Finding the perfect return pump for your reef tank or saltwater aquarium can be difficult.
If you don’t know what works best for your fish and their lifestyle, this task can be quite challenging.
There are lots of different things you need to take into consideration before deciding on one return pump.
The amount of water you need pumped, the type of fish you have, and your budget all play a role in choosing an aquarium return pump.
If this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry!
Here are a few excellent options you should consider for your return pump.
Table of Contents
- The 5 Best Return Pumps for Your Aquarium
- Best Aquarium Return Pump Reviews
- How to Choose the Right Return Pump for Your Reef Tank?
The 5 Best Return Pumps for Your Aquarium
The market is flooded with many return pumps. Different types of pumps give different services to your aquarium.
Each of these products has something unique to offer to your fish in their homes. You just have to decide on which one works best for your fish and the lifestyle you live.
|Pictures||Return Pumps||For Aquariums||Links|
|Jebao DCP Sine Wave Water Return Pump||Marine & Freshwater Aquariums|
|Sicce Syncra Aquarium Pump||Freshwater & Saltwater Aquariums|
|Innovative Marine MightyJet DC Return Pump||Marine Reef Tanks|
|Aquastation Silent Swirl Controllable Aquarium Return Pump||Marine Reef Tanks|
Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums
|Jebao New DC Return Pump for a Coral Reef Tank||Marine Reef Tanks|
Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums
Best Aquarium Return Pump Reviews
1. Jebao DCP Sine Wave Water Return Pump
For the first aquarium pump, we have the Jebao DCP Sine return pump. This pump is a great option for those people who value a quiet machine. It’s a small design and very quiet functions make it a perfect addition to any tank.
With the Jebao DCP Sine pump, you get a powerful pump in a small package. This pump has a flow rate of 1710 GPH, making it a very strong contender when compared to other pumps for a similar price.
Plus, because it’s the latest model by this brand, the high-performance motor, and energy-saving design make it almost 50% more effective than previous models.
The only negative thing that comes out of buying the Jebao DCP Sine water pump is the price. There are lots of good pumps out there that are available for less than this one.
It’s not extremely expensive, but it’s definitely borderline pricy. If you’re looking for pumps that are very low in cost, this one might not be for you.
- Quiet design
- Powerful pump
- More effective than previous models
- More expensive
- Other pumps have similar features at lower prices
2. Sicce Syncra Aquarium Pump
The Sicce Syncra pump is another great option for aquarium owners. This quiet machine has a decent rate of 568 GPH, making for impressive function despite the small size. You can use this pump in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
Another great feature that isn’t found in a lot of pumps, but the Sicce Syncra pump offers, is its versatility. You can use it as either an inline or submersible pump, meaning you can use it externally and outside of the water. You can also use it in the water and attach it inside your fish tank.
There is also an option for customization depending on your fish. This personal preference allows you to control the water flow throughout the pump and your tank.
While the Sicce Syncra water pump offers lots of great features, one downside to this water pump is the price. Not many water pumps offer dual functions as submersible and inline pumps, but even as the Sicce Syncra offers this, it’s at a hefty price. It’s definitely a water pump for those people who are willing to spend a bit more on their pump.
- Dual functions, both submersible and inline
- Good power flow
- Very expensive
3. Innovative Marine MightyJet DC Return Pump
Next up is the MightyJet DC return pump designed by Innovative Marine. Out of all of the pumps on this list, this one is probably the smallest one. It has a great design frame, making it easy to slip it into almost any water tank.
It has a flow rate of 326 GPH and controllable wave flow and water pressure. You can also expect other great features like run-dry protection, as well as a one-touch feed mode, all adding to the overall ease and convenience of using this pump. On top of that, there are barbed adapters you can use to attach the water pump and adjust to aquariums of different sizes.
One thing that should be mentioned when considering the MightyJet DC return pump is that it definitely has a lower flow rate than the rest of the water pumps on this list. While this low flow rate is normal for its size, if you have a bigger tank, you should consider different pumps to ensure that you get the results you need as far as filtering and wave development.
- Small size
- Adapters for adjusting sizes
- Low flow rate
4. Aquastation Silent Swirl Controllable Aquarium Return Pump
The Aquastation aquarium return pump is another excellent return water pump you can try out. This water pump has an impressive max flow of 660 GPH and has the most to offer as far as customization for your tank and fish’s needs.
There are 20 different water flow levels you can choose from using the Smart Controller. There is also a Wave Mode in which you can decide the intensity of the waves in your tank. Along with that, there’s a Feed Mode that turns the pump off for 10 minutes when you’re feeding your fish.
The only thing going against this water pump is the fact that there are no adapters included for adjusting the size. While this pump is likely to fit with any tank, if you have a particularly large or small tank, you may have to separately purchase an adapter to connect it with.
This pump is available at an affordable price, but the added cost of the adapters may not be worthwhile.
- Strong water flow
- More customization for tank
- Feed mode, turns off pump during feeding time
- No adapters
- Possible extra parts for attachment
5. Jebao New DC Return Pump for a Coral Reef Tank
Last but not least, there’s the Jebao New DC return pump. This pump has a great max rate of 528 GPH. It’s a powerful pump that’s suitable for all kinds of tanks because it has copper-free components, making it perfect for using around sensitive fish.
It also has 10 different water flow rates you can choose from depending on your fish’s preferences. Other great features include that it runs on low voltage power and has a function of automatically powering off if there’s not a sufficient amount of water to avoid overworking. Finally, there’s also a wear-resistant ceramic shaft that makes for a longer-lasting life and more efficient power.
The downside of the Jebao New DC return pump is that it’s a bit larger than the other pumps mentioned. It can still fit into most tanks, but it probably won’t be conspicuous or hidden easily. Fish owners that have smaller aquariums or tanks should consider looking at different options before this one because of its larger size.
- Automatic power down function when low water
- Customization for wave flow
- Larger design than other pumps
How to Choose the Right Return Pump for Your Reef Tank?
Choosing a pump for your reef tank involves careful planning and understanding of the needs your fish have. Some fish require stronger waves in the water they live in, while others are more sensitive to the motions.
An important thing to consider when buying a pump is the amount of water in your aquarium. You want to use a pump that can very easily filter through all of the water in your tank several times within the hour. So, a good rule of thumb is that if you have a 10-gallon aquarium, your pump should have a rate of 50 GPH or gallons per hour.
You should also ask yourself if you want to use a pump that goes inside or outside the water. Pumps that are made for functioning inside the water are often quieter and easier to install as you usually just have to attach them via suction cups to any part of the tank in the water.
However, submersible water pumps tend to overwork themselves if you don’t have enough water to cover them. This can lead to overheating of the device and your water and can be harmful to the fish.
On the other hand, inline or external pumps require a little more time for installation and setup than submersible ones do, but don’t have any problems with overheating while they pump. These types of pumps are also a bit more expensive than the submersible ones.
Before you can choose a return pump, you should research and fully understand what environment your fish thrive in so you can recreate that environment as best as possible. This can help guide your decision on which pump you buy.
While it may seem like it’s overwhelming to decide from all of the different return pumps, the good news is that there are many different experts who can help you make that decision. Knowing what kind of needs your fish have and setting a budget is a good start.
You can find specific pumps that work best in your situation by speaking to an aquarium expert or by researching online. A little effort on your part goes a long way in ensuring your tank and fish look great and feel greater.