Return pumps are a vital piece of equipment you definitely don’t want to malfunction. They serve the purpose of pumping water from your sump back into your aquarium, resulting in water circulation that’s advantageous for plants and corals. If you have a sizable setup or operate a pressurized filtration system, you’ll require a pump with a greater capacity.
In this article...
- The Jebao DCT-6000 Marine Water Pump is a newer model with improved performance and 50% less energy consumption compared to older versions.
- The pump has safety features like automatic power-off when no water is detected and motor protection.
- Drawbacks include lower flow after excessive head pressure, a temperamental remote, and occasional noise during operation.
The Jebao DCT Marine controllable water pump is a newer model of the DCT series of pumps. Compared to older versions, the pump has better performance and uses 50% less energy.
One of the most popular return pumps for an aquarium is the Jebao DCT-6000. To help you determine whether this unit is a good match for your tank, I’ll be taking a close look at its features, highlights, and drawbacks.
What to Consider Before Buying a Water Pump for Your Aquarium
Return pumps help create water movement and circulation, which is necessary for providing plants and corals with nutrients, food, and oxygenated water. They’re an important component of any reef tank for this reason alone.
Before you buy a pump for your aquarium, you need to understand the care needs of your fish. Some species prefer strong waves, while others prefer softer ones. You’ll also need to consider the size of your tank and the head pressure of your plumbing.
Your pump needs to have a suitable flow rate for the capacity of your tank, but bear in mind that the flow rate is the flow you require going back into your aquarium. Return pumps normally have to pump water through several feet of plumbing and a couple of elbows.
This pressure reduces the amount of water going back into your tank, so you’ll need to take this factor into account when selecting a pump. For example, a unit with a rating of 500 GPH (gallons per hour) might only be capable of 250 GPH once it’s set up.
Type of Water Pump
Pumps can be either submersible, external, or inline, so you’ll need to decide which is best for you. A submersible return pump is typically quieter and easier to install as it comes with suction cups that you can attach straight to your aquarium.
One of the main downsides of submersible water pumps is their tendency to overheat. If there isn’t enough water covering the unit, then they can quickly get too hot.
In contrast, external or inline pumps don’t have any issues regarding overheating. However, they can be a little more fiddly and complicated to install. They’re also normally more expensive than submersible pumps.
The Jebao DCT-6000 Marine controllable water pump is a newer model of the DCT series of pumps. Compared to older versions, the pump has better performance and uses 50% less energy.
In general, the Jebao Marine pump is quieter and operates using less energy than other pumps of a similar capacity. Even with these features, the unit still boasts speed and a strong flow.
One of the main downsides of the device is its lower flow after excessive head pressure, which makes it more ideal for horizontal distances. It can also develop a low whining sound and have an unreliable remote.
- Dimensions: 6.5” x 4” x5.5”
- Weight: 3.3 lbs
- Maximum Flow: 1585 GPH
- Wattage: 42 W
The Jebao Marine controllable water pump has a lot of features that make it more effective and easier to use. These include:
- New 10 Speed Controller
- IC Electronic Detection
- Automatic Power Off
- Motor Protection
- Quiet Operation
- Wear Resistant Ceramic Shaft
- Operates quietly for the most part
- Comes with 10 different speed settings
- Can be submerged or used externally
- Includes safety features
- Easy to install and clean
- Remote can develop issues
- Can emit a whining sound
- Best suited for horizontal distances
Installing the Jebao DCT pump is straightforward as it comes preassembled. All you need to do is attach the hosing and that’s all there is to it!
A lot of pumps require a hefty amount of assembly, which can be both frustrating and time-consuming. As this unit arrives already set up, you don’t need to worry about either of these issues.
The unit includes a multi size connector, which is suited to 1-inch, 1.5-inch, and 3.4-inch ID. Personally, I’d used the 1-inch as it’s smaller and creates a more uniform flow. This connector also makes it simpler to use 0.75-inch PVC pipes to make corners steadier.
You can use the pump either submerged or externally. For the latter, you’ll need to connect the unit to a second hose. Running the device externally can make it noisier in operation, so if you want a smoother experience, submerging it might be a better option.
Pump External Set-up
If you want to run the pump externally, you’ll have to prime it before you use it. To do this, simply fill the tube up to the motor with water. This can be done a few ways, such as with another pump, creating a suction on the output hose, or by lowering the pump below your aquarium.
Compared to some other pumps, the DCT model can take a while to start. Although this seems like a negative, it’s actually a positive as the gradual process is easier on your fish and aquarium substrate.
Controllable and Adjustable Flow
The remote for adjusting the speed and flow of the device is simple to use. It features just three buttons, so you don’t have to worry about the unit being overly complicated. There’s a feeding button, as well as two buttons to increase and decrease the pace of the pump.
You get 10 speed settings with the unit, with each one representing 10%. I really like this as it allows you to tweak the device to deliver exactly the flow you require in your aquarium.
When used on a lower setting, the pump doesn’t use as much power which reduces the strain on the unit’s motor and improves the longevity of the device.
The feeding button halts the unit for 10 minutes, which is useful during maintenance. After this duration, the device will turn back on and gradually return to the setting you previously had it on.
Automatic Power Off and Motor Protection
One aspect I really like about the DCT pump is its safety features. When the device detects no water, it automatically turns off to prevent damage to the unit. This is really useful if you forget to turn the pump off during aquarium maintenance.
The pump also has a motor protection feature that helps prevent damage to the rotor if it becomes blocked.
Cleaning and maintaining the DCT pump isn’t too difficult and shouldn’t take up a large amount of time. To give it a good clean, you only need to remove the cover to get inside.
This gives you access to the rotor, which you’ll need to soak regularly to improve the performance and lifespan of the device. You can soak the rotor in a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar for a minimum of 15 minutes.
During this time, you can clean out the rotor’s housing and the body of the unit. Mineral deposits that have built up on the housing won’t harm your fish, but they are unsightly and can cause the unit to overheat. Make sure you don’t use any soap or detergent when cleaning your pump as this can be dangerous for your aquarium.
Once the rotor has finished soaking, you can wipe it and rinse it thoroughly. Put the pump back together, reconnect the tubing, and prime it (if you’re using it externally) before switching it back on. Finally, check the unit to make sure it is working properly and efficiently.
Warranty and Lifespan
The DCT Marine pump comes with a 1-year warranty. If the unit breaks within this time period, then you shouldn’t have any issue getting the device repaired or replaced. Bear in mind that the warranty doesn’t cover problems caused by the fault of the owner, such as buildup on the rotor.
In terms of lifespan, the DCT pump typically lasts over 2 years if it is constantly used at maximum power. Obviously, how well you care for the device will affect its overall performance and longevity.
Only using the pump device every now and again or on a low setting will increase its durability, too.
Despite its positives, the DCT pump does have a few drawbacks. Firstly, the unit delivers a lower flow after excessive head pressure, which makes it a better option for horizontal distances.
Secondly, the remote for adjusting the flow pace and power of the unit can be a bit temperamental. It’s not uncommon for the remote to develop problems over time, such as not saving your desired speed settings. Fortunately, the warranty for the pump will cover this if it happens within a year of you purchasing it.
Lastly, while the unit is relatively quiet, it can emit a chirping or whining sound during operation.
To make sure that the pump is both reliable and high quality, I’ve scoured user reviews online to see what other aquarists thought of the product. For the most part, the feedback for the DCT is extremely positive.
A lot of fishkeepers praised the quietness of the unit during operation, as well as its effectiveness and overall power. The affordability of the unit is another noteworthy comment, particularly when you consider the amount of features it comes with.
Alternative Water Return Pumps
If the Jebao 6000 marine controllable water pump doesn’t seem like the right match for you, then I’ve provided a few alternatives that might be more suited to your aquarium.
The Aquastation pump is cheaper than the DCT unit and has 20 different flow settings. It also has a more compact design. However, the DCT pump has a higher pump rating and is more long-lasting.
- Dimensions: 8.2” x 3.5” x 4.13”
- Weight: 3.6 lbs
- Maximum Flow: 1320 GPH
- Wattage: 40 W
- More compact design
- More settings
- Lower pump rating
- Less durable
The Uniclife 4000 device has a smaller footprint than the DCT unit, as well as a lower price and an impressive 99 flow settings. However, it has a much lower pump rating and can be prone to breaking or leaking after a short period of time.
- Dimensions: 7” x 3.15” x 4.33”
- Weight: 3.79 lbs
- Maximum Flow: 1052 GPH
- Wattage: 35 W
- More settings
- Smaller footprint
- Lower pump rating
- Less durable
The Hygger 24V DC device is a little cheaper than the DCT model and has a more compact appearance. Unfortunately, the device doesn’t come with as many flow settings and is less durable in general. It also has a lower pump rating.
- Dimensions 6.2” x 3.1” x 5”
- Weight: 4.2 lbs
- Maximum Flow: 1060 GPH
- Wattage: 33 W
- More compact appearance
- Lower pump rating and less durable
- Doesn’t come with as many settings
Overall, I think the Jebao DCT-6000 pump is a fantastic option for your aquarium as it boasts both power and quality. It has 10 different settings that allow you to adjust the flow of the unit, as well as safety features like automatically switching off when it doesn’t detect water.
The device is relatively quiet during operation and comes completely assembled to save you both time and energy. It’s also extremely simple to clean and maintain.
However, the unit can sometimes emit a low whining sound during operation. In addition to this, the device can suffer from an unreliable remote and a reduced flow after excessive head pressure.
That said, I still think the DCT pump is a solid choice for any reef aquarium to aid with water movement and circulation. If you’re considering using the pump in your setup, you can find it here.