How to setup a powerhead water pump in an aquarium:

Powerhead pumps can offer multiple features such as it can be used to create water waves, circulate water, oxygenate water, & pump water to an overhead filter. Water waves are created using powerhead pumps & they offer a natural environment for the fish. Corals can’t find food on its own so a powerhead pump can let them absorb nutrients after circulating water in the aquarium.

Many new aquarists think that only air pumps can produce air bubbles. Powerhead pumps can add abundance of oxygen much faster than an air pump. Powerhead pumps can break the water surface to add atmospheric oxygen in the water. Point up your powerhead to make oxygen using surface agitation.

Powerheads can pump water to an aquarium top filter or an overhead SUMP. SUMP is not a filter but it is a container holding a large volume of water. It can be used to hold filter media. Overhead SUMP filters are very popular because they do take up space inside aquarium water so fish have more space for swimming. Powerhead can pump water to an aquarium SUMP or top filter & water flows through mechanical & biological chambers that purify it, & then it flows back to the aquarium using gravity. Also, aquarists grow plants in the SUMP filter because plants can offer natural filtration. They absorb ammonia byproducts that are released from waste. Many fish species eat plants or uproot them so it is a good idea to grow plants in the filter so that they are away from the messy fish. Aquarists grow herbs in the SUMP filter that absorb ammonia byproduct, heavy metals & other impurities from the water.


How to choose a powerhead pump:

Choosing a powerhead pump depends on how much water you want to pump. If someone uses a powerhead for pumping water to an overhead filter then it depends on pumping a specific volume of water in an hour. Most aquarists prefer pumping four times the volume of water your aquarium contains in one hour for efficient cleaning. So, if you have a 50-gallon aquarium then choose a powerhead that can pump 200 gallons of water in one hour.


Steps: Setting up a powerhead pump in fish tank:

Powerhead pumps are used for pumping water in or out of the aquarium filters. They have different prices based on the specifications that depend on the fish tank size & flow rate. Many aquarists use underwater pumps that are located inside the aquarium. A strainer is used on the intake of the submersible pump so it does not suck small fish. Additionally, you can use a sponge on the intake strainer to stop fish fries & shrimps from entering the filter intake. Also, fries can eat the leftover food that sticks to the sponge. Do not operate a submersible powerhead pump outside water.

In the video tutorial I have installed an underwater powerhead pump. It is easy to assemble a powerhead pump such as connecting the strainer to the powerhead. Some powerhead pumps do not include a manual that shows how to assemble the parts. My powerhead pump did not include an instruction manual but I found an image of the assembled powerhead pump on the carton & I used it to setup my water pump. If you are having trouble in assembling a powerhead water pump then watch the video below:


How to setup water pump in an aquarium

How to circulate & aerate water using powerhead pump:

Attach the powerhead to the top side glass of the aquarium. In some powerheads you can point the direction of water outflow using an adjustable flow plate towards the water surface so that it produces oxygen due to surface agitation. Powerhead can add atmospheric oxygen in the water by connecting an air tube to an air flow opening & placing another end of the air tube outside water. Hence it will suck air using an air tube & will add air in the water in the form of bubbles. If you have setup your powerhead on the top right side of the aquarium then it will push water towards the left side. And it will suck water from the bottom left side towards itself. Water will force fish waste, leftover food & other debris to leave the gravels & they will be trapped by the filter. Hence the powerhead will push water towards the left & strainer will suck filter from the left side, so water will start circulating in the aquarium.


What is the advantage of circulating water & water waves?

In aquariums there are certain dead zones where water movement is little & these places have deficient oxygen. These dead zones are especially found in the large aquariums. Powerhead can be used as a wave maker that creates waves on the water surface. It circulates water in the entire aquarium & moves water even in the dead zones. These regions now have an abundance of oxygen & your whole aquarium water starts moving. Fish like moving against the water currents. Water waves mimic the natural moving stream environment inside an aquarium by producing waves. Many aquarists think that fast moving water stresses fish but I think that they help fish in exercise & fish likes moving against the flow of water. However, too strong current can stress fish. Powerhead usually lets aquarists adjust the flow rate.

Corals can’t get nutrition on its own so circulating water can help them in getting food.


In today’s tutorial I have setup / assembled a powerhead pump & explained its every feature:


Step 1: Assembling a powerhead pump:

Assembling powerhead pump
Step 1: Assembling a powerhead pump

Connect a strainer to a pipe [1]. Insert the strainer pipe in a nut [2] & connect the strainer pipe to the threaded pipe [3]. Roll nuts over the thread & tighten the connection [4]. Connect the assembly to a connector [5]. Attach another end of the connector to the powerhead pump [6]. Attach a hose to the side outflow of the powerhead [7]. Assembling the powerhead is finished [8]. Strainer connected to the bottom end of the powerhead pump will not suck small fish. Powerhead pumps will draw water through the strainer & will pump it with high pressure.


Step 2: Testing flow rate & circulating water using powerhead:

Step 2: Testing flow rate & water circulation

Slide down the powerhead pump in a slider connected to the holder [1]. Another end of the holder has suction cups for fixing the holder to the aquarium glass. I have connected a hose to the side outlet of the pump for pumping water to an overhead filter. In my first test I closed the front outlet of the powerhead pump that can be used for circulating water so I am only pumping water to a SUMP with high flow rate [2]. Then I removed the cap from the front outlet [3] & now my aquarium pump is also circulating water [4].


Step 3: Aerating water using powerhead pump:

Powerhead pumps have an opening that can be connected to an air tube for producing air bubbles. Place another end of the air tube outside the water so that the pump can suck air & generate bubbles in the water. Also, it will create disturbance which is beneficial for aerating water.


Step 4: Testing flow rate of pump in a container:

In my final test, I have connected the powerhead outflow hose to an inlet of a SUMP / container. At the same time, I am circulating water using the front outflow of the powerhead. My Powerhead pump is able to drive water at a high flow rate. If you want to lift water at high speed, then close the front outlet that is used for circulating water inside the aquarium. You can watch the results in the video below:

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