Aquarium water pumps are available in submersible or external versions in numerous different sizes. Aquarium water pumps are used for the main return pump from a sump, to create water movement inside an aquarium, and to pump water to various filters. Submersible aquarium water pumps are available in small sizes up to larger sizes that can be used as the main return pump. Submersible aquarium pumps can be hidden behind live rock or aquarium decorations to create improved water circulation inside an aquarium. External aquarium water pumps are mainly used as the main return pump from the sump to the aquarium or used on a closed loop for water circulation. External aquarium water pumps are recommended by Custom Aquatic to be used as the main return pump instead of submersible aquarium water pumps. External aquarium water pumps will not put as much heat back into the aquarium system as a submersible pump will.
With all the different types of aquarium water pumps available, how do you know what type is right for your aquaium? Below is a brief summary of the most common types of water pump used on aquariums. Custom Aquatic highly recommends that you consult one of our technical experts if you are unsure about selecting the proper water pump for your system.
Submersible Aquarium Pumps and Powerheads
Submersible pumps and powerheads are available in a variety of sizes. Submersible aquarium water pumps are used for creating water movement, pumping water to different filters and also used as the main return pump. Certain submersible aquarium water pumps can also be plumbed externally.
Powerheads are submersible pumps that are small in size. They are designed exclusively to be used for water movement within the aquarium and to supply water flow to small filters. Contact Custom Aquatic for any questions regarding aquarium water pumps or for any help in choosing a pump for your system.
External Aquarum Water Pumps
External pumps are available in a variety of sizes. External aquarium water pumps are used as the main return pump and used for closed loop systems for water circulation. External aquarium water pumps are recommended by Custom Aquatic to be used as the main return pump verses a submersible pump. Submersible aquarium water pumps will put heat back into the system since the pump is submerged. With external aquarium water pumps the heat from the motor will dissipate to the surrounding air, not to the aquarium water. External pumps also tend to be higher in quality because the pump must be built to higher tolerences to prevent the wet end from leaking.
External water pumps have two different design types. Direct drive and magnetic drive. Direct drive pumps utilize a shaft connected directly to the motor that spins the impeller. A seal is used to prevent water from leaking past the shaft connection. Magnetic drive pumps use a magnet attached to the impeller that is driven by the motor via magnetic pulses. A magnetic drive pump does not have a shaft seal, eliminating a potential failure point for leaks. Contact Custom Aquatic for any questions regarding aquarium water pumps or for any help in choosing a pump for your system.
Commercial Water Pumps
Commercial pumps are used on large aquarium systems that require a high volume of water flow. These pumps use motors rated at 1/3 HP and larger. Due to the large motor these pumps also use large amounts of electricity and sometimes require their own dedicated electrical circuit. Contact Custom Aquatic for any questions regarding aquarium water pumps or for any help in choosing a pump for your system.
Doser pumps are used to dose aquarium systems with additives, food, or to provide top off water due to evaporation. Doser pumps pump small amounts of liquid that is controlled via a timer. Depending on the time the pump is on will determine the amount of liquid pumped into the aquarium. Doser pumps are usually used to dose an aquarium with calcium. Other uses include dosing food to a system and also topping off water due to evaporation. Contact Custom Aquatic for any questions regarding aquarium doser pumps.
Prefilters and Priming Baskets
Prefilters and Priming Baskets are similar in use, but they serve entirely different purposes. Prefilters are used on the intake of a pump or powerhead to prevent mechanical debris from clogging or inhibiting the impeller. Most prefilters consist of a reusable sponge or a plastic screen assembly used to trap debris.
Priming baskets are installed on the intake of external water pumps. A priming basket is designed to both prefilter the water and prime the pump. A priming basket is essentially a pot with a closable lid that is filled with water. A priming basket will allow the pump to be used in an application without a flooded suction. When the priming basket is installed on the intake of the pump, the pump starts running by first drawing in the water from the priming basket, this allows the pump to run with the ability to draw in water from a water source located below the intake of the pump.
We recommend using SPA-FLEX flexible PVC tubing wherever possible. You can treat it like rigid PVC and usually use at least one or two less elbows, which makes your system more efficient. Tubing collapse is a nearly non-existent problem as is algae growth on the inside tube wall. Be sure to use the primer as well as the cement to ensure a leak proof connection.