surface while reducing unfavourable waste matter.

One of the downsides of sludgy water is that it contains a lot of carbon dioxide, which reduces the supply of oxygen gas. After water filtration, the bubbling from your air pump will be higher meaning that the oxygen supply will also increase.

Most people use air pumps in their aquariums for aesthetic reasons. However, the oxygen supply outweighs any aesthetic reasons. You would never want to lose your fish due to low levels of oxygen in the tank. The health of your goldfish would suffer if the water conditions were bad. Thus, you have to install an air pump and a filter that function optimally.

Does Your Aquarium Requires more Oxygen?

One of the things that will tell you that your goldfish are receiving inadequate oxygen is a still water surface. As I have mentioned, a still water surface should tell you that the water is sludgy and the carbon dioxide levels are very high.

A filter along with an air pump would work best in such cases because air circulation in the water is known to cause movements at the water surface. Keep checking the surface to know whether your goldfish are safe.

High water temperature is another thing, which indicates that the oxygen level in the tank is very low. Each time you realize that the temperature is very high you should act very fast.

Cool and cold water contains high levels of oxygen, which means that you might not need an air pump. Keep in mind that if your fish are living in a small container such as a bowl, they might lack enough oxygen.

Water movements in such tanks are minimal and the supply of oxygen is very low. Start by doing an ammonia test to know whether the water conditions are right.

If the water is moving properly, it is clean, the temperature is low and the aquarium tank is wide enough, you do not need an air pump because the oxygen will be enough for your fish.

Each time you observe something different; know that your fish are suffering due to high toxic materials and insufficient oxygen.

Failure to act fast would result in the water conditions choking your fish. Like human beings, fish find it hard to breathe when carbon dioxide levels are very high in their environment.

Can Goldfish Live in a Fish Bowl Without an Air Pump?

Bowls are very small. That means that water movement on the surface is minimal. Even more, due to the space limitation, your goldfish will have a little space to cover.

Waste from the goldfish is likely to accumulate very fast and the water will turn sludgy reducing the movements at the surface even more. For your fish to be safe, you will need an efficient air pump or any other source of oxygen.

An air pump will be more helpful. However, for the comfort of your fish, you do not have to use it throughout the day. Only use it when the oxygen level has fallen to an uncomfortable level.

Check the temperature of the water and the movements on the surface to know the right time to supply more oxygen for your goldfish. If you can afford a large aquarium tank, buy one because the small space associated with bowls limit the growth of your goldfish and any fish kept in bowls are unlikely to live for many years too.

In case an air pump is very expensive or you just hate pumps, you can rely on other methods to add oxygen in your bowl. And due to the small size of the bowl, waste from the fish will build up fast.

That means it can be hard to maintain the right water conditions with a water filter alone. You will need to change the water regularly. What’s more, it can be hard to filter the water in a bowl when fish are present, meaning that filtering is not a good option.

Regular water changes are the most efficient way of ensuring that the tank conditions are right for your goldfish. Depending on the measures employed to provide good oxygen supply and the right living conditions in the bowl, your goldfish will survive without an air pump.

Goldfish Gulping for Air at the Water Surface

Most beginner-level aquarists witness gulping of fish in their aquarium tanks or fishbowls from time to time.

When that happens, you should know that the level of oxygen in the water is very low. By gulping, your goldfish will be trying to get more oxygen from the water surface.

The other thing that will characterize gulping fish is the frantic movement of the gills. That should tell you that the goldfish are struggling to breathe.

Furthermore, the gulping will result in more fatigue-reducing the activity of your fish. You have to act fast because without enough air the fish are likely to die. Use an air pump and the water filter to improve the air circulation.

Adding Oxygen into Your Aquarium or Fishbowl

If the water in your aquarium tank or fishbowl does not contain enough oxygen, you will be risking losing all your fish. A small tank or fishbowl will limit the movement of water on the surface, therefore necessitating the addition of oxygen through external methods.

Some of the effective methods include the addition of aquatic plants, the use of water filter and the changing of the water more often. When choosing plants for your fishbowl or aquatic tank, you will have to choose the large and healthy ones.

Your goldfish are likely to start feeding on any weak and small plants immediately you introduce them and your efforts will not bear any fruits.

The other method of oxygenating the fishbowl or tank involves a regular change of water. As stated above, high temperatures in your aquarium tank and fewer movements on the surface will indicate that the oxygen level is very low.

Therefore, you will have to replace the hot water with cold water to increase the oxygen level. The temperature mostly rises due to waste build up in the tank and a water filter would be helpful too.

It will filter out debris and any toxic matter to leave clean water in the tank. Just as you expect with an air pump, the filter will disrupt the water movements on the surface to allow more circulation of air.

Can the Goldfish Live Without an Air Pump?

Goldfish do not require an air pump to survive in aquarium tanks. They will live in any tank provided that the oxygen is enough for them.

So, if you are offering enough and the right food for your fish, maintaining the right water conditions and ensuring that they are healthy, they will live until they exhaust all the oxygen.

After the oxygen has dropped to a dangerous level, the goldfish will start gulping – that can stress them and even lead to death.

The number of days your fish can survive without an air pump will highly depend on the size of the tank. If the tank can preserve more oxygen, the fish will survive for many days.

Unfortunately, unavailability of an effective water filtration system will worsen the situation. The waste from fish and leftover feeds will build up fast, therefore, making the water sludgy and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide.

The health of fish and their number are the other two factors that will determine the number of days they can live without an air pump.


Lack of an air pump can have many adverse effects on your goldfish and shorten their lifespan. You can purchase an air pump from a local store or an online store and use it to improve the water condition of your aquarium tank.

After oxygenating the water, you will just need to ensure that you have provided your fish with enough food so that they can live a longer life.

Avoid keeping many goldfish in one tank because they will pollute the water faster. Provide them with the food they can consume in less than five minutes to avoid contaminating the water.

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