How Long Can Fish Live Without An Air Pump?

14 Fish That Can Live Without An Air Pump Characteristics And Survival
14 Fish That Can Live Without An Air Pump Characteristics And Survival from


For fish owners, ensuring that their aquatic pets have enough oxygen is crucial. One common method to provide oxygen in fish tanks is by using an air pump. However, there may be situations where the air pump stops working or is not available. In such cases, it is important to understand how long fish can survive without an air pump.

Factors Affecting Oxygen Levels

Several factors influence the oxygen levels in a fish tank, including the size of the tank, the number of fish, the species of fish, temperature, and the presence of live plants. These factors determine how long fish can survive without an air pump.

Size of the Tank

The larger the tank, the more oxygen it can hold. A larger tank will have a larger surface area for oxygen exchange, allowing fish to survive for longer periods without an air pump.

Number and Species of Fish

If the tank is overcrowded with many fish, the oxygen levels can deplete quickly. Different fish species have varying oxygen requirements. Some species can tolerate low oxygen levels for longer periods, while others may struggle.


Warmer water holds less oxygen compared to colder water. Higher temperatures increase the fish’s oxygen requirements, so maintaining a cooler water temperature can help fish survive longer without an air pump.

Presence of Live Plants

Live plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis, which can help replenish oxygen levels in the tank. Having live plants can extend the time fish can survive without an air pump.

How Long Can Fish Survive?

The length of time fish can survive without an air pump varies depending on the factors mentioned above. In general, most fish can survive for about 24-48 hours without an air pump if the tank conditions are favorable.

Emergency Measures

If the air pump stops working, there are a few emergency measures you can take to help maintain oxygen levels in the tank:

1. Increase surface agitation: Creating movement on the water’s surface using a clean spoon or a cup can help increase oxygen exchange.

2. Use a battery-powered air pump: Keeping a battery-powered air pump as a backup can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies.

3. Reduce fish activity: Minimizing fish activity can help reduce their oxygen demand, allowing them to survive longer without an air pump.


While it is essential to provide adequate oxygen for fish, they can survive for a limited period without an air pump. Understanding the factors that influence oxygen levels and taking emergency measures can help ensure the well-being of your fish in case of air pump failure or unavailability.