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Battery Back Up Air Pumps - Worth the cost?

by Chris Thomas August 16, 2020 4 min read

Battery Back Up Air Pumps - Worth the cost? - Kitsu Koi

Powercuts or equipment failure are nightmare scenarios for koi keepers, especially in summer. Koi are sensitive animals needing a high dissolved oxygen content.

99.99% of koi keepers will rely on electricity to power air pumps, with airlines and diffusers delivering oxygen rich air to the pond. 

For a long time, equipment failure has caused me sleepless nights when I think of the amount of stock we carry and the financial investment - should I lose all my stock it would be very upsetting, and I doubt I would continue in the business. Ignoring business, and money, I/we have a moral duty of care to these animals we choose to house in an artificial environment.

There are power alert monitors available that will send a text message if the power fails, and you can (and I would advise if power cuts are regular in your location) have a generator to use in emergengy situations. However, being aware of an issue doesn't mean you can fix it. For anyone working away or on shifts, it may not be possible to get home to fix a problem.

By accident, I came across the CP Variable Air Pump, an AC/DC powered air pump with a built in battery. As well as a battery back up offering seamless switch over in the event of a powercut, the air pump has an adjustment for the air flow. This is perfect for fine tuning air flow to aerated bottom drains, bio chambers, and even protein skimmers. 

CP-60 Battery Back Up air pump for koi ponds and filters CP-60 Air Pump Specifications CP-60 Silent Air Pump for Koi Ponds with Battery Back Up
Variable Flow control for fine tuning  Specifications for the CP-60
Automatic charging and quite operation
I chose to try the CP-60 - offering a rated 60l/min, with a maximum pressure of 0.03Mpa using 80w. For our trials, we used a 200mm flat ceramic air stone, with 8mm airline which fits straight on to the fixed outlet of the pump. The fixed outlet slightly limits options for splitting air on larger ponds, but anything over 2000 gallons and I would be recommending this and another similar sized air pump (40lpm, or there abouts). Our main pond is 1.6m and the air output is similar to the Charles Austen ET-60 air pump. 

The popular Charles Austen Air Pump
Charles Austen Performance Graph
The popular Charles Austen air pump
Performance graph for the Charles Austen pump


Using the variable function, it's possible to set the flow of air to a reasonable output without causing a volcano of air on the surface, spoiling the view of your living jewels. This is also very useful if you have a bio chamber and want to set the air to turn the media over in a slow churning motion, rather than blasting it about.

The CP-60 Variable Air Pump is also handy for anyone transporting fish. The pump can be charged in approx 10 hours, to give 8 hours battery operation. 

Air pumps do vary in price, and generally a more expensive air pump will offer reliability, ability to pump to depth, and low noise output. 

The CP-60 is just £42 more than the Charles Austen ET-60. That's the price of one or two cheap fish. Adding the 8 hour battery back up for help in a disaster, and the fact it's quite portable with the integrated handle, the extra cost is more than covered. 

We tested the CP-60 in our main pond which is 1.6m deep. Unfortunately I don't have an air flow meter to fit 8mm hose, but the air flow was perfect for our bottom drains (Jaeger diffusers). It is comparible, not identical to the Charles Austen ET-60, the flow chart for this pump can be found below. The output will change based on diffusers, air line length, and depth of the pond.

Air pump noise can be subjective and can vary depending where the air pump is situated. Wooden sheds and platforms often amplify the noise from air pumps, so be careful when siting any air pump. I tested the CP-60 in our fish house, with the air pump sat on the pond wall. The other air pumps in the fish house are all Evolution Aqua Air Pumps. The noise level from the CP-60 is slightly more noticable than the Evolution Aqua Air Pumps, however the CP-60 is cheaper, and has the advantage of the battery back up. 

You can expect to see more of these air pumps in our fish house and poly tunnels in the near future. Safety of our livestock is high priority, and we have spent a lot of time looking at generators, UPS systems, and power alarms. 

Value for money, simplicity, and features, these battery back up air pumps offer hobbyists a massive safety net when it comes to power failure - whether that's loss of power from the grid or other equipment failing and tripping the power at the consumer unit. Eight hours gives you a lot of time to fix any issues, and give your koi a fighting chance in a power cut. 

The CP Variable Air Pump is available to buy now, and can be combined with our Black Braided PVC Hose Airline and Ceramic Air Stones (High Quality)

CP Variable Air Pump (Battery Back Up) Black Braided PVC Hose Airline Ceramic Air Stones (High Quality)
CP Variable Air Pump (Battery Back Up) Black Braided PVC Hose Airline

Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas

Chris has been keeping koi for over 25 years, and dealing in koi for 15 years. Travelling to Japan to select new stocks is the favourite aspect of the business, closely followed by being on the tools pond building.

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