Guide to choosing the right pump for Aquarium

Pumps are one of the most important components of an aquarium system. You want to make sure that your fish and plants are getting the necessary nutrients and water supply for their survival. Therefore the way you select you pump, including power heads matter a lot.

There are two major types of pumps: Aquarium water pumps and Aquarium air pumps. In this guide, we shall give a brief overview of each. Continue reading.

Water pumps

Pumps are used to serve two major functions in the system. One, they create currents and aeration. And two, they are responsible for moving water through various peripherals like sumps, filters and many other areas. In addition, they make waves in a reef tank.

Water movement

Water in the aquarium tank can remain stagnant and dangerous unless it is cycled. Water movement is very vital as it creates aeration. As the fish use the water at the bottom, it gets dirty and runs out of fresh oxygen. Water pumps are responsible for ensuring proper water situation.

Many people prefer to use air stones, which are ok. However, they do not move air as much as water does. Even though there will be no bubbles visible; water is still the best way to get enough air for your plants. Most fish will not thrive in poor water conditions. They need fresh water at all times.

It is therefore vital that you have pumps that are in proper working conditions. Another good reason to have proper water movement is so that you can prevent detritus from accumulating.

Dirty water is not only dangerous to the fish but to your environment as well. It is like you are letting the fish stay in a house full of filth. In such a situation, you will not reap the best out of it. You don’t have to sweep the house if there is proper water movement.


One very important factor to put in mind when setting up a water pump is plumbing. The aim is to have water circulating the easiest way possible.

You may need one or more water pumps. They are responsible for moving water in a circuit that extends through the tank to the peripheral back.

The circuit has to be complete for the water to move well. If you don’t want to use power to pump the waters, consider leveraging on gravity. However, you will still need at least one pump.

A water pump is integral in power filters. It helps pump water from the tank to the filter. Gravity can take over from here to return the water.

And if you are using canisters, water enters through gravity. A pump is then needed to get the water back to the tank.


The pulsing currents of breaking waves are vital to many marine invertebrates. In this case, your fish will need such to keep free from settled debris. The waves also bring in food.

Animals that live in rivers are used to strong currents; they are more adaptive to such. Reef animals on the other hand are adaptive to alternating currents.

This is where revolving pumps are needed. They make sure of a constant flow direction. They oscillate like a fan to make this a possibility.

Using timers is necessary. They can utilize two or more pumps, giving you easy time to manage. This will deliver current from different directions.

Air pumps

People use air pumps because of two main reasons. One, they are driven by air to move water through the filters. And two, they produce bubbles, which people love a lot. There is a side effect though. Aeration of the water is increased through the current generated from the rising bubbles.

An air pump is however not necessary. Air bubbles are not basic for aeration despite the name. The effect is the same even with water pumps. Just ensure you get the right pump for your needs.

How to choose a pump?

Choosing the right pump may seem easy. But there are several factors to consider that make the process seem overwhelming.

Here are some tips:

First, consider the volume of water you want moved. For filters and skimmers, volume is rated per hour. In general, go for a turnover of about 6 gallons per hour. It is more recommended for filtration. If you have a 40-gallon therefore, you will need to move 240 gallons per hour.

Then take the head into account as well. It is the height you will need water to be pumped against gravity. This can be very considerable for canisters, more than it is for filters. The output volume goes down extremely fast while the head increases. You will need powerful units to handle that.

The pump parts should be highly corrosive-resistant if you are using salt water. Consider a pump that is rated for salt since it can be used for fresh water as well.
The ideas shared above should give you easy time choosing the right tank.

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