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The Tetra Whisper is the common starting point of most aquarists air pump, and for good reason. It is consistently quiet, when properly set up, and comes at a very friendly prices. It brings a lot of power, often too much for beta fish owners, and offers a two year warranty.
The two smaller size have a single output while the two larger sizes have two outputs. This is important as not using both outputs will result in a much louder air pump (Explained In Set-up).
Like most air pumps, the Tetra Whisper is plug and play. There are however plenty of tips for the best air pump set up. First you will want to use all the outputs. By leaving one open you create excessive back pressure, which will generate a lot of noise. Similarly try to use only as much tubing as needed, as the extra travel time will also increase back pressure.
Additionally the pump will perform more quietly when placed above the tank. This creates an optimal set-up, allowing the pump to run with as little resistance as possible. If you have no where to store the pump above the tank, placing the pump below the tank is fine too. Pumps placed below the water line will need a check valve to prevent any reverse siphons.
Depending on the size of your air pump you will need to adjust your air stone/outputs. Limiting the outputs will make the pump much more noisy, making large air stones essential for larger pumps. Be sure to keep the air stones clean, as trapped debris will also add unwanted pressure.
The pump does not have a flow control valve, however you can add your own inline valve for about $1. If you wish to power more objects the tetra whisper does work well with T-valves or gang valves. If you own betta fish this will almost certainly be a requirement as the whisper can be overpowering fro slow swimmers.
Finally the noise can be cut down further by placing the pump inside of boxes. I used the amazon box that the pump came in as well as the tetra box. By cutting small holes and surrounding them with silicone I created a sound muffling box set, only supplying a bit of my own silicone. You can get a similar result without it but I like my devices super silent.
Some Whisper owners will advise you wrap the pump in a towel. This did not help too much with my own pump and trapped a lot of heat. I do not recommend keeping your pump like that, as it will shorten the lifespan of the rubber components.
After running for a few months, air pumps can create a few issues.
- The constant vibration can loosen the screws, increasing the noise generated by the pump. Try and tighten them if you notice increased volume.
- The vibration will also produce a fair amount of heat. Avoid covering the pump if possible.
- The pump may move due to vibrations, allowing the pump to find a much louder home. Securing the pump in place with holes in the stand is helpful. Mine is held in place by the silicone tubes.
- Dust can create unwanted heat, shortening the pumps life. Dust it off every once and awhile.
- Air stones, bubble wands and air tubing can all deteriorate. Combat this by having two sets of air stones/bubble wands. Clean one and allow it to rest and dry for a month before swapping the two and repeating the process.
Warranty & Lifetime
The Tetra Whisper should last between one and three years, with many users going well beyond that. If you take advantage of all of the above listed tips for reducing pressure then your pump should exceed the normal lifetime. The main component that breaks is the rubber diaphragm. This can be replaced, however the shipping and cost is about the same as a new pump.
The Tetra Whisper comes with a two year warranty, however their responses are a bit slow. I recommend keeping a back up air pump, perhaps a second whisper as they are so cheap, so that your tank does not have to go without aeration for too long.