Aquarium Pump


An aquarium pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment for your tank. An aquarium water pump creates water flow to deliver much-needed oxygen to aquarium inhabitants and moves tank water through filtration equipment to clean it.

An external aquarium pump is usually used as a return pump to return water from your filtration equipment, like a sump or wet/dry filter, back into your aquarium. To connect an external pump to your aquarium filter system, you will need a hole drilled through the wall of the filter or sump and attach a bulkhead. The inlet of the aquarium water pump can be connected to the bulkhead using PVC pipe or other tubing suitable for aquarium use. The outlet of the aquarium pump is then attached to your return line to bring water back into your tank. A union ball valve between the sump and pump as well as between the pump and return line will allow you to easily remove the pump for cleaning and maintenance without having to drain your sump/filter.

External aquarium pumps are the best choice for "high head" applications when water needs to be pumped a long distance vertically. Aquarium water pumps from Iwaki, Pan World and Dolphin are ideal for these scenarios. These brand pumps are built to pump water up long distances without losing too much flow.

Since external aquarium pumps have higher flow rates, you can use a single large pump to run multiple aquariums that share a common sump, chiller or UV sterilizer by using a manifold to divert water to different equipment. You can control the flow to each piece of equipment using ball valves.

Contact our staff of experts to answer all your aquarium pump questions. We would love the opportunity to help you choose the right pump for your tank. We can offer recommendations based on pump quality, customer feedback or the flow rate required for your specific application. Noise levels vary depending how and where the pump is placed, so we don’t typically recommend pumps based on their noise level. Plus, noise is largely subjective—what is loud to one person may be quiet to another.

Read Producing Water Movement and How to Plumb An Aquarium Sump or Wet/Dry Filter if you would like to expand your knowledge of aquarium pumps.