Water circulation in your reef aquarium is crucial to the health of your corals and to help keep the tank clean and algae-free. This is the reason powerheads are so important for reefers and why you see such a variety of different pumps available.

Aqua Medic just released an affordable new controllable powerhead and today we are going to take a closer look at all the features and show you how to us them.

EcoDrift Series pumps offer an incredible value, with 4 models ranging in price from around $98 to $170 that are suitable for aquariums from 75 all the way to 500 gallons. All are controllable, featuring 9 different programs plus a light sensor that will automatically reduce the flow rate when it detects it's night time. EcoDrift pumps run on safe, low-voltage DC motors and are really energy-efficient considering the high flow rates they produce.

The included magnet holder is strong and will stay securely in place on aquariums up to 5/8" thick. Something that surprised me were the vibration-reducing rubber bumpers that result in quieter operation. This is not the first time we have seen something like this on a powerhead, but it's definitely a cool feature to have. The bracket allows for 180° rotation, but you can also adjust the direction by spinning the magnet—just be mindful of the power cord.

We installed one of the 8.0 models in our 4' long office aquarium. I had to set it at 50% in constant speed mode because it was just too strong at 100%!

The controller is simple and intuitive. The first three modes are Constant Speed modes indicated by the P and # value that corresponds to the speed, P100 being 100% and so on. You can scroll through the modes by pressing the mode button.

The next three modes are Wave modes. W1 mode allows you to control the speed and frequency of the pulse. Use the mode button to select W1, then press the Speed button to select 100%, 75% or 50% indicated by the S1, S2 and S3 LEDs on the right. You can then adjust the frequency of the pulse using the control dial to tune the wave to your liking.

W2 mode is a preset Wave mode which will operate on a pre-set slow pulse rate from 0 – 100%. W3 mode is a little different: it quickly increases the speed to 100% and then slowly decreases back down to 0%.

Random mode is exactly as it sounds. Press the MODE/Feed button until the Random LED is illuminated and the pump will randomly rotate through all of the possible programs.

Lock mode is cool because you can lock the control dial to prevent any accidental changes to your wave setting. Press and hold the Speed/Lock button to activate. The LOCK LED will illuminate indicating the control dial is now locked. Press and hold the Speed/Lock button for 5 seconds to deactivate.

The controller also has a Hold mode—represented by the 10 Min. LED. By holding the MODE/Feed button for 5 seconds, the 10 min LED will illuminate and the pump will stop for 10 minutes. This is handy for feeding or maintenance purposes.

You can activate Night mode by attaching the optical sensor to the side of the controller. Then mount the sensor in an area that is illuminated by your aquarium light.

The Marine Depot staff was surprised and pleased to see so many features packed into these incredibly affordable pumps. Even more good news: Aqua Medic just released a full series of controllable DC returns pumps called DC Runners that are also now available in our online store.

If you are looking for an affordable way to create waves in your reef tank, the Aqua Medic EcoDrift is definitely a pump worthy of your consideration.

Until next time... take care and happy reefkeeping.

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