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Reef Tank Sump Pumps

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Help and advice on shopping for: Reef Tank Sump Pumps

Reef tank sump pumps are the engine of sumped aquariums, pumping water from the sump to the main display tank and recirculating it. Sump pumps are available in many sizes to suit different sumps and system volumes and all are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater.

Which size reef tank sump pump do I need for my reef tank?

Aim to circulate the entire system volume up to 10 times per hour, so choose a 2000lph return pump for a 200 litre reef system, and a 5000lph sump pump for a 500 litre marine tank. Head loss and pipe restrictions will always lessen the maximum amount of flow that any pump can produce. Choose a controllable model so that you can turn it down if it is too powerful.

Are reef tank sump pumps wavemakers?

No, two types of water pumps are used in reef tanks - return pumps, also known as sump pumps, and wavemakers. Reef tank sump pumps sit in the sump and pump water up into the main tank. Wavemakers sit in the main tank and provide broad water flow corals need to thrive. Wavemakers can’t pump water from sumps and vice versa. Saltwater aquariums require both types of aquarium pumps to function properly.

Do I need an AC or DC reef tank sump pump?

Most entry levels submersible pumps are AC and pump at one speed and one lph setting only. AC pumps can still be very reliable, however. DC pumps tend to cost more to buy as they are controllable and both the output and the amount of electricity they consume can be controlled in small increments. High-end DC pumps may have more energy efficient DC motors.