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Aquarium PowerHeads



Aquarium Powerheads are used to create water flow. Water flow is crucial to creating a healthy environment for your saltwater fish and saltwater reef inhabitants. In nature, ocean water is very turbulent and recreating this environment is will help keep:
  • Debris suspended
  • Promotes proper gas exchange
  • Helps deliver food and nutrients to corals

While one does get water flow from a return pump in the aquarium, a powerhead is used to supplement this flow and eliminate dead spots in the aquarium. 

Aquarium Powerheads


There are various propeller styles when it comes to powerheads and it is important to identify and know the difference:

  • Wide flow type propellers
  • Jet Stream Powerheads
  • Gyre powerheads

Wide flow type propellers move a large amount of water volume at a low velocity. This makes it easier for you to get water movement in all areas in your tank. Jet stream powerheads are the powerheads of old. You will see this type of powerhead with Cobalt aquatics MJ-1200 pump. These pumps produce a very strong straight flow of water movement. The water output is very focused with these pumps. Gyre powerheads are a new type of tech in the industry. These create a cross-flow that is very unique and has several advantages over traditional powerheads.

There are also two type of currents powerheads now come available with:

  • AC aquarium powerheads
  • DC aquarium powerheads

AC aquarium powerheads have the same gallons per hour output. DC aquarium powerheads are adjustable and can be adjusted or set up on schedules with controllers.

When sizing an aquarium powerhead, you will need to consider the size of your aquarium as well as the type of corals you want to keep in your aquarium. The recommendations of gallons of water turnover are listed below for each type of coral:

  • Soft and LPS Corals - 10-20 times per hour
  • SPS Corals - 20-40 times per hour 

To provide an example, if we have a 75 gallon SPS coral dominated tank, we are going to want to look for 1500-3000 gallons per hour using a wide flow type or gyre type powerhead. 

Placement is another factor when it comes to aquarium powerheads. It is usually a better idea to purchase multiple powerheads instead of a single powerhead. This ensures you have redunancy and coverage through the entire aquarium. So with sticking with our example here, we should be selecting 2 powerheads with a flow of 750 - 1500 gallons per hour hour each. Having multiple pumps is also useful for adjusting placement and flow as your tank grows. 

Aquarium Store Depot sells a variety of aquarium powerheads for your aquarium. We sell all three types of powerheads as well as AC and DC powerheads from quality manufacturers.