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Have you recently been to a public aquarium and now your children are requesting to keep fish as a pet? Have your children presented the argument that fish do not need much care or maintenance like canines or felines?
Well, they are wrong. Fish Aquariums have to mimic the natural habitat of fish like lakes, rivers, lagoons, and whatnot. And for that, we have to filter, remove salinity, and preserve nutrient cycles so that the fish have enough nutrients to sustain in this artificial water body.
But if your children are adamant, you can do two things show them Finding Nemo or buy them an aquarium. In an aquarium, you will need equipments like the best aquarium powerhead that can circulate the water and create waves just like an ocean or laminar river current.
So after reading this article you will be able to decide which powerhead is best for your aquarium.
First, we will discuss the working and uses of an aquarium powerhead. Then we will move on to list the top ten aquarium powerheads of 2019. After that, you will learn how to place your powerhead inside the aquarium.
Let’s begin by the definition and uses of the aquarium powerhead.
What Is An Aquarium Powerhead, And Why Do You Need It?
Powerhead is a motor that is submerged in water to circulate water. Powerheads are rated based on GPH(Gallon per hour). If your powerhead is rated 100 GPH, it means it will move 100 gallons of water in an hour.
It is an integral part of an aquarium ecosystem; it circulates water that maintains the necessary oxygen level throughout the aquarium. Air stones are also used in an aquarium to maintain oxygen levels, but they are not as efficient as a powerhead.
Other than that they prevent waste generated from aquatic animals and other debris to settle at the bottom of the tank so that you can filter it easily. They also provide food to stationary animals in the aquarium. Water currents and waves also help fish to increase their physical activity.
We all know the disadvantages of stagnant water that it is a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Some algae also prefer stagnant water for flourishing, so your powerhead also prevents the growth of algae.
Some fish can’t survive in cold water, so you have to heat the water by using heaters. But if there is no powerhead, the heater will heat the water that is in front of it so that water will become warmer than required and the rest of the tank will be at a lower temperature. That is where your powerhead comes into play; it helps in maintaining homogeneous temperature throughout the tank.
Water circulation also prevents algae growth because certain algae prefer stagnant or less turbulent water. Algae growth is inversely proportional to aquatic plant growth as it deters the leaves to inhale carbon dioxide.
Some powerheads also come with directional flow diffuser that helps you to direct the flow of the water.
Factors To Consider While Buying the Best Aquarium Powerhead
Size Of Your Aquarium
If you get an aquarium powerhead that is too small and has weak power, it can’t circulate the water in your gigantic 50-gallon aquarium. It would be better to either get rid of it or buy two of them. While purchasing a powerhead, keep the size of your aquarium in your mind, and act accordingly.
Researchers have found that to keep a healthy aquatic environment, the water should be circulated 5 to 6 times in an hour. So if your aquarium’s capacity is 30 gallons, you should go for a 150(30×5) GPH powerhead. Having the rating of your powerhead ten times the capacity of your tank is enough, and you shouldn’t go higher than that because the delicate fish might die in a turbulent flow.
If your tank’s capacity is more than 100 gallons, you should think about investing in 2 powerheads or more as one wouldn’t be enough.
The Flow Rate Of Water And Types Of Fish
Different types of aquariums need different types of flow rates.
If you have a large fish as your pet, your aquarium will need higher flow rates and possibly additional powerheads to get as much fish detritus into the filter as possible, to remove it.
Reef tanks need higher flow so that water can move in all areas of the aquarium. It is essential for Filter Feeders (They are a subgroup of suspension-feeding animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure. Some animals that use this method of feeding are clams, krill, sponges, baleen whales, and many fish.)
If you have live plants in your tank, then the best aquarium powerhead for you will be the one with a lower rating in GPH. Decreasing surface agitation helps hold in the CO2 much needed by plants for photosynthesis. Most plants cannot tolerate being in the middle of the flow stream, and that is the reason rivers have no aquatic plants thriving in them whereas in the deep ocean the flow is negligible and we can see ethereal plants.
Small fish, baby fish, and Betta tanks need a very slow flow rate. They can die of exhaustion, and it can cause unwanted stress for them to swim in the current all the time.
Threshold Sound Levels
Fish use their auditory sensitivities for various vital functions whether it is for attracting mates, scaring off predators and competition, or forming a social cohesion. Various researches have proved that fish are susceptible to noise pollution. Exposure to noise for a prolonged period can cause permanent hearing loss in certain fish, like goldfish.
So you should check for the sound levels of your powerhead to enhance the lifespan of your fish. If your powerhead is broken and making noise, repair it as soon as possible.
Type Of Aquarium
These aquariums are top-rated among hobbyists. The water temperature in these aquariums is close to room temperature i.e. 72 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You neither need any expensive chemicals to add in the aquarium nor any fancy equipment. If you are just starting in this hobby, this is the place to start.
These aquariums have an average temperature of less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical fish you can keep in cold water aquarium is goldfish. The other species are a little expensive.
These aquariums are built for the fish and corals of deep seas and oceans. You have to add salt in the water to make it sustainable for these fish. Marine fish are vulnerable to water conditions and require specific diets. Maintaining these aquariums is very expensive due to the corals.
This type of aquarium is the mixture of the freshwater and marine aquarium. You have to mix freshwater and saltwater. Fish are rare for the brackish aquarium, and the most common is the puffer. Very few people opt for this as the conditions are hard to maintain and the fish are not housed properly before they end up in your aquarium.
If you don’t want to be shocked at your electricity bill, make sure to check the power rating on your aquarium powerhead.
Top 10 Aquarium Powerheads 2019
1. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump
This stylish powerhead tops our list as it is cheaper than its competitors and provides sufficient circulation while consuming less power. It has three variants differentiated based on power – 240 GPH, 425 GPH, and 565 GPH.
A magnet suction cup is attached to the powerhead so that you can stick it on your aquarium glass and position it as per your preference. It comes with a 2 year warranty and is very light and compact weighing 9.9 ounces.
The dimensions of this pump are 3.5 x 2 x 2 (L x B x H). It is suitable for both freshwater or saltwater (marine) tanks.
It is sufficient for a 30-gallon tank but if your tank is larger than that you should go for two pumps, or you should go for variants with a higher power.
2. Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Pump
This pump has three pumps in one- powerhead, utility pump, and newly added circulation pump option. The basic model has a size of 110/500 GPH, but it also has three variants with sizes 160/750 GPH , 230/1000 GPH and 295/1300 GPH.
10 gallon tank: – Just one 110/500 GPH pump will provide sufficient flow as a circulation or under gravel pump.
20 gallon tank: – Two 110/500 GPH or one 160/750 will provide sufficient flow as a circulation or under gravel pump.
30 gallon tank: – One 160/750 GPH will provide sufficient flow, but for under gravel filters that have a capacity of 30+ gallons, two pumps are recommended.
40 gallon tank: – One 230/1000 GPH for circulation, two for under gravel filtration.
50 gallon tank: – One 295/1300 GPH for circulation, two for under gravel filtration.
It is a light-weight pump weighing 1.15 pounds so it will be easier to shift the position of the powerhead in the aquarium.
3. Hydor Koralia Evolution Aquarium Pump
It has the following four sizes 550-600 GPH, 750-850 GPH, 1050-1150 GPH and 1400-1500 GPH, and it is suitable for freshwater as well as marine aquariums.
This powerhead has a new and improved mount featuring vibration absorbing technology and a magnetic suction cup with free positioning capabilities so that you can position the powerhead on your aquarium with no worries.
It is safe to use with wave timers ( A wave timer detects where there is no circulation in the aquarium ).
4. Sunsun JVP Series Submersible Circulation Powerhead Pump
This pump comes in a pack of two. The power range starts from 530 GPH and goes all the way to 800 GPH, which generates ample circulation in the aquarium. You can also opt for the pack of 4 pumps if you have a gigantic tank.
The submersible motor used in the powerhead is oil-free so that the living conditions of fish are not disturbed.
The powerhead has a ball bearing attached to the magnet so that it can rotate 360 degrees and show its effects in every possible direction.
The price is very less as they are providing two pumps at the expense of one. So this is the best aquarium powerhead if you want value for money.
5. Cobalt Aquatics MJ Water Pump Multi-purpose Powerhead
The impeller of the powerhead is designed for extreme conditions and uses high strength nylon infused fin system. The impeller is flexible to save the fin and the pump from pebbles, stones or sand.
It comes with a triple suction pump to ensure the pump doesn’t wobble.
This pump comes with an arsenal which includes fully rotational output, fully sealed intake for internal and external use, universal intake tube, adjustable hanger with cord guide and 6ft power cord, adjustable venturi with silencer, triple suction cup mount, large intake screen for use with sponge, 1/2″ OD output connection and 3/4″ OD intake connection. It makes it suitable for wave makers, protein skimmers, calcium reactors, nano aquariums, under gravel filters and hydroponic applications.
This pump comes in 4 sizes MJ400 (5W | 106 GPH) ,MJ600 (7.5 W | 160 GPH ), MJ900( 8.5 W | 230 GPH) and MJ1200 ( 20 W | 295 GPH).
It comes with 6 feet cord so that you can have the electric socket far enough from the aquarium, reducing the risk of electric shock.
6. MarineLand Penguin Submersible Powerhead Pump For Aquarium
This pump also has a custom air valve that regulates airflow to maximize oxygenation in your aquarium, and the air filter eliminates noise and dust. The intake filter keeps the debris away to protect the impeller and increases surface agitation.
The aquarium is light weighing 12 ounces.
It is ideal for freshwater, marine, and reef aquarium.
7. Rio Plus 2500 HP Aqua Pump
This powerful motor works on the new generation magnetic and is fully submersible in water.
The interior of this pump is ceramic made with ceramic shaft and bearings; this makes this powerhead water-resistant and completely submersible in water.
This pump is a little heavier than the rest weighing 2.9 pounds.
This pump is fit for both freshwater and marine pumps. It is the best aquarium powerhead if you have a large aquarium tank.
8. AquaClear 50 Powerhead
This pump comes in only one size, 270 GPH. This powerhead is designed especially for under gravel filters, and you can also attach it to the filtration accessories of the parent company to have crystal clear water.
The motor is fully submersible and is insulated with epoxy resin to protect itself from harsh freshwater and saltwater conditions.
It also has a switch by which you can reverse the flow of water.
It can also connect to protein skimmers, which are essential for marine aquariums.
You should consider this Italian-made powerhead if you have an aquarium of capacity greater than 30 gallons.
9. Aqueon Aquarium Circulation Pump
It also has an attached easy-lock suction cup which makes installation adjustments and removal very easy.
It has cord holding clips which keep the power cord in place, which decreases the risk of electric shock.
It is a very light pump weighing only 8.8 ounces and has an energy-efficient motor.
So the variety offered in size makes it fit for aquarium of any size.
10. Kedsum 2642 GPH Aquarium Circulation Powerhead Pump
The pump has a 360-degree rotation so that the waves reach every corner of the aquarium and the whole operation is near silent.
It is a heavy pump weighing 2.2 pounds. It has a durable suction pump to make this heavy pump stay in its place.
This pump consumes much more electricity than other pumps and is rated 22 Watts.
If you have a fish pond or tank with large capacity, this is the best aquarium powerhead for you.
How Does An Aquarium Powerhead Works?
An aquarium powerhead is nothing but a water pump that takes water from one side and outputs it to the other side. Powerhead’s motor is usually sealed in a plastic case that makes it fully submersible in water.
The way you place your aquarium powerhead in the aquarium also plays a big role in how well it circulates the water in your aquarium.
Where Should You Put The Powerhead In An Aquarium?
This question must have popped up in your mind so that you can utilize the aquarium powerhead to the fullest. The most vulnerable spots in your freshwater aquarium are the corners because the debris gets stuck behind the plants or decorations. So you can aim your powerhead toward the corners.
The aquatic plants need carbon dioxide to survive; they fulfill this need by absorbing carbon dioxide from the gently flowing water. If the water remains still, a stagnant layer forms over the leaves, this hinders the stomata of the plants, and they eventually die. But if you position your high power powerhead right in the face of the plants they may bend and break.
Another factor is water turbulence at the surface. If water turbulence at the surface is high, it will drive carbon dioxide, and the rate of plant growth will decrease.
Fish in oceans are used to waves, so they need some more turbulence. So in a saltwater aquarium it is advisable to have a high power pump and if you have a large aquarium, use two powerheads instead of one.
An aquarium containing coral reefs and live rocks need a special kind of circulation. Live rocks have a porous surface that contains millions of bacteria that help in regulating the nitrogen cycle. Corals cannot move. So the water movement brings food to them. Water circulation also helps in cleaning the waste particles stuck on corals.
You can direct the pump’s circulation towards the corals but ensure it is not very high as the coral may free from the surface of high rock. If you are a purist, use a wavemaker to create waves intermittently instead of using constant flow.
Best Aquarium Powerheads: Choose Wisely!
An aquarium powerhead makes a glass cuboid filled with water an aquarium.
Powerhead is an indispensable part of an aquarium. As explained earlier, many factors are needed to be considered when you buy one. You have to pair it with the right filtration system so that your water keeps moving and remains clean.
A clean aquarium means a healthy aquarium. It keeps your fish and aquatic plants away from diseases.
A good powerhead can do wonders for your aquarium. They can provide food to the organisms which can’t move and maintain a sustainable oxygen levels so that the aquatic animals thrive.
We hope we have cleared all your doubts regarding aquarium powerhead and helped you in deciding the best aquarium powerhead for your aquarium.