5 TOP Aquarium Powerheads And Pumps: From 110 GPH – 1500 GPH

What is the best aquarium powerhead?

Fish and other marine creatures are meant to live in water with currents. Simulating this in your aquarium will ensure the health of all the fish and other sea animals you might have there.

Not only that, but it’ll also help good bacteria, plants, and corals in the aquarium to thrive. In fact, even a fish tank with a decent filter won’t be as beneficial without proper circulation.

Best Powerhead Pump

Hydor Koralia Evolution Powerhead

  • High quality new and improved Koralia pump
  • 4 Models from 550 - 1500 GPH
  • Adjustable flow direction
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AQUANEAT Aquarium Circulation Pump

  • Best-selling cheap aquarium powerhead
  • Set of 2 (480 GPH)
  • Quiet operation as rated by users
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Marineland Maxi-Jet 600

  • Multi-use water pump and powerhead
  • 4 sizes from 110 - 1300 GPH
  • Three adaptable pumps in one
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A powerhead is an aquarium water pump device that’s usually designed to be completely submerged under the water surface.

GPH stands for Gallons Per Hour.

You generally want to buy a pump/powerhead rated for 5 to 10 GPH the volume of your tank.

If you have a 55-gallon tank you’ll need a pump rated for 500 – 1000 GPH.

The main function of a powerhead is simply to circulate the water inside the water and create river or sea-like currents. This works in synergy with the filter you’ve installed.

Basically, the filter can only work on the water that’s directly in front of it. This means that other spots, especially at the corners of the aquarium, aren’t getting any treatment.

By opting for a device that creates currents and circulates water, you’ll make sure that all the water inside the tank is being properly filtered for a healthier underwater environment.


Keep in mind that a powerhead and regular fish tank filter work in synergy, but they can’t replace each other, as each one of them is responsible for a specific function.

You can also use these pumps alongside dosing pumps and protein skimmers.

To ensure the maximum quality of the water in the tank, you’ll need a fish tank powerhead.

In this article, you’ll know more about these handy additions to your tank, so you can pick the best aquarium powerhead for you.

1. Hydor Tank Powerhead

powerhead for aquariums


Let’s start with one of the best overall options that’s ideal for small reef tanks.

What’s great about this one is that it has a compact size compared to other options on the market, allowing you to install it anywhere in the tank with simple magnetic suction cups.


This model is slightly larger than the Hydor Koralia Nano Powerhead, which makes it more suitable for relatively larger tanks.

It boasts an overall circulation power of about 850 gallons per hour. This makes it one of the best options in its size and price range.

The rotating head allows you to adjust the powerhead to work in any direction for freedom of control.


  • High circulating power for its size
  • Easy attached and can be installed anywhere
  • Freely rotating head for easy adjustment


  • A bit pricey

2. AQUANEAT Submersible Powerhead Pump

best aquarium powerhead

Aquaneat’s powerhead is one of the most inexpensive options on the market, so it’s ideal for buyers on a budget.

It has a flow rate of about 480 gallons per hour, which means that it can work quite well for beginner aquarium keepers with small tanks.

Additionally, it also has a 360-degree rotating head, which allows it to work in any direction, so you can maximize filtration efficiency.

The powerhead can be installed via suction cups and it’s small enough to not create any visible footprint in the tank.


  • Ideal for buyers on a strict budget
  • Decent circulation rate for beginners
  • Compact size


  • Not powerful for large tanks

3. SUNSUN JVP Fish Tank Powerhead

best fish tank powerhead

SUNSUN JVP brings you the freedom of choice when it comes to power.

The pump comes at two circulation rate options of 530 and 800 gallons per hour.

It’s designed specifically to be easy to install even if you’ve never handled one before. It’s simply a plug-and-play device that creates a decent current without making buzzing noises.

Since it’s completely submersible, the motor works oil-free, so it won’t introduce any pollutants or toxic materials to the water.

Another great thing about this device is that it comes with durable suction cups that stick to their place.


  • Good value for its price
  • Available in different rates
  • Firmly attached


  • A bit bulky for its rate

4. Marineland Aquarium Power Head

best aquarium power head

If you want enough power and reliability to run a small tank, consider this amazing powerhead pump from Marineland Penguin.

The great thing about this small powerhead pump is that it’s noise-free, so you won’t have to worry about any sounds it’ll make.

It’s available in three different sizes with various circulation rates of 145, 170, and 300 gallons per hour. While this might not sound like a lot, it’s enough for smaller tanks.


It works equally well with saltwater as well as freshwater, which makes it one of the most versatile options in its price range.


  • Doesn’t produce any noise
  • Reliable pump that’ll last
  • Minimizes dusting in the water


  • Doesn’t pack a lot of power

5. AquaClear Powerhead Water Pump


best powerhead pump


Last but not least, the AquaClear is a highly versatile and multifunctional water pump that will fit most aquariums easily.

It’s especially ideal for tanks that have fish that doesn’t need much filtration. The device circulates and aerates the water efficiently to keep the overall health of your fun-filled aquarium.

AquaClear Powerhead can also be connected to a protein skimmer for superior performance and cleanliness of the tank.

You can easily control the flow of the motor, as it’s fully submersible underwater to eliminate the need for adding any oils.


  • Multifunctional powerhead
  • Can be connected to protein skimmers
  • Fits most aquariums


  • Expensive price tag

Aquarium Powerhead Guide

how to fix cloudy water in fish tank

While looking for a powerhead for your tank, there are some aspects and parameters that you need to consider.

Let’s have a quick look at them.

Circulation Rate

The rate of a powerhead is measured in the number of gallons it circulates per hour.

Ideally, small aquariums can do with anything from 150 to 300 gallons.

For medium powerheads, you’ll need anything from 300 to 500 gallons per hour.

Anything higher than that gives you a superior level of circulation that’s fit for even the largest fish tanks of 70 gallons or more.

Ease of Installation

You’ll need to keep the motor submerged underwater while it’s working to create a current.

To do this, you need it to be firmly installed. The best options are those powerheads that are attached via durable suction cups to the wall of the tank.


You’ll also need to ensure that you can adjust the direction of the flow to maximize the efficiency of the filter.

That’s why you should always consider the ones that come with 360-degree rotating heads, as they offer the easiest way of adjusting the device.

Aquarium Powerhead Review

With that said, you now have a better idea about the importance of a powerhead in your aquarium.

If you’re looking for the best aquarium powerhead for your reef tank, we recommend that you pick the Hydor Powerhead.

It’s specifically created to provide circulation in smaller reef tanks but it puts out decent performance that makes it eligible to work in some medium-sized tanks as well.

It’s quite durable, runs smoothly, and can be adjusted to your liking.

However, if you’re looking for something that comes at a more reasonable price, you won’t go wrong with the Marineland Power Head Pump.

It gives you enough power and reliability to get the job done for half of what other options might cost you.

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