Hydor’s SmartWave Powerhead Controller Reviewed

Creating random currents in you saltwater tank help keep your tank clean and add neat effects like simulating a tide going in and out.

Lucky for you, Hydor’s SmartWave powerhead controller makes these random currents for you, and you don’t need to program a thing.

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Comments for this article (35)

  • Chris Kennedy says:

    I have been waiting for this.if you would use this SmartWave on your tank what would you set the timing of the Smart wave at or to get a wave like you have now.

  • chris…the smart wave won’t make a standing wave like a wavebox will. The smart wave can’t turn on/off fast enough.

    The smartwave will create an in/out current like the tide coming in or out and the smartwave can switch banks of powerheads down to a 5 sec interval to get a random flow in your tank.

  • Gary says:

    Finally! I have been waiting for this ever since you featured it at that convention. Thanks for the review.

  • Bob says:

    What is the benefit of running the pumps opposite to each other in the 6 hr tide thing you have going on? Why change at all, why not have them on together.

  • You are welcome Chris! The smartwave roll out kept getting pushed back so I had to wait like you!

  • Bob…having one set of power heads on, then the other helps randomize the current in your tank. When currents are random, they help keep detritus and other junk in your tank up in the water column where it can be sucked into your sump

  • Bob says:

    Ok Mark, I am giving it a try. I just set my Hydors up on a 6 hr rotation. I will try it out for a few days to see how I like it.

  • Viral says:

    You think its better than vortech or same or vortech is better? or can u use them for softies only tank with high fish load?

  • jimmy oh says:

    hi mark, can i purchase it online… do they post it to singapore..

  • jimmy oh says:

    hi mark, can i purchase it online?? do they post it to singapore??

  • Chris Kennedy says:

    Wiating on a new toy is hard! Thanks Mark!

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    I want one!!!

  • BobbyT says:

    I love your reviews! Great job Mark

  • Bill says:

    Hi Mark I hope your having a good weekend, I have a 120, 4x2x2, and I also own the Smart Wave on your recomendation. In your video you used 4-1400 Evolutions, I see that they are only rated for up to a 90 gallon tank. I am trying to keep a clean look in the tank without having a bunch of power heads everwhere and wondering if I am better off using a couple of Magnums instead of the Evolutions. I would appreciate your opinion old wise reef one, thanks for your time and REEF ON

  • Tetrick says:

    Hey Mark im wait for the arrival of mines. Can’t wait!! I have 2 750’s on my 55 should I place it on 6hr rotation? When it gets here that is

  • Que says:

    I will order the unit but I also want get your advice on powerheads for a 250g tank. Ideally I want just 4 powerheads to pair with smartwave on a 6 hour rotation to promote the benefits you mentioned. I don’t think the 1400s are the right solution but would appreciate feedback/advice. Thank you

  • Grant Caldwell says:


    I have that same powerheads as you(only the 550’s) and sometimes when I turn them off to feed they come back on in reverse. Is there any way to prevent this? If not, what’s to say the don’t run the wrong way all day when the controlling switches sides?


  • ok let me ask you this guys how come we are using koralias evolutions when they are not supposed to be used with a wave maker, that’s why hydor sale the special pump for wave makers any thoughts? welcome!!

  • Broderick says:

    hey can you use other powerheads other than there brand?

  • Wes says:

    Any powerhead that is capable of instant switching will work with the Smart Wave. Check out Mark’s first report earlier in the year, and he also did an update a couple of months back at one of the trade shows. In one of them the rep says that they work on any pump that can start and stop instantly–rated at something like 1,000,000 cycles per year.

  • Juan Martinez says:

    I have almost the exact set up that you are showcasing ( 2 x 750 Evolution and 2 x 1040 Evolution), and allow me to say that I love my wave maker and pumps… however the biggest issue that I have is the annoying clicking sound the Evolution pumps make when they come on. So what I do now is I keep the 750s on to make sure I always have water being moved around and I have the 1040 in an intermittent 30 min cycle to spread out the clicking sounds. Oh yeah it’s a 125 L tank.

  • Rigel says:

    Hey Mark, thanks for the help. quick question. I’m cycling a 90 gal. and have a 2″ sand bed. I don’t know if I know if I made a mistake with a thick sand bed. Some people say it’s good, while others say it’s bad. Hopefully you can help me out. Once again thanks for your help, a lot of us would be lost without it.

  • Grant Caldwell says:

    Two inches is NOT thick, five to six is. You’re fine! Do you have more than 150 lbs of sand? If not, no sweat! Besides, people have 5-6 inches deep all day long for what’s called a “deep sand band”. Look it up!

  • SoundUser says:

    Ive just brought two 5200 lire per hour hydor evos. they do knock when you turn them on at the plug. would this be diffrent with the smart wave?

    Or is it because they’re new?

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    I just bought one from Fosters and Smith’s aquatics.

  • Leonard says:

    Mark, I have a 60 gallon cube saltwater tank. Do they make these powerheads of varying sizes for smaller tanks? It seems like they stick out fairly far in the videos and would be fairly large and noticeable in a 24 inch cube tank. What do you suggest. Thanks.

  • Leonard…the koralias come in various sizes from low flow to mega flow. Here are some options for you.

  • Andy says:

    Hi have just purchased a Smartwave and 2 hydor koralia evolution 4000. I want to add another two evolutions. How do I do this as only 2 plug sockets. Can someone advise me on how to do it. Do I use a two plugged extension leade in each side of the smartwave? Please advise..

  • You are correct Andy. You can also add a power strip to each plug of the koralia to add even more pumps

  • Andy says:

    Hi Mark. I am in the uk. When you say a powerstrip do you mean an extension lead or is the powerstrip something you buy form Hydor?
    Thanks for the quick response.

  • Andy…something like this

  • Grant says:


    I was going to buy a smartwave but am probably going to get one of the Apex controllers(not sure yet of which one) instead. Are you going to offer your Apex deals anymore?


  • Andy says:

    Hi. Further to my previous questions. How many Koralia circulation pumps would you recommend for a 4 foot 250 litre tank. I currently have two 4000 and was considering adding another two 4000, 2800 or 1600?

  • Peter Howells says:

    Hi Mark what do you think of the Hydor Koralia 12V wavemaker with the 12V powerheads, especially the Magnum #8. I believe it is advertised to push as much water as the Vor Tech MP 40


  • Peter…the hydor’s work fine as always on power heads. Keep in mind they have a tendency to knock or run backwards then they are turned on/off. Therefore, while the flow numbers might be similar to a mp40, the pumps are vastly different.

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