Active Aqua AAPW Pump Review

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GPH Dimensions Output Size Max Head Noise Level Longevity Price
40 GPH 4.8″ x 1.9″ x 2.4″ 5/16″ 1.7′ Low 2+ Years Impossibly Low
160 GPH 7.1″ x 2.7″ x 3.5″ 1/2″ 4.75′ Low 2+ Years Low
250 GPH 7″ x 3.6″ x 4.6″ 1/2″, 3/4″ 5.9′ Low 2+ Years Low
400 GPH 8.4″ x 3.5″ x 5.8″ 1/2″, 3/4″ 7.54′ Low 2+ Years Low
550 GPH 8.4″ x 3.4″ x 6.4″ 1/2″, 3/4″ 7.9′ Low 2+ Years Low
800 GPH 8.8″ x 4.4″ x 6.7″ 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ 9.18′ Low 2+ Years Low
1000 GPH 1.87″ x 1.68″ x 1.24″ 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ 12.13′ Low 2+ Years Medium-Low

The Active Aqua AAPW series water pump is a low cost, mid flow pump with good all around traits. It works best as a continuous flow pump as it has trouble starting up repeatedly.

The smaller models have very low head height, making them more for decorations. The 550 and above have decent GPH even at higher heads, while the 1000 manages 400 gph while climbing 9 feet thanks to its pressure of 4.9 PSI.


Setting up the Active Aqua AAPW water pump takes only a few moments. For the 40 and 160 models you will only be able to use a single fitting size.

Each size pump, other than the 40, comes with one fitting size that has a venturi air intake. This is always the smallest fitting that the water pump comes with. Be sure to get the matching tubing size, as well as extra airline tubing for the venturi intake if you intend on using it.

The pump can be used as either a submersible pump or an external pump. When submerged the pump must be submerged at least 2/3rds of the way, which will fully submerge the motor and impeller.

When setting the Active Aqua pump as an external filter you will need to connect a second tube to the intake of the pump. Next the pump must be primed. This is done by filling the pump and its connected tube with water. You can use a second pump to do this or create a suction/siphon on the other end of the hose to jump start the pump. If the pump is below the water source it should only need to be primed the first time.

The 40 gph model comes with two suction cups while the other models all have four. They are fairly strong, and the pumps do not typically move much meaning you won’t need to worry about pumps running around.

The cord is a decent 6 foot long on all models. Keep in mind however that only the 250 and larger models are intended for outdoor use. The smaller models do not have the same cover on the impeller, making them more vulnerable to debris and cold weather.


Each part on this pump can be separated by hand with nothing but small force and twisting. To begin disassembling the pump pull off the front cover and intake foam. After that the impeller cover can be twisted off, taking the flow control knob along with it.

The impeller will now be exposed, which should be removed so that the pump can be deep cleaned.

To clean the Active Aqua AAPW water pump being by soaking the impeller in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. This should sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. The rest of the pump should be scrubbed clean, including the back grate. All algae and debris should be removed to ensure no power is lost.

The impeller and impellers housing should be cleaned using a soft material. Any and all scratches can cause irregular spinning. This will reduce the flow of the pump and damage the impeller, shortening the life of the pump.

When finishing up rinse off the pump and reassemble it in the reverse order. Remember to prime the pump before restarting it and ensure all the tubes are secured.

Flow & Adjustments

flow control is via a valve located at the front for bigger models and a slider on the top for the smaller models.

The smaller models can only be dialed back a set amount, and result in a very low flow when at the minimal setting. The bigger models can be completely blocked when adjusting the flow. This means you can control the flow all the way from 0-100%.

The head on these pumps is fairly high with the bigger models. The small models however are more for fountains and small decorations rather than fish use.

Warranty & Lifetime

Hydrofarm offers a limited one year warranty on the Active Aqua AAPW. This covers any and all defects or failures due to craftsmanship. The warranty does not cover damages due to neglect or improper use of the pump. This means pumps damaged by debris build up will not be covered by the warranty.

On average this pump will last over two years when run constantly with minimal maintenance. The number of cleanings per year will depend on the water the pump is moving. For crystal clear water you will only need to clean the pump 3-4 times a year, while dirty water will need to be cleaned each month. For more specific information consult the official manual under the product info tab.

Looking for more information on quiet aquarium water pumps? Read our full guide here.

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