AI Nero 3 & AI Nero 5 Powerheads: Little Water Rockets With a Ton of Flow and Tiny Footprint
The Nero series pumps from Aqua Illumination really do exemplify all of the reasons we have come to love this brand. Functional, affordable, and stylish-looking LED lights for reef aquariums are what put AI on the map and that same trifecta has been injected into the Nero pumps making them one of the most popular powerhead options for saltwater tanks up to around 90 gallons.
The most attractive part of the Nero is its unique "puck" shaped housing which results in an extremely low-profile form factor inside your display. This is made possible by the reverse propeller fan design which the motor coils set inside a magnetic ring, opposite of your classic mag-drive impeller style pump. There are two models, the Nero 3 that only extends 1.5" from the aquarium wall and the Nero 5 extending only 2.1". Both pumps feature a very thin power cord and a magnetic coupling style mount which makes them versatile and easy to hide pretty much anywhere. The inner part of the mount is concave and cradles the pump housing which allows you to angle the output up to about 15° in any direction.
When it comes to function, you get access to basic controls via the single-button inline controller including on/off and feed mode, but the real power is unlocked when you pair with the free myAI app using on-board Bluetooth LE. Pairing with your smartphone or device is super quick and once you have your pumps named in the app, you can create a custom 24-hour schedule in which you choose from three preset flow modes throughout the day. Adjust the pump speed and frequency right inside the app and you get a completely custom flow profile unique to you and your tank. There is also a parent/child feature making it easy to run multiple pumps on the same tank and all of your Aqua Illumination brand gear using the myAI app can be synchronized.
Just like the Prime HD LED light, many hobbyists will agree, it is the extreme value that makes the Nero such a wildly popular option. Coming in at only $150 and $200 respectively for the Nero 3 & 5 model pumps, you just can't beat the performance and features you get for the price. The Nero 3 pushes a maximum of 2000 GPH and the Nero 5 can hit up to 3000 GPH, there are no additional control modules or components you need to buy, you even get a fish guard right inside the box!