As an individual in the fishkeeping industry, you probably know that it’s important for you to make your fish feel at home and comfortable. Whether that’s installing certain types of plants into your tank or adding certain types of decorations, you should try and make your fish tank resemble the environmental conditions of the body of water that your fish species is originally from.

For instance, you should create similar lighting conditions using certain light bulbs, and you should be using a water heater so that the water remains at the same temperature for your fish. In addition to that, the movement and condition of the water itself should similarly resemble that of your fish species’ natural habitat. More specifically, you should consider installing an aquarium powerhead into your tank.

Aquarium powerheads are essentially water pumps that are able to create a water flow throughout your fish tank. These devices are able to stimulate various different water conditions from a variety of locations, including water currents from lakes, rivers, or even oceans. Given the effects of powerheads, you should purchase one.

For your benefit, I’ve put together a list of five of the best aquarium powerheads on the market. In addition to that, I’ve also included some information that you may find helpful while you’re deciding on which product to purchase.

Different Types of Aquarium Powerheads

Propeller powerheads

Powerheads that have a propeller are able to produce water currents by the propeller rotating the water, creating movements that resemble water when wind hits it outdoors. These powerheads are generally the most common and they’re energy-efficient. Not only that, but they have the ability to create stronger water currents than most other powerheads on the market.

Jet stream powerheads

Powerheads that have a jet stream are usually less expensive than other types, but they don’t create as strong or as accurate of a water current as other types. They involve a single jet stream being released from the device, resulting in the water around the stream moving and creating a current overall. The strength of the jet stream is adjustable in order to offer varying current effects.

Cross-flow powerheads

Cross-flow powerheads are relatively new to the market, and they’re the ones that I’ve used the most in the past for my aquariums. They involve a cross-flow that’s able to deliver multiple different flow patterns. Because of that, they’re able to produce the most accurate and realistic water current results for your tank overall. It’s more natural because there are more fluctuations, rather than a consistent and constant water movement pattern (1).

Advantages of Using Aquarium Powerheads

More oxygen

Powerheads are able to not only create water movement within your fish tank, but they’re also able to pump more oxygen into your tank. This is beneficial because then your fish can breathe more effectively. Given that, they’re able to promote the healthy growth of both young fish as well as younger-adult fish.

Prevent illness

Since powerheads move the water around in the fish tank, they’re able to also move around harmful and unwanted substances in the tank. Because of that, they create the opportunity for the water filter in the tank to abduct the harmful substances. Not only do powerheads keep your fish healthy, but they also keep your plants healthy, since they allow movement in the water rather than having deadspots.

Less water changes

Powerheads create movement in the tank that can lengthen the amount of time that you can last without having to change your tank water. This is because the powerhead is able to keep the water in your tank cleaner for long. It helps the filter and water conditioner in your tank do their jobs, and it prevents the risk of dead spots or harmful substance accumulating in your aquarium (2).

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Powerhead

Aquarium size

You should consider what size your fish tank is because you’ll want to find a powerhead that’s able to effectively create a current that reaches the entirety of the tank. If you have a larger tank that holds a larger amount of water, then you’ll want to find a tank that’s able to accommodate for the amount of water and is able to create a current strong enough to move the water altogether.

Not only that, but it’s important that you find a powerhead that’s able to move all of the water in the tank because you don’t want any fish waste or other unwanted substances staying in the corners of the tank.

Noise

Since you’ll likely have the powerhead on 24/7, you should make sure that it’s not going to produce a sound that annoys you all of the time. This is especially important if you’re planning on putting your aquarium in a quiet environment, like your bedroom or an office setting.

Aquarium type

It’s important that you consider what type of aquarium you have before you buy a certain powerhead because some powerheads aren’t suitable for particular aquariums. For instance, some powerheads aren’t produced with a material that’s suitable for saltwater. Not only that, but you won’t want a powerhead that releases strong currents if you have a large amount of plants in your tank. The stronger currents produce the effects that could potentially harm the plants if they’re pushed around to much.

Water flow rate

You should consider what the water flow rate of each powerhead is, since this will ultimately determine how strong of currents the device is able to produce. The water flow rate of powerheads are usually measured in gallons per hour, and the higher the number is, the faster the flow will be from the pump. This will ultimately create a stronger current in your tank. The size of your aquarium should reflect the velocity of the GPH that’s needed to create the best environment for your fish.

Placement

You should consider the location of the certain aquarium powerhead that you have, since the location will ultimately determine how effect and natural the currents will be. You can effectively determine where to place your powerhead based on the size of your fish tank.

More specifically, if you have a smaller aquarium then you may want to use two small powerheads and install them on each side of the aquarium. Placing multiple different powerheads around certain positions of the tank is helpful because it will create more natural water currents (3).

Best Aquarium Powerheads

1. Hydor Koralia Evolution Aquarium Circulation Pump

Product link: https://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Evolution-Aquarium-Circulation-1050-1150/dp/B0036RXO5M?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIIN2OQGHQLAYYZ2A&tag=fishtanksetup-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B0036RXO5M

This circulation pump is highly recommended for you because you have the ability to choose a specific water flow rate, since it offers various different ones. For instance, you can choose between purchasing a Hydor pump whose water flow rate is 550 to 600 GPH, 750 to 850 GPH, 1,050 to 1,150 GPH, or even 1,400 to 1,500 GPH. Given that, you can choose which pump will work perfectly for your specific tank.

Furthermore, this pump is recommended for you because it features vibration absorbing technology that helps to limit the amount of noise that it makes. Additionally, this product comes with a magnetic suction cup that gives the pump the capability of being installed practically anywhere.

Pros:

  • Offers various water flow rates to choose from
  • Energy-efficient
  • Features suction cup installation

Cons:

  • Customers complain that it dangerously releases small bursts of voltage into your tank

2. Maxspect Gyre Aquarium Pump and Controller

Product link: https://www.amazon.com/Maxspect-Gyre-XF-230-Kit-Controller/dp/B01LYWVJAE?SubscriptionId=AKIAIIN2OQGHQLAYYZ2A&tag=fishtanksetup-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B01LYWVJAE

You should check out this Maxspect Gyre pump because it features a controller that gives you the ability to control the workings of the pump without requiring you to interact with the pump itself. The controller comes with an LED display that’s easy to read, and the controller also come with built-in timer features that offer you the ability to automatically turn on the powerhead at certain times of the day.

Not only that, but this powerhead is able to be setup into different modes, which I think is beneficial if you have a tank that has various different organisms in it. This pump has a water movement mode as well as a link-up mode. Since this product exists as a pump kit, it offers varying results for your tank, so you can use this pump for multiple different functions.

Pros:

  • Equipped with a controller
  • Features a built-in timer
  • Sold as a kit, so it offers various functions

Cons:

  • More expensive than other powerheads on this list

3. Aqua Clear Powerhead

Product link: https://www.amazon.com/AquaClear-Powerhead-Gallons-Hour-Listed/dp/B001EUL5OA?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIIN2OQGHQLAYYZ2A&tag=fishtanksetup-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B001EUL5OA

You’re advised to check out this Aqua Clear powerhead because it’s able to increase the water flow rate so that it’s able to travel through gravel substrate. By doing so, this pump is able to improve the filtration that occurs through the substrate. This pump has a maximum water flow rate of 270 GPH, so it’s most recommended for smaller tanks.

Moreover, this pump is able to offer silent operation, so you can effectively place your aquarium in your office as well as your bedroom without having to worry about the powerhead waking you up or bothering you.

Pros:

  • Lifts water and moves it, so it filters through the substrate material
  • Affordable
  • Silent operation

Cons:

  • Only has a GPH of 270

4. Tunze USA LLC Nano Stream Propeller Pump

Product link: https://www.amazon.com/Tunze-USA-6055-000-Electronic-1450-Gallon/dp/B00C6A3IEC?SubscriptionId=AKIAIIN2OQGHQLAYYZ2A&tag=fishtanksetup-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00C6A3IEC

This Tunze USA LLC propeller pump is classified as the best aquarium powerhead because it’s suitable for an aquarium that has up 1,450 gallons in it. You have the ability to electronically control the speed of this pump, so you can effectively provide water currents that are best suitable for your tank.

This circulation pump is able to operate quietly for your convenience, and it also has 3D adjustability, which is highly recommended if you want to easily control the speed as well as the direction of your pump. Furthermore, this powerhead can be easily installed, since it has a strong magnet mount as well as a silence clamp.

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Strong installation
  • Suitable for tanks up to 1,450 gallons

Cons:

  • More expensive than some other powerheads on the market

5. Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Pump for Aquariums

Product link: https://www.amazon.com/MarineLand-Maxi-Jet-1200-Pump-Aquariums/dp/B004IMPOJ8?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIIN2OQGHQLAYYZ2A&tag=fishtanksetup-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B004IMPOJ8

You’re suggested to check out this pro pump for your fish tank because you have the ability to choose what specific water flow rate you want. More specifically, you can choose between having a water flow rate of up to 500 GPH, 750 GPH, 1,000 GPH, or even up to 1,300 GPH. Given that, you have the ability to choose the best water flow rate for your specific aquarium.

Furthermore, this powerhead pump is able to operate as three pumps in one device. For instance, it’s capable of acting as either a powerhead pump, a utility pump, or even a circulation pump. It’s suitable and works well with many undergravel substrate filters as well, so you don’t have to purchase a separate filter that’s able to adequately filter out all of the unwarned and harmful substances.

Pros:

  • Acts as three pumps in one: powerhead, utility, or circulation pump
  • Available in a variety of different water flow rates
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Difficult to install

Conclusion

Overall, each of the powerhead pumps included on this list give you the ability to adequately create water currents in your tank that resemble those in natural bodies of water. Not only that, but all of these powerhead pumps are able to create the conditions needed in order for your tank filter to successfully remove any unwanted and harmful substances and particles from the water. Because of that, you should purchase one of the powerhead from this list.

Since there are so many different features to base your decision on, your buying process can still be difficult. Consequently, you’re most recommended to purchase product #5: Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Pump for Aquariums. This pump can act as three pumps in one, since it’s able to create similar conditions to both powerhead pumps, utility pumps as well as circulation pumps. Not only that, but this powerhead is also listed as the cheapest powerhead pump product on the list. Given that, you should purchase the best aquarium powerhead, listed as the Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Pump for Aquariums on the market.

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