Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying Aquarium Pumps

Aquarium water pumps

If you have a fish tank or an aquarium, one of the most important fish tank supplies you will ever need is a water pump. Aquarium water pumps are important because they help keep the environment safe and healthy for your fish. In an aquarium pump, the water is pushed to a filtration system which cleans it and keeps it fresh. Without a pump, it’s almost impossible to operate a fish tank.

The role of a fish tank air pump is not only restricted to powering and supplying the filtration system. You can also use it to push water to other appliances that you might have attached to the tank. This is because, in operation, the pump creates a current that can push water into other devices like UV sterilizing equipment and wave makers.

You always need to make sure that you have a healthy environment, especially when you’re looking for fish tanks for sale. A healthy environment is one of those important factors that most people take for granted, but it has a significant impact on the aquarium water pumps and how long they will serve you. While heaters, substrates, and filters are important to the health of your tropical fish, the condition of the pump is more important in making sure that the water is circulating properly, which makes sure your fish is healthy. Therefore, this is one of the things that you need to pay attention to when you are planning to get an aquarium.

Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying Aquarium Pumps

There are different types of aquarium pumps available in the market at the moment. You should consider several factors before settling on a specific model. Some of the things you need to look at include the flow rate, the size of the tank, and any other hardware that one might have, which the others don’t. Eventually, you will also have to look at the cost.

  1. Noise Level

One factor you have to really consider when planning to get a pump is the noise level. Even for a mini water pump, most of the pumps available in the market are noisy. You should take this into consideration, especially when you’re planning to have an aquarium in your bedroom. To make sure you don’t have your sleep interrupted, consider getting a quieter model.

  1. Pump Setting

There are two options you have when looking for a water pump. You can either have an in-line water pump or a submersible water pump. These models both offer the same services. However, the only difference is that they are placed in different positions.

  • Submersible Water Pump

This pump runs inside the fish tank, underneath the water. It should be very small in size and takes up less space. Therefore, it’s an ideal option for you if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. Another benefit of using a submersible water pump is that there’s very little DIY involved, so you don’t need to worry about having to drill holes on the fish tank. It’s worth noting that this is also an ideal pump in case you’re worried about noise.

  • In-Line Water Pump

In terms of operation, there’s no difference with the submersible water pump. Perhaps the only difference is that these pumps don’t run inside the tank. You need additional space outside the tank, and you will also have to drill holes on the side of the tank so the tubes can fit in.

Compared to the submersible water pump, this pump doesn’t heat up the water and doesn’t take up space within the tank. They are unobtrusive for your fish and plants. This would be ideal in case you have a very small fish tank. However, these pumps are noisier because they don’t run under the water.

  1. Filtration Type

For a fish aquarium, the filtration type is one of the most important factors you need to consider. You have to be very keen when choosing the best aquarium filter because different pumps are compatible with different filters. When thinking of the type of filter, consider the type of fish you will have in the aquarium. You also need to think about things like the aquatic plants that you will have in the aquarium, and then choose a pump that’s suitable for your budget. In case you’re not certain about something, or the information that comes with the packaging is not enough, check the manufacturer website, or talk to the consultants at the store. It’s very easy to make the wrong choice, so don’t leave anything to chance.

Aquarium water pumps

Aquarium water pumps

Choosing the Correct Size

In terms of size, there are a lot of things you need to look at, especially for fish tank accessories. You need to look at the size of the tank and compare it with the pump you plan to purchase. Remember that the larger the tank is, the more water you will need the pump to push for you.

The size of your aquarium will determine the size of the pump you’re getting. Assuming you’re not using an external solution, get a pump that’s small enough to fit the tank. Many are the times when beginners get a high-pressure pump, only to realize when they get home that it doesn’t fit the tank they have.

Before buying a water pump, it’s important to know the dimensions of the tank. While at it, consider whether you will need plumbing services or not. You also need to think about the corners, and whether they will need special attention. Are you planning to connect the filtration system directly to the water pump or are you planning to connect it anywhere else? Remember that the further away you’re pumping the water, the more power you will need for the pump.

You also need to look at the GPH. This should tell you the amount of water the pump can push every hour. A good pump should push up to 4 times the amount of water the tank you have can hold. Assuming that you have a 55 gallons fish tank, therefore, the pump should have at least 220 GPH.

Size is not just about the size of the tank, it’s also about the size of fish in the tank. The bigger the saltwater fish in your tank, the larger the size it should be. You wouldn’t want to suffocate fish in a very tiny tank, as this would significantly affect their growth. You also have to consider plant life in the aquarium. Perhaps you get a 12v water pump and it pumps water very fast. This would damage the plants, so you might have to reconsider the pump that you’re using in this case.

Flow Rate

Other than the fish tank filter, you also have to consider the rate of flow. Each pump has a specific flow rate. What determines the ideal flow rate for your aquarium? To answer this correctly, you would need to read on the different types of fish and find out more about their unique water requirements.

To give you a head start, it’s important to know that freshwater aquarium fish usually needs a lower circulation of water compared to saltwater fish. This should help you make up your mind.

Special Attachments

Traditional pumps are built for one purpose – pumping water. However, there’s so much more than you will find in the modern pumps you come across in an aquarium store. These are pumps that come with additional equipment, which offer lots of functionalities other than pumping water.

You will find pumps that have a special filtration module, special sterilizers, hardware for regulating temperature, water chillers, chemical skimmers etc. All these are available, but at a higher price than what you would get in a normal water pump.

These days you will even come across water pumps that will drain and refill the aquarium which means that you barely have to spend a lot of time cleaning. Some pumps even have hardware that prepares saltwater in a holding tank, ready for the time you need to change water. You need to decide whether you need a water pump with aquarium accessories that will take care of all these needs, or if you can handle them on your own.

Aquarium water pumps

Aquarium water pumps

Aquarium Water Pumps FAQs

Here you will find answers to most of the questions you have regarding aquarium water pumps. This should make your work easier as you plan to find the appropriate aquarium supplies.

  • Why Do I Need a Water Pump?

There are several uses of aquarium water pumps. However, in this case, they are useful for moving water from or towards the aquarium filter in a saltwater or freshwater aquarium. There are two different types of filtration that you can use, either a wet/dry filtration system, or a pressure filtration system, also referred to as a canister filtration system.

An electric water pump can also be used to push water through different devices like a protein skimmer, UV sterilizer or a wave maker, or you can use them to fill or drain the tank or create currents.

  • What is the Perfect Flow Rate for an Aquarium?

Several factors come into play when determining the perfect flow rate for your aquarium water pump. As a rule of thumb, the pump should move 5 times the size of your gallon every hour. This is important so that you achieve a turnover of 5 times an hour.

A lot of factors come into play when determining this value. These include the presence of sharp turns in the plumbing, head height, the size of the outlet tubing and the in-line canister filters.

  • What is the Correct Tubing Size for a Water Pump?

The tubing size is relative. However, it’s always a good idea to make sure you choose the same size as the fitting threads used on the inlet and outlet pipes. This information is available in the pump specifications. However, make sure you never reduce the inlet size for any pump. On the other hand, you are free to reduce the size of the outlet tubing according to the flow rate.

  • How Do I Choose the Ideal Water Pump?

Before you choose a small water pump over any other pump that you might have come across, there are certain factors that you have to look at. First, you have to determine the number of gallons per hour that the pump is expected to produce.

With that figured out, think about the head height. This is the distance between the highest point you need to pump water to and the pump. With these two figured out, you can then proceed to choose the ideal pump that meets your needs.

After that, adjust the aquarium stand to the size of your pump in order to make concessions for any restrictions that might have come with the pump. To be on the safe side, when buying a pump for your saltwater fish tank, it’s wise to find a pump that’s a size larger than the model you need, to give you enough room to factor in the bends in plumbing. In case you’re buying an in-line canister filter, choose a model two sizes larger to make sure you get the best flow rate for the filter.

  • Do I Have to Buy Accessories Separately or Do They Come with the Pump?

Accessories for your pump like valves, adapters, and hoses will, in most cases, not come included. Since they are important, if not mandatory in setting up your pump, you must buy them separately. Consult the store that you are buying from, to find out whether they have any offers, because some stores usually offer the accessories at discount rates, or provide them as after-sales service.

  • Is There a Special Consideration for Saltwater Pumps?

Not really. Most pumps can be used safely in a saltwater aquarium. However, on some rare occasions, you might need to buy a saltwater shaft seal for a saltwater aquarium.


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Franck Wang
Franck Wang

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