The 10 Best Aquarium Wave Makers

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This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in January of 2019. Proper water circulation is vital for the well-being of your aquarium’s fish and plants, so a quality wave maker is an important component of many tanks. It'll simulate currents experienced in natural environments to help evenly distribute oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nutrients throughout, while reducing detritus buildup. Here we rank different models based on ease of use, adjustability, and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Jebao SCP-180M

2. Maxspect XF350 Bundle

3. Aquastation DC-4000

Editor's Notes

March 16, 2021:

We didn’t feel like a lot of major changes needed to be made during this round of updates, as most of our previous picks still made a lot of sense for this page, but we did wind up removing the Ecotech Marine MP40W and IceCap 3K Gyre Generation due to availability issues. Notably, neither was a massive loss to the list as many of our existing picks have designs similar to the former, and both of our fresh inclusions this time around ended up being quite similar to the latter.

Our first new pick, the Jebao SCP-180M is the most powerful model we ranked this time around, with a maximum flow rate that gets dangerously close to 10,000 gallons per hour. It’s simple enough to manage with its included controller, but if you prefer, it can also be controlled via app on android- or iOS-equipped devices.

Our second new selection, the Maxspect XF350 Bundle, comes with a pair of pumps and a single controller. The included pumps aren’t nearly as powerful as the hardware included with the SCP-180M, but when you combine the two of them together they can move about 10,500 gallons per minute, making it the stronger option. However, when you consider that its price easily doubles that of the SCP-180M, that advantage goes right out the window. Also, the XF350 Bundle can’t offer app control without the integration of the company’s separately sold ICV6 module. So, while both are fine choices, it seems that the option from Jebao presents a couple of clear advantages.

For other aquarium accessories, you might be interested in perusing our lists of air pumps, stands and skimmers.

February 26, 2019:

We included models that only offer one constant speed setting as well as others that offer remote controls, wireless access, and many modes -- to fit all budgets and needs. The highly affordable Sunsun Submersible is a relatively bare bones option, yet it’s reliable and quite powerful, to boot. On the other end of the spectrum is the deluxe Ecotech Marine model featured here, which is priced much higher and can be controlled from anywhere via a PC or your smartphone, thanks to its web-based command center. If energy efficiency is a priority, look to the Tunze NanoStream or the Aquastation DC4000. No matter what, it’s important to make sure the one you select is suited for your tank size and provides the strength of current you need, as different marine species are used to natural water flow of varying intensity.

Special Honors

Aquatic Group Wave makers are great for aquariums, but why should fish get to hog all the flowing fun? This company's headquartered in New York, but takes on work internationally equipping resorts with human-sized wave pools, and outfitting zoos with aquatic animal enclosures.

Aquarium Specialty This South Carolina-based company carries virtually everything you'll ever need to competently maintain your aquarium, including a decent selection of wave makers. Their big models can get pretty pricey, but some can handle aquariums as large as 20,000 liters.

4. Jebao OW-25

5. Hygger Submersible

6. Current USA eFlux

7. Tunze Nano Stream 6045

8. Hydor Koralia Nano

9. SunSun JVP-101

10. Polario Mini Low Voltage

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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