17 Best Aquarium Wave Makers


I often wondered how to make the aquarium more comfortable for my fishy friends.

Basically, I wanted to ensure that they do not feel that they are far away from their natural habitat.

While surfing the web the other day, I got to know about aquarium wave makers on a fish keeping website and the prospect excited me.

Therefore, I decided to find out everything about these units.

The whole idea of placing wave makers in aquariums is to create artificial waves to imitate an environment ideal for marine life.

Let me tell you everything there is to know about aquarium wavemakers.

Contents show

List of the Best Aquarium Wavemakers

I found these 5 to be the best out of the 19:

Product Flow rate (GPH) Dimension  
Hydor Koralia Evolution Aquarium Circulation Pump 1050-1150 6 x 3 x 3 inches
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Jebao OW Wavemaker
(My Pick)
185-2245 7.3 x 5.3 x 2.8 in
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Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit
132-660 6.3 x 5.7 x 3.7 inches
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Sicce Voyager 3 Power Stream Pump 1200 7.8 x 4.8 x 4 inches
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Tunze USA 6045.000 Nano Stream Propeller Pump 400-1175 3.7 x 1.5 x 2.7 inches
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Aquarium Wavemakers Detailed Reviews

1. Hydor Koralia Evolution Aquarium Circulation Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Hydor
  • Flow rate: 1050-1150 GPH
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Dimension: 6 x 3 x 3 inches
  • Suitable for freshwater and marine aquariums

Hydro is quite a well-known name in the world of aquarium care.

You can trust the brand to offer nothing but the best, and it does not disappoint with this aquarium circulation pump.

With each channel capable of handling around 100W, this unit is provided with quite a lot of appealing features.

The best thing is; it is overly priced. Its price is quite reasonable, considering the features and functionality that it offers.

 Things i really like
  • Setting up the unit is quite easy. Even beginners will be able to handle it with ease.
  • The unit remains in the position that you put it owing to the magnetic suction cup and the technology of absorbing vibration that it is provided with.
  • It offers a quiet operation ensuring that you can use it with ease even if the tank is in your bedroom.
  • It is provided with a compact design and thus does not take up much space in the aquarium
  • Cleaning it is quite easy. The ball joint can be adjusted directionally, and the head can also be removed for the purpose.
  • The customer support service is efficient and helpful. Thus, you can reach out to them in case you encounter a problem.
 Things i don’t like
  • The unit makes a clicking sound when turned on.
  • It only offers two water movement programs

2. Jebao OW Wavemaker

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Jebao
  • Size: 0-25W
  • Dimension: 7.3 x 5.3 x 2.8 in
  • Eight different flow rates in the range of 185-2245 GPH
  • Provided with a wired controller and magnet mount

If you are looking for a wave maker for beginner, this is among the best options you will come across.

This entry-level wavemaker is highly affordable.

There is more; you would not need to buy any other accessories with this unit.

The 0-25W wavemaker is adequate for 75 gallons or smaller tank.

You can change the pulse speed of the unit for changing the size of the waves. It offers you complete control of your tank.

 Things i really like
  • There are variable modes, thereby ensuring that you get complete control of the tank.
  • A lock mode is present, which prevents the control knob from working. Thus, you can be sure that the wake maker will only perform the changes that you want.
  • The shaft is constructed from ceramic, which makes it highly durable.
  • The waves produced are gentle and spread across a wider area instead of focused power-heads.
  • It offers quiet operation.
 Things i don’t like
  • The customer support service is not offered outside their country
  • The sensors for night mode cannot be relied on as they are somewhat flimsy

3. Current USA eFlux Wave Pump Kit

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Current USA
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Flow rate: 132-660 GPH
  • Maximum capacity for saltwater tank: 40 gallons
  • Maximum capacity for freshwater tank: 65 gallons
  • Dimension: 6.3 x 5.7 x 3.7 inches

This is one of those wavemakers that give you complete control of the tank.

This eFlux wave pump is provided with the feature of remote control that makes handling it quite effortless.

Furthermore, it allows you to control the water flow speed.

The circulation patterns produced are quite similar to natural reef currents making the fish feel at home.

It also offers pulsing wave action with the pattern comprising of alternating speeds from 0.2 to 7 seconds.

 Things i really like
  • It is provided with a magnetic mount that makes placement easy
  • The wireless controller makes it quite simple for you to set the unit up. The wave settings are pre-programmed, making things all the more easier.
  • It is provided with a feed mode that ensures that your fish food does not get pulled in the water flow.
  • It is capable of controlling multiple water pumps
 Things i don’t like
  • The unit makes use of proprietary power plugs
  • You can use this controller only with current water pumps

4. Sicce Voyager 3 Power Stream Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Sicce USA
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Flow rate: 1200 GPH
  • Power: 10W
  • Dimension: 7.8 x 4.8 x 4 inches
  • Suitable for tanks with a capacity of up to 125 gallons

Whether it is a marine aquarium, a reef tank or freshwater, this stream pump is suitable for all.

Thus, you can purchase it without having to worry about whether it would be suitable for your tank.

There is more; the unit is quite discrete.

Owing to the unique support that it is provided with, you can place the model on the side or back glass.

This ensures that you do not have to worry about the look of your tank being spoiled owing to messy cables.

It features feed mode and night mode.

 Things i really like
  • The unit is highly durable. Indeed some last longer than two years
  • The magnetic mounts are strong, allowing you to position the pump as per your convenience. You can place it vertically or horizontally.
  • It offers you control of the tank by providing the option of narrow and wide water flow
  • It does not produce any noise, ensuring that you do not have to worry about causing any disturbance.
 Things i don’t like
  • It is a tad bit bulky
  • The variety offered by the pump in terms of settings is limited.

5. Tunze USA 6045.000 Nano Stream Propeller Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Tunze USA LLC
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Flow rate: 400 to 1,175 GPH
  • Power consumption: 5 to 7W
  • Cable length: 6.7 ft.
  • Dimension: 3.7 x 1.5 x 2.7 inches
  • Compatible with tanks with a capacity of up to 135 gallons

Quite a lot of appealing features form part of this circulation pump which gives it an edge over other options available on the market.

The diameter of this water pump is merely 2.75 inches, and yet its power is quite impressive.

To top it; it is energy efficient as well.

Three-Dimensional water flow is created with the unit owing to the spherical shape it is provided with and the flow adjustment it offers.

 Things i really like
  • Since a large strainer is used for the intake, you do not have to worry about your fish getting caught in the impeller.
  • The water flow is aimed easily with the magnetic holder, ensuring that the pump remains securely in place. Thus, attachment is not something you will face problem with.
  • It offers quiet operation.
  • The motor is quite reliable and offers an impressive flow rate.
  • The power cable is long, which makes using it quite convenient.
 Things i don’t like
  • The unit is not compatible with controllers.

6. IceCap 3K Gyre Generation Aquarium Flow Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: IceCap
  • Five flow modes
  • Power: 100-240V
  • Suitable for tanks with capacity from 25 to 100 gallons

A constant flow of water is required to maintain a healthy reef aquarium. Few wave makers manage to produce the desired results.

This aquarium flow pump is just what you need to ensure optimal coral growth.

Using cross-flow technology, the pump circulates a significant amount of water throughout the tank.

At the same time, it does not create high pressure, ensuring that aquatic life is not harmed.

There is more; you can program the pump to ramp up and down over a period of 24 hours, thus allowing it to mimic the tidal flow patterns.

 Things i really like
  • Placement of the pump is quite convenient owing to the magnetic mounts that form part of it.
  • Provided with an OLED display that allows easy programming and set up of the unit.
  • Pre-programmed with five water movement modes including pulsing, constant speed, gradual pulsing, alternating Gyre and Random pulse giving you the freedom to decide the mode as per your requirement.
  • A feeding timer forms part of it during which the water flow is reduced, allowing you to feed the corals with ease.
 Things i don’t like
  • The pump creates slight noise, which can be distracting

7. Mini Polario 10ML Low Voltage Water Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Polario
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Flow rate: 1500 to 2600 GPH
  • Power: 25W
  • Dimension: 2.1 x 2 x 2 in
  • Suitable for tanks of capacity within the range of 40 to 100 gallons

This highly energy efficient water pump will ensure that you get your desired results with ease.

The unit is equipped with bi-directional outputs for stimulating the natural waves. Thus, your fish feels at home with turbine dual action.

The best thing is, it is pre-programmed to increase the flow gradually.

The water flow increases by 50% in the first five seconds, 75% in the next five seconds and then 100%. This makes sure that the fish gets time to adjust to the flow.

 Things i really like
  • The wavemaker is powerful and ensures that the fish gets a close to natural habitat environment
  • It offers quiet operation, ensuring you can use it without any problems
  • It is provided with a solid mounting magnet which makes placement quite easy and convenient.
  • It is energy efficient, and thus you do not have to worry about your power bills
 Things i don’t like
  • The cycle of wake maker is not adjustable

8. Maxspect Gyre XF-230 Kit – Aquarium Pump & Controller

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Maxspect
  • Weight: 1.4 lb.
  • Flow Rate: 2100-2300 GPH
  • Power: 8-35 W
  • Dimension: 12 x 8 x 4 inches
  • Suitable for tanks with a capacity of up to 25 -100 gallons

If you want to make sure that you get an aquarium pump which manages to impress you with its performance, this one will not let you down.

Provided with an innovative design, the Maxspect aquarium pump does not use the propeller nozzle flow technology.

It works via the cross-flow technology and manages to create a near natural environment for the fish.

 Things i really like
  • The high flow rate ensures that it can be used with a variety of tanks with ease. The flow rate also allows movement of quite a lot of water.
  • The power is adjustable. Thus, if you have a smaller tank, you can reduce the power as per your requirement.
  • It consumes quite less energy compared to other options, which makes it a cost-effective pump.
  • It also includes a magnetic mount, controller, and spare parts, among other things, thus ensuring that you do not have to worry about additional purchases.
 Things i don’t like
  • It is a tad bit expensive
  • Cleaning it can be difficult
  • Limited programming features are offered.

9. Flexzion Aquarium Circulation Pump Wave Maker

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Flexzion
  • Flow rate: 800 GPH
  • Length of power cord: 5 ft.
  • Voltage: 110V
  • Power: 6W
  • Dimension: 7 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Suitable for tanks with a capacity of up to 60 gallons

If you do not want a bulky pump and yet are unwilling to compromise on the flow rate and functionality, this one might just be right for you.

This circulation pump is suitable for both marine and freshwater tanks.

It is a submersible water pump that ensures that a wide and gentle flow is created.

Furthermore, it ensures that the effect is visible even in the areas of the tank that are hard to access.

It will improve the oxygenation of the aquarium, giving your fish a new lease of life.

 Things i really like
  • The circulation within the tank is amplified owing to the two pumps that form part of it thereby ensuring extensive spread effects
  • Installation of the unit is quite straightforward. The pump is rotated by the ball joint allowing optimal circulation control.
  • The positioning of the tank can easily be adjusted via the magnetic mount on the bottom of the pump. The magnet is coated for preventing corrosion and can safely be submerged.
 Things i don’t like
  • The thickness of the glass of your tank might compromise on the effectiveness of the magnet.

10. Uniclife Controllable Wavemaker

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Uniclife
  • Flow Rate: 3400 GPH
  • Voltage: 110 -240 V
  • Power consumption: 40 watts
  • Dimension: 4 x 3.1 x2.76 inches
  • Suitable for tanks with capacity within the range of 60 to 150 gallons
  • Can be used with marine, freshwater and tropical aquariums

There are quite a lot of appealing features that form part of this wave maker, putting up a compelling case in its favor.

For one thing, it features adjustable flow speed and frequency control. This ensures that you get to control the environment of your tank with ease.

It is quite easy to use, and you can create multiple sea waves with it without any problems.

 Things i really like
  • It is provided with a compact design, which makes it easier to handle and also makes it discrete.
  • The power is adequate for moving a significant amount of water.
  • You can create a sea wave via the pump with the adjustable flow speed and frequency control, ensuring that your fish gets a natural environment.
  • It is provided with a strong magnet suction pump with 360-degree rotation, ensuring that placement is not a problem for you.
 Things i don’t like
  • In order to turn off the unit, you will need to unplug it.
  • It needs to be unplugged if you want to turn it off.

11. Icecap 1K Gyre Aquarium Flow Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: IceCap
  • Weight: 3.51 pounds
  • Flow rate: 1,000 GPH
  • Power; 4 to 18W
  • 8 inches long
  • Features five flow modes
  • Suitable for tanks with a capacity of 20 to 50 gallons

If you want a pump capable of handling a small aquarium effectively, this flow pump is one that would not let you down.

With five flow modes, you can be assured that you will get the results you are looking for. The five modes include the constant speed mode, pulsing, gradual pulsing, and random and alternating gyre mode.

To top this, it also has a 10 minutes feed mode which ensures that the water movement does not compromise on the feeding of your fish.

 Things i really like
  • Provided with a magnetic mount that makes it easier for you to install the pump
  • The magnet has a sticking coating to prevent movement
  • A single side cap is included to make it easier for you to use it with nano tanks
  • With 24-hour program cycle, you can mimic the natural environment of the fish effectively
  • Does not make a lot of noise
 Things i don’t like
  • The control box might be a bit tricky to set up.

12. Tunze Turbelle Nanostream Wavemaker Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Tunze USA LLC
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Flow rate: 250 to 1,450 GPH
  • Power consumption: 4 to 18W
  • Cable length: 3m
  • Dimension: 3.7 x 1.5 x 2.7 inches
  • Suitable for tanks with a capacity of 10 to 135 gallons

This nano stream circulation pump has quite a lot of features that give it an edge among other circulation pumps.

With a diameter of merely 2.75 inches, this unit offers powerful performance and strong flow rate.

There is more;

It is energy efficient as well.

Furthermore, the strainer is large, ensuring that nothing gets caught in the impeller.

 Things i really like
  • Offers a quiet performance ensuring that no distractions are caused
  • Is quite easy to set up
  • Provides a powerful and strong performance
  • The compact size makes sure that you can use it for small tanks with ease.
  • The Strong Magnet Mount with Silence Clamp makes it easier for you to install the unit.
 Things i don’t like
  • It is not compatible with controllers

13. SONGJOY Wave Maker Aquarium Circulation Pump

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 Key Facts
  • Brand: Songjoy
  • Weight: 1.76 lb.
  • Flow rate: 3170 GPH
  • Power: 24 watts
  • Voltage: 110 – 120 V
  • Length of Power Cord: 4.9 ft.
  • Dimension: 6.2 x 3.2 x 3.9 inches
  • Suitable for the length of 4 to 8ft fish tank

This circulation pump manages to impress with the efficiency that it offers.

It is apparent that the unit has been designed to offer optimal versatility.

It can be used in aquariums, gardens and ponds with ease.

This is not all;

You can use it for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

Everything from the motor to the performance reeks of quality.

 Things i really like
  • Provided with a highly efficient motor that offers the fish an environment close to its natural habitat
  • The motor runs quietly, and you do not have to worry about vibration, thereby ensuring that your fish are optimally comfortable at all times.
  • The ceramic shaft is corrosion resistant which makes it quite durable
  • The fence design makes sure that you do not have to worry about the safety of your fish being compromised
 Things i don’t like
  • The unit is not provided with a controller

14. Jebao – Aquarium Wavemaker Pump with Controller

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Jebao’s Aquarium Wavemaker Pump with a Controller is very different from everything listed below. Instead of it producing waves automatically, the controller allows you to be able to choose what type of flow rates you want to have in your tank. The control lets you determine the ideal speed, flow, and wave pattern for the aquarium. It has 8 different flow rates to choose from. At night time, the pump automatically slows down so that your fish can sleep soundly.

One of the best things about this wave pump is that it is compatible with saltwater and freshwater tanks. Depending on the flow rate, the gallons per hour range from 1,000 to 5,300. This device also uses a magnetic mount. Its extra long low voltage power cord is very convenient and useful.


  • This item is very diverse because it can be used in saltwater and freshwater.
  • With 8 different settings to choose from, this wave maker puts you in control.
  • The gallons per hour fluctuates from 1,000 to 5,300 depending on the setting.
  • At night the pump slows down so the fishes can sleep without being disturbed.


  • It can be little loud at times because the magnet lacks the rubber to absorb any vibrations.

15. SunSun – Wavemaker

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SunSun’s Wavemaker is very similar to their Powerhead Watermaker product. The only difference is that they are designed a little differently. This model comes with two wave makers instead of one. Also, these are more powerful than the Powerhead Watermaker listed above. This accessory can also rotate in a 360-degree motion. With two wave makers working together, it promotes the health of marine life faster. this particular wavemaker can generate more natural and gentle waves in seconds.

This can be used on many different types of aquariums. The maximum it can be used on is approximately 200 gallons. Both the wave makers work together to produce 2,600 gallons per hour. Each can generate 1,300 gallons per hour.


  • Improves environment and health quicker because each wave maker generates 1,300 gallons per hour.
  • This item can cover more ground because it comes with two seperate wave makers.
  • Both of the wave makers can articulate in a 360-degree motion to keep a gentle and consistent wave flow.
  • Only using 12 watts, this will save a lot of energy usage overtime.


  • The materials used to make this item is very cheaply made.
  • Sometimes this wave maker can make really loud and distracting vibrations.

16. Tetra – Whisper Aquarium Air Pump


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The Tetra Whisper Aquarium Air Pump is mainly used for 60-gallon aquariums. Out of all of the pumps that are included on this list, this one is the quietest wave maker. It includes a couple sound dampening chambers that rid of any loud turbulence. It creates soft waves but does not distract others with any unwanted loudness.

The dome-shaped body evens out the sound wave frequencies to reduce noise. Its dome shape also allows maximum airflow. The Whisper Air Pump has rubber feet on the bottom that helps prevent water from reflecting and bouncing off of any surface that may be in the way. The suspended motor reduces all unnecessary vibrations. As a bonus, the thick glass walls will insulate any extra motor noise.


  • It is known to have a very quiet and strong motor.
  • The dome-shaped appearance allows maximum airflow and reduces loud vibrations by leveling out all frequencies.
  • The rubber feet helps keep the reflection of the water off of many surfaces.


  • This wave maker is only good for tanks that can hold up to 60 gallons of water.

17. Mascarello – Circulation Pump Wave Maker


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Mascarello’s Circulation Pump Wave Maker is also a dual wave maker except this one is ideal for smaller tanks. Many have stated that this item is reliable. The total flow rate is 1,600 gallons per hour. It delivers smooth and soft waves that smaller fish love. It uses also uses magnetic mount to stay in place. It is highly recommended that the max water for the tank is 120 gallons for the wave maker to be super effective. The 360-degree rotation can be modified so that it can go in any direction. Although it is only using 12 watts, it is very powerful. Any debris or dust do not stand a chance.


  • A magnetic mound that is sturdy, strong, and can be placed anywhere.
  • It is not too overwhelming powerful but it does not underperform either. It is just right.
  • Saves a lot of energy by only using 12 watts of power.


  • There is a possibility of it being a little bigger and chunkier than expected.

18. SunSun-Powerhead Wave Maker


SunSun’s Power Wave Maker is absolutely great for saltwater type aquariums. It uses a pivoting ball joint to be able to move in a natural 360-degree motion. It creates consistent waves throughout the entire aquarium. It will make it hard for debris to settle in one place for too long because the water will always be moving. The persistent motions will enhance the oxygen levels. It gives the marine life a healthier and cleaner environment to live in.

The motor is completely safe to be inside the tank and can produce 528 gallons per hour. It will not harm any living species as it is oil, chemical, and electrical free. When using this item, the convenience of the suction cup located at the base makes installing it effortlessly. The suction cup works best on any glass surface. With the suction cup mount, it needs to be moved manually from inside the tank.


  • Amplifies the oxygen levels, enabling marine life to embrace a healthier environment.
  • Wave maker pivots in a 360-degree motion disturbing any debris.
  • The suction cup sitting at the base holds very well on glass surfaces.


  • Few have reported unexpected jams after a couple of uses.

19. Neptune Systems – WAV Pump


Neptunes Systems’ WAV Pump comes in a two pack and can move up to about 4,000 gallons per hour. This one is by far the most popular one in the market. It is known for its reliability, quietness, and much more! This wave pump has many different random flow settings that are controlled by an external control and can be purchased separately. It can sense when something is nearby and when it is being taken out of the water so there is no need to power it down because it automatically slows down.

The WAV Pump has been tested in the lab many times to perfect the quietest motor. It has a wireless connectivity option called 1LINK. It is very simple to use and easy to set up. You can control the pumps productivity from your smartphone or tablet.


  • It can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet through wireless connectivity.
  • The wave maker has automatic sensors that can detect anything that is nearby.
  • Slows down automatically at night to let fish sleep soundly.
  • It does not need to be powered down before taken out of the water.


  • There is no ball joint so it cannot rotate in a 360-degrees motion.

20. Ecotech Marine – Vortech Wireless QuietDrive Pump


Ecotech Marine Vortech Wireless QuietDrive Pump focuses on removing all unneeded noise from the motor. It has over 6 operation modes that work continuously around the clock. A couple of modes are the Wave Auto-Tune, Feed Mode & Night Mode.

This pump also has a wireless connectivity option that is compatible with the EcoSmart Live and ReefLink program. This allows the wave maker to be controlled by an independent device to add convenience. The wirelessness makes it safer for marine life because there are no wires in the tank. Also, It helps to prevent random electrical discharge in the tank. This water pump is able to move 1,500 gallons per hour while saving a lot of power. It only uses 8-18 watts depending on the setting applied. The QuietDrive Pump can withstand from 2.5-50+ gallons.


  • QuietDrive Pump focuses on taking the noise out of the motor to ensure quietness.
  • Has over 6+ different operation modes that can be controlled and adjusted to ideal environment.
  • The wireless connectivity guarantees tank safety and prevents wires from being in the tank.


  • It does not have a magnetic or suction cup mount that can keep it in one place.
  • It is not able to rotate in a 360-degree motion.

What is an Aquarium Wave Maker?

You cannot expect the fish to remain stagnant in the aquarium.

It will move continuously, and this movement would create some type of waves in the water.

The natural habitat of fish like lakes or seas is ideal because the fish can enjoy the waves as it eases their movement.

If you want your fish to feel at home in the aquarium, this movement needs to be replicated.


You are the one who decided to take responsibility of the fish.

And thus, you need to ensure that they are taken care of in the best possible manner.

Providing them with a near-natural environment is a vital step in that direction.

This is where you will find an aquarium wavemaker to be highly useful.

A wavemaker constitutes a power head that functions as a pump for creating waves in the tank water.

Here’s the thing; you will find plenty of models on the market. Make sure that you opt for something that is suitable for your fish.

What are the types of aquarium pumps available on the market?

Aquarium care is crucial if you want to make sure that your precious fish thrives.

Certain accessories play a vital role in this, and you will find water pumps to be of immense help.

Keep one thing in mind:

All pumps are not meant for creating waves and water movement.

Different types of pumps are available, and you need to make sure that you choose the one that is capable of providing the results you are looking for.

#1 Filtration pumps

The purpose of the filtration pump is providing water pumping of high pressure.

The high pressure is required for overcoming the back pressure and resistance that the filter media and filter cartridges cause.

Furthermore, the high pressure also enables the water to be pumped back into the tank.

A filtration pump cannot be used circulate the water owing to the high pressure.

There is more;

It consumes a high amount of energy for operation.

#2 Circulation Pumps

On the surface, you might think that circulation pumps are more or less the same as filter pumps.

However, there are distinguishing differences between the two.

Circulation pumps are capable of moving the same amount of water that filter pumps handle.

But they do not need to produce high pressure.

Thus, they have a smaller motor, and the impeller also features a low-pressure design.

Contrary to filtration pumps, the purpose of circulation pumps is merely pumping the water to circulate it.

Most of these pumps are compact and can be mounted inside the aquarium.

#3 Powerheads

These units also produce water flow of high pressure like filter pumps but are provided with a compact design.

A narrow stream of high-pressure water is produced by the Powerheads.

Some of the Powerheads are provided with diverters to lessen the high-pressure effect.

Powerheads are the ideal choice if you want to blow water behind a stack of live rock or at the front of tank glass.

There is a catch;

Powerheads cannot be turned off and on like wavemakers.

They are provided with magnetic impellers which might pose some problems at times and can interfere with the magnetic field of the motor.

#4 Wavemakers

These are specially designed water pumps that combine the high-volume and low-pressure water pumps with the feature of digital controls, regulating the behavior of the pump.

These pumps are provided with large impellers for pushing the water under low pressure.

Here’s the thing; it is up to you to decide whether you want the wavemakers to run all the time or you would prefer creating timed surges of water.

How Does an Aquarium Wave Maker Work?

It is natural to be curious about what the wavemaker is all about and how it functions.

The wavemakers perform their function by combining high water volumes with low pressure, creating waves in the aquarium.

More often than not, the equipment can be controlled via a digital controller, thereby giving you optimal control of the type of wave created.

An impeller also forms part of the wavemaker.

Its purpose is pumping out the high volume of water, which is under low pressure.

Owing to this, waves are created which mimic the motion of water in oceans.

The thing is;

The type of waves that can be created and the extent of control you get depend on the model you opt for.

Why should I get a wavemaker?

Is a wavemaker really necessary? Why should I buy one?  Are the results worth the money?

These are some of the questions that often cross minds.

The point to remember is that if you want your fish to get the best possible care, a wavemaker will prove to be valuable.

#1 Familiar environment

Think about it; don’t you feel homesick when you leave your country for a long time?

Why would the fish be any different?

You have taken them away from their natural habitat.

If you want them to thrive, you need to ensure that they feel at home, and this is where wave makers help a great deal.

#2 Beneficial for coral and invertebrates

The wavemakers are useful even for those who have a reef tank with invertebrates.

It is not possible for the invertebrates and coral to move towards the nutrients.

Thus, you need to find a way to make the nutrients reach them.

For this, the water movement is mandatory.

#3 Elimination of dead spots

Dead spots refer to those areas in water where water movement does not occur.

The problem is, such areas can be harmful to the fish as fresh oxygen might not be present.

Wavemakers ensure that every nook and corner of your aquarium contains fresh oxygen.

#4 Prevention of accumulation of debris

These pumps also play a role in keeping the tank clean.

During the intervals in maintenance, debris starts accumulating in water in the form of uneaten food and waste.

Currents in the water ensure that this debris is spread out.

On the other hand, in case of absence of water current, the debris accumulates in dead spots, spoiling the look of your tank.

#5 The beauty quotient

Wavemakers also add beauty to your tank.

Many people keep aquariums because they are a beautiful sight.

Waves in the tanks increase the visual appeal of aquariums.

Fish appear livelier, and the plants and other décor also get a realistic touch.

How should I install my Aquarium Wavemaker?

It is not really a complicated process.

More often than not, it is quite a breeze.

The first step comprises of the mounting technique.

The good thing is, most wavemakers available on the market have more or less the same mechanism of mounting.

They all use a suction cup for the purpose.

You need to ensure that the suction cup is attached to the pump or wavemaker head properly.

The wavemaker then needs to be attached to the inner wall of your aquarium.

If you have purchased a fully submersible pump, you can submerge it.

An important point to remember; the intake needs to be in the water.

Furthermore, the pump should be directed to the area where the water has to be delivered.

You can then proceed to turn on the unit after plugging in the power cord.

Your work is done.

In case you have some trouble understanding your unit, you can take a look at the installation process manual provided by the manufacturers.

Where should I place the wavemaker?

Placement of wavemaker is crucial for getting desired results.

The ideal position of your unit depends on the type of tank you have.

#1 Freshwater aquariums

Freshwater tanks with plastic plants and ornaments need water movement to prevent the debris from accumulating in certain areas.

Dirty tanks are harmful to the fish and cause diseases.

Even if you use a filter that hangs on the back, it limits water flow to a specific side of the aquarium.

A powerhead will do wonders for the water circulation.

The unit should be placed such that the water is pumped from the back of the aquarium, hitting the front glass.

The best thing is; all the corners of your tank will be flushed with water, and you can rest easy as far as cleaning it is concerned.

#2 Freshwater tank with planted setup

The requirement of water flow in a freshwater planted tank is different.

The aquatic plants remain optimally healthy in the presence of a gentle flow of water.

Inadequate movement of water leads to the formation of a stagnant layer.

This leads to stunted growth of plants and promotes the growth of algae.

The thing is; strong waves are not needed for aquatic plants.

Thus, you can position a basic unit such that the plants get washed in the current.

Remember; the water movement should not be so extreme that the plants bend over.

No turbulence should be caused at the water surface.

Thus, placing the pump a bit lower in the tank is recommended.

#3 Marine tanks with only fish

Improved water flow is quite beneficial for saltwater aquariums that contain only fish.

It is common to decorate such tanks with synthetic resin corals and similar other decorative items.

These items can blow the flow of water and pave the way for piling up of debris.

The circulation pump ensures that the debris remains suspended, allowing the filter to capture it.

The circulation pump should be placed on the other side of the canister filter.

Adjust the position according to the area where debris accumulates frequently.

You would want the water to be pumped with force to that area.

Remember; large aquariums might need two smaller pumps. A single large pump might not provide the same effects.

#4 Reef aquariums

The thing is, specialized water movement is required for invertebrates, corals and live rock.

Keep in mind; countless bacteria are present on the porous surface of live rock that causes break down of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite.

It is essential that the water containing these impurities comes in contact with the bacteria, allowing their breakdown.

Movement of water allows the pollutants to access the rock from where the bacteria take over.

The invertebrates are not capable of moving around the aquarium to get their food.

This is another function performed by the water movement.

Reef circulation pumps ensure that the tides and waves keep the structures clean and healthy.

Pay attention; the circulation pumps are directed towards a particular area to provide it with a high volume of water.

Therefore, it is not about the force exerted.

Buy your water pump keeping this in mind.

In case you use a single wavemaker, position it according to the area where you want the water to be pushed.

On the other hand, if you have multiple wavemakers, ensure that the surges they produce complement each other.

What should I think about while buying a wavemaker?

It is vital to get the right wavemaker if you want to get the results you are looking for.

Therefore, some factors need to be given exquisite attention.

#1 Price

Affordability is significant. You need to decide how much you are willing to spend on the pump.

Remember; the price also influences the features you get.

Therefore, it might be a better option to decide on the features relevant to you and set your budget according to that.

#2 Easy installation

You would not want to use a wavemaker that you cannot set up.

It is not easy to get professionals to handle the task, and this can be costly as well.

Therefore, endeavor to get a unit which is easy to install.

#3 Durability

Wavemakers are not the kind of things you would buy frequently.

This is important; opt for a wavemaker that is durable and long-lasting.

#4 Safety

A lot of wavemakers have to be plugged in.

The thing is, they work near the water.

Thus, you will have to make sure that safety is not compromised.

Taking a look at safety certifications might help.

#5 Customer support

It is not uncommon to encounter a problem with your equipment.

In the case of such a problem, you will find reliable and helpful customer support to be a valuable ally.

Therefore, opt for a brand that is known for its customer support service.

  • The technical aspect

Apart from the aforementioned basic features, you will need to pay attention to the specifications of the unit as well.

#6 Components

The wavemakers are commonly composed of two parts, the controller and the pump.

If you purchase these components separately, make sure that they are compatible.

#7 Turnover

The amount of water pumped by the unit is of importance as well.

In case of a reef tank, you will want the wavemaker to pump the amount of water 20 times the capacity of the tank.

#8 Efficiency

The electrical efficiency refers to the turnover a unit can perform per wattage.

The best scenario; a high flow rate is provided with low consumption of energy.

#9 Adjustability

It is a good idea to ensure that the unit has adjustable settings.

This will make it easier for you to control the environment of the tank.

What are AC and DC wavemakers?

Two types of wavemakers are primarily found in the market.

AC wavemakers use conventional technology and thus are quite simple and straightforward.

These units are highly reliable and seldom fail.

They are also cheaper compared to DC wavemakers.

There is a problem; they might produce a lot of noise in larger tanks with higher consumption of energy.

On the other hand, DC wavemakers are the result of advanced technology.

They consume less energy and thus can be used for large aquariums with ease.

They have a higher flow rate compared to AC wavemakers.

They are designed to produce minimal noise. Indeed at times, you might not even notice that they are running.

However, you might have to face reliability issues with these units.

They often have quality control problems, mainly with the ones that are available at a low price.

There are three areas where a DC wavemaker can go wrong, the motor, power supply and the controller.

On the other hand, AC wavemakers merely focus on the motor.

How do I decide if the wavemaker is too powerful for the aquarium?

The wavemaker suitable for your tank depends on its size and capacity.

Some wavemakers are designed especially for smaller tanks and thus lose their effectiveness in large aquariums.

Therefore, make sure that you evaluate your aquarium correctly before deciding on the wavemaker you want to buy.

How much power is consumed by wavemakers?

This is variable and depends on the model you use.

Most wavemakers are low in wattage, but there is no fixed answer.

Some might require as little as 8 watts while others might find even 30 watts to be insufficient.

Remember; a low wattage wavemaker is a more cost-effective option.


Is this safe for marine life?

Many tests have been conducted on each wavemaker to prevent anything unsafe from happening, however, some things are just unpreventable. Every wavemaker is 99.9% safe for all marine life. The .1% is a gamble of the uncontrollable life events that we encounter. Despite the .1%, wavemakers thrive to create a cleaner environment.

Will the wave maker be too powerful for my tank?

Depending on the tank size and how many gallons of water that is inside the tank, the decision to purchase a wave maker may vary. Some are made for smaller tanks but will not be effective in larger amounts of water and vice versa. It’s best to evaluate your tank first to figure out which one is ideal. Reading the statistics before making a final decision is very helpful as well.

Does it make a lot of noise?

Having a noisy wave maker could be very stressful. To avoid a headache, picking out a wave maker that is quiet can make a huge difference. Some wave makers are actually really quiet. Some wave makers can make no noise at first and then start making noise a little down the road. Investing a good amount of money in a reliable wavemaker can minimize the possibility of getting one that will not stop vibrating on the glass.

Are the magnets strong enough to hold the wave maker?

The magnets that come with it should be able to hold very well. Magnets usually can withstand glass that is ⅝” (15mm) in thickness. Glass any thicker than that may still be able to hold but it will not be as strong.

When upgrading my tank, should I upgrade my wavemaker too?

When upgrading your tank, it is best to upgrade your wave maker as well. A bigger tank may need bigger or multiple wave makers as to a smaller tank may need a smaller one. Getting the correct size will prevent harm from happening to the marine life and environment.

How fast will the wave maker improve the tank environment?

As soon as it is installed, it will start taking effect immediately. It will take at least 24 hours – 48 hours to see an actual difference in the tank.

How often should I clean the wave maker?

Keeping everything clean will enhance the performance. It is recommended to clean it out every couple of months. Cleaning it will help it last longer and prevent any damages that could be caused.

Will the electrical engineering cause harm to the marine life?

Any wavemaker with an extension cord is completely safe to submerge without any paranoia of it hurting anything in the tank. Many tests have been done to make sure nothing like that ever happens.

Is this the right size for my tank?

Choosing the correct size wave maker pump for your tank is crucial. Figuring out how much water is in the tank will be very helpful.

What is the difference between an expensive wave maker versus an inexpensive one?

An inexpensive one may not have as many settings and options. It also could be easier to break. An expensive one may last longer and be more durable in tougher conditions. It offers more luxury features others will not offer for a low price. It is not necessary to purchase a really expensive pump, however, investing a little more money than usually will save you a lot of money in repairs and replacement in the long run.

Can you use different programs to control a wireless wave maker?

The alternative external software can be used to sync up with it as long as the program is compatible with each other. The description should state which programs are compatible and which are not.

Should you buy a wavemaker with a magnet or suction cup?

Buying a wavemaker with both the magnet combined with a suction cup will reduce unwanted noise and vibrations. A magnet may make a lot of noise due to its vibration on the glass. The suction cup can be reliable but has to be manually moved around from inside the tank.

Will buying a wireless connectivity wave maker be better than buying on with automatic settings?

Wireless connectivity will make it easier to control. You can control it from a distance rather than going to the tank to physically change it yourself. If you are seeking convenience, this one is better. The automatic settings could also be better because you would not have to pay attention to it all the time.

How will I know if it the chord is long enough?

Each description should state the measurements of the power chord. If it does come up a little short, there are power extension cords that could be bought separately.

Should I get two or just one?

It is all according to how much power is needed inside the tank. If the wavemaker isn’t as powerful than expected, buying a second one will be recommended. If the first one is powerful enough, buying one is enough.

Is it better to get a pump that sits on top of the tank or sits inside of the tank?

Getting a wave maker that sits on top is better because it will not be in the way. It is discrete and does not draw much attention away from the decorative tank. A wave maker that sits inside the tank is not so bad either but it could be really big and clunky sometimes and may be distracting.

How much power does wave makers usually take?

Every wavemaker is usually low in wattage. Some can be as low as 8 watts and run as high as 30 watts in power. It all depends on which one you choose. Purchasing a low wattage wavemaker will save a lot of money annually.

Does the 360-degree pivoting motion evenly make waves?

It makes predictable motions, therefore, it makes even waves because the flow is not spontaneous.

Can small fish get stuck inside?

The technology used will be safe for small fish, however, things do happen unexpectedly.

Should the cable sit inside or outside the tank?

The cable should always sit outside of the tank. If it has to sit inside the tank, it is completely safe. As long as the water is not too close to the outlet, everything should be fine.

Are bubbles necessary in an aquarium?

Yes. Bubbles are highly beneficial for aquariums. The aquatic life requires dissolved oxygen throughout the day and night. Fine bubbles increase the surface area, paving the way for more oxygen. Thus, it might be suitable for your fish if you get an air pump for your tank.

How do you fix hypoxia in a fish tank?

If you do not use water pumps, your fish might have to bear the consequences. The oxygen level in the tank might decrease. This should be addressed immediately if you do not want it to be fatal for your fish. Adding H2O2 is required in this emergency. Agitate the surface of the water as this causes more oxygen to be dissolved into the surface. Add hydrogen peroxide solution to the tank. This increases the oxygen levels of the aquarium.


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  • Aquarium Wave Maker


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