Hydor Pico Evo-Mag 180 Review


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Size Dimensions Tank Size Noise Level Longevity Price
180 GPH 1.25″ x 3.25″ x 2.35″ 1-15 Gallons Medium 4 Months-1 Year Medium-low

The Hydor Pico Evo-Mag 180 brings medium to low levels of water flow to the tank, with the ability to pump water up to 180 GPH. The flow is highly directional, but fully controllable with the head swiveling horizontally. Overall it is a low cost, short lived powerhead/waterpump that is outclassed by its newer models.

Set-up

Setting up the Hydor Pico Evo-Mag is a fairly straight forward affair. The powerhead comes assembled and attaches via suction cup/magnet combinations. This allows for a lower cost, as the magnets are not terribly strong, but more than enough when paired with the suction cups. After all the powerhead only weights a few ounces and would likely be fine with just a suction cup.

Remember with any and all magnet mounted tank equipment to bring them together slowly. Even with low strengths I don’t trust my glass to withstand flying powerheads.

The exterior magnet is not vital, but without attaching it the magnetic insert in the interior suction cup will rattle. This makes you choose between adding the exterior magnet or having a louder pump.

Once started you shouldn’t notice any start up noise. In fact the powerhead should run near silent when first installed. It’s after a few months where the pump starts to get noisy, earning it a medium-low rating on our scale. This is caused by the impeller getting damaged, and can be prevented by either running the power lower or performing less frequent starts and stops. This rules out both wave makers and timers.

Assembly

The Pico Evo-Mag may be small but it’s made up of plenty of parts. These are none too difficult to take apart, with the main cover coming off easiest. This allows you to clean out the insides of the powerhead and impeller, restoring any lost flow rate and increasing the lifetime of the powerhead.

Flow & Adjustments

You can swivel the head horizontally however you like, directing the flow and allowing you to either diffuse the current or move the outlet for easier tube installation. Unlike ball mounted powerhead, this one cannot be adjusted vertically in any way.

To control the flow you may turn the side mounted valve to cover the intake of the powerhead. This makes the Hydor Pico excellent for slow moving fish or shrimp tanks, as even fry can compete with the lower settings on this powerhead.
rotation and speed adjustments rotates horizontally, flow adjustments from 0-180gph
real strength vs described matching
other model sizes bigger 300 GPH does exists
strength compared to fish size only issue with slow moving fish

Hydor does make a different model of pump with identical controls, with generally better pricing and lifetimes. Ideally you would want to buy that model instead, though it only has suction cups, no magnetic component.

Warranty & Lifetime

The lifetime on the Hydor Pico is fairly short, having an almost disposable feel to it. When properly cared for it can last up to 2 years. Good care, however, will not prevent the more noisy nature that the wear and tear often causes.

The good news is the 2 year warranty that Hydor happily backs on their products. This means if the powerhead breaks down at the 1 year mark you can actually get a whole 3 years with top level care. It is more likely that you will see just over the warranties lifetime however.

Overall

I cannot in good faith recommend the Hydor Pico when the newer, cheaper and more reliable model is so readily available. The pump itself does its job decently, but is no match for newer, more efficient designs. To find out more read my Hydor Centrifugal Powerhead Review.

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