So, I guess you are interested in getting the best aquarium wavemaker for your tank, and you also want to learn wavemakers well. You are at the right place.
Why do you need to use a wavemaker? Although many think wavemakers are not must-have accessories, I disagree with them.
You need equipment to maintain oxygen level in your aquarium; wavemakers are better than bubblers. They not only increase oxygen level but also provide so many other benefits.
In the following sections, I’ll describe the benefits in detail, their types, the best place for them in your tank, and how to choose a wavemaker. In addition, I’ve made a list of the best wavemakers in the market and provided an honest review of them. Keep reading!
What Is A Wavemaker, And How Do They Work?
Wavemakers are electrical aquarium water pumps that create water circulation inside the aquarium. It’s basically an underwater fan, pushes water away from it and also pulls water towards it. As a result, it creates a circular vortex inside the tank.
It remains submerged, and the fan is a powerful one to generate waves and turbulence, subsequently distributing the water in every corner of your aquarium.
Some of the wavemakers also have a controller unit. You can adjust the fan’s rotation to generate various types of waves similar to oceans and rivers. If you have a large tank, in that case, you may need one or more wavemakers to sustain enough current.
Benefits Of An Aquarium Wavemaker
Wavemakers help keeping the water constantly moving, which is beneficial to keep waste and debris from getting stuck or trapped in any corner or dead spots in your tank. In that way, it keeps the detritus moving so that it can eventually find your filter intakes.
It has been agreed that providing the natural ambiance for fish and invertebrates in a fish tank keeps them happy and healthy. Almost all water bodies have some sort of natural movement.
So, if you can create that movement artificially similar to nature, aquatic critters inside the aquarium may love that. Also, creating the wave can mimic the scenarios in rivers and oceans.
Ideal For Corals And Invertebrates In Your Tank
Corals are animals consisting of polyps; however, they can’t move and hunt for food. Wavemakers are blessings for sessile invertebrates and corals. It brings food to them by water movement.
Oxygenate The Water & Eliminates Dead Spots
‘Dead spots’ are oxygen-depleted areas where harmful anaerobic bacteria may develop. Dead spots can arise in stagnant aquarium water where very little or almost no water circulation.
Wavemakers of sufficient power can increase the oxygen level in the tank, which prevents dead spots and provides oxygen to beneficial aerobic bacteria to survive.
Ideal Power Outage Solutions For Larger Tanks
During power outages, the oxygen level reduces over time. Wavemakers don’t need much power to run it and can be hooked to an uninterrupted power supply (UPS).
Also, there are some DC wavemakers, which you can run directly through a battery power source. Battery-powered air pumps are another option; however, wavemakers are more feasible than air pumps for larger tanks.
Reduce Algae Growth
There are a lot of reasons for algae growth in aquariums. Lack of water movement also promotes algae growth. Wavemakers move the water, and that is why keeping a wavemaker may help you to prevent algae outbreaks.
Subdued Aggression Of Fish Species
Fishes such as African cichlids love a good current, and a wavemaker can help in reducing the aggression levels in your African cichlid tank. The strong wavemaker’s current will keep them active and busy by swimming around the flow instead of exerting all their energy chasing each other around.
The 7 Best Aquarium Wave Maker Reviews
1. Hydor Koralia Evolution Powerhead
Hydor is known for making quality products. The Koralia model is one of the best aquarium wavemakers in the market. Wavemakers in this model are so compact and efficient at creating natural and beneficial water circulation like rivers and seas.
The Koralia model has four different sizes and is compatible to use both in freshwater and reef aquariums. The smallest capacity size of this model is 600 GPH, and the highest is 1500 GPH. It covers a wide range of aquariums; 40 to 175 gallons for freshwater and 25 to 100 gallons for saltwater.
Usability: Patented magnetic suction cup allows mounting it at any position and to various surfaces; glass, acrylic, and plastic. The unit is straightforward to assemble and disassemble. Spherical joints allow users to position it freely inside the aquarium and direct flow virtually at any position.
Efficiency: The model is designed and assembled in Italy, which produces high—quality pumps. The motor of this model is most efficient and consumes only 5W to 7W, depending on the sizes.
Compatibility: The model doesn’t have any built-in controller, so no variable speed setting option. However, you can easily make it smart by using it along with the Hydor Smart Pump Controller. It works perfectly with controllers from other brands as well.
- User friendly; easy to set up and maintenance
- Silent operation
- Evenly distribute the water and clears out dead spots
- A built-in cover prevents sucking up small fishes.
- Takes a little space
- A very few users had mentioned stray voltage leakage, which electrifies the tank
- No built-in controller
- Makes a clicking sound turning on every time
2. Hygger Mini WaveMaker Magnetic DC Powerhead
Hygger DC mini wavemaker series has two models and can generate a flow rate of 1600-26oo GPH, and are suitable for freshwater and marine aquariums. The series covers aquariums ranging from 3 to 55-gallons.
Smart wavemakers with a built-in controller can generate various waves similar to the ocean, enabling your fish to exercise and play identical to their natural habitation. If you own a saltwater tank, it is the ideal choice for coral to thrive.
Multi-functionality: The built-in controller is super smart. You can set different time settings, sunrise to sunset, and put each time with specific power, flow modes, and frequency. Also, it has a 10 minutes auto-off feeding mode setting, and you’ll get notified through an error message if something is wrong, such as debris stuck into the impeller.
Usability: Easy to install, and the magnetic suction cup holds the unit in place. Its tiny size makes it possible to hide and super quiet in operation; produce less than 20 dB sounds.
Operability: Energy-efficient motor and propeller circulate the water evenly in the tank and eliminates dead spots. A 360-degree motor fan moves water up and down, and coral reefs sway back and forth naturally with water current.
- Smart built-in controller
- Tiny in size, easy to hide
- Energy efficient
- Strong magnetic suction cups
- Prevents dead zones
- Suitable to use in freshwater and saltwater tank
- Controller and adapters aren’t waterproof
3. Jebao SCP-120 Sine Cross Flow Pump WaveMaker
Jebao SCP-120 Sine Cross Flow Pump Wavemaker with Controller is one of the models of the SCP series. It is a relatively new model, but it receives admiration from the users quickly and is reflected in the start rating.
This wavemaker is perfect for producing waves like a semi-fast-flowing river.
High performance: It’s using sine wave technology with an ultra-quiet pump and stable performance. The double impeller structure creates robust water circulation, 4300-4600 GPH crossflow for the entire tank, ensuring no dead spots.
Usability: This unit is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater. Although it can produce a high flow rate, you can easily adjust the flow rate with a built-in controller. In addition, different flow patterns and wave actions can be generated. One single unit is capable to cover
Operability: With Crossflow technology, the flow returns to pump directly 360 degree & Bluetooth wireless connection allows two pumps to alternate flow. Pumps can be controlled on master and slave mechanisms. One single pump unit can easily create good waves in a 120-gallon tank. For a larger tank, you may need more than one.
- The pump is unbelievably strong
- Super silent
- built-in convenient controller
- Adjustable flow rate
- Different types of wave action
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater
- Power consumption is comparatively high
4. Uniclife 2100 GPH Controllable Wavemaker
The Uniclife wavemaker has three different sizes, but here I’ll talk specifically about the 2100 GPH controllable wavemaker model.
It is suitable in 20-60 gallons tanks and applicable for both freshwater and reef tanks.
Functionality: Flow rates and frequency are easily adjustable, and multiple sea waves are achievable using the control panel. The maximum flow rate the unit can generate is 2100 GPH, but you can regulate flow from 1180 to 2100 GPH as per your tank needs.
Day and night mode mimic the natural environments, and 10 min auto-off feed mode is helpful while feeding the pets.
Usability: Strong magnet suction cup makes it easy to install to any place on your aquarium wall. You can move the wavemaker using an outside magnet.
The wavemaker is powerful in creating waves but runs noiselessly. The fan can rotate 360 degrees to direct flow at any location.
- Built-in controller unit.
- Adjustable flow rate
- Robust magnetic suction
- Multiple wave pattern
- Few users complained about flow reversing
5. Jebao OW-25 Wavemaker 185-2245 GPH With Controller
The Jebao OW wavemaker series has four models, and our pick is the OW-25 model. It includes a wired controller and magnet mount, also features an improved motor to withstand damages. It can generate a maximum of 2245 GPH flow rate and is suitable for all types of aquariums.
Controllability: Built-in controller allows to adjust power, speed, and wave to different settings. It uses a light sensor to sense nighttime. The feeding mode is fantastic as it shuts the wavemaker down for 10 minutes and automatically turns back on.
Usability: There’s a wireless master and slave mode, and it’s straightforward to sync; just click one to master and the others to slave. Moreover, you can connect another wavemaker and control it with one controller. It’s ultra-compact in design, super quiet, and very easy to use.
Worthiness: The price is affordable, and you’ll get the same features similar to high-priced wavemakers. If you want to get a high-quality one at a lower price, I recommend this one.
- Smart built-in controller
- Extremely quiet
- Compact in design
- Different wave, power, and speed settings
- No warranty of the product
6. FREESEA Aquarium Circulation Pump Powerhead
FREESEA aquarium wavemaker is designed to produce gentle flow simulating ocean waves. It helps to oxygenate the aquarium water and can stir up the debris.
The powerful pump generates as high as a 1050 GPH flow rate. It moves the water quietly throughout the tank with a minimal 6W energy consumption. It can sufficiently move water in a tank ranging from 20 to 100 gallons.
Usability: An anti-corrosion titanium-made impeller blade of the pump suits to use in freshwater, saltwater, and virtually any aquarium.
Operability: Unlike other wavemakers with suction cups, this uses magnetic brackets, which allow you to position the pump securely at any position. The head rotates 360 degrees, and with the flow control switch attached to the head, flow rates can easily be adjusted.
Efficiency & Warranty: Although the pump of this unit is powerful, it consumes very minimal energy, only 6W. The manufacturer also provides a 12-month pump warranty and 24 hours professional after-sales service.
- Anti-corrosion titanium blade
- Usable to all types of aquarium
- Extremely quiet
- Energy-efficient; minimum power consumption
- Easy installation
- Adjustable flow
- Doesn’t have a built-in controller
7. YCTECH Aquarium Fish Tank Circulation Pump Wave Maker
YCTECH aquarium fish tank wavemaker is a powerful one to generate wave motion and vitality to fish, corals, and other aquatic critters. It applies to aquariums ranging from 20-60 gallons. Although it was practically too much for small tanks like 20 gallons, I recommend using tanks of the higher end of the range.
Power & Efficiency: The pump of this wavemaker is super strong. It can rotate 360 degrees, and you can adjust the flow direction at your will. Although it’s powerful, the energy consumption is relatively low (6W to 8W).
Usability: The wavemaker uses a magnetic base which helps to reduce noise and keep the unit stable in place. The flow is easily adjustable using a knob; detachment and cleaning are super simple. You don’t need any tools to assemble and disassemble and suit in all aquariums.
Warranty & Service: 24-hours customer service is in place to answer all of your questions. Also, suppose you are not satisfied with the product in 30 days for any reason. In that case, the manufacturer claims that they will refund the cost. The product has a one-year warranty, you can return the new one for free if there is any problem within this period.
- Strong and powerful
- Forceful magnet base
- One year warranty and refund policy
- Adjustable flow
- Easy to install and maintenance
- Minimum power consumption
- No built-in controller
What Are The Fundamental Differences Between AC & DC Wavemakers?
Wavemakers are two types but of the same function, according to their electrical build-up. One is an AC wavemaker, and the other one is a DC wavemaker. Whether you go for the AC or DC version directly impacts their prices, functionality, and efficiency.
AC wavemakers use alternating current (AC current) and use an AC motor to operate. AC motors are reliable, cheap but use more energy and can be noisy as well.
Conversely, DC wavemakers use a DC motor and a particular controller unit that converts AC to DC. The rate of rotation of DC can be precisely controlled without sacrificing the power (or torque) or damaging the motor.
DC wavemakers are energy efficient, can run on battery power (if needed). In addition, they have tons of features and are a bit expensive.
What Size Wavemaker Do I Need?
What size powerhead you need depends entirely on aquarium water volume and the types of aquatic critters you have in your tank. It also varies on the types of aquariums you own. So, the answer is not a straightforward one.
If you have a planted tank, a turnover of 5-10 times is sufficient. For a densely planted tank needing the higher end of that range.
But the required flow rate is different for saltwater tanks. You’ll notice that most wavemakers have different capacity ratings for freshwater and saltwater application. The pump is suitable for use in a 100 gallons freshwater aquarium that may be ideal only for a 30-50 gallons marine aquarium.
Total Tank Turnover Required
Heavily Planted Tank
Saltwater With Soft Coral & LSP
Saltwater With SSP
If you have a 30 gallons reef tank with predominantly soft corals and LPS, you should aim for a total tank turnover of 10-20 times, meaning you need 300-600 GPH. Suppose the tank contains mainly SPS, the required turnover is 20-40 times; in other words, 600-1200 GPH.
TIPS: You had better research well to find the best setup for your tanks, and I’ll suggest buying a wavemaker with adjustable flow. Because if in full flow it’s too high for the tank, you may switch to lower settings.
How To Choose The Best Wavemaker For A Tank
Wavemakers are available at wide ranges of prices. Depending on the capacity, functionality, and brand, it varies in the range of 50$ dollar to as high as 300$.
Wavemakers without built-in controllers are relatively cheap. However, you may enjoy the different settings of waves, speed, and power. In that case, you have to buy one with a controller at a higher price.
Warranty & Customer Service
Warranty and customer service are significant. Products with a warranty reveal the manufacturers’ confidence, and they are willing to take responsibility for their products.
Customer service is also handy because in case of any query or problem you can take the help of them. It is an indication of how the company is caring for their customer. So, personally, I’d prefer a warranty period and good customer service in place before purchasing any product.
Safety is another important parameter to look at. Wherever you are engaging in electricity and water, you should always consider the safety part, especially with saltwater tanks.
Some products may even electrify the entire tank if there is stray voltage leakage. All your investment can be ruined in seconds. Therefore, safety is a must; go for a renowned brand, well-known for quality products. You can reduce the probability of any unwanted happenings.
Nobody likes a product that doesn’t last long. Electrical appliances can be faulty at any time. Still, the chance of that is less with good brands because they put a lot of effort into their products to increase the service life.
Obviously, you can take the gamble of trying a new brand. Nonetheless, the safe option is to buy from a reliable brand.
Ease Of Installation
Almost all wavemakers come with suction cups or magnetic suction bases. Whatever you choose, virtually all wavemakers are easy to install.
The magnetic suction base is better in many ways than the suction cup. With the magnetic base, you can reposition the wavemaker by utilizing a magnet from the outside. Before installation, please go through the manufacturer manual and take note of the warning, cautions, etc.
Efficiency is vital as it will hit your electricity bills. Some wavemakers are extremely efficient in operation, and they consume a negligible 5 to 10W, similar to a LED light. On the contrary, some may consume much higher than that.
Noise is disturbing, and nobody likes it in their aquarium. Although wavemakers in my list produce zero to low noise, if you want to buy another model outside of the list, please make sure that it isn’t noisy; otherwise, that will be irritating.
Where to position your powerhead?
Wavemaker positioning is extremely important for extracting the benefits. It’s essential to synchronize your wavemakers with aquarium filters to get the added filtration effects, oxygenation, and so on. I recommend watching the video below to understand the correct positioning of the wavemaker.
How do you know your fish are comfortable or not with wavemakers?
If you have fish that like a good current, a wavemaker helps produce that strong water flow. But, how can you tell that they like it or not? If your fish are constantly swimming into the current, that means they like it.
On the other hand, if they’re stuck all the way on the other side of the tank, meaning they’re trying to get away from it. So, do a little testing and experimenting with how much flow they like or don’t like.
What are the types of aquarium water pumps in the market?
Aquarium water pumps are of different types, functionality, and uses; those are:
- Filtration pumps
- Return pumps or circulation pumps
Filtration pumps are not suitable for wavemaker applications. Circulation pumps aren’t adequate for wave-making because they circulate the water inside an aquarium to a limited extent.
Powerheads with an energy-efficient motor can generate a narrow, strong current with turbulence. Powerheads are often used alternatively to introduce waves in the tank; however, it is not as efficient as wavemakers.
I hope, now you have a profound understanding of wavemakers, now you can easily choose one by yourself. Before deciding to buy a wavemaker, try to take your time, and consider all the aspects concerning that, including efficiency, prices, power consumption, etc.
You can select one from the best aquarium wave maker list, and my choice is Hygger Mini WaveMaker Magnetic DC Powerhead. Share your experiences using wavemakers and what brands you find the best, leave a comment below.