Hydor Centrifugal Powerhead Review

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Size Dimensions Tank Size Noise Level Max Head Longevity Price
70 GPH 2.25″ x 1.25″ x 1.75″ 1-10 Gallons Low 20″ 2-3 Years Low
100 GPH 2.25″ x 1.25″ x 1.75″ 1-10 Gallons Low 28″ 2-3 Years Low
160 GPH 2.5″ x 1.5″ x 2″ 1-10 Gallons Low 12″ 2-3 Years Low
200 GPH 2.75″ x 1.5″ x 3.25″ 1-10 Gallons Low 16″ 2-3 Years Low
260 GPH 2.75″ x 1.5″ x 3.25″ 1-10 Gallons Low 24″ 2-3 Years Low
300 GPH 2.75″ x 1.5″ x 3.25″ 1-10 Gallons Low 28″ 2-3 Years Low

The Hydor Centrifugal powerhead, formerly known as the Pico evolution series, is a low cost, high quality pump that moves just as much water as it states. The maximum head is quite low, making it not suited for sending water upwards, but the level of control and value offered by this powerhead is hard to beat.


Setting up the Hydor Centrifugal is nice and easy. Located on the bottom of the powerhead is a large base that holds four suction cups. These will need to be inserted first, which works simply by pushing part of the suction cup through the mount. By distributing the weight and force of the powerhead between 4 suction cups there becomes almost no chance for the powerhead to fall off. If you are having issues with these suction cups I recommend cleaning the glass before trying the heat trick, as the 4 suction cups will be very difficult to remove afterwards.

The heat trick is where you boil the suction cups briefly, and immediately stick them onto the aquariums glass. The air underneath will be heated, then cool down and compress, which creates a super strong seal between the suction cup and glass. This is fairly difficult to remove so use at your own discretion.

the powerhead is a bit bulky, making it a bit difficult to hide in the tank. However it is pretty small and will not really obstruct your sight of the tank.

Finally the cord is a generous 6 feet long. Being that the powerhead is not meant for large tanks, this is more than enough length to position the powerhead however you please while still having enough cord left over to form a drip loop. Remember these drip loops can prevent fires and should not be forgotten.


To take apart the Hydor Centrifugal powerhead for cleaning you will need to remove the impeller cover, shown as c, from the motor compartment, shown as a. This gives you full access to both the intake grate and impeller, which are the main components you will need to keep clean.

The assembly on this model is much better than the previous, making for a much longer lasting pump. Because it does not degrade as the previous model it also does not suffer from the noisy in a month problem. This pump will stay quiet for its whole life time provided that you do not set it up oddly. This means nothing is rattling against the glass like a loose suction cup or the cord.

Flow & Adjustments

Both the flow and direction can be adjusted on the Hydor Centrifugal Powerhead, with the direction being more limited than the flow rate.

The direction may only be turned from side to side, not vertically where as the flow can be adjusted from near 0 gph rates up to the full speed. This allows the pump to be used for anything from water pumping, fast moving fish in nano tanks, slow moving fish such as bettas as well as fry or shrimp.

If you plan on using the pump for water movement you will need the right size tubing. The 70 and 100 models will require 1/2″ tubing while the other models all use 5/8″. Tubing often comes tightly coiled, making it much more difficult to place as the tube retains the curving nature. This can be fixed by using a heat gun on the tube while laying it flat, or in high temperatures simply leaving it stretched flat in the sun for a few days.

Warranty & Lifetime

The lifetime of this model is much better than the previous one, coming in at 2-3 years on average. This is typically seen when taking decent care of the pump, cleaning it out every 1-3 months. For the best results stick to once a month cleaning with as few stops as possible. Starting and stopping the motor frequently can damage the impeller.

As for the warranty Hydor offers a complete 2 year warranty on this pump, making for a safe purchase. After two years with this pump running steady and silent, for such a low price, you will find it hard to find an alternative. For small tanks I feel there is no better choice than this powerhead.

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