6-Best Aquarium Wave Makers Reviewed For Perfect Water Flow

No doubt, a quality best aquarium wave maker can transform your aquarium to a natural look by stimulating the water. In this article, we picked and reviewed on top-6 ranked which help!


If there is one thing that can make an aquarium look closest to being natural is a wave maker. It helps to circulate the tank water and create waves like the ocean. But what’s the catch?

Wave makers look aesthetic and also provide certain benefits to the tank fish and environment. For example, a wave helps distribute oxygen, which makes the fishes more healthy and active. Besides, it keeps the tank water clean for a longer time.

It also helps the corals to survive. Thus, wave makers play a vital role in keeping the tank environment suitable and healthy. But, which is the best aquarium wavemaker for a fish tank?

I have a list for that. But if you are running short on time, you can take a look at my top pick. My personal favorite is the Hydor Koralia Wave Maker. From a flexible installation system to high-performance, it has everything you need. Though it does not provide a wide variety of control systems, it offers enough for any small or medium fish tanks. Besides, it is budget-friendly and will keep your electric bill to a minimum.

To find the best wave maker, I have tested multiple models from different brands along with some of my team members. And this review is about my best ones among them all.

What Is A Fish Tank Wave Maker & What Is It For?

Wave maker is basically a device for reef tanks that recreates natural waves. A fan inside the device circulates water and releases the water into the tank to create realistic wave-like movements.

The movement of water made from wave makers is beneficial for aquarium habitats. Besides giving the fishes a more natural environment, wave makers help the corals and aquarium invertebrates by letting the foods reach them.

Besides, when regular powerheads or pumps often fail to provide an adequate flow rate, wave makers can do this job better as they come with a control system. So to give the fish a healthy and better aquarium environment, a wave maker is a must-have.

Now, let’s move on to today’s best aquarium wavemaker review to help you out. But if you would like to skim through the necessary features and compare your options, you can take a look at the following comparison table.

6 Best Aquarium Wave Maker Reviewed:

Comparison Table

ModelGPHTank Size (Gallons)Mount 
Hygger Mini Wave Maker1600 25-30MagnetBuy Now
Jebao OW Series132-528330-120MagnetBuy Now
Reef Octopus 4 Pump450080-500+MagnetBuy Now
Hydor Koralia Wave Maker600-150025-80MagnetBuy Now
SICCE Voyager 3 Stream Pump1200125MagnetBuy Now
Fluval Sea CP Series Circulation Pump256-137515-90Suction CupBuy Now

(1) Hygger Mini Wave Maker

hygger Mini best Wave Maker review

As the first best aquarium wavemaker, I have the Hygger Mini WaveMaker. It is designed for smaller tanks but built with intelligent technology.

Powerhead For Tank Size

With a minimum 3 to maximum 14 Watts power, this powerhead will keep the flow to 1600 GPH. So, it is suitable for a 3 to 25 gallons fish tank. But it can be used for a 30 gallons tank as well.

Features

  • Smart Control: With the LED display controller, you can control the flow rate and program it with 8 wave modes. You can also set the activation mode for 5 times of the day.
  • Magnetic Mount: The magnet suction cup allows easy mounting of the device. It is adjustable and has a removal snap.
  • Noiseless: As it is a 12V DC model, you will experience less noise while the current reaches the entire tank equally. Besides, it is energy efficient.
Pros
  • Easy magnet mount installation
  • Affordable price
  • Intelligent control system to adjust the flow
  • Energy efficient
  • Has different power and activation modes
Cons
  • Control programming is complicated for some users.

Verdict:

Despite the complaint of programming issues from several users, it is one of the best energy-efficient wave makers. If you want to know its latest price and updates, check it out on Amazon.

(2) Jebao OW Series Wave Maker

Jebao OW Wave Maker Flow Pump

To make your wave maker worth its value, Jebao has introduced its OW series. I believe it is one of the rare models that comes with a feeding mode.

Powerhead For Tank Size

The OW series has three different models with 132-1056 GPH, 317-3962 GPH, and 449-5283 GPH. Depending on tank size and wave maker models, they work excellently in 30-120 gallons fish tanks.

Features

  • For Medium To Large Tanks: This Jebao wave maker comes in three different models for various tank capabilities. From medium to large, they are capable of creating realistic waves that reach every direction.
  • Feeding Mode: Feeding the fishes through current can be a hassle sometimes. This wave maker has a one-touch feeding mode that slows down the flow for 10 minutes to feed the fish.
  • Control Flow: The DC wave maker comes with 8 different flow adjustment systems which keep the noise to the minimum level.
Pros
  • Worth its value
  • Noise-free operating system
  • Wireless control with feeding mode
  • Suitable model available for larger tanks
  • Simple magnetic mount
  • It releases flow equally
Cons
  • Prone to damage
  • A few customers complained about electric hazard
  • Requires frequent cleaning

Verdict:

These wave makers from the Jebao OW series are yet to prove their reliability. However, the OW series is worth its value when it comes to easy operating and energy efficiency. For more, you can check it out on Amazon.

(3) Reef Octopus Aquarium Wave Pump

Reef Octopus Octo Pulse 4 is the best aquarium wavemakers reviews

Reef Octopus pump may not sound familiar, but I decided to check it when I came across this wave maker. It turns out to be one of the high-tech and powerful wave pumps.

Powerhead For Tank Size

This wave maker comes with exceptional compatibility. It has a 4500 GPH flow rate, which is suitable for fish tanks with 500+ gallons capacity.

Features

  • Flow Rate And Feeding Mode: What makes this the best flow pump is its 4500 GPH flow rate. You get to control the flow with four different modes. And you get a feeding mode that can be adjusted to 15 or 60 minutes.
  • Rotatable Mount: This Octo Pulse model’s magnet mount has a 25-degree rotating capacity, while the entire pump can be rotated 360 degrees.
  • High Performance: Everything about this wave maker makes it a high-performing device. It is noiseless, reliable, and energy-efficient.
Pros
Reef Octopus Octo Pulse 4
  • Durable material
  • Large aquarium capacity
  • Has an extended feeding mode
  • Swift flow control
  • Magnetic rotating mount
  • Energy efficient
  • Noiseless
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Very expensive

Verdict:

If you would like to use one powerhead in an aquarium rather than using several, this is powerful enough to do the job. Although expensive, the quality and performance make up for it. Check the latest update on Amazon.

(4) Hydor Koralia Wave Maker

Hydor Koralia Evolution Aquarium wave maker

Hydor Koralia is one of the most popular and widely used wave makers. And it comes in variable designs and capacity.

Powerhead For Tank Size

The Hydor Koralia wave maker has four models ranging from 550-1500 GPH. They are compatible with any reel tank between 25-80 gallons capacity.

Features

  • Suitable For All Tank Types: What type of tank you own does not matter if you have a Hydor Koralia wave maker. From freshwater to saltwater tanks, they can compete with any kind.
  • Magnet Suction Cup Mount: Install this wave maker anywhere you want. The magnetic suction cup makes the installation much more manageable, and the 360-degree rotation allows better adjustment of the device.
  • Easy Assemble And Disassemble: Handling this powerhead is not a tough job. You can assemble and disassemble it without any complications.
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Suitable for small to medium fish tanks
  • Four different powerhead versions available
  • Not noisy
  • Energy efficient
  • Simple magnetic installation
Cons
  • It makes a clicking sound when turning on
  • The adjustability option is limited

Verdict:

For any small or medium tank, Hydor Koralia is the best aquarium wavemaker. The only issue is selecting the exact model for your tank size. But, to know more details, you can take a look at this wave maker on Amazon.

(5) SICCE Voyager 3 Stream Pump

SICCE Voyager 3 Stream Pump is the best aquarium wave maker review

SICCE Voyager has 9 different models with different GPH capacities. That’s right. It’s hard to ignore a wave maker that comes with so many versions. And not only do they have budget-friendly price ranges, but they also provide robust performance.

Powerhead For Tank Size

The SICCE Voyager 3 has a 1200 GPH water flow. It makes this model compatible with up to 125 gallons of fish tanks.

Features

  • Capacity: As mentioned above, this SICCE Voyager 3 is pretty good at competing with medium fish tanks. Whether it is freshwater or saltwater, it is among the best wavemaker reef tank models.
  • Reliable: The SICCE company has been manufacturing aquarium and gardening devices for over four decades now. It says a lot about the wave maker’s reliability.
  • Self-Cleaning Impeller And Performance: Its self-cleaning impellers keep the pumps from getting jammed. The 360° rotating feature ensures that the flow reaches every direction.
Pros
  • Noiseless motor
  • Reliable and durable
  • Easy installation with a rotating system
  • Requires less maintenance
Cons
  • Basic powerhead
  • Flow rate isn’t adjustable

Verdict:

This SICCE Voyager 3 may not offer a lot, especially compared to Reef Octopus and Hydor Koralia wave makers. But it is durable, noiseless, and easy to maintain. If you want this wave maker to rule your fish tank, check it out on Amazon.

(6) Fluval Sea CP Series Wave Maker

Fluval Sea CP1 Circulation Pump is the Aquarium wave makers

If you have a small fish tank where you would like to install a simple but robust wave maker, you can have the Fluval Sea CP series. Fluval is yet another well-recognized name when it comes to quality aquarium products. So, my final pick for the best aquarium wave maker is not a disappointment.

Powerhead For Tank Size

This Fluval Sea CP series has four different wave maker models. The power ranges are 256 GPH, 425 GPH, 740 GPH, and 1375 GPH. They are compatible for 15, 25, 50, and 90 gallons tank sizes accordingly.

Features

  • AC-Powered Wave Maker: Despite being an old technology model, AC-powered wave makers are known for their long durability and reliability. You can use them without worrying about frequent maintenance.
  • Suction Cup Mounting: This Fluval series models have suction cups for easy mounting. Just put them inside your fish tank by attaching them to the aquarium glass/acrylic.
  • Noiseless And Excellent Stimulation: These wave makers operate 24/7 without creating any constant buzzing noise. And the wave makers stimulate water to create natural waves that reach every corner of the aquariums.

Pros

  • Low-cost wave makers
  • Reliable AC power
  • 270-degree rotating system
  • Noiseless
  • Comes in variable tank capacity
Cons
  • Suction cup installation is not reliable
  • No adjustable flow control
  • Not much energy efficient

Verdict:

The perks of the Fluval Sea CP series are that they are budget-friendly, reliable, and capable of doing excellent work. It makes them as good as any other expensive models.

The suction mounting and not having adjustable flow can be the main drawbacks. But if you can put them aside, you can purchase this wave maker from Amazon.

[Buying Guide]

How To Choose The Right Wave Maker Pump For Your Aquarium?

Buying the best aquarium wave maker is like investing in your fishes. And for the sake of your fishes’ well-being, you have to consider a few things. It must have the right power, a specific flow rate, fit your tank, and be safe enough for the fishes.

Besides, you also need to pay attention to its efficiency and installation ease, and it needs to meet your budget. Keeping these in mind will allow you to find the best wave maker for aquarium very quickly. And the following buying guide will help you understand everything more clearly.

Flow Rates

Different wave makers provide different flow rates. And fishes of various types require various flow rates. So, the flow rate is an essential factor to consider.

For example, Small Polyp Stony corals or SPS always need high water flow, while Large Polyp Stony corals or LPS need moderate flow. And then, there are soft corals that require low water flow. That’s why you must check the water flow level of the wavemaker to make sure it is suitable for your tank. 

Does It Fit Your Budget?

We all have different budgets. And it is not that challenging to find the right wave maker from a wide variety of price ranges.

You can find wave makers that come at a low price. And there are power-controlled wave makers with high-quality performance that can be pretty expensive. Either way, the price range is always between $20 to $300, depending on the factors mentioned above.

Does It Have The Right Power?

The wave maker’s power should not be too much or too little. A balanced powered wave maker ensures a more natural water flow and creates more realistic waves. However, smaller tanks will need moderate power, while large tanks will need high power.

Depending on the size of your tank, the wave maker’s power will vary. But if you read the description of the wave maker, you will know what size of the fish tank is compatible with its power.

Does It Work In Your Size And Type Of Tank?

The size of your tank is the most important issue when purchasing a wave maker. The tank size will tell you enough about what wave maker you need or of what size.

Every wave maker has a specific capacity. It is measured by GPH or gallons per hour. If the tank has more water, you may need more than one wave maker to create flow.

On the other hand, if you have a smaller tank, but you end up using a powerful or more wave maker than needed, it will create heavy water flow. And this can cause disturbance among fishes. So, knowing the tank size is mandatory.

Does It Ease To Installation And Use?

There’s nothing more satisfying than a wave maker that is easy to install and use. But, on the other hand, having a complex one will be a waste of time and will not work correctly without proper installation.

So, what do you do to make things easier? My suggestion is to read through the installation instructions a few times before purchasing the wave maker. You can also download the instructions online.

The advantage of doing it is that you will know which part goes where. Other than that, you can check out the wave maker more carefully before finalizing your purchase.

Compatibility

Here are a few things that you must check about a wave maker’s compatibility.

  • Whether it is compatible with the tank size
  • Or it is compatible with the tank type
  • Whether the controller is compatible with the pump

If you miss one of these things, the wave maker will fail to do its job. The aquarium wave maker size must compete with the tank size. And then comes the pump and the controller. Make sure they are built to be compatible with each other.

Durability

Installing wave makers in a freshwater aquarium does not affect its durability. However, using wave makers in a saltwater aquarium can easily make them corrosion-prone.

Though powerheads are known for their long-lasting work, wave makers come with a con at this point. They are not as durable as powerheads. Nevertheless, if you use the ones with the suitable material, it can last a long time.

You will find a lot of stainless steel wave makers available for marine aquariums. And then, there are propeller or ceramic rotor ones. You can pick these instead of stainless material models if you want the wave makers to last a long time.

Safety

When we think about water and electronic things, we can only think of something disastrous. That’s why the safety of your fish and your aquarium area should be in your mind.

For this, always purchase wave makers from well-known brands. They usually come with safety features. Moreover, you can choose the models that have a magnetic installation system. In this way, the electric part will be separated from the water.

Customer Support

I always avoid purchasing powerheads or wave makers or any such items from manufacturers without a solid address. That’s why I suggest you do the same. They should, at least, have a customer service center or have contact information that is easier to reach.

As for the warranty, it is best to go for the ones that come with the most extended warranty. Pay extra attention to the motor, controller, and power brick.

These are the essential features that you must keep in mind when purchasing the best aquarium wave maker. However, there are some more features that you need to take a closer look at when it comes to wave makers.

Components

What is inside your tank plays an essential part when it comes to choosing a wave maker. Because wave makers have different powers, and that can affect your fish.

If your tank components are of LPS, you will need a powerful wave maker. On the other hand, SPS will require less powerful wave makers. Otherwise, it will blow the components inside.

Turnover

Turnover is the number of times the tank water passes through the pump every hour. This is what we also call GPH or gallons per hour. Of course, you know that because I’ve discussed it earlier.

To maintain a smooth wave-like creation in the tank, the turnover has to happen 10-40 times. It depends on the type of corals you have in the tank. For LPS, it should be 10-20 times. And for SPS, the turnover should happen 20-40 times.

Efficiency

Aquarium wave makers have BLDC motors. These motors require less power and are not expensive. Furthermore, as they need low energy, it is handy for a battery backup system. Thus, wave makers save both money and energy.

Mounting

How do you want to mount your wave maker? I’m asking because it’s an important part. The mounting style often depends on the thickness of aquarium glass. If you are using a suction cup, it will fit any glass. But if you use magnet mount wave makers, there are varieties.

The downside of suction mounts is that they can come loose at any time. So there will be no use for them after that. However, magnet mount wave makers are more reliable.

Adjustability

Wave makers with adjustability or control systems are the best ones. This feature allows you to control the water flow, and keep the wave creation to a minimum level.

Balancing the water flow may not be easy at first. But try a few times and you will get there eventually. The more pumps you get to sync through this feature, the better control you will have.

Noise

Aquariums are the most aesthetic part of a room or area. But if you are aiming for a quiet place, a noisy aquarium is the last thing you need. The noise happens because of using wrong or low-quality parts.

Though wave makers are quieter than powerheads, you still need to be sure of their noise level. The best thing to do is to check reviews and product descriptions where the noise level is mentioned.

How Does An Aquarium Wave Maker Work?

Knowing how an aquarium wave maker works is beneficial when installing or placing it in the right direction. And once you know what’s the best position, your tank fish will be livelier than ever.

But, to do that, you need to know how the wave maker works. A wave maker is basically a water pump. It pumps in aquarium water and lets the water out again in the tank. This process creates wave-like movements in the water.

Wave makers tend to have low pressure and high volume. It allows the device to create realistic wave-like movements, giving the fishes a touch of nature.

What Is The Main Difference Between A Powerhead And A Wave Maker?

If you go through their features and working process, you will barely notice any difference between a powerhead and a wave maker. But working with these for years helps people like us to catch every single detail and distinction. Now, you can also learn about them from here.

PowerheadWave Maker
It is a circulating fan that submerged water.Water pump with a powerhead to create water movements.
It can work with only one powerhead.Can sync multiple powerheads.
Releases narrow streams in a single direction.Stimulate water to create wave-like motion in all directions.
Streams can be too strong.It has adjustable high and low water flow.
Not always energy efficient.Energy-efficient.

Why Do You Need A Wave Maker For Your Fish Tank & What Are The Benefits Of Best Aquarium Wave Maker?

Pumping water, creating waves, or feeding the corals are not the only reasons you need a wave maker. Your reel tank receives a lot more benefits from a wave maker than you can guess. If you want to know more about it, check this out.

Provide The Fish A Familiar Vibe

Continuous water flow and current are similar sights to fishes. Whether in calm lake water or the sea, fishes are used to waves.

That’s why, when you install a wave maker, you provide them a familiar environment to thrive. It makes the tank environment more natural to them, which is beneficial for your fishes’ mental and physical health and encourages them to be more active.

Stimulate And Feed The Corals And Invertebrates

The corals and invertebrates in a reef tank require medium to high water flow. Since they cannot move and reach out for what feeds them, the food has to reach them. And a perfect way to make it possible is using a wave maker because it will stimulate the food.

No More Dead Spots

Dead spots are places in the tank where the water does not move. If the water stays still, the leftover food and other wastes will not be cleared off. But, having a wave maker will keep the water flow constant and will eliminate any chance of dead spots. Keep an eye on the movement to see if the wave reaches every part of the tank.

Optimizes Filtration

Filtering tank water has several perks. One of them is removing any kind of dirt, debris, and waste. Wave maker optimizes that filtration process by pushing those wastes towards the filtration pumps. Thus, it helps keep the tank water cleaner.

Realistic And Pleasant View

When you provide your fish a clean and natural aquarium, everything about it looks pleasant. The tank starts looking more realistic and a thing of beauty. And if you are like me, you would probably snap some photos and use them as screensavers.

What Size Of Wave Maker Do I Need?

The answer to this question is a little complicated. The wave maker size depends on the position you are setting and how small or large your reef tank is. But here is a thing to keep in mind, the GPH of a wave maker in a saltwater tank will be higher than that of a freshwater tank.

First, know your tank capacity. The total turnover should be 10-20 times more than the capacity. For example, if you have a 60 gallons LPS tank, the turnover should be at least 600-1200 GPH or gallons per hour. On the other hand, if it is an SPS tank, the turnover needs to be around 1800-2400 GPH.

That’s how you know the size or the capacity of the wave maker you need. The manufacturers always recommend tank sizes that will be compatible with the wave maker. The current should not be too strong or too low. It has to be enough, based on the type of corals and other materials you are keeping in the tank.

Right Positioning Or Install Your Best Aquarium Wave Maker

Positioning a wave maker is not as simple as it sounds. It can require several tries before you finally get a position from where the wave will reach everywhere inside the fish tank. The best way to install a wave maker is by positioning it facing upward, downward, or facing the glasses.

The installation part is relatively easy. If it’s a suction mount wave maker, you only stick them to the aquarium glass or acrylic. And if it is a magnet mount, you put the wet side inside the tank and the dry side on the outside like two magnets.

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to leave any dead spots. And if one wave maker doesn’t seem to be reaching every corner, you have to add more powerheads. Also, do not position them in a way where it prohibits the filtration system.

AC Vs. DC Wave Makers – Knowing The Differences

Wave makers usually fall into two categories: AC and DC. AC models are what the young generation these days would call ancient. But no, they are not ancient but quite old technology models.

The only way to run these wavemakers or powerheads is to plug and play. You plug them into the outlet, turn on the powerhead, and unplug to turn it off.

The advantages of AC models are that they are more reliable, budget-friendly, and last a long time. On the downside, they are extremely loud. And they cost a lot of power consumption.

DC wave makers are not a lot different than the AC ones. However, the best part of these new-technology wave makers is that they come with a control system. Though DC models are not as reliable as AC ones, they can sync multiple pumps with adjustable flow and are energy efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is A Wavemaker A Powerhead?

Wave makers and powerheads may look similar. But they are very different from each other, especially in the way they affect the water flow.

Powerheads circulate water in a specific direction. On the other hand, wave makers have powerheads to generate water flow and send waves in every direction. Both of them are energy efficient and help circulating water.

Q. Is Wave Maker Good For Aquariums?

Not only are wave makers suitable for aquariums, but they are also a must-have in most cases. If you have gone through this article, you will see how beneficial they are for the entire tank environment.

A wave maker’s first thing is to create realistic waves in the water. It is necessary for your fishes’ health. The waves keep toxic elements from growing. They also help the food distribute equally inside the tank. Besides, wave makers help the corals by delivering them with necessary nutrition.

Q. Should I Use A Wave Maker For Calculating My Aquarium Water?

No, you shouldn’t use a wave maker to calculate aquarium water. It isn’t even a reliable way to calculate tank water.  Aquarium water is measured by the height, width, and depth of the tank.

Q. What Is The Difference Between A Powerhead, Circulating Pump, And Wave Maker? Which One Is The Best?

Powerheads are pretty similar to water filters. They pump water at high pressure and release water with a barrow stream head. Likewise, circulating pumps are identical, but they do not produce high water pressure.

Wave makers, however, can create both high and low pressure with the ability to control flow. So, in my opinion, if you are looking for something to create water current and save energy, wave makers are the best among the three options.

Q. When Don’t I Need A Wave Maker?

Let’s see. Wave makers are not a mandatory aquarium tool. You can always ditch it you like, especially if you have a freshwater aquarium.

And you may not need a wave maker if it’s a fish-only tank. However, if you plan to have corals or have a saltwater tank, having a wave maker will take lots of extra tasks off your hands.

Q. Do I Need To Turn Off My Wave Maker At Night Manually?

Turning off a wavemaker is certainly not a good idea. Why? Let me explain a thing or two. If you have an AC wave maker, it will not have a control or flow adjustment system. That wavemaker will keep running all the time. So, turning them off is not a good option.

On the other hand, DC wave makers come with a control system and will allow you to reduce and turn off the flow for some time. But turning it off can jam the circulation pump, resulting in toxic elements growing. It can even cause the death of fishes.

Our Verdict And Final Recommendations

Finding the best aquarium wave maker is quite challenging. So let me help you narrow down the list and recommend the right wave maker for the suitable tank sizes.

For nano reef aquariums, I would recommend Hygger Mini Wave Maker and Fluval Sea CP Series. They are excellent for small fish tanks and provide maximum performance.

For mid-sized reef aquariums and planted tanks, Hydor Koralia Wave Maker and the SICCE Voyager 3 are ideal choices. They provide various ranges of flow control and ensure that the plants and corals receive food.

For large reef aquariums, you always need the most exceptional wave makers with high water flow. And to the job, Jebao OW Series comes in low to high water flow pumps. You can install more than one of these in your large tank. Other than these, the Reef Octopus 4 Pump is the most robust model for large aquariums.

Wrapping Up

To introduce you to the best aquarium wavemaker, that was all I and my team had for you. Selecting the right wavemaker is a lot easier if you know some details about your tanks and their inhabitants.

And now you can see that there are plenty of options available regarding your budget and choice. AC-powered wave makers might be inexpensive, but I highly recommend you choose DC wave makers with excellent flow and power control.

Still, everyone has different tastes, even in aquarium devices. So, the easiest way to choose the perfect wave maker is to compare the pros and cons, and you will know which one to get.

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