How to make a fish tank quieter in 3 simple steps

How to make a fish tank quieter in 3 simple steps

In this post, we are going to find out how to make a fish tank quieter in 3 simple steps. 

You love your aquarium and your fishes, don’t you? The aquarium is fun to tinker with; the fish are interesting to watch; the water provides a nice bubbling white-noise in the background. 

Or, it used to. Do you have a noisy aquarium filter? A noisy aquarium pump?

how to make a fish tank quieter pinterest1

Now the hum of the filter and pump have become an annoying distraction. The aquarium vibrates. In fact, you occasionally need to turn up the TV or move away from the aquarium to talk on your phone, right?

Can you get it back to normal? Or even quieter than when you first bought it? Key question is: Can you make a fish tank quieter?

I’ve been there. And the answer is yes. 

With some basic cleaning supplies you can make a dent in that noise. 

If you want it to be whisper quiet, then there are several silent aquarium components (like the quietest aquarium filters) you will want to consider. Stick with me below and I’ll go over these strategies for you.

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Contents: Skip to section

Who is this article for?

If you own a fish aquarium a in your home and wish it was nice and quiet, then this article is for you. This is true whether you have a tiny aquarium on your nightstand, or a large, active aquarium extending along an entire table or shelf.

What should a normal fish tank filter sound like?

First off, it shouldn’t be so loud that it disturbs the people it’s sharing the room with. 

A normal aquarium filter should produce only a steady electrical humming sound which is not very noticeable, especially over the bubbling of the water in the tank (kind of like white noise).

Beyond that, you will need to look into fixing it, as there is likely a problem with the water flow or the filter becoming faulty itself.

If you are hearing buzzing noises, that is probably due to dirt and grime stuck in the filter, which a simple clean up will resolve. 

If you detect any unusual vibrations or rattling noise, you should look into the filter as one of the moving parts is likely loose or damaged.  

Related: How to soundproof a dog crate

Hey, quick one. If you intend to start a soundproofing project soon, check out our Best Materials for Soundproofing post to get a headstart. Most projects require similar materials, so this post will save you a ton of time researching.

Steps to make a fish tank quieter

First: Clean your aquarium. Let’s talk about how to make a fish tank filter quieter. Dirty water makes for a noisy fish tank and a noisy fish tank pump.  The build-up of algae, fish waste, and dissolved food all put extra stress on the filter and pump. The harder your aquarium system needs to work, the louder it’s going to be, even if it is relatively new. 

how to make a fish tank quieter

Second: Consider your pump and type of filter. A noisy fish tank filter or noisy fish tank pump are the loudest parts of the aquarium. Do either or both of them need replacing? Take note that HOB or sponge filters tend to be noisier.

Third: Consider additional adjustments you can make to absorb sound and reduce vibration to help bring back that soothing, quiet bubbling. 

Ready to make your aquarium more quiet?

Let’s consider the strategies each in turn. 

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Step 1: Cleaning your fish tank and gravel

First, remove your fish. Put some of the water from the tank in a large container and gently bring out the fish and put them in there. Remove the decorations and soak them in some well-diluted bleach and water.

You’ll want an algae scraper – it’s the best and easiest way to clean your tank walls.

Alternatively, you can invest in an algae tool kit that contains more props that you can use for a more thorough clean.

Learn more

MiGu Algae Scraper

This is an “Amazon’s Choice” with over 300 ratings and 4.5 stars and comes with all the bells and whistles — as much as an algae scraper can, anyway! It’s stainless-steel and won’t rust in freshwater aquariums. The arm has an angle extension so that it’s easier to clean the corners. It comes with 10 blades and different length rods

Learn more

Algae Tool Kit

Here’s an even more robust option – an entire kit. Everything you need to beat that algae. 

This is more of a cleaning kit than just a scraper. It is an Amazon’s Choice, with nearly two-hundred ratings and 4.5 stars. 

Six in one cleaning tool. You won’t get your hands wet thanks to its telescoping arm and it’s very easy to use. It includes the following: 

  • A fish net to catch your fish when it’s time to clean
  • A right-angled brush to clean corners; sponges for the walls 
  • A gravel rake 

Everything you need for a good cleaning.

The gravel collects waste that pollutes the water. You’ll want to clean the top layer.

The easiest way to clean it is to use a gravel siphon. It acts as a vacuum and has a tiny filter at the tip so it does not suction up gravel too. 

Learn more

Python Siphon

This is a simple and effective siphon, and is an Amazon’s Choice. It has 1500 ratings with 4.5 stars. It will quickly separate and remove particles and debris from your fish tanks. 

Learn more

Luigi’s Tank Siphon and Gravel Cleaner

You can use this to change the water or you can clean using the filter nozzle to rake along the gravel layer. 

This wiill help clean out food, fish waste, and toxins that build up. There’s even a money back guarantee if you’re not happy 

This is an Amazon’s Choice, with 2400 ratings and 4.5 stars. 

Step 2: Check and replace filter and pump

OK, so you’ve cleaned your aquarium. And you have even taken the extra steps of cleaning your pump and replaced the filter cartridge if it needs replacing. 

However, you still hear that pesky aquarium filter noise.  Or it could be a frustrating aquarium water pump noise. What next?

The two noisiest parts of a fish tank are the filter and the pump. 

To help you I have researched the quietest component replacements. 

Quiet Pumps

Let’s talk just a moment about how to make a fish tank air pump quieter. If you have a noisy aquarium air pump, there’s a good chance it is clogged. 

If you notice your fish tank air pump making noises, you probably will need to take it apart to fix that issue. There’s a chance that debris, fish food, or something else has gotten caught inside. 

If that’s not the issue, you can place your air pump on a quiet mat or something else like this to cut down on vibration noise.

If that doesn’t cut down on your fish tank air pump noise, then you might want to purchase a quiet option.

There are 3 excellent choices in the market, so do click through to check more of their specifications.

Learn more

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Air Pump

This is an Amazon’s Choice, with over 1600 ratings and 4.5 stars. 

This pump includes a multi-level muffler to help keep it super quiet. You can adjust the airflow depending on the needs of your aquarium. 

Reviewers indicated it’s easy to use, is good value for the price, and is nice and quiet. 

Learn more

Mylivell Quietest Aquarium Air Pump

Again, this is an Amazon’s Choice, with over 1000 ratings and 4.5 stars.

This pump is unique: it has no motor, no mechanics to break down. This feature makes iit very quiet and lightweight. 

It is specifically designed for small and medium sized tanks, and uses very little power due to its stable performance, efficiency, and simple design. 

You can hang it right on the aquarium wall with its suction cup, meaning it doesn’t take up extra room!

Learn more

Tetra Whisper

Of the pumps listed here, this pump has the most ratings: over 5800 ratings, with 4.5 stars. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice, like others listed here. 

This air pump is also the most striking of those discussed here. The design is unique but also helps to dampen the sound. The star-dome shape suspends the motor to reduce noise and vibration

Quiet Aquarium Filters

You can either get a new filter, or try to troubleshoot the one you have. Below I will list a few very quiet filters. But first, let’s talk about addressing your fish tank filter noise.

Turn off everything else to ensure its just the filter making the noise. Carefully inspect your filter. Look for anything that is broken, feeling as if it’s overheating, or any part of it in particular that’s making a lot of noise. 

Look for anything that is broken or look for stuck fish food or any other material. Check to see if the hoses are bent or anything like that. 

If you can not find any issues, then you may want to get a new filter. 

Learn more

Penn Plax Filter

This is an Amazon’s Choice, with 4.5 stars and over 1300 ratings. Like all of the items listed here, it comes in multiple sizes. 

This filter is quiet and efficient and cleans 20 gallons of water per hour. It’s flow is adjustable, which allows you to customize it based on your tank and also turn it down during feeding times. 

It uses replaceable cartridges filled with Activated Carbon and Poly Fiber Floss. The filter will remove waste, food, toxins, and other build-ups that affect color and smell. 

Learn more

Aqueon Quiet Flow Filter

This filter has four stars and nearly 3000 ratings. 

It has three filtering mechanisms, which filter the water mechanically, chemically, and biologically. You can adjust the flow rate. 

The filter includes an LED light that flashes when it’s time to replace a cartridge so you don’t always need to remember. The filter is dampened to be very quiet. 

It also comes with a lifetime warranty. 

Learn more

MarineLand Penguin

This is an Amazon’s Choice, with over 3000 ratings and 4.5 stars

This filter cleans in multiple stages with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. Reviewers noted that it is quiet and easy to set-up. You can adjust the water flow to meet various needs and feeding. Filter cartridges are easy to access to be replaced. 

Step 3: Cut down on vibration

No matter what you buy, you can make it quieter by cutting down on all types of vibration. Make sure the components are secure. The tank is likely to vibrate as well. 

Can you do anything about that? Below are two options, depending on your needs.

Learn more

Drymate Mat

This mat will help cut down on vibrations, acting as a quiet barrier between the tank and the surface it is sitting on. Additionally, if there are any leaks or spills , the mat is designed to be absorbent and waterproof. It will “cover” you in multiple ways!

Learn more

Audimute Peacemaker Isolation Pad

This pad can go under your fish tank. It is made of rubber and helps to prevent vibrations.It’s not absorbent like the one above, but if you don’t feel you need that feature, then this is the simpler choice.

How to make a fish tank quieter: Conclusion

I understand how precious a fish tank can be to an owner or enthusiast. 

I myself love my aquarium to bits and will do as much as possible to provide a quiet and comfortable environment for my fishes, while at the same time reducing noise around my home. 

Hopefully this helps! An aquarium can be lots of fun if you keep it clean and have the correct components for your needs. 

You can find each of the recommended items there through the links to Amazon. 

Now it’s time to make your tank clean and aquarium filter noises low!

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Bryant Littlewood is the Chief Editor behind SoundproofingHacks. He shares all the lessons he has learned in turning his home and office into quiet sanctuaries across the blog posts here. Bryant is also a part-time audiophile, and some of the posts here will reflect that passion of his too. Connect with him on LinkedIn or read more on the about page.