Fish and Aquariums

The Ultimate List of Fish Species that Can Live Without Air Pump in Tank

Keeping an aquarium can be a rewarding experience, especially with the right fish species. If you want to cut down on equipment and maintain a low-maintenance tank, fish that do not require an air pump are ideal.

Fishes that can live without an air pump in the tank, including Betta Fish, Guppies, Swordtails, and Platies, among others. However, it’s crucial to maintain proper water conditions, including filtration and regular water changes, and consider tank size and stocking levels to ensure the fish’s health and well-being.

As you review the list, you will discover which hardy species have adapted to life without air pumps. Doing your research is essential when creating any successful ecosystem.


1. Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish)

Betta Fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are an incredibly unique species. With vibrant colors and impressive sizes, they have become popular freshwater aquarium fish in recent years.

Bettas also require less maintenance than other aquarium fish since they can live without oxygen pumps in their tanks and instead rely on surface air to breathe.

As long as these beautiful fish have access to clean water containing surface air, they will thrive without any other supplemental aeration device. This makes them ideal for beginners or those who are looking for a really low-maintenance fish variety.

Betta Fish


2. Guppies

Guppies are small, colorful fish that can add a great deal of energy and movement to any home aquarium with ease.

Their hardiness makes them one of the most cost-effective additions one can make – not needing an air pump in the tank due to their tolerance for different oxygen levels in the water.

Guppies are extremely prolific breeders, making them great for those starting out with aquariums and looking to populate quickly. They tend to be good-natured and interactive – often spending a lot of time swimming around the surface and interacting with anyone who comes by to observe. Guppies


3. Endlers Livebearers

Endlers Livebearers are a species of fish that can survive without an air pump in their tank. Unlike much other fish, they do not rely on oxygenated water to live, allowing them to stay healthy and active without the need for difficult mechanical equipment.

As omnivores, Endlers Livebearers thrive on a diet of small worms, shrimp, insects, and smaller fish and flakes of ground-up vegetables and proteins.

Native to the slow-moving shallow waters off the coast of Venezuela and Trinidad, they have adapted over time to varied water conditions and temperature ranges which makes them an ideal inhabitant of any home aquarium.

With exceptionally bright coloring patterns and erect tails that curl slightly over their back fins, it’s no surprise that these beautiful aquatic creatures captivate hobbyists around the world.

Endlers Livebearers


4. Swordtails

Swordtails are incredibly popular and resilient freshwater aquarium fish that make an ideal tankmate for larger, slow-moving tropical species.

While they can breathe oxygen directly from the water as long as there is some atmospheric air exchange into their tank, they are perfect candidates to live in a tank without an air pump.

As long as there is an adequate surface area that provides enough surface agitation to create gas exchange between the atmosphere and the water, swordtails won’t require a dedicated pump.

They thrive in tanks with plenty of places to hide, such as pieces of driftwood or plants like Java Fern and Anubias.



5. Platies

Platies are a popular fish species due to their active swimming behavior, hardiness, and bright colors. As found in their scientific name Xiphophorus maculatus, the platy has an elongated body and spineless dorsal fin.

Their resilient bodies can survive with very low oxygen levels and they do not require an air pump in the tank as most other aquarium species do.

Rather than seeking out aeration sources, platies calmly sit at the bottom of the tank, content with breathing through their gills and fins.



6. Mollies

Mollies are hardy freshwater fish that can survive with small amounts of oxygen for prolonged periods of time, making them excellent choices for home aquariums without the need for an air pump.

Known for their bright colors and peaceful disposition, these fish are easy to care for as they consume both live and pellet food with enthusiasm.

However, because they come from saltwater habitats, you should add a lower concentration of Epsom salt to their tank once every few weeks in order to maintain good quality water.

Mollies also prefer plenty of space and hiding places, so pick a larger tank if possible.




7. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios are small, active fish featuring a characteristic zebra pattern; they come in both Standard and Longfin varieties and can be found inhabiting tanks without air pumps!

These hardy fish are incredibly easy to care for: simply provide them with temperatures between 64-75F, plenty of hiding places, tank mates of the same species, and water cleansers to keep their living environment in optimal conditions.

Zebra Danios have been known to grow up to 2 inches in length and live as many as 5 years when given proper habitat requirements; their energetic attitudes can also make these fish an ideal choice for community aquariums.

Zebra Danios


8. White Cloud Mountain Minnows

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are a popular species of aquarium fish due to their hardiness and ease of care.

They originated in the mountain streams of China and are able to survive and thrive without an air pump.

They can comfortably live at temperatures between 20-24 degrees Celsius with a pH range of 6.2-8.0, making them an excellent freshwater fish choice even for beginners.

As they grow larger they require more space, so it’s best to put them in tanks around 30 gallons or larger with plenty of hiding spaces.


9. Neon Tetras

The Neon Tetra is a small, colorful fish that easily stands out with its iridescent blue and red stripes.

It’s native to the South American rivers of the Amazon and Orinoco basins, and it’s one of the most popular fish species in aquariums around the world.

Not only is it fascinating to watch due to its vibrant colors, but it is also incredibly easy to care for.

This species does not require an air pump for survival, which makes it ideal for those who are just starting out with aquariums. Neon Tetras are relatively hardy and can thrive without an air pump as long as they have plenty of hiding spots among plants or driftwood in the tank.

Neon Tetras


10. Ember Tetras

Ember tetras are small freshwater fish that make a great addition to any tank. With their captivating orange-red coloration, they are the perfect addition for aquariums looking for a splash of color.

Besides their aesthetic appeal, these fish are incredibly hardy – they can survive in tanks without an air pump!

Ember tetras prefer still water that is warm and heavily planted so appropriate water conditions should be closely monitored.

Ember Tetras


11. Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp, or Neocaridina heterpoda, impress aquarium hobbyists with their vibrant red hue.

These small invertebrates hail from Southern Asia and derive their bright coloring from the algae in the streams they inhabit. This species is among the hardiest of shrimp, requiring very little maintenance.

Best suited for tanks between 5–10 gallons in size, Cherry Shrimp can thrive in low–flow environments which makes them an excellent candidate for a tank without an air pump.

In addition to peace and quiet, they enjoy temperatures between 65–75°F and a pH level between 6 and 8. An omnivore, Cherry Shrimp are apt to eat whatever food falls to the bottom of their environment—including sinking pellet food.

Cherry Shrimp


In conclusion

When it comes to keeping fish that can live without an air pump in the tank, the options are vast.

From tropical community fish like neon tetras and danio to cichlids like a convict and angel fish, there are dozens of varieties to choose from. Whichever species you choose, they all have the same needs – a clean tank with plenty of oxygen-rich water.

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