Owning a fish tank means controlling the water in the aquarium. If you want to provide the healthiest living environment for your pet you need to constantly filter and clean the water with an aquarium sump pump. Our team of experts put together a list of our favorite submersible pumps for your aquarium tank.
A good sump system will give you the control you are looking for and keep your fish healthy and happy – we recommend investing in the best aquarium sump pump for best results. A good system sump can run almost entirely on its own while you focus on your fish!
Choosing the wrong pump can mean disaster for your fish tank. Picking the right system is almost as important as feeding your fish if you want a health ecosystem inside your aquarium.
Why do I need an Aquarium Pump?
Aquarium sump pumps keep the water in your tank moving – which keeps it healthy and clean! Many people that have never owned a fish are surprised to learn that aquariums need constant cleaning and water filtration or else the fish can die!
A good fish tank sump pump can prevent these types of problems from happening as well as make sure the water stay rich with oxygen for your fish to breathe!
Top 6 Aquarium Pumps
Choosing the right pump for a new or currently in use aquarium might seem like a difficult choice. We recommend choosing based on filtration, power and extra functionality. Below are some of the best pumps to filter and drain your tank. Why trust us? Because we are the sump pump experts!
Top Pick: Homasy 80 GPH Water Pump
This pump from Homasy stood out from the crowd. It has an adjustable flow rate and is so quiet it is almost impossible to hear.
The Homasy 80 has a max flow rate of 80 gallons of water per hours which makes it perfect for mid size tanks and small outdoor water features.
Homasy has a long history of making high quality aquarium pumps and the Homasy 80 is one of the best! We recommend this pump for medium sized aquariums, small outdoor features and hydropponic systems. It comes with a 8.5 mm and 13 nozzles so you can pick the perfect flow for your tank. Plus, if you run into any problems Homasay has a 12 month warranty.
- Adjustable flow rate
- Max head height of 2.6 feet
- No noise – sounds like a waterfall
- Has built in suction cups for mounting on glass
- Not powerful enough for large outdoor ponds
Best for Salt Water Tanks: Simple Deluxe 1056 GPH
Bigger tanks require more powerful pump systems. The Simple Deluxe 1056 can pump up to 1056 gallons of water per hour and can lift water 12 feet in the air. We recommend this pump for mid to large size salt water tanks, fountains and ponds.
Simple Delux is one of the most popular brands for aquarium pumps. The 1056 models has a 15′ cord and pre-filter on the intake section to prevent debris from clogging your pump. The aluminum oxide is non-corrodible and even strong than stainless steel.
Worried about the power supply? Don’t be – the power cord is 17# copper covered in waterproof plastic.
- Safe for fish
- Max head height of 12 feet
- 3 threaded nozzle sizes – .83in, 1.06, 1.34 inches
- Long power cord for deep ponds
- Some reports of power loss
Best for Fresh Water Tanks: VicTsing 80 GPH
Small fish tanks need a good pump just as much as larger tanks. For small tanks we recommend the VicTsing 80 GPH water pump. It is almost totally silent and can be places horizontally or vertically in your tank.
This fish tank pump 80 gallons per hours – it may not sounds like much but for a small household tank it is the perfect choice! The flow is slow and steady which is exactly what you need for small water features – plus there is no buzzing noise!
The pump is controlled by an adjustable knob so you can get the perfect flow and is powered by a waterproof power system.
- Control the flow rate with adjustable knobs
- 2 nozzles for the perfect water flow
- Attaches to side of tank with suction cups
- 9.5′ power cord reaches across the room
- Not powerful enough for large tanks or fountains
- Low head lift height – only 2.6′
Best for Outdoor Ponds – KEDSUM 880GPH
This power KEDSUM pump is our top choice for large water systems that need a high flow rate. In fact, it can pump up to 880 gallons of water per hour of fresh or salt water in ponds, outdoor water features and hydroponic systems.
The KEDSUM 880 is designed for outdoor water features that need to keep lots of water moving all day. It has a powerful 100 watt motor and 3 different adapters so you can find the perfect flow rate.
One word of advice – the power ford is only 5.6 feet so you will need an extension cord handy!
- Max flow rate of 880 gallons
- Super quiet for the power and flow rate
- 3 power adapters – .51″, .63″ and .75″ for different flow rates
- Pumps any kind of water
- Requires occasional lubrication to avoid over heating
- Low quality suction cups on the bottom
Best for Fountains – KEDSUM 550GPH
Another KEDSUM pump that we recommend for outdoor fountains is the 550 GPH model. This pump has the head height and flow rate you need to power any water feature and is super quiet and surprisingly small!
The KEDSUM 550 is out favorite fountain pump. It has a high flow rate and the body of the pump measure just (H)*4.7″(L)*2.75″(W) so it is easy to hide in some rocks or plants.
The 550 model is super quiet and hardly uses and power – just 40 W from a 110 voltage outlet! It works while fully submerged under both fresh and salt water and is easy to clean and maintain.
- Designed for outdoor use
- Pumps up to 550 gallons per hour
- 3 power adapters – .51″, .63″ and .75″ for different flow rates
- Easy to break down and clean
- Low profile makes it easy to “hide” in outdoor features
- Keep an eye out for overheating
- May pump less gallons of water per hour in some cases
Tiger Pumps 120GPH Water Pump
This Tiger Pump is adjustable and has a high max flow rate of 120 gallons of water per hour. It works best in large aquariums and ponds or aquariums.
When picking the right pump is can be hard to balance power and noise level. We like this fish tank pump because it has a high max flow rate, makes little noise and won’t inflate your electric bill. The pump measures 2.58″ x 1.61″ x 1.94″ and can be installed by one person in about 20 minutes. It attaches to the side of your aquarium with 4 suction cups so it fits in almost any spot.
- Max flow rate of 120 GPH
- 120 Voltage Pump
- Attaches to 1/2″ and 1/4″ drain lines
- Weighs 12.6 ounces
- 1 year warranty
- Works while totally submerged
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Pump 120 gallons per hour
- 1 year money back guarantee
- Plug in and start draining
- Acid and salt resistant build material
- Not as powerful as other pumps
FREESEA Submersible Water Pump
FREESA makes a line of 5 top of the line water pumps that are perfect for fish tanks and fountains. The smaller pumps are 160 GPH which is good for small tanks and the 1100 GPH version is best for outdoor use.
This model is a good choice for almost any situation, just make sure to do some research on the best size for your home. The pump can automatically detect dry running and shut itself off to prevent burn out and over heating. The body is made of high quality ABS plastic that keeps the motor dry. Plus, the pump has a 1 year warranty in case any thing goes wrong.
- 160 to 1100 GPH options
- 4 bottom suction cups
- Works while 100% submersed
- Auto shut off to prevent burn out
- 5.9 foot power cord
- Max light height of 5.9′
- Choose the right size motor for your aquarium
- Attachable suction cups for easy mounting
- Uses less energy without sacrificing power
- Anti dry run technology
- Motor design may scare fish
Still not sure which pump is right for your tank. Review these features and functionality to help you pick.
Type of Water
One of the first things to consider is the type of water the pump will be placed in. Most pumps work in both fresh and salt water but it is important to check ahead of time.
Salt water is more corrosive and slightly more difficult for a pump to pump so keep that in mind when buying your next pump.
Picking a pump with the right flow rate is key. Flow rate is how much water a pump can push per hour – usually measured in gallons. Small fish tanks and aquariums need pumps with a flow rate of 75 to 100 gallons per hours while big outdoor fountains need a pumps with flow rates over 500!
Another important factor to before making your final decision is the head height. Small aquariums need a small height – usually between 3 and 5 feet – while outdoor fountains need pumps that can push water 10+ feet.
Noise level is always a concern with pump – especially if it is used inside. The more powerful the pump the more noise it will make which can keep you awake all night and disturb your fish. If the motor is making too much noise or vibrating it can even effect the health of your fish!
Some pumps have adjustable flow rates and most list a max gallons per hour. Take the size of your aquarium, pond or water feature into account when making this decision
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a aquarium sump pump?
A aquarium sump pump is responsible for keeping the water moving and draining the tank.
What is the best aquarium pump?
We think the best pump for most aquariums is the Homasy 80 GPH model.
How do you size an aquarium pump?
Make sure you get the size aquarium pump by measuring the total gallons and diving by the drain time.
Do you need a sump for a freshwater tank?
Yes. Every tank needs a pump to keep the water fresh and moving.
How do I keep my aquarium sump from overflowing?
Our Final Decision
With so many good pumps on the market it is hard to go wrong with any of the pumps we have listed here – after all we picked the best pumps! If you still can’t decide we recommend starting with the VicTsing 80 GPH.