AquaClear 50 Powerhead Review


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Dimensions Tank Size Noise Level Longevity Price
4.5″ x 2″ x 3″ 20-50 Gallons Very Low 2-5 Years Low

The AquaClear 50 offers a decent water flow with the ability to be used as an under gravel filter, complete control over the direction and flow speed, as well as air injections. This is a true all in one powerhead for a decent price, but it does not excel in any one area. It is more of a jack of all trades, and fairly good at them all too.

Set-up

There are two main ways to use this powerhead. You can either use the top mounting bracket, which holds the top of the powerhead above the waters surface, or you can use the suction cups to hold it in place. I personally keep my powerheads low in the tank, as this helps muffle their sound while also giving me a more evenly distributed water current.

The AquaClear 50 powerhead also comes with an air injector, which works beautifully when the powerhead is deeply submerged. The deeper the powerhead, the more thoroughly aerated the water will be. This does still work when the powerhead is near the surface, just not as well.

When attaching the AquaClear 50 powerhead deep in the tank you may need to keep it under the gravel if you have algae covered glass. The algae makes it much more difficult for the suction cup to hold onto the wall, but if your walls are clean or if you scrape a section clean on the glass you should have no issue.

To use the AquaClear 50 as an under gravel filter you will simply need to place the bottom intake portion of the powerhead underneath the gravel. This pulls debris into the gravel, making it easy to remove via siphoning. This will also increase the growth rate of beneficial bacteria, as it feed the food right to their home.

The AquaClear 50 uses an impeller rather than a propeller, which allows for the more compact design while also getting rid of the reverse flow issue that many other powerheads have. In fact this powerhead actually has this as a feature! read about it more in the flow section.

Assembly

The powerhead is easy to disassemble and clean. Simply pull off the impellers housing and clean both sides. Additionally pull out the impeller, cleaning it off with a soft, never chemically washed material. Furthermore you should always clean out the impellers mount with a cotton swab. Doing all of this will reduce noise, restore lost flow speeds and increase the lifetime of the powerhead.

Flow & Adjustments

The AquaClear 50 is completely adjustable, meaning you can both direct the flow while also adjusting the flow rate. This gives you complete control over your tank and is idea for tanks under 30 gallons who need more precise flow rates.

To adjust the direction you simply need to swivel the nozzle around until it is directed where you want. The speed is controlled via the green lever located on the side of the powerhead. This lever is actually so controlling that it has a second feature. It can reverse the direction of flow, allowing the powerhead to run in reverse. The main reason you will want to do this is to promote bacteria growth deep in the gravel of your tank. The bacteria will then help fight against toxins produced by fish waste and uneaten food. Just be sure to take safety precautions so that fish are not pulled into the powerhead.

For dangerous situations such as the one above I like to cut out a portion of the bag oranges come in, a simple but strong mesh bag, and place it over the intake. This keeps out most fish, giving them time to react and swim away from the powerhead without reducing the flow rate.

The AquaClear 50 runs right about where it should, giving you the power that is advertised. If you end up buying more power than needed you can always reduce the flow rate with the green lever, so there is nothing to worry about on this end.

Remember that the flow is release through a small tube. This provides a much more directed flow and can be harsh to fish who frequently swim directly in front of the powerhead. If this is causing your fish undue stress consider diffusing the flow by pointing the powerhead at the wall or placing sturdy decorations in front of it.

Warranty & Lifetime

The AquaClear 50 Powerhead is covered by a two year warranty, given by its manufacturer Hagen. To take advantage of this you will need to fill out the warranty registration card found in the back of the instruction manual. You can also contact them directly if any issues arise. Overall Hagen offers very friendly customer service, so there should be no issues here.

The lifetime on the AquaClear tends to be between 2 and 5 years. This is mostly dependent on how the powerhead is used. For standard powerhead use and with good cleaning the 5 years is not too difficult to reach, but when used as an under gravel filter the powerhead will undergo a lot of stress. This reduces the lifetime to 2-3 years when clean consistently. As this will cover two pieces of equipment, the price per year is actually amazing. For medium to small tanks the AquaClear 50 is an excellent choice.

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