One of the golden rules of setting up an aquarium is ensuring that your tank has sufficient water flow. The movement and flow of the water in your aquarium is essential in maintaining a healthy underwater habitat. The health of your fish, plants, and other living creatures will depend on it, and without water flow your corals simply won’t survive.
Without a doubt, one of the best methods of regulating water flow in an aquarium is to install a wavemaker. They are quite easy to install and are also a great way to improve the overall look of your aquarium.
As with most aquarium components, there are many different types, models, brands, and sizes of wavemakers available on the market today. Choosing the right one for your tank can be a little tricky. So, to help you out, we’ve put together this list of reviews of the best aquarium wavemakers available this year.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Current USA eFlux Accessory Wave Pump||
|Best Value||SunSun Wavemaker Pumps||
|Premium Choice||Jebao Wave Maker||
|Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump||
|FREESEA Aquarium Wave Maker||
The 9 Best Aquarium Wave Makers
1. Current USA eFlux Accessory Wave Pump – Best Overall
The eFlux Accessory Wave Pump is a fantastic wavemaker and easily the overall best device that we have found.
An excellent quality wavemaker, the Accessory Wave Pump it is also part of the upgradable Current USA LOOP system. The LOOP system allows you to network other components, including LED lights, additional powerheads, and other accessories and control them with a single remote interface. Meaning you can sync your lighting and water flow and provide a spectacular aquarium display at an affordable price with a user-friendly controller.
The Accessory Wave Pump is magnetically mounted and has a swivel metal bracket that allows complete directional control of your water flow. Being a DC pump, it also comes with several selectable modes, including wave pulse, steady stream, surge, and a feed mode.
For a DC wavemaker of this quality and versatility, the eFlux Accessory Wave Pump from Current USA is relatively inexpensive. It will be a great choice for anybody looking for a wavemaker that they can later upgrade into part of a bigger display system.
2. SunSun Wavemaker Pumps – Best Value
The SunSun JVP-500 is a simple, easy to set up AC wavemaker and in our opinion, the best aquarium wave maker for the money.
It is rated to move up to 528 gallons per hour (GPH) and despite its simple design, has a couple of nifty features. Firstly, unlike many other devices that come with a two-piece magnetic attachment, this model features a large lockable suction cap that allows it to be easily fixed in place on any of your aquarium’s glass walls. Once locked in place, you can point the pump in almost any direction, thanks to a simple ball joint.
This wavemaker is a little flimsier than some others on our list. Still, it is quite effective and quite easy to use and as you get two wavemakers in the pack, is very inexpensive.
3. Jebao OW-10 Wave Maker – Premium Choice
If you are after a premium quality wavemaker, you really can’t go past the Jebao OW-10.
These powerful little units are the smallest of four wavemakers in the Jebao’s OW series yet can still pump a very respectable 132-1056 GPH (with the largest, the OW-50, capable of between 449-5283 GPH). Exceptionally well-constructed, they’ve been built to last, and while they’re not the cheapest, you should get many years of non-stop pumping from this device.
As you would expect from a premium DC wavemaker, it comes complete with a robust in-line controller, allowing you to vary the speed of the device and select several different operating modes. And should you wish to do so, you can link several OW series wavemakers together and control them all with a single controller.
4. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump
This small and powerful swivel head wavemaker comes from the Italian aquarium technology company Hydor. The company has over 35 years of experience designing and manufacturing high-quality aquarium and pond equipment.
The Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump is an energy device that is simple to install and easy to operate. It has a 425 GPH flow rate and features a patented magnet-suction cup support for secure fastening to the sides of almost any aquarium.
As you would expect, this wavemaker is well built from quality materials. It is an AC device and as such, does not allow you to modify the flow or set any featured modes.
5. FREESEA Aquarium Wave Maker
This Aquarium Wavemaker from FREESEA is a powerful little pump that has a flow rate of 1050 GPH. It has a 360-degree rotating head that allows it to be pointed in any direction and features a strong magnetic mount.
With this device, you will need to take care to ensure that it remains wholly submerged while in use, as the manufacturer’s advice is that if operated while not 100% you may damage the shaft. Being an AC device, this model does not have any programable modes. However, it does have a manual switch to alter the flow rate.
This wavemaker isn’t the most well-built device we’ve reviewed. However, this won’t be a major concern as, unlike many wavemakers, it comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.
6. Fluval Hagen Sea Circulation Pump
This device from Fluval is a small and moderately powered wavemaker that has a flow rate of 425 GPH and is suitable for aquarium tanks up to 25 gallons.
It featured a head that can be moved up and down to adjust the direction of flow and is fixed to the side of an aquarium by a magnet. This product doesn’t have the build quality of some of the more expensive devices we have reviewed, and this is most evident in the number of comments we have read online about the noise that this device produces. Being an AC device, it is never going to be a super quiet pump; however, at times, this device can rattle against the side of the tank and make quite a racket. As such, it is probably not the best wavemaker if you sleep anywhere near your aquarium.
7. Hygger Submersible Aquarium Wavemaker
The Hygger Submersible wavemaker is a powerful twin head device with a significant 2000 GPH flow rate. It is designed for tanks of at least 75 gallons and is effective in those holding up to 130 gallons.
The twin heads are fixed together and can be rotated 360 degrees to adjust the direction of the flow. The device is easy to install and is simple to affix to the sides of the aquarium with a lockable suction cup. Of course, being a simple AC pump, there is no option to modify or program the flow.
This is a relatively inexpensive device, and as such, the build quality isn’t the best. However, for the price, it is a powerful wavemaker that will suit a medium-sized tank.
8. Aqueon Aquarium Circulation Pump
This aquarium circulation pump from Aqueon is a simple AC model wavemaker that supplies a constant flow of water to help circulate debris and simulate natural water flow. It is a small but powerful unit that has a flow rate of 950 GPH. According to the manufacturer, this wavemaker suits aquariums ranging in size between 55 and 90 gallons. It features an energy-efficient motor and impeller to increase water movement with less power.
In our opinion, this device is likely to be too powerful for a 55-gallon tank; however, as with all wavemakers, this will depend on what it is you plan to keep in your aquarium.
For the price, this is a reasonably well-designed wavemaker. Our one concern though is this the single ball joint that connects the unit to the fastener is quite weak, and we’ve read several reports from people complaining about this snapping. Of course, by taking a little care while adjusting the angle of the head, you shouldn’t have any issue.
9. Jebao CP-120 Cross Flow Pump Wave Maker
This cross-flow wavemaker from Jebao is a different design to the other devices we have reviewed. While the other products we’ve discussed are all powerhead type devices, this DC wavemaker takes a different approach, pumping water in all directions.
The Jebao CP-120 is quite a powerful device, with a fully adjustable flow rate of up to 4600 GPH. It is not suitable for use in small tanks, and even in medium-sized aquariums, you may want to have the power dialed back. Being a DC model, it is exceptionally quiet and does have several different wave modes that can be remotely selected.
Compared to some of the devices we’ve reviewed it is quite expensive, and this combined with the high flow rate means that unless you have a serious aquarist with a large aquarium, you are unlikely to need this wavemaker.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Aquarium Wave Maker
As you have probably gathered from our reviews above, when it comes to choosing a wavemaker for your aquarium, it is not simply a one-size-fits-all matter. There are a few things that you need to consider, and together with reviews, these things will ensure that you get the right wavemaker for your aquarium.
The required water flow
The amount of water flow that you require will vary considerably depending upon the fish and corals that you plan to keep.
Soft corals tend to require low water flow. Large Polyp Stony (LPS) corals do better with a moderate current, while Small Polyped Stony (SPS) corals need high water flow. Likewise, you will find that different types of fish require different water flows.
Hence, before you set up your tank and purchase your wavemaker, it is a good idea to research and decide upon the fish and corals that you want to keep.
Size of your aquarium
Size may be one of the most obvious things that you should consider but is also one of the most important, and you’d be surprised by the number of people who fail to consider this.
Larger tanks may, depending on your water flow requirements, may need two or more wavemakers positioned to ensure the correct water flow to all areas of the tank and eliminate any dead spots. While smaller sized tanks may only need one wavemaker.
Your aquarium’s substrate
Your choice of substrate, or material at the bottom of your tank, will also a factor to consider in choosing a wavemaker. An aquarium with a rocky bottom will be suitable for a more powerful wavemaker than one with a fine sand substrate that would otherwise be blown all around the tank.
The type of wavemaker
Two basic types of wavemakers are available, AC wavemakers and DC wavemakers.
AC wavemakers tend to be an older style or model device that are extremely simple to operate. Just plug them in, turn them on, and you’re done. However, they don’t have any special features, and with many models, you will have no way varying the flow rate.
AC wavemakers are generally quite cheap to buy, but they are very noisy and more expensive to run.
DC wavemakers use newer technology and often come with several nice features. Firstly, despite using less electricity and being cheaper to run, they are more powerful than AC units. They are also a lot quieter and generally come with controllers that allow you to program different wave modes and settings.
Unfortunately, DC wavemakers also tend to be more expensive.
Choosing the right wavemaker for your aquarium does require a bit of work. However, if you consider the information in our buyer’s guide, and apply this to the products we’ve reviewed in this article and you’ll be sure to find a wavemaker that fits your budget and is suitable for your aquarium.
While any of the products we’ve reviewed will work effectively and could be a good choice for your aquarium, there are some that we feel are better than others.
To recap, here are our top choices:
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Featured Image: FREESEA Aquarium Wave Maker, Amazon