There are many accessories and extras you can buy to spruce up your aquarium and make it both more interesting to look at and more wild-like for your fish.

One of these accessories is an aquarium wave maker

It pretty much does what the name suggests; it creates waves in your aquarium to simulate the natural wave action found in the wild.

In this list and guide we will talk about the benefits of purchasing an aquarium wave maker, and which models it would be recommended purchasing for your tank.

11 Best Aquarium Wave Maker Reviews for 2020

11 Best Aquarium Wave Maker Reviews

What Are The Benefits of an Aquarium Wave Maker?

There are many benefits of having a wave maker in your aquarium, some of which are obvious and others which may not be as so. Let’s have a little look at what the benefits are.

First of all, an aquarium wave maker strives to mimic the natural action of waves that would be found in the ocean, or in a lake or river. For your aquarium fish to be as healthy as possible, they need to feel as comfortable as possible, and that means trying to create an environment for them that is as close to the wild as possible.

This movement of water created by the aquarium wave maker that causes the waves also causes a circulation of water throughout the tank. If you have read our article on the best aquarium powerheads then you will know what the benefits of this are, but we will refresh.

Having water circulating around the tank eliminates dead spots that will otherwise stagnate and cause bacteria to proliferate in the tank. This can cause harm to your fish and plants and can also cause harmful algal blooms to form. Getting all the water in your tank circulating means it all goes through the filter so all gets cleaned. 

Having the aquarium wave maker agitate the surface whilst circulating the water properly also aerates the water, and means more oxygen will get into the water and be circulated to your fish and corals. The heat produced by your aquarium heater will also be more completely circulated through the tank.

Having waves in an aquarium is also quite mesmerizing to watch, so not only does it function to keep your fish happy and healthy, it will make your tank more interesting to watch.

How Does an Aquarium Wave Maker Work?

You may not think that you need the best aquarium wave maker, and they might sound quite confusing and sciency, but it is really quite simple, and understanding how they work can help in knowing where best to place one.

An aquarium wave maker draws in water using a pump, and expels it to create the wave effect in your tank. The wave maker uses high water volumes and low pressure water to create realistic wave patterns.

Depending on the model and what you need from your wave maker, you are able to purchase one where you can control the type and strength of waves made.

Best Aquarium Wave Maker Reviews

1. Hygger 1600GPH Submersible Aquarium Wave Maker Circulation Pump

Hygger 1600GPH Submersible Aquarium Wave Maker
A smart wavemaker with built in controller that enables you to mimic ocean waves by setting various flow modes

This aquarium wave maker by Hygger is designed for smaller freshwater or saltwater aquariums of between 3 and 25 gallons.

It is very easily installed by attaching the magnetic back to the side of the tank. The power cord to the control panel is 4.9 feet, and the cord from the controller to the power head is 6.6 feet. This should be plenty of length for you to have no troubles in setting it up anywhere in your tank.

There is a control panel which you can use to have total control over the wave maker. You can program the wave maker in four different wave modes, 4 different power watts and 8 wave speeds. It can also be programmed to be active at 5 times of the day.

The 360 degree degree design means that the whole tank will feel the effect of this aquarium wave maker. And with an ultra quiet and energy saving motor you can rest easy it won’t disturb you or take up too much power.

2. SunSun JVP-110 Aquarium Wave Maker 

SunSun JVP-110 Aquarium Wave Maker
Not too strong, able to circulate 528 gallons per hour. Come as a bundle of four, so perfect if you want more than one weaker wave maker working in unison to circulate the water, rather than one powerful one

This aquarium wave maker by SunSun is not too strong, with each powerhead able to circulate 528 gallons per hour. However these come as a bundle of four, so it is perfect if you want to have more than one weaker wave maker working in unison to circulate the water, rather than one powerful one. You can also buy a packet of two if you would prefer.

Suitable for any freshwater or saltwater tanks, it is very easy to install using the suction cup. Simply attach it to the side of your aquarium. 

The powerhead is completely 360 degree rotatable, so you have full control over the placement of the outflow. The motor is completely oil free so you don’t have to worry about any contaminants.

This model is great value for money as you get multiple powerheads in the bundle package, so if you do want to have multiple weaker powerheads then this is a great option.

3. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Wave Maker Circulation Pump

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Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Wave Maker Circulation Pump
Compact with multiple power options available. The ball joint allows for 360 degree rotation and the flow is designed to mimic the natural water motion found in nature, with a built-in anti vibration system.

This aquarium wave maker by Hydor is a very high quality product that is compact, but packs a punch at 565 GPH. It is a little more expensive than other models on this list but that’s because you are guaranteed a good unit.

You can also get the 240 or 425 GPH versions if you require something less powerful. It is very energy efficient so won’t run up a big electricity bill, and can be used in any freshwater or saltwater aquarium.

The ball joint allows for 360 degree rotation and the flow is designed to mimic the natural water motion found in nature.

Installation is very simple and easy. This aquarium powerhead has unique magnetic suction cups to attach it very securely to the side of the tank.

A built-in anti vibration system allows your fish to remain undisturbed by the powerhead as it circulates the water in your tank. This also reduces the noise created to make it more peaceful for you to enjoy your tank.

It can also be connected up to a timer which will allow you to control when it turns on and how long for.

4. Flexzion Circulation Pump Aquarium Wave Maker

Flexzion Circulation Pump Aquarium Wave Maker
A strong wavemaker for use in larger aquariums with the outflow spread over a wide range to simulate an ocean wave.

If you have a large aquarium then this model by Flexzion is for you. With a powerful design and at 800 gallons per hour it is very powerful and shouldn’t really be used in small aquariums. The outflow is spread over a wide range to simulate an ocean wave.

Also available at 1300, 1600, and 3200 GPH there will be an option for your large aquarium. The head can be moved 360 degrees, so you can have full control over the direction of the flow. There is only one speed on this aquarium wave maker, so make sure you need its power.

It is very easy to set up, as the head is attached to a strong magnetic suction cup which simply attaches to the wall of your tank. It is very easy to clean, with the design allowing the pieces to be taken apart and reassembled very easily.

There is a filter cover to prevent fish from getting drawn in to the propeller, which will give you peace of mind knowing your fish will be safe.

5. Uniclife Controllable Aquarium Wave Maker 

Uniclife Controllable Aquarium Wave Maker
A controllable wavemaker with a maximum output of 3400 GPH for use in aquariums up to 150 gallons. There are eight different modes to choose from, so you can best imitate the natural environment.

This is a very powerful wave maker by Unicliffe which has an output of 3400 GPH which is perfect for larger tanks of between 60 to 150 gallons. There is also a 2100 GPH option for tanks between 20-60 gallons. It is fully compatible with any freshwater or saltwater tanks. The setup is very easy with a simple magnetic suction cup to attach to the side of the tank. The magnet works for aquariums with glass up to 15mm thick.

A huge positive from this model is that it comes with a control panel, which enables you to have full control over the speed and power and timings of the waves. There are 8 different modes you can choose from. There is also a night and day mode, which imitates the difference you see in the wave action at night and day found in the wild.

The powerhead is on set on a base which allows a 360 degree swivel, so you can adjust it and find the perfect angle of flow for your tank. It operates very quietly so it won’t cause any disruption to you or your fish.

6. Super Aquatic JVP-102A Aquarium Wave Maker

Super Aquatic JVP-102A Aquarium Wave Maker
A strong wave maker with a ceramic impeller for use in large tanks of 100 gallons or more.

This wave maker by Sun is a bit of a monster, with its strong ceramic impeller shifting 1300 gallons per hour. As such this isn’t for small tanks, as it will cause a bit of mayhem in small spaces! It should really be used for large tanks of 100 gallons or more.

It is easy to install to the side of any glass or acrylic aquarium using the suction cup, but be prepared to use a bit of muscle to get it to hold properly! With the 360 degree movement of the powerhead you can place the flow wherever will be best for your aquarium.

It is designed to run quietly despite packing a real punch, and the motor is oil-free so you won’t get any contaminants into the water. This means that your fish won’t be disturbed by this wave maker.

This is a model that is on the cheaper side, but it works very well to circulate the water and promote a healthy and stagnant free environment for your fish. However you can’t attach it to any timers or controllers you might have, as it is designed to run continuously.

7. Freesea Aquarium Wave Maker

Freesea Aquarium Wave MakerThis aquarium wave maker by Freesea is again on the cheaper side, but it doesn’t shy on functionality or features. It is great value for money. 

It is installed using a magnet which attaches it securely to the side of your tank, and the ball joint allows for 360 degree rotation of the powerhead so you can adjust the direction of flow.

This model has a flow rate of 1050 gallons per hour and is perfect for tanks of between 20 and 60 gallons. If you have a larger tank you can buy the model which has double powerheads which boosts the power to 1600 GPH and suitable for tanks of 60 to 100 gallons.

One of the best things about this model is that it has an adjustable flow rate.There’s a water flow switch found on the outlet, so if it is too powerful for your tank you can adjust it as you need.

The internal motor is a copper alloy designed to allow excess heat to easily dissipate, and with a highly durable ABS plastic shell it is covered by a lifetime warranty.

8. Jebao OW Aquarium Wave Maker with Controller

Jebao OW Aquarium Wave Maker with Controller
A wifi controllable wave maker which can be set from between 132 to 1056 gallons per hour, so it can be used for small or large tanks. It has a silent design so as not to disturb you or your fish.

Another controllable aquarium wave maker on this list, this is a great option if you like having full control over the conditions of your tank. The attached controller allows you to choose between 8 different flow rates, and has a one-touch feed mode which slows the pump for a period of 10 minutes.

With this model you can choose to set it from between 132 to 1056 gallons per hour, so it can be used for small or large tanks. If you have a larger tank you can choose a higher power model; the strongest available has a max power of 5283 GPH.

It has a silent design, so neither you nor your fish will be disturbed by the running of this model. With the powerhead able to rotate full 360 degrees you also get full control over the direction of flow.

It is very easy to install, with it being fixed with a magnetic base on the side of the aquarium, and is operated using a wired controller. It has a wear-proof ceramic shaft to provide a long service life

9. Jebao CP-120 Cross Flow Aquarium Wave Maker

Jebao CP-120 Cross Flow Aquarium Wave Maker
  • Wifi Controller SCP-150, 100-240v 50/60Hz, 6000-7500 gph, Up to 55W, 60 inch tank
  • Crossflow technology make the flow return to pump directly 360 Degree without dead spots
  • Create Different type of the Flow similar as WaveMaker
  • Clockwise the flow as you set
  • Suitable for marine and fresh water.

This is the second model by Jebao on this list, and as you can see, it looks a little different then the other aquarium wave makers that had been said previously. The design is elongated, which is designed with crossflow technology which pumps water through 360 degrees to recreate a natural wave and eliminate all dead spots.

Installed using its magnetic base it is very easy to get set up, and has four different smart wave modes to choose from, so you can choose which is best for your tank, or change it every so often to give your fish a new environment. There is also a reef feed mode, which stills the pump for 10 minutes so our fish can eat in peace.

It is very powerful at 4300-4600 GPH, but it is still virtually silent when operational. This is a great thing as you can relax whilst it is on. If this is too powerful for your tank there is also a less powerful version here.

10. Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Aquarium Wave Maker

Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro Aquarium Wave Maker
A powerhead, wave maker, and utility pump in one. The in-box conversion kit turns the power head into a prop style circulation pump for great water movement inside your tank.

A great cheap and cheerful option, this aquarium wave maker from Marineland is actually 3 products in one; powerhead, wave maker, and utility pump. The in-box conversion kit turns the power head into a prop style circulation pump for great water movement inside your tank, whilst using very little power.

It is relatively weak, moving 500 gallons per hour, which makes it perfect for smaller tanks of about 20 gallons. If you have a larger tank you can purchase one of the more powerful versions, or you can go for multiple smaller ones.

It is very easy to set up and install via the suction cups, so simply stick it to the aquarium wall, plug it in and go. You can adjust the direction of flow, and it is compatible with a timer, so if you have one you can safely use it, though it doesn’t come with one.

11. Hygger 2000GPH Aquarium Wave Maker

Hygger 2000GPH Aquarium Wave Maker
A powerful wave maker suitable for any freshwater or saltwater tank between 75 and 130 gallons. You can move each of the dual heads individually for full control of the flow.

This aquarium wave maker model is the second by Hygger on this list. It is more powerful than the first at 2000 gallons per hour, and as such is suitable for any freshwater or saltwater tank between 75 and 130 gallons.

The built in locking suction cup enables the unit to be mounted very easily and securely. The model features double heads, which means you get extra power, and each is mounted on a ball joint allowing for 360 degree flow, meaning you can position each head independently and have full control.

It is fully submersible and is oil free, meaning you don’t have to worry about any leaks in your tank. The power cord is over nine feet long, so unless your tank is somewhere super strange you won’t have to worry about it reaching the power supply!

With rubber ends to reduce noise, this aquarium wave maker is very quiet when operational. And it is fitted with anti corrosion titanium impellers which are highly durable and will last a long time.

How Do You Install an Aquarium Wave Maker?

Installing and setting up an aquarium wave maker is very simple and easy. Though always check the manufacturers guidelines as you may have to take other steps too.

Most wave makers use suction cups to attach to the side of the tank, whilst some use magnetic cups. Clean the side of the tank where you will place it, then simply attach it to the side and make sure it is secure. Ensure that it is fully submerged, otherwise it will make a lot of noise and not work properly!

Next you can play with the outflow head and make sure it is pointing where you want it to. Plug it into the power supply at the mains and then sit back and watch it go!

Have a look and keep an eye when you first plug it in to see if it is in the right position. If you need to readjust it you can, just make sure to turn it off first!

What Size Aquarium Wave Maker Should You Get?

It should be made clear by the manufacturers as to what size aquarium their wave maker should be used in. But one of 800 GPH will be great for a tank of 30-60 gallons. 

More powerful wave makers should be used in larger aquariums, as if you use a highly powerful model in a small tank your fish will be buffeted quite a bit!!

Where Is The Perfect Place For An Aquarium Wave Maker?

There is no real short answer for this question if we’re honest. Each aquarium is unique in how the aquarium plants and decorations are laid out, so there is no way of knowing how the waves will interact with them. Be careful if you have floating aquarium plants, as many of these don’t like much surface agitation. 

So it is a case of trial and error, and checking to make sure there are no dead spots appearing in the water. You want the waves to look nice and pretty, but most importantly you want the wave maker to be functional! So play around and find that perfect spot.

Conclusion

All of these best aquarium wave maker models will serve you well and function exactly how a good wave maker should. Keep in mind the price range you want to go for, the features you want, and the size of your aquarium, and you will choose the right model for you.

As a recommendation, we like the models by Hygger and Jebao. The Hygger 1600GPH Submersible Aquarium Wavemaker Circulation Pump is a very powerful and reasonably priced wave maker if you want a good reliable cost effective model. Jebao offer two different controllable wave makers, which whilst a bit more expensive are totally worth the price and allow you to have full control over your aquarium. The Jebao CP-120 Cross Flow Aquarium Wave Maker is different in design to many wavemakers and offers many different modes of operation.

Jebao CP-120 Cross Flow Aquarium Wave Maker

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Authority Aquarium Staff

Authority Aquarium Staff writers are experts and aquarium enthusiasts, our in-house marine biologist fact checks all our content and reviews to bring you the best advice for your aquarium health.

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