Important Features of an Aquarium Pump

Putting together an effective home aquarium system requires more than just a tank and some fish. An aquarium pump is an integral and necessary part of a properly functioning aquarium.

The Importance of Aquarium Pumps

Air pumps have many uses in an aquarium. Certain aquarium filters use an air pump to clean the water. Air pumps are also used for decorations; they can make ornaments move, such as treasure chests which open and close, or air stones, which release a mist of air bubbles into the tank. Air pumps are also useful for creating currents in the water to prevent a part of the aquarium from becoming stagnant. A common misconception is that air pumps are necessary to keep the aquarium water oxygenated, but this is a myth.

Water pumps are an essential component of the filtration system and ensure adequate movement of water in your aquarium. This water movement is crucial to the health of your fish, as the exchange of highly oxygenated water from the top of the tank with the less oxygenated water at the bottom provides the optimal aquarium environment. Water pumps are sometimes also used to drain or fill tanks and to operate devices like protein skimmers.

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Types of Aquarium Water Pumps

There are two types of water pumps: submersible and in-line (or external). A few brands of water pumps can be used as either type. Submersible pumps are mounted inside the aquarium tank and are sometimes integrated with the filter. Saltwater submersible aquarium pumps are especially useful because the water movement they create helps move food to (and waste from) live coral and assists live rock in its natural filtration function. A disadvantage of a submersible pump is that it may heat the water, especially if it is very powerful. External pumps, as the name implies, are placed outside of the aquarium. They are especially useful in the case of smaller aquariums, since they do not take up space inside the tank.

Larger aquarium tanks will require more powerful pumps than smaller tanks. Some aquariums will even require two pumps for optimal operation. In general, the higher the pump’s turnover rate, the better, as this produces the highest quality of water.

Major Brands of Aquarium Pumps

There are a number of manufacturers of high-quality aquarium pumps, including:

  • Catalina aquarium pumps, which are submersible in either fresh or salt water and produce a large amount of air.
  • Little Giant aquarium pumps, known for quality pumps that are specifically designed to handle the corrosive properties of salt water.
  • Rio aquarium pumps, which are very powerful and useful for large aquariums.

Aquarium pumps are essential to mimicking the movement of your fish’s natural environment, be it an ocean, lake or river. Without proper movement, aquarium water will become stagnant, and its inhabitants will become sick and may even die. Investing in a quality pump allows you to protect your greater investment – your pet fish.