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Aquarium Circulation Pump Basics

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The Basics of Aquarium Circulation Pumps

One of the most important parts of an aquarium is the aquarium circulation pump – since most aquariums can survive without light, but none can survive without water movement. Creating water movement is one of the simplest tasks you can do, yet it’s also one of the most vital. Water brings oxygen and new algae and washes away any waste in the tank. An aquarium circulation pump also reduces the need for frequent cleanings by moving the water around and providing the necessary catalyst for most filters to function.

Varieties of Pumps

Different kinds of aquariums require different types of pumps. There are generally two main types of aquarium circulation pumps, including:
  • Air pumps
  • Water pumps
Air pumps work to push air into the water of the aquarium and are often found outside the tank. Air pumps are great for adding pressurized air to the tank to keep filters working.
Water pumps are submersible, or inline water. Each has its own advantages and the filter used for personal preference often determines whether to opt for a submersible or inline water pump. A submersible water pump operates entirely underwater by drawing water from the filter and sending it back through the aquarium, often in conjunction with one or more types of aquarium filtration systems. Easy to install, water pumps are considered the quietest style of pump.
In-line water pumps are connected to an inlet hose used to filter aquarium water, typically located externally. These pumps are extremely powerful and are capable of moving many more gallons per hour than the average submersible pump.
Both pumps aerate stagnant water, which creates currents and causes water to move through accessories like sumps, filters and skimmers. But each will serve the different needs of any given tank.

Other Considerations

The pump needs to have the capacity to manage any peripherals that may require it for proper functioning. The pump must also be the right kind for the type of water managed in the aquarium.
If you are running a filter, skimmer or something similar in conjunction with a pump, you will need to consider a pump capable of processing a compatible volume of water, at a given speed. This speed depends on the demands of the additional devices. Most filtration devices require a turnover of around 6 gallons of water per hour and it is best to have a pump that is capable of moving water at that speed. For example, a pump for a 30 gallon tank should be graded to move at least 180 gallons per hour.
Saltwater aquariums are highly corrosive and all pump parts used in these aquariums must be made with anti-corrosive material. However, a pump graded for saltwater can be used effectively in freshwater.

Aquarium Circulation Pump

An aquarium pump is an aeration device to keep water circulating in tanks. The aquarium circulation pump creates a happy and healthy environment for fish by mimicking the currents and waves of a natural habitat as closely as possible. A circulation pump also keeps the environment clean and productive for fish.