Yesterday I wrote about why the DC powered protein skimmer excitement is nothing more than a fad that you can ignore.
And while I don’t think a DC powered pump on a skimmer is worth much of your attention, there are real benefits to using a DC powered pump for your return pump.
The choosing of a return pump is one of the biggest decisions in setting up a saltwater tank. Choose a pump with too little flow given your head pressure and the return pump won’t push any water up into your tank. Choose a pump with too much flow and your tank will sound like Niagra Falls from all the crashing water, regardless of your choice of overflows.
Often times you are left choosing a return pump that pushes more flow than you need and dialing it back through plumbing that returns part of the water back into the sump, therefore by passing the tank. This approach can get bulky, especially if you have a smaller sump.
If you get a pump that doesn’t push enough flow for your head pressure, you’ll have to purchase a bigger pump and hope you can return the smaller pump. Hint: stopping your tank build to return and swap out a return pump is highly annoying!
Enter the variable speed DC powered return pump. Flow rate too much? Turn it down. Need more flow, crank the pump up! You’ll still need to know approximately what flow rate you need as if you need flow that is beyond the capabilities of the pump given your head pressure, you’re out of luck.
You can also use the variable speed features to dial in the amount of water noise you are willing to tolerate. Any type of overflow system (durso, herbie, bean animal, etc) will have some amount of falling water noise. I’d rather make the adjustments at the pump vs. restricting water flow through valves or making the overflow system more complicated than it needs to be.
Finally, the impeller-saving soft start feature of these DC powered pumps is also nice as when your return pump impeller snaps, you’ve got a real problem on your hands unless you have a replacement on hand. Given that I’ve never had a return pump impeller break during my long saltwater tank career, I still like the soft start feature and a little bit of insurance never hurt.
Unlike a DC powered pump on a skimmer, the use of a DC powered return pump has real benefits that you can see and in this case, hear.
Browse the Store! Questions?