BEST Pumps & Wavemakers for MAKING TANK WAVES

BRS

Do you care whether or not you have wave action in your reef tank?

  • YES

    Votes: 257 40.5%
  • SOMEWHAT

    Votes: 179 28.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 192 30.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 7 1.1%

  • Total voters
    635

revhtree

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THIS POST IS ABOUT GETTING AN ACTUAL WAVE ON TOP OF YOUR WATER. NOT RANDOM FLOW.

Today let's make some waves by talking about the best equipment for making waves in our reef tanks. Like literal waves, not just flow. Many hobbyists believe that producing waves in your reef tank is beneficial in that it, in some degree, is more like the ocean, helps keeps detritus from settling and keeps food suspended in the water column. Let's talk about it!

1. What are the best pumps and wavemakers for making waves (not flow) in your aquarium?

2. Do you care whether or not you have wave action in your reef tank?


wave action video via @Rhoads238
 
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90's reefer

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I run 5 powerheads in my 120 all on pulse. Several are on wave modes. This gives me great random flow. On 2 linked powerheads I change the mode daily for even more random flow.
My 120 today.
20210729_165513.jpg

20210729_165452.jpg
 
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revhtree

revhtree

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Honestly, I like the shimmer effect. It looks nice. I put my return heads at the top for this, so I don't need a special pump for it. My gyres oscillate their flow (the meeting point changes) so that helps with variability

So you're getting an actual wave on top of your water?
 
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revhtree

revhtree

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I run 5 powerheads in my 120 all on pulse. Several are on wave modes. This gives me great random flow. On 2 linked powerheads I change the mode daily for even more random flow.
My 120 today.
20210729_165513.jpg

20210729_165452.jpg

Do you get an actual wave on top of your water? Like in the video?
 

90's reefer

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Do you get an actual wave on top of your water? Like in the video?
Yes. When the 2 powerheads on each side are on wave mode it is visible. Its not as pronounced because of the additional flow in the tank.
These are the 2 powerheads that get their modes changed daily.
 

hart24601

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I would with tunze, I did before, several of their pumps have auto pulse mode and point up at the surface to make it easy. I have a high water alarm now and not much clearance on the waterbox to the lip so I don’t now.

just a heads up, the owner of miracles, some of the best custom tanks in North America, told me standing waves are hard on the silicone and will shorten the tank life. I trust him to know what he is talking about. He made me a custom 120g out of 3/4” glass for the purpose of a standing wave and he didn’t trust 1/2” long term for it. Which long term for miracles is a very long time, granted. Just FYI
 

Zeal

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I have a Waterbox 4820 with 2 Nero 5 both at 100% every 4 hours.

When theyre both at 100% theyre pushing up to 6000gph in the tank. At that point there is a visible wave(s)
 

GeoSquid

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I've been surfing since I was a little kid - I'm old now. Love the wave action, it reminds me of the seaweed swirling around on the rocks here in socal. I run two borneman surges on my 180 gallon and when they both go off at the same time it creates tornadoes. All the softies swirl back and forth. I also just love the watching the water movement and bubbles. Reminds me of a large tide pool. I think the fish like it more than than the corals.
 

East1

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Yeah, I think it's absolutely important (especially in my tiny tank)
With things like acropora, wave action puts the entire body of water into harmonic motion, this means that all of the water in contact with the coral is moving around, and results in improved health amongst other things - like natural growth shapes
 

Ashy

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I would with tunze, I did before, several of their pumps have auto pulse mode and point up at the surface to make it easy. I have a high water alarm now and not much clearance on the waterbox to the lip so I don’t now.

just a heads up, the owner of miracles, some of the best custom tanks in North America, told me standing waves are hard on the silicone and will shorten the tank life. I trust him to know what he is talking about. He made me a custom 120g out of 3/4” glass for the purpose of a standing wave and he didn’t trust 1/2” long term for it. Which long term for miracles is a very long time, granted. Just FYI
Good point, sloshing water cant be good for the silicone.
 

hart24601

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Good point, sloshing water cant be good for the silicone.
He explained it like the silicone were rubber bands holding the glass. It has a little bit of give. Over the course of the tanks life it’s pretty much defined by the number of cycles and the amount the silicone is stretched. Of course this was his simplified version, but I think it’s good to consider.
 

davidcalgary29

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It would depend on the tank. When I finally build my Bahamian tidepool tank, which would try to replicate waves/flooding in a shallow environment on a frequency of about every two minutes or so (which is what I observe in nature), it would be crucial.

Those tidepools always have a mix of Royal Grammas and Sergeant Majors, though. I'm not sure how I could have even one Sergeant Major in a tank.
 

Midrats

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I would with tunze, I did before, several of their pumps have auto pulse mode and point up at the surface to make it easy. I have a high water alarm now and not much clearance on the waterbox to the lip so I don’t now.

just a heads up, the owner of miracles, some of the best custom tanks in North America, told me standing waves are hard on the silicone and will shorten the tank life. I trust him to know what he is talking about. He made me a custom 120g out of 3/4” glass for the purpose of a standing wave and he didn’t trust 1/2” long term for it. Which long term for miracles is a very long time, granted. Just FYI
Roger of Tunze confirms this.
 

takitaj

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I love the wave action but I don't like the potential of stressing the joints. I had some going for a little while and everything loves the back-n-forth action but I thought better of it. So I would like to have the waves but I won't for that reason. Not worth the potential of failure for me. Maybe with a ratchet strap or 2. lol
 

Greybeard

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Corals need flow... most corals seem to prefer random, ever changing flow patterns. Waves? Eh. Ever been diving? Get more than a few feet down, outside of a storm or something, wave activity really doesn't mean that much. Currents, and tides. Depending on where you are, currents and tides can seriously move some water. Longer duration, strong, steady flow, changing directions periodically... That's what I'm shooting for.

I've got a pair of Tunze 6105's, ramping from 30% to 60% over 3 minutes, while the opposing pump is ramping down over the same period. Four times a day, both pumps run at 75% (was 100%, before I put sand in the tank!) at the same time for 10 minutes, and then return to slowly ramping up and down.
 

saltyhog

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The majority of corals don't live in surge zones which is what a standing wave in our tanks mimic. I aim more for random , variable intensity flow. I run MP 40's and run several modes during the day including Reefcrest, pulse mode and Nutrient Transport.
 

East1

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The majority of corals don't live in surge zones which is what a standing wave in our tanks mimic. I aim more for random , variable intensity flow. I run MP 40's and run several modes during the day including Reefcrest, pulse mode and Nutrient Transport.

The entire ocean as a singular mass is in a constant standing wave of sorts, just dictated by the moon.
 
BRS

How long does it take to you to get an inch of acropora growth? (on average)

  • A couple of weeks or less

    Votes: 3 1.3%
  • Up to 1 month

    Votes: 14 6.2%
  • Up to 2 months

    Votes: 22 9.7%
  • Up to 3 months

    Votes: 38 16.8%
  • Up to 6 months

    Votes: 51 22.6%
  • Up to 12 months

    Votes: 17 7.5%
  • 12+ Months

    Votes: 7 3.1%
  • I can't grow acropora

    Votes: 64 28.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 4.4%
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