The ‘beating heart’ of numerous designs, a return pump is without doubt a key component of many modern reef systems. It can be a fairly thankless task though and, due the fact that this kind of kit is often out of sight, it can be tempting to try to save money and skip the research when it comes to selection. However, when we expect such an item to perform flawlessly 24/7 with little intervention, it seems crazy to even consider cutting costs. Also, given the fact that a pump is a constant energy drain, it makes sense to look for an efficient unit that won’t make our energy metre spin like a fruit machine! For this review we take a look at AquaMedic’s EcoRunner 6000 which is part of a range that promises energy-saving, silent operation with high efficiency and long-term maintenance free design… just the ticket… or is it?!
Launched back in 2012, and with 5 models spanning 2700 to 12000lph output, this range has a pump for most applications (actually certain models are fitted with needle-wheels and used in AquaMedic’s aCone skimmers). Taking the mid-range 6000 unit ‘for a spin’, the first thing that strikes us about the pump is its rugged design. Incorporating a small handle to facilitate retrieval during maintenance, this pump is very solid indeed. It took some effort to disassemble for our product shots actually, such was the tight fit of the components. This bodes well for durability but it’s worth maybe loosening it up a little before you install it on a system. Inspecting each component in turn reinforced our conclusion that this is a precision made pump and take note that it comes with pre-filter basket and hose connections included to allow it to be used in a variety of situations… internal/external, hard or soft plumbed. This pump doesn’t have any flow adjustment but frankly we aren’t worried as such devices typically exert back pressure on the pump. It would be nice to have a few other diameter connections included though.
Peel back the outer shell and at the heart of this IPX8-rated pump is an electronically controlled synchronous motor which promises to deliver high flow while consuming little electricity. Actually, this pump is slated to draw just 70watts which is less on paper than our Eheim 5000 compact (which outputs 1000 litres less per hour). Checking the EcoRunner 6000 with our plug-in metre reveals an average wattage consumption of around 80 watts though, so perhaps the UK supply means our pump is drawing more power… if so take note that the output is likely increased a little also). With a polished ceramic shaft and bearing this is a very quiet pump also and barely registers on the noise app we’ve used on our previous pump and skimmer reviews. Heat output is minimal as one would expect. Although we haven’t measured the actual flow rate from this pump we can see it is noticeable more powerful than the Eheim so frankly that’s good enough for us. Obviously head pressure is going to reduce this output – take note the maximum is 3.5m.
Available online from Swell UK at a price of £175.95 (at the time of writing), this pump, and others is the range, compare well against competitors with the combination of superb build quality and efficient, quiet operation most notable.