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Looking for the best aquarium dosing pump? It is common to have a lot of buyer anxiety when it comes to buying one. After all, you just graduated into the next level of reefing when you start considering a dosing pump. It is the gateway to advanced reef tanks like LPS and SPS dominated tanks and getting into coral fragging.
This is an exciting time for you. I’ve been in your shoes when I first started with my favorite tanks, The LPS dominated tank. I was going crazy with euphillyas to the point where I needed to dose regularly to keep up my levels. Over my 25 years of experience keeping saltwater tanks, I’ve seen it all and been through the journey you are going through now.
Finding the a dosing pump that is right for you involves several factors. My goal with this post is to help guide you in your decision to make an informed buy. Let’s first talk about what to look for.
What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Dosing Pump
Before we start comparing dosing pumps, we need to talk about what to look for when purchasing one. Dosing pumps are precision instruments and not every model can stay accurate for long.
Dosing pumps are a premium piece of reef aquarium equipment. It is for advanced reefers and can be a expensive purchase. A solid dosing pump has the potential to automate the supplement schedule of your aquarium. Others can even change your water automatically!
For these dosing pumps I’m reviewing today, this is my criteria:
- Features and Accessories
- Brand Name
Dosing Pumps – A Quick Comparison
Now that we know the criteria I’m looking at, let’s see who makes the cut. The list below are the picks I would be proud to put into my tank setups. They are offered by high quality manufacturers who have been around for years. There is no up and coming venture backed company here. These are all high quality name brand controllers. Let’s continue further below.
In a hurry? I recommend the Neptune DOS!
|Neptune DOS||Click For Best Price|
|Bubble Magus BM-T11||Click For Best PriceBuy On Chewy|
|Kamoer X1||Click For Best PriceBuy On Amazon|
|GHL Doser||Click For Best Price|
|EcoTech Versa||Click For Best PriceBuy 4 Head Model|
|Kamoer Peristaltic WiFi Pump||Click For Best Price|
|Jabao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump||Buy On ChewyBuy On Amazon|
The Best Aquarium Dosing Pump – 7 Best Reviewed (2021 Updated)
Dosing pumps come in all pieces and quality. Let’s see what these made the cut.
1. Neptune DOS
The Neptune DOS is the most advanced doser on the market today. It is one of only two dosers on the market that is capable of performing automatic water changes. It is designed to function with the Neptune Apex system, which in my aquarium controller review, was named the best controller you can purchase in our hobby.
Because the DOS works off a controller, it has the ability to perform multiple functions. Aside from being able to perform automatic water changes, it can provide provide 2 part dosing and any other type doing like trace elements through the controller.
The DOS separates itself for others with its build quality. The tubing is 3.3mm in diameter, nearly double of the what you see standard. It allows the pump to not only run for shorter amount of time, but also prevent clogging and promotes a longer pump life.
The main issue with the DOS is it requires you to have a Neptune Controller. It won’t run without one. If you are looking for doser with its own controller included, you can look at the other options I review below.
Best For – The Reef Junkie
- Controller Capable
- Multiple Features
- Auto Water Changes
- Only Has Two Pumps
2. Bubble Magus BM-T11
The Bubble Magus Dosing Pump is a dosing all in one dosing pump. It is a self run unit that has German-made medical tubing and is easy for a beginner to use.
The clock feature is easy to setup and program and these units have been known for lasting a long time. They remind me Bubble Magus’ Protein Skimmers, which are seen as value buys in our hobby. Bubble Magus delivers a high end offering with a reasonable price tag with this dosing pump.
The main issue with this pump is the tubing. While it is German-made, the tubing is thin so it is best to replace it once a year. As long as you do that, you shouldn’t have any issues using this doser for the long-term.
Best For – The Value Hunter
- Multiple Pumps
- Comes With A Controller
- Can Link With Multiple Pumps
3. Kamoer X1
I’m a huge fan of the Kamoer X1. When dosers first came out, they were expensive and lacked simplicity. The X1 is the answer to that problem. Not only is it easy to use with its WiFi enabled app, but you can grow with it. The initial investment is very reasonable and as you grow in the hobby you can just buy additional units.
Kamoer will allow you to chain up to 4 of these units within the mobile app. This gives you the flexibility of not just running two part solution for your corals, but also trace elements and macronutrients for those of you who run a low nutrient reef tank. The fact that you can grow into this system makes it an excellent choice for a beginner.
The only downfall I can find with this wonderful product is that it only comes with one pump. You have to purchase additional units and pair them. Fortunately, the price for these units are very reasonable.
Best For – The Beginner On A Budget
- WiFi Enabled
- Easy To Use
- Only One Pump
4. GHL Doser
The GHL Doser is Germany’s answer to the Neptune DOS. I would argue that this is the best overall doser on this list. It not only comes with 4 dosing heads, but it comes with it’s own controller that is WiFi enabled. The app itself is easy to use and the pumps are powerful. They can push and pull liquids up to 50 feet in length, giving you a lot of flexibility on where you place this pump.
You can add an additional slave unit to this dosing pump for a total of 8 pump heads all controlled by the mobile app. It has one of the most accurate and reliable doing motors and each pump can be calibrated individually.
So what keeps it off from my editor’s choice badge? Its the price. It is very expensive, almost double the price of most other dosing pumps available. It tends to be out of the range for most hobbyists. It is worth the investment if you can afford it. It’s the most accurate and reliable dosing pump money can buy.
Best For – Those Looking For The Best Money Can Buy
- Multiple Features
- WiFi Enabled
- 4 Heads
5. EcoTech Versa
The EcoTech Versa is Ecotech’s Answer to the GHL Dosing Pump. It is a perisaltic pump that is designed to run off Ecotech’s Mobius app. As we have seen in my reef led review post, the mobius app is well designed and easy to use. The dosing pump offers three modes of dosing with automated, continuous, or manual.
This is a great pump solution if you are already running EcoTech equipment since mobius can run everything for you in the app. The pump system also has nearly limitless expansion. The app will allow you to run 200 versa pumps per system. That number is just unheard of – not even an aquarium controller solution can pull that off! This pump is definitely for the hardcore reefer with multiple tanks or the frag grower.
The price to start isn’t that bad either for a premium solution. Because you can purchase these on a per unit basis, you can start with two to get you started on a two part dosing solution and still be under $300. Given the brand name and quality, that’s not a bad place to start.
Best For – Those Looking A High End Solution They Can Growth Into
- Intregrates With EcoTech Equipment
- WiFi Enabled
- Nearly Limitless Expansion
- Limited Supply
6. Kamoer Peristaltic WiFi Pump
Peristaltic pumps are very popular for advanced reefers and also in the medical industry1. Their biggest selling point is their ability to change flow rates while they are running. They are designed to run constantly.
This new version model works off a WIFI app, which means it user friendly and easy to use. These pumps work really well with calcium reactors. One of the biggest issues with calcium reactors is frequent adjustments. You will save a bunch of time switching to this solution over other pumps like the Tom Aquatics dosing pumps. Just set it and relax.
It comes with a heft price tag, but if you are running a calcium reactor, it’s a great choice.
Best For – Those Wanting An Accurate Pump or Using A Calcium Reactor
- Peristaltic Pump
- WiFi Enabled
7. Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump
The Jebao Dosing Pump is usually what reefers on a budget go for when they looking for cheap dosing pump to get them started. I saved this product for last on my list. You may be wondering why. After all, it has four dosing pumps and has a great price!
The main thing is that they have a history of bad quality control. Quality can vary when you order an import product and for something like a dosing pump, I would prefer to stick to higher quality brand. I feel the Kamoer X1 is a better buy and easier to use.
If you are looking for cheap and multiple pump heads, this can be the solution for you. Just make sure you calibrate the pump consistently.
Best For – Those Looking For A Cheap Dosing Pump
- 4 Dosing Heads
- Great Price
- Needs To Caliberated Often
What Kind Of Aquariums Benefit from a Dosing Pump?
The best aquariums for a dosing pump would be reef tanks that have a heavy need for calcium and alkalinity. These would be aquariums that are dominated by LPS and SPS corals. They are also beneficial for tanks that run on low nutrients. This is a more common issue with modern reef tanks. They often run low on phosphates and nitrates and need to be dosed into other to keep them at stable levels.
Another good aquarium to use a dosing pump for would be high end planted tanks. You can use a dosing pump to automate your micro and macro nutrient dosing and keep your planted tank stable
Which Dosing Pump Is Right For Me? ( My Recommendation)
The best aquarium dosing pump to buy would the the following three:
- Neptune DOS – The best overall pump and works directly with the Neptune APEX
- Bubble Magus – The best value in dosing pumps. Reliable and easy to use
- Kamoer X1 – The more budget friendly way when it comes to purchasing a dosing pump
How Do Aquarium Dosing Pumps Work?
Aquarium dosing pumps work by injecting additives to your aquarium on a set schedule. They will often include controllers where you can adjust the injection rate and frequency. Others like the Neptune DOS, work with an aquarium controller and will have more advanced feaures
Do I Need A Dosing Pump?
No, you do not need a dosing pump to run a successful reef tank. In fact, if you lack any hard corals like LPS or SPS corals, you will not need a dosing pump. Dosing pumps are best suited for reef tank owners who run LPS or SPS dominated tanks. You will also need them for mixed reefs as your hard corals get larger over time.
In saying that, there are many reefers who still manually dose these days. There are also others who upgrade to a calcium reactor. A dosing pump is the easier to use, and most pain free method of the three. They also work with planted tanks for micro and macro nutrient dosing as well as trace elements.
How Do You Setup A Doing Pump?
A dosing pump is very easy to setup. Once you find the doing pump that fits for you, the main thing you will need to do is calibrate it. Every dosing pump has calibration instructions where you run some of your additives through the tubes to determine the flow rate of the pump. Once you calibrate, it’s a matter of knowing your dosing needs and setting up the schedule. Once you set up the dosing schedule, you will want to regularly test your aquarium water in order to see if you need to make any adjustments.
How Do You Calibrate A Dosing Pump?
The best tip with calibration is to calibrate with the fluid you are planning to dose. Do not use water, as it is not the same thickness as the solution you are using. If you use water, you will likely calibrate incorrectly. It’s best to calibrate for 20 minutes into a breaker to get the flow rate. Measure with the breaker to calibrate.
What’s Your Favorite Aquarium Dosing Pump? (Your Turn!)
Get a model I missed that you want to talk about? Leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion. I hope this post helped you make an informed decision. See you next time!