How to Clean Your Aquariums DC Water Flow Pumps in 10 Steps

Cleaning the DC water flow pump is probably one of the most overlooked items on your aquarium maintenance list. We all know how important water flow is for keeping a healthy reef tank - arguably even more so than lighting - and a dirty, unmaintained return pump could spell disaster in a big way for your aquarium.

Even if water flowing into it is free of debris, the pump still operates in a harsh environment and is constantly exposed to saltwater and high levels of calcium and alkalinity. All of this can cause precipitation on the parts of your pump that deal with the highest temperatures, like the impeller, magnet, shaft, or inside the DC motor itself. These spots are often where failures in the pump occur, so it’s important to keep them free from any calcium precipitates.

Here are 10 easy-to-follow steps for cleaning your DC water flow pump:

What You’ll Need:

  • A cleaning brush (like an old toothbrush)
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Some Freshwater and/or Muratic/Citric Acid*
  • Towel
  • Tupperware container or bucket
  1. Turn the power off to the DC water flow pumps.
  2. Disconnect the pump from the controller and remove it from the sump.
  3. Disassemble the inlet/outlet fittings and remove the volute. For example, on our eFlux DC pumps:
  4. To remove the volute on the 6009, simply twist the volute and turn
  5. To remove the volute on the 6010 and 6011, remove the 4 screws from the back of the volute and pull it off the front
  6. Slide the impeller out and ensure that it’s clean of any dirt or debris.
  7. Clean the pump and its components in freshwater and remove any algae or dirt.
  8. If you see any calcium precipitate, soak the pump and components in a 25/75 solution of muratic/citric acid and freshwater. This will break apart any precipitates and make it easy for you to brush them off for cleaning.
  9. Once completed, reassemble the pump and ensure the O’Ring is in the proper place.
  10. Put the pump back into service and reconnect it to your controller and power.

One last tip – don’t forget about your DC power supply and controller! It’s good to double-check them and ensure they are clean of any dust/dirt. Also make sure the DC power supply is mounted in a place with adequate ventilation to keep it cool and dry.

Try to clean your DC water flow pumps at least every 4-6 months. This type of schedule not only extends the life of your pump and ensures it’s running at optimum efficiency (and saving money), it also helps prevent water pump failures and a potential disaster for your fish.

**We do not recommend using vinegar for cleaning these parts.


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