Best Wave Makers for your Aquarium

In the wild, aquatic creatures are subjected to various water movements, including wave action, tides, and water currents. These natural conditions are non-existent in artificial waters. Wave makers help recreate these dynamic environments for the aquatic lives in your tank. 

Wave makers are especially important for saltwater/reef aquariums, as it helps the nutrient-rich water to reach the motionless organisms in every corner. They also contribute to waste removal, nutrient distribution, and oxygenation mechanisms. 

Best Wave Makers For Your Aquarium

In this article, we’ll go through the 7 best wave makers for aquariums that are unique in their approach and functionality. We’ve also prepared a buying guide to back your next purchase. 

7 Best Wave Makers for Aquariums

1. FREESEA Aquarium Circulation Pump Wave Maker

FREESEA Aquarium Circulation Pump Wave Maker  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH1600
Tank SizeFreshwater: 200 gallonsReef: 100 gallons
Wave PatternRegular
Adjustable FlowNo. Direction adjustable.
Energy Rating8W
Installation TypeMagnetic Base

One of the simplest and most powerful wave makers, the FREESEA Wave Maker delivers a continuous wave pattern that isn’t overburdened by fancy features and numerous wave patterns. The Focus of this product is simply to generate water current for 200-gallon freshwater tanks and 100-gallon reef tanks

Key Features

  • Gentle Water Flow

If used for rated aquariums, it delivers a gentle water flow that shouldn’t cause discomfort to your fish or plants. 

  • 1600 GPH Motor

Its powerful 1600 GPH motor offers a robust range of flow that prevents the creation of dead zones in the tank. The motor, while non-adjustable, is pretty durable and silent. 

  • Stable Magnetic Base

A pair of magnetic couplings are used to install the FREESEA Wave Maker. Compared to suction cups, magnetic bases work more efficiently. 

  • Can be Rotated to Cover Every Corner

Both the wave generators can be rotated 360 degrees to cover every portion of the tank. They can be adjusted to create a cross-flow in your aquarium. 



  • Not flow adjustable. 

2. Aqueon Circulation Pump 1250 GPH

Aqueon Circulation Pump 1250 GPH  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH1250
Tank SizeFreshwater: 150 gallonsReef: 80 gallons
Wave PatternRegular
Adjustable FlowNo. Direction adjustable.
Energy Rating7W
Installation TypeEasy Lock Suction Cup

Designed for relatively smaller saltwater aquariums, the Aqueon Circulation Pump 1250 lives up to its premium name with the powerful and silent 1250 GPH motor, rated for 80-gallon saltwater and 150-gallon freshwater tanks. Its power-efficient 7W motor delivers more flow per watt than most other wave makers. 

Key Features

  • Single Pattern Wave Generator

Beginner-friendly, regular wave generation is the USP of the product. The directional water flow with ball and socket connection can be reflected from the walls to generate different flow patterns. 

  • Easy-Lock Suction Cup

The mechanical easy-lock suction cups hold the unit in place pretty robustly. It also reduces vibration and noise, and makes installation simple.

  • Rotatable Output Flow

This wave maker can be rotated through the ball and socket joint to cover almost every corner of your aquarium. 

  • 1250 GPH Motor

The 1250 GPH motor is suitable enough for most average-sized reef aquariums. It also generates comfortable water flow for smaller aquariums. 


  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. 
  • Easy installation with suction cups. 
  • Quiet operation. The motor doesn’t make rattling or clicking noises. 


  • Could be a bit more durable. 

3. MarineLand Maxi-Jet 1200

MarineLand Maxi-Jet 1200  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH1300
Tank SizeFreshwater: 160 gallonsReef: 85 gallons
Wave PatternRegular
Adjustable FlowNo. Direction adjustable.
Energy Rating8W
Installation TypeSuction Cups, Convertible. 

Powered by a 1300 GPH motor and a fully convertible arrangement, the MarineLand Maxi-Jet 1200 can cater to freshwater tanks of up to 160 gallons and saltwater tanks of up to 85 gallons. Apart from its powerful motor and efficiency, this wave maker is exceptionally silent and durable. 

Key Features

  • Three-Way Convertible Setup

The setup converts into 3 available options, such as utility pump, powerhead, or circulation pump. You can customize it as per your preference. 

  • 1300 GPH Powerful Motor

The powerful 1300 GPH motor is powerful yet silent. Although not adjustable, it fulfills its purpose pretty well.

  • Rotational Output

The filter head can be adjusted to target the dead corners of your aquarium. You may also use both the submerged motors to make enjoyable water currents.  


  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater operations.
  • Quite durable. Premium build quality.  
  • Convenient modular setup.


  • The powerhead runs a bit hot. 

4. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump

Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH240
Tank SizeFreshwater: 30 gallonsReef: 15 gallons
Wave PatternRegular
Adjustable FlowPartially tes, with Controller (bought separately). Direction adjustable.
Energy Rating3.5W
Installation TypeMagnet and Suction Cup

Designed to generate waves at a much higher force using 50% of the power, the Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump is one of the most premium options in this list. While it doesn’t offer any wave patterns except regular, it can be mounted and swiveled very securely. It also includes a cord protector to safeguard the unit from leaking. 

Key Features

  • Ideal for Smaller Aquariums

The unit is rated for 30-gallon freshwater and 15-gallon saltwater aquariums. The 240 GPH flow rate is adequate enough to cater to smaller aquariums. 

  • Magnetic Suction Cups

Patented magnetic suction cup allows the unit to anchor itself onto the wall securely. It doesn’t vibrate or make unusual noises whilst mounted.

  • Hydor Smart Wave Controller

This unit supports Time intervals and Feeding mode through the Hydor Smart Wave Controller (Sold separately). 

  • Adjustable Flow Direction

Swivel the wave maker in any direction to create waves. It allows you to reach almost every corner of the aquarium. 


  • Quiet energy efficient.
  • Silent motor.
  • Powerful than similarly rated wave makers. 


  • Pricing. 

5. Fluval Sea CP2 Circulation Pump

Fluval Sea CP2 Circulation Pump  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH425
Tank SizeFreshwater: 50 gallonsReef: 28 gallons
Wave PatternRegular. Natural Reef Current
Adjustable FlowYes, with timer controllers.  Direction adjustable. 
Energy Rating4W
Installation TypeSuction Cup

European engineered and energy efficient Fluval Sea CP2 wave makers are durable and powerful to deliver comfortable water current to 50-gallon freshwater and 28-gallon reef aquariums with its 425 GPH powerful motor. The unparalleled energy efficiency of the unit is very admirable.  

Key Features

  • Natural Reef Current Flow

Soft natural reef-style water current is generated by the Fluval CP2. It doesn’t cause discomfort to the corals or the fish.

  • 270-degree Directional Flow

The head can be adjusted up to 270-degrees in 4 directions to customize the water current. Reflect onto the walls to reduce the flow and give it a new direction. 

  • Controllable With Timer Controllers

As claimed, the time controllers available in the market are compatible with Fluval CP2. Intermittent waves can help your fish take a rest and enjoy the natural rhythms. 

  • Very Energy Efficient

Compared to other wave makers, CP2 uses 50% less energy for the same flow rate.  


  • Silent motor. You shouldn’t hear anything more than a humming. 
  • The rotational controls offer pretty good resistance. 
  • Suction cups are great. 


  • Water flow is a bit lower for the rating. 

6. Orlushy DC-5000 DC aquarium Pump

Orlushy DC-5000 DC aquarium Pump  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH1320
Tank SizeFreshwater: 160 gallonsReef: 85 gallons
Wave PatternConstant Flow, Wave Mode, Feed Mode
Adjustable FlowYes. 
Energy Rating40W
Installation TypeMagnetic Base

With fully adjustable flow rate and wave patterns, the Orlushy DC-5000 employs a DC motor that is powerful enough to sustain 160-gallon freshwater and 85-gallon saltwater tanks. It can be used in multiple settings, including a return pump, as a wave maker, and submersible head. The copper-less design of the unit makes it well-suited for saltwater operations. 

Key Features

  • Adjustable Flow Speed

The smart controller provided with the unit can control the flow rate in 20 steps. The max flow rate for the product is 1300 GPH. 

  • Ceramic Shaft Core

Copper cores aren’t used in this device to avoid saltwater corrosion and motor damage. Ceramic shaft cores are also more durable.

  • Multiple Wave Modes

Three types of wave modes, constant, feeding, and sign wave, are offered in this wave maker. Use the smart controller to adjust the settings. 

  • Motor Protection

The motor protection feature safeguards the motor in case the rotor gets stuck in organic debris.  


  • Ultra silent operation.
  • Magnetic base for stability. 
  • Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater operations. 


  • Controller issues and error codes are prevalent in some units. 

7. Uniclife Aquarium Wave Maker

Uniclife Aquarium Wave Maker  

Specification NameValue
Flow Rate in GPH3400
Tank SizeFreshwater: 350 gallonsReef: 175 gallons
Wave PatternRegular Flow, Sine Wave, Cuboid Wave, Random Flow
Adjustable FlowYes. Direction adjustable.
Energy Rating40W
Installation TypeMagnetic Base

Built for larger aquariums and ponds, the Uniclife Aquarium Wave Maker delivers a 3400 GPH flow rate, suitable for 350-gallon freshwater and 175-gallon saltwater tanks. It’s not recommended to use it for smaller aquariums. It also offers a few wave modes and adjustable flow for better control. 

Key Features

  • 3400 GPH Flow Rate

Massive 3400 GPH flow rate can obliterate smaller aquariums. Use it only in larger aquariums and predator ponds. 

  • Smart Wave Controller

The controller for this wave maker allows speed control in 6 steps, 4 wave modes, feeding mode, and frequency control. 

  • Movable Magnetic Base

In addition to being quite durable, the magnetic base can be rotated to customize the directional flow of the unit. 

  • 360-Degree Rotation

The wave maker output can be adjusted to reach every corner of the tank. Not a con, but a bit more resistance would’ve been better. 


  • Silent as much as possible, given the massive flow rate.  
  • Feeding mode for idle operation.
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater operations.
  • Pricing is pretty reasonable. 


  • Takes a lot of space. 

Buying Guide

While we’ve tried to gather the best wave makers online, numerous other products “flood” the market every month. 

In this section, we’ll reflect upon the criteria that we’ve used to review the products mentioned above and guide you to make informed wave maker decisions.

Flow Rate

Flow rate is one of the most critical specifications of a wave maker. It often gives an ideal estimate of the rated tank size, power input, and the efficiency of the wave maker. The flow rate is also essential to comprehend the lower spectrum of compatibility. This means being informed about the minimum size of the tank that the wave maker can safely serve.  

Tank Size

When buying a wave maker, your first concern should be to know its tank size rating. More often than not, you won’t find it written on the package. The best formula to estimate the tank size from flow rate is to determine the turnover rate for your aquarium. 

For freshwater aquariums, the turnover rate ranges between 4 to 10 times per hour. 

For saltwater/reef aquariums, the turnover rate ranges between 10 to 20 times per hour. 

We’ve used an average turnover rate of 8 for freshwater and 15 for saltwater aquariums in this article. 

Tank Size (in gallons) = GPH / Turnover Rate 

Wave Pattern

Most wave makers employ an AC motor to deliver the currents. This limits the customizability of the unit to time controls and regular wave patterns. While you can change the water current flow by reflecting it onto the walls, it’s not similar to wave patterns offered by premium wave makers. 

A few of the wave patterns are: 

  • Constant Flow
  • Pulse Mode
  • Random Mode
  • Tidal Mode
  • Nutrient Mode
  • Gyre Mode
  • Laminar Flow
  • Oscillating Flow
  • Feeding Mode

Adjustable Flow Rate

Although it’s not necessary for a good wave maker to have adjustable flow options, it’s a convenient feature. Adjustable flow allows you to use the same model for different aquatic creatures with varying needs of water flow.

Most wave makers with adjustable flow rates do it with a smart controller that also includes a Feeding Mode and time intervals. These models, however, are pricier than regular ones.      

Noise Level

Submerged wave makers don’t make as much noise as, say, canister filters. But, as they mostly get mounted on the aquarium walls, vibrations can cause significant noise amplification. A good wave maker considers this variable and takes appropriate measures, such as quality suction cups, foams, and durable magnetic bases, to minimize the noise. 


Q: How do I choose a wave maker?

Apart from the brand reputation and customer support, ensure you’re satisfied with the flow rate, tank size, noise level, and other smart features. Energy efficiency is also an important factor.

Q: Are wave makers good for aquariums?

Yes, optimum GPH wave makers can make an aquarium more healthy and happy. In the wild, fish are accustomed to natural water currents. Wave makers can emulate the environment quite effectively.  

Q: Do saltwater tanks need a wave maker?

Every kind of fish tank needs wave makers, especially saltwater tanks. Saltwater creatures, such as corals, starfish, or sponges, can’t move and rely on the movement of water to extract nutrition. Wave makers essentially make that happen. 

The Bottom Line

We’ve reviewed the 7 best wave makers in the market for freshwater and saltwater tanks. We also have included a buying guide for you. Hopefully, you’ll now be able to comprehend the specifications and make better decisions when buying wave makers.  

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