How to Choose the Best Flow Mode for Your Aquarium Wave Pumps

Here are some tips on choosing the best flow mode for your wave pumps in your Reef Aquarium. One of the great advantages DC wave pumps have over most style AC wave pumps is their ability to be adjusted and controlled.

Not only can you adjust the flow rate on the pump, you can also adjust the pulse frequency on the pump. This provides the ability to create custom flow patterns and mimic water currents that are found on natural coral reefs. By mimicking these natural water currents you're not only going to create a healthier environment for your corals, you're going to give incredible movement to your tank that changes your entire aquarium experience.

Most hobbyists adjust their flow speed and their pulse frequency to create three different types of water, flow mode, wave mode, surge mode, and a steady stream mode. So which flow mode is going to be best for your aquarium? Well every tank is going to be different and ultimately the optimal flow mode is going to be up to you. However here are a few tips we can give you to help you choose what flow mode might work the best for your reef tank.

The most popular flow mode among most reef hobbyists is the wave short pulse. Wave mode simulates the wave type water current action found on shallow coral reefs and it produces a very gentle back-and-forth motion within your aquarium. To simulate these natural waves, you want to program your pump to turn on and off in a very short time interval, even less than a few seconds. The shorter the time interval, the more frequent the waves. You'll want to experiment with both the flow rate and the pulse frequency of your wave pump and finding an ideal setting in your Reef Aquarium. This is also one setting you want to be careful with as you never want to underestimate the power of a wave. Always make sure your aquarium can handle the wave mode setting you've programmed it at and make sure you don't have water splash out of the aquarium.

So when is wave flow mode the best flow mode for your reef aquarium? If you're keeping a lot of SPS/LPS corals or you have some larger soft corals, this is probably going to be your best choice for a flow mode. The continuous pulsing wave action keeps water flowing around the entire coral. This provides them with nutrients and food and also helps in removing waste. Many LPS corals like torch corals have sweeper tentacles which at night can sting other corals. Keeping your water flow mode in a pulsing wave mode keeps the tentacles centered and makes it harder for them to sweep and hit other corals.

Surge mode is very similar to the wave pulse mode, the only difference being the time period between pulses is much longer and can last up to a minute. This allows the pumps to flow water deeper into your aquarium. So when is surge flow mode the best choice for your reef aquarium? If you have a larger, longer aquarium surge flow mode will work better than the short pulsing wave mode. Surge mode provides enough time for water current to flow further away from the wave pump while still mimicking that powerful wave action. You can also place your wave pumps in each corner of the aquarium and put them in a primary-secondary mode and anti-synchronize them. This creates a pattern that alternates from clockwise to anti-clockwise and among hobbyists is called gyro flow.
If you're keeping anemones, surge mode is also very popular especially if you're keeping larger in anemones like carpet anemones or long tentacle anemones.

The last flow mode commonly used by many hobbyists is steady stream mode. While this is the simplest form of water flow, it's also very popular especially in large reef tanks where you may have multiple pumps running. Stream mode provides a very steady and consistent flow of water and the only thing you're actually controlling is the flow rate. It's a great flow mode for when you need to add a little bit of extra flow in a location in your aquarium or you want to simulate another type of water current such as a lagoon flow. 

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