Why Should You Use An Aquarium Wavemaker?
Which Type Should You Buy?

Every aquarium will benefit from a wavemaker. Why? Because detritus builds up in the nooks and crannies of your aquarium. Without a wavemaker, your water flow will always travel in the same path. Detritus will never get dislodged and will break down into nitrates (the favorite food of algae). Having water flow continually changing direction, like a wave, will dislodge the detritus so it can be collected in your filter or protein skimmer.

There are essentially three types of wavemakers:

The IceCap Gyre Pumps and Maxspect Gyre Pumps are so unique they have their own category. The Gyre does not look like what we think of as a pump. They fit underneath the lip of the tank and are much less noticeable than a powerhead. The Gyre combines the “pump” with the controller.

The Gyre can be used in five modes: Constant Speed Mode, Pulsing Mode, Gradual Pulsing Mode, Random Mode & Alternating Gyre Mode.

Because of the extremely wide angle of the flow, the Gyres create a wave that really emulates what you would find in the ocean. This results in virtually zero dead spots and an even distribution of water throughout the aquarium.

A ramp-up / ramp-down wavemaker slowly increases and reduces the flow of a powerhead at set intervals. This reduces wear and tear on the pumps and the impeller and is also quieter than the on/off wavemakers. It’s more natural and better emulates the flow in the ocean. This “natural” flow is superior for coral feeding as the various filter-feeding corals in your aquarium have different ideal water flows for feeding.

With some of these sophisticated wavemakers, you can also reduce flow when feeding fish, and you can emulate tidal changes.

We carry numerous pumps in this category. We recommend the Reef Octopus OCTO Pulse, Hydor Aqamai KPS Wi-Fi Controllable Wavemaker Pumps, & Tunze Comline Wavebox. The Tunze and OCTO (Pulse 2+ & Pulse 4+) can be controlled with the included controller. There are also OCTO Pulse versions that are packaged together with the Hydros WaveEngine controller. The Hydor Aqamai is controlled through WiFi and a smartphone. All three come with magnet mounts.

An on/off wavemaker essentially turns one or more pumps on and off at intervals. By having pumps turning on and off, the water flows in different directions in the aquarium.

The Hydor Koralia SmartWave Circulation Pump Timer can control two Koralia Powerheads, turning them on/off at intervals every five seconds, ten seconds, fifteen seconds, etc. to create waves. Place a Koralia Powerhead in each back corner pointing down at a 45-degree angle.

You won't get the sophisticated control you'll get with the other wavemaker options, but the Hydor Koralia SmartWave Circulation Pump Timer is much more affordable.