Stuff In My Tank – Koralia Pumps

They really do look this deliciously high-tech.

They really do look this deliciously high-tech.

Equipment Type – Circulation pump designed to increase the flow of water in an aquarium or redirect the current to new positions.

Purpose – To improve the quality-of-life for livestock.

Specs – The standard model comes in five different sizes; the Nano moves up to 240 gph, and the Koralias 1 through 4 move 400, 600, 850, and 1200 gph, respectively.  Each pump can be mounted to the tank with a suction cup and the bond strengthened by placing a magnet on the reverse side of the glass.  Advanced Koralia models are capable of moving greater quantities of water or are intended to be used as wavemakers.

Background – The original Hydor Koralia models (pictured) use an impeller design that move water in a cone instead of along a directional line.  The Koralia pump does more work over a larger area and uses less energy than competitors’ pumps of a similar size; hobbyists can  use Koralias to create more current in the tank without transferring additional heat to the water. Other companies have pumps with a similar design but Hydor offers the Koralia at a price accessible for all hobbyists.

Environmental Impact – A Koralia Nano moves 240 gph and uses 3 watts per hour.  A comparable pump, the Maxijet 1200, moves 295 gph and uses 20 watts per hour.  I’ve found that the Maxijet pumps come with a bag full of plastic pieces that get chucked in a drawer in case I need to make emergency mods, while the Koralias are plus-and-play with little excess except the instruction manual.

Should I Put It In My Tank? -If you need more current (and we all need more current!), then yes.

What Do I Need To Know? –  If you have a generous budget, consider investing in some of the more advanced Koralia models, as the “Controllable” and the “Magnum” models can be customized to create some darned nifty current in your tank.  The Controllable Koralia pumps have some spiffy options, such as the application of a programmable wavemaker controller with a photocell attachment that can detect lighting changes and will automatically adjust the current in the tank to mimic ocean tides at that time of day.

How Will It Piss Me Off? – These things are like sunny garden boxes for hair algae and you’ll have to remove the pump from the tank and clean the bejesus out of it every couple of months.  The larger Koralia models come with a livestock guard to cover the impeller.  Use this, because the opening is the perfect size for snails and the snouts of inquisitive but unfortunate fish.  The cord could be a couple of feet longer, and the bigger models look like enormous high-tech suppositories clinging to your aquarium’s wall.  No matter what you do to prevent it, you’ll lose the reverse side of the magnet behind the aquarium at least once each time you remove the pump.  In terms of performance and longevity, however, you cannot beat these for the money; I have a first-generation Koralia that is three years old and still purring like a kitten.

What Can I Expect To Spend? – The standard Koralia models have dropped in price over the last few years, most likely due to the newer, shinier Controllable and Magnum versions.  If you’re a smart shopper, you can get a Koralia 1 for under $25.  One of my favorite spots for ordering aquarium supplies online is Pet Mountain — buy something from them once and get on their mailing list, as every week they offer a new sale that lets you take 5% to 10% off the total cost of each purchase, plus deals on shipping.  Your LFS might be able to compete with Internet prices if you catch them during a sale, and it’s always good to support those folks when you can.

Where Can I Buy It? – The Big-Box stores aren’t carrying these pumps yet, and are still using the Maxijets as their in-house model.  Online distributors and well-stocked independent stores will have them.

Any Health Hazards? – Just the standard threat of potential electrocution.  Maybe getting a finger nicked in an impeller.  Neither of these are likely.

~ by KBSpangler on September 4, 2009.

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