Reviewed: Sicce Syncra SDC multifunction pump
Syncra SDC is Italian pump manufacturer Sicce’s flagship return pump model. The company is known for very reliable AC pumps and is the go-to OEM pump for many aquarium and equipment manufacturers but as the name suggests, this one is DC.
There are three models in the range, 6.0, 7.0, and 9.0, delivering adjustable flow between 530gph and 2500gph respectively, and they all come with both wired controllers and full wireless capability via the Sicce Contrall App.
Features include flow control, feed mode, eco mode, flow programmability throughout the full 24 hour period, and other modes including Sharp Break, Slow Current, Lagoonal Ripple, Reef Crest, Fast Current, and “No Mode”, or constant flow. These are advanced features for a return pump and if used in a closed-loop, enable the same wave-making modes that you would expect from a wave-making pump. When used as the sole return pump in a Herbie style overflow however the usefulness of these features is lost because a silent running weir requires a fixed, unfaltering flow rate.
The app displays the water temperature, will send notifications if the temperature alters or the pump stops, and both the Syncra SDC return pump and XStream SDC wave pumps can all be controlled by the same app and in the same place.
The model I’ve been long term testing is the 6.0, producing between 530-1450gph, for between 10 and 40 watts of power. I’ve been running it for about three months on my 40 gallon, three-foot shallow reef tank and it has ran without a hitch. And with a five-year manufacturer warranty this may be the pump to consider if you’ve been let down by other makes and models in the past.
First impressions are that the pump box itself is big - probably the biggest aquarium pump box I’ve seen, but yet inside the 6.0 model is only medium in size, which was good for me as my small sump wouldn’t have been able to accommodate it if it was even half an inch longer. The pump itself is black and conventional-looking. There’s no white, red or blue plastic and those who like to pimp and show off their luminous sumps could maybe describe the Sicce SDC as “plain.”
The wired controller is gloss black and flashes when connected via Wi-Fi, and the pump itself comes with hosetails and plain fittings for hard pipe for both inlet and outlet, and the pump can be run either in or out of the water. An inlet strainer is included too. The weight of the pump offers a quality feel and the silicone rubber feet cushion that weight when installed and dampen any vibration, even when hard-plumbed.
Despite its low energy consumption, the 6.0 can pump to nearly 13 feet head height, so when only pumping some three feet up into my tank and via a single flare nozzle outlet, it produced more than enough water at just 10% power. This made the pump even quieter when running, uses even less electricity and I would describe its running at 10% as silent even when I sit just a few feet in front of it.
As nothing has gone wrong, its black in color and it makes no noise I confess to not really watching it. Which in the days of constant equipment tweaking takes me back to a time when we just plugged in pumps and they ran, and function definitely outstripped form. The Sicce SDC is built to do a job and I get the impression it will probably do that job for me for at least the five years it’s guaranteed to, if not more.
The saying is buy cheap, buy twice, but pay a bit more for the SDC and you may not need to buy again for a very long time. It maybe isn’t as cool as an Ecotech Vectra, Reef Octopus Vario S or Maxspect Turbine Duo but when your whole system is relying on just one pump to keep its lifeblood flowing, I’d wager the Syncra SDC as one of the most reliable, and with all those extra features included as part of the package, it's one of the best in its category.