Top 10 Best Aquarium Return Pump in 2022

Aquarium Return PumpWhy do you need a return pump in your aquarium?

Finding the right return pump for your saltwater aquarium or reef tank is not an easy task. If you are not sure what works for your fish and how they live, this task is very challenging.

You don’t just buy the first pump you see in the store. There are things that you need to consider, like the type of fish you have, the amount of water you need to pump and of course, your budget.

To make your selection process easier, we have reviewed ten of the best aquarium return pump in the market today. Which one will work best for you, find out by reading this post.


Aquarium Return Pump Product Reviews

1. Hygger Quiet Submersible and External 24V DC Water Pump

Hygger 24 V quiet water pump, has a unique U-shape water intake outlet that makes it ideal for low water level fish tank. This powerful water pump is recommended for aquariums, waterfalls, freshwater, ponds, sump, saltwater, hydroponics, and fountains.

This water pump is quite different from others, as it has two kinds of removable water intake shells. Hygger 24 V return pump can be used in the fish tank with a water level of 0.8 inches.

To power on, simply plug it on an outlet and unplug it to turn off. In case there is no water or the water level is too low, the pump has an auto shut off features. It has two types of removable water intake screens, one for average water level and the other one for low water level.

Another impressive feature of Hygger 24 V is that it has an external LED display controller to regulate the flow speed. You can control the flow rate from 30% to 100%. It is equipped with three buttons controller – up, down, and pause.

Things We Liked

  • Operates quietly at low vibration
  • High-performance, saves energy up to 65%
  • Easy to disassemble for cleaning
  • Auto shut off when sensed there is a low level of water or no water at all
  • Made of durable materials

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Wave mode is not what it is expected to be


2. Jebao New DC Return Pump

Jebao is a sump tank pump with a 528 GPH maximum rate. This is safe to use for all types of tanks, as it does not have copper components. It is high-powered, which makes it ideal for your sensitive finned friends.

Also, it is designed with ten different flow rates to choose from hanging on your fish’s inclination. It functions on a low voltage power and prevents it from working too much with its automatic power-off feature. This return pump is made of a ceramic shaft that provides efficient energy and long-standing power.

If you are looking for a return pump that performs at its best, but it does not produce any annoying sound.

Just like other products, Jebao is not perfect. It has some drawbacks, like having a bigger size as compared to conventional pumps. It may suit most tanks, but because of its size, it is hard to hide.

Things We Liked

  • Operates silently
  • Recommended for inline use
  • It is easy to control and with handy feeding button
  • Designed with ten diverse water flow rates you can choose from
  • Powerful pump that can fit different types of tanks

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It does not have an on and off button
  • It comes with a bigger design as compared to other pumps


3. Current USA eFlux DC Flow Pump

Are you in search of a saltwater return pump that is easy to install? The Current USA eFlux pump is for you. This unit will not give you any problem when installing it. You will be surprised how this unit fits into narrow spaces and tiny sumps since it has a small footprint design.

Current USA eFlux can ensure high flow and pressure. These two are essential features most aquarists are looking for when buying a return pump.

Fish tank owners are on the lookout for devices that operates quietly and energy-efficient. This return pump is one of them. It has a powerful DC motor that is sealed well and with magnetic drive design. Which makes this product works impressively.

You can install the device either externally or submersible. You don’t have to worry if you have freshwater or marine tanks, as it is safe for both. The pump includes hose barb fittings that make installing and servicing procedures fast and easy.

Things We Liked

  • Energy-efficient, high pressure, and high flow
  • It has an easy-to-adjust and control flow
  • Efficient even in narrow spaces and small-sized sumps
  • With IC electronic detection that protects the pump in case there is no water
  • Designed for both freshwater and saltwater tanks

Things We Didn’t Like

  • A bit expensive
  • The power cord is too short


4. Fluval Hagen Sea Sump Pump for Aquarium

Are you looking for suitable drawer sump pumps for your saltwater aquariums? Fluval Hagen Sump Pump is a great model that you will not surely regret buying. It is made with high flow rates and powerful head delivery. This return pump works at a cold temperature to prevent the change in water temperature.

If you have Fluval Hagen, there is no need to worry about the water flow for your sump saltwater system. It will not consume too much energy, which means your energy consumption will not be affected.

This pump is electrically approved and is highly recommended for saltwater use. Its rugged design is also worth noticing. The pump is designed with ingenious pump technology that lets the pump discerns every time the water flow is controlled and change its pump appropriately. This prevents the device from over-operating.

Fluval Hagen Sea Sump Pump comes in a bigger size, so you have to fix it first to make sure it will fit in. Also, once purchased, it does not have a filter cap or strainer.

Things We Liked

  • It produces a great job at creating an excellent water flow particularly for sump-equipped saltwater systems
  • Assures low heat transmission
  • Works at a cold temperature
  • Designed with a top-quality energy-efficient magnetic drive device
  • Includes barbed hose fittings

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It does not have a filter cap or strainer on the intake
  • It is much bigger than expected


5. Jebao DCP Sine Wave Water Return Pump

The Jebao DCP Sine Water return pump is designed with the best performing motor to make sure it will perform at its best. This device can turn the power down to feed. The pump controller is very accurate once you get accustomed to it. You will be surprised to know that it is best to get a vigorous pump in a small package.

As compared to other tough contenders this pump with the same price tag, this pump comes with a flow rate of 1710 GPH. This unit stands out more because of its gilt-edge features and is less harmless since it does not have copper contents. This unit is for internal use only. It is also complete with a memory function that is intended for power supply.

This return pump is a bit expensive. There are two other versions of this device with similar features but sold at a more affordable price. It’s because of this why some people would buy other brands with the same features since they could purchase them at a lesser price.

Things We Like

  • Designed with an energy-saving feature
  • Operates with less noise
  • Does not contain any copper
  • Designed with a reliable and powerful pump
  • Works efficiently than the previous versions

Things We Didn’t Like

  • A bit expensive
  • Some versions with the same features are more affordable


6. Aquastation Silent Swirl Controllable DC Aquarium Pump

The Aquastation return pump is yet another great feature that you can try out. It has a fantastic maximum flow of 660 GPH and has lots to offer when it comes to customization for your fish and tank’s needs.

There are 20 water flow levels you can pick from with the use of the Smart Controller. It also has a Wave Mode in which you can decide the water intensity of the waves. Also, it has a Feed Mode that returns the pump for 10 minutes if you are feeding the fish.

The starting flow should be adjusted before working on the wave mode. You can set the mode easily.

To make this pump function, you need an adapter. This pump will fit any tank large or small. You need to purchase the adapter separately to connect with the pump.

For budget-conscious, this the pump for you as it is being sold at an affordable price.

Things We Like

  • Powerful pump that fit small or big fish tank
  • Provides strong water flow
  • With feed mode features that turn off the pump during feeding time
  • With its wave mode features to adjust the water intensity

Things We Don’t Like

  • You need to purchase the adapters separately
  • May require additional parts for attachment


7. Little Giant 582507 Magnetic Drive Aquarium Pump

Little Giant is a popular pump known to be a very reliable water pump for aquariums, industrial applications, and ponds. It is designed to be used externally on both saltwater and freshwater fish tanks.

The water pump is AC-powered with no speed control, soft start, or feeding mode. The pumps in this series feature a leakproof, seal-less magnetic drive and a relatively quiet operation.

It is intended for free-flow setups, with very little back-pressure. It only implies that the pumps are suitable for circulation and not for shifting the water into a filtration system that involves the media. The power motor is protected against heat and comes with a 6 inches power cord.

With its smart controller, you can easily control the water flow. You can choose from the 20 speeds plus a bonus in the feeding mode shape. The package does not include the adaptors which mean additional cost on the jack.

Things We Liked

  • Very Quiet
  • Small and compact
  • Powerful
  • Available in a range of sizes
  • Easy to adjust the flow rate

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The wave mode wasn’t amazing.


8. Iwaki MD40RLXT Water Pump

This is a Japanese water pump that is popular for being reliable and made of high-quality water pumps. It is recommended for marine and freshwater fish tanks.

All the parts are made in Japan, including its electric pump motor. It is designed for low-pressure systems. It is perfect for moving the water through a wet or sump return pump.

The pump has a unique double bearing system having a liquid cooling circuit that floods the rear and front radial bearings. Because of the unique fluoropolymer bearings feature, it makes the pump work longer. The feature reduces mechanical failures with low-priced magnetic drive pumps.

Iwaki’s pump is very durable and resists salt water attack. You cannot control the pump from afar or use a wired or wireless automation system. Since the pump is not equipped with a sensor, make sure you will not let the water run dry. The device does not include a power plug. You need to install it on your own.

Things We Liked

  • It has a powerful motor
  • Durable and can resist saltwater attack
  • Recommended for marine and freshwater fish tank
  • Can manage a lot of head pressure

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Can be used only externally
  • Produces a loud sound


9.  Reef Octopus VarioS-6 DC Pump

If you are looking for a fully controllable DC pump, the Reef Octopus Various is a good choice. This unit is controller ready, as you can connect with controllers such as Neptune Apex and is recommended for those who are looking for a high-end unit. The controller is quite comprehensive, providing 15 or 16-minute feed mode and other settings.

It is a bit expensive, but if you are searching for a unit that is easy to control and will not disappoint you, this is a good choice. Reef Octopus is believed to be of high value.

The Reef Octopus Various water pump has a detachable controller module with premium-quality ceramic shaft and bearing to minimize wear and tear. As compared to other circulation pumps that use alternating current, this one has higher energy efficiency, variable speed control, and safe operation at 36V working voltage.

Things We Liked

  • Equipped with a controller
  • Produces less heat in every volume of flow
  • Operates safely
  • Made of premium quality material
  • Energy-efficient

Things We Didn’t Like

  • A bit expensive than others


10. Sicce Syncra 2.0 Aquarium Pump

Finally, our last product on the list but not the least. Sicce Syncra pump operates quietly with a decent rate of 568 GPH, which makes it an impressive device in spite of having a small size. You can use the device both in saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

This pump is very versatile. You can use it as a submersible pump or inline. You can also customize the pump, depending on your fish. This makes controlling the water flow easy.

The Sicce Syncra water pump provides greats feature aside from those mentioned above. It is a bit expensive, but it is worth it for those who can afford it. The brand offers a 5-year warranty, which proves that this pump is reliable and durable that it will last longer.

Things We Liked

  • Operates quietly
  • Offers 5-year warranty
  • Dual function externally and internally
  • Recommended both for freshwater and saltwater fish tank

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Requires a gate valve for better adjustments
  • A bit expensive


Factors You Need to Consider When Buying a Fish Tank Sump Pump

Your main concern about having an aquarium is you want to take care of the fishes. To do this, you need to make sure that it will have a healthy and safe environment to live in, not only the fishes but the corals as well. And to be able to achieve this, you need to make an important decision by picking the best aquarium return pump.

In choosing the size and type of pump for your sump, there are some considerations that you need to consider. You need to know the kind of filtration system that is right for the kind of fish you have.

Aside from this, you need to consider whether your fish tank requires temperature control devices or filtration unit. Before you decide, you need to assess and check reviews as to what pump is right for your sump.

You need to know what the tool can do for your aquarium. You can list down all the features, as well as the pros and cons of the product and other vital factors that you need to focus on.

The following factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Accessories
  • Aesthetics
  • Durability
  • Ease of installation and convenience of use
  • Materials it is made of
  • Silent operation
  • Size
  • Versatility


Types of Return Pump

There are two types of aquarium return pump available in the market. Let’s differentiate one from the other:

In-line Water Pumps

This type of water pump is used externally. It is connected to an inlet and outlet hose that are used to filter the water in the aquarium. It usually has an air-cooled feature. Thus, it keeps the water in the fish tank at the right temperature.

This is a more powerful type of pump, which can transfer more water per hour. Setting it up involves pressure installation and free-flow installation.

Submersible Water Pumps

The pump function underwater, and in the sump of a wet or dry filtration system. This type of device pumps water from the filter and then return it to the tank, and most of the time with the help of other tools like chillers or UV sterilization units.

It is easy to set up as there is no need to drill or install a bulkhead in the filtration system. Also, it is noise-free as they are functioning underwater.

This type of pump comes with water-cooled features. It means it keeps the water at the right temperature. Also, the sump’s filter doesn’t have enough space for a pump. The extent of the submerged pump is a crucial factor that you need to consider.


The Benefits of Return Pump for your Fish Tank

The sump is an additional canister that you can use to hold more water, filter media, and fish tank equipment. With the help of the sump system, it can get rid of the mess of having a heater, filter, and protein skimmer and other tools that you need – connected on the aquarium’s walls.

Also, it could be hidden inside the tank cabinet where no one will notice it but can ensure easy access for maintenance and cleaning purposes. So rather than getting rid of the tank hood or removing the light fixtures to get access to the back area of the tank during maintenance, you could consider disclosing the tank cabinet and have easy access to your aquarium.

Besides, your sump can be used to hold extra filter media. Most of the fish tank filters have a specific area for filter media. But by using a sump, you can have more space. You can use the space to produce good bacteria for biological filtration. Also, having more space for water is one of the good perks of having a sump for your pump.


Final Thoughts

After reviewing ten of the best aquarium return pump, our top pick is Hygger Quiet Submersible and External 24V DC Water Pump. We choose this brand because of the many factors, including the pause function, high performance, types of water intake, and power.

Even if we find the Hygger Quiet Submersible as the top pick, the other nine products we reviewed are also a good choice. If you want to share your ideas about the return pump or have questions about the device, feel free to comment below.