It takes work to keep an aquarium healthy. From maintaining cleanliness to having a constant supply of fresh water (or saltwater), there are many things you must think about. Whether you are keeping fish, plants or reef, all aquariums also need a constant supply of essential nutrients to keep their inhabitants happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, dosing the right quantity of nutrients and supplements each day can be a time-consuming, messy process that leaves you wondering why there isn’t a better way.

Fortunately, there are quite a few automatic dosing pump systems available today that can make taking care of your aquarium a whole lot easier.

In this helpful guide, we explain how to use a dosing pump, what it does and how it works.

We’ll also be reviewing some of the best dosing pumps for aquarium available on the market today, so that you can make your own decision about the technology that your aquarium needs.

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What is a dosing pump?

A dosing pump is an automated device that pumps a certain quantity of liquid into your aquarium at a regular interval. Whether your aquarium inhabitants need extra minerals, bio-elements, amino acids or fertilizer, it is important to give it to them regularly, and in small doses that are easily absorbable. A dosing pump aims to do just that, and automates the process as well to save you the time and energy.

Best Dosing Pump For Aquarium
A Thriving Reef Tank

How does a dosing pump work?

Essentially, a dosing pump works by pumping out liquid at a regular interval, or in a steady flow. Dosing pumps work with a peristaltic pump design: a system made up of rollers linked up to a rotor. The rotation of the rotor makes the rollers press down on the hose, forcing liquid out at a regular pace.

These pumps are also adjustable, so that the amount of liquid and the speed of the rotor can be controlled. This gives you complete control over your dosing pump, meaning you can use it to serve your specific aquarium needs.

Now, dosing pumps can be more or less complex, depending on the model. The basic technology only involves this peristaltic pump system. Some more advanced ones link it up with other automated devices, and some can even be controlled through an app.

What types of aquarium need a dosing pump?


So, are dosing pumps for you? Would they really make taking care of your aquarium easier?

Well, it all depends on what you use your aquariums for.

A simple aquarium mainly containing fish generally doesn’t require a dosing pump.

On the other hand, aquariums filled with corals or plants can greatly benefit from the regular supply of essential nutrients that a dosing pump can provide them with. Here’s why:

Using a dosing pump for reef aquarium

Coral Reef require a lot of care and the proper nutrition to really thrive.

In the wild, they would have steady access to calcium and magnesium, which they use to grow bigger, maintain their health, and create strong shells. Without that regular access to these essential nutrients, their growth is halted, and they may even begin to show signs of disease.

To maintain a reef aquarium healthy, it is important that corals have regular access to these two essential nutrients, as well as a few others that can really boost their health. Those are iron, copper, strontium, iodine, potassium, manganese and some amino acids.

While many aquarists are happy to give those nutrients to their reef on a regular basis, having an automated system is the best way to make sure not to forget those regular feedings.

And as an added bonus, the dosing pump that provides those nutrients can also top up water in the tank, which compensates for the water that naturally evaporates each day.

Using a dosing pump for freshwater planted aquarium

Much like house plants, aquarium plants need access to the proper nutrients to grow and remain healthy. Aquarium plant fertilizers usually use a combination of phosphate, iron, nitrate, and CO2 in the form of liquid carbon which aim at giving plants all the elements they need to thrive.

The problem is that not dosing the fertilizer properly can actually do more harm than good. Too little fertilizer and plants slow down in their growth. Too much fertilizer and algae starts to grow and compete with your aquarium plants.

The ideal compromise is to deliver a steady supply of fertilizer overtime, which gives enough nutrients for plants to develop while keeping algae in check.

Additional Read: EI Dosing Method For Planted Aquarium

How to choose the right dosing pump for your aquarium?

To choose the dosing pump that will really work for you and your aquarium, there are a variety of factors to consider, including the size of your aquarium, the type of reef, plants or fish that you keep, the level of technology that you want and, of course, your budget.

Below, you’ll find some of the best dosing pumps available today. They come with different prices and specifications, so have a look for yourself, and we hope you’ll find one that really matches your needs.

Top 5 Best Dosing Pumps For Aquarium Reviewed

1. Aqua Medic Reef Doser Evo 4 Aquarium Water Pump

Aqua Medic Reef Doser Evo 4
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Designed specifically with marine reef in mind, this automated device includes 4 individual dosing pumps. This allows you the freedom to choose from a great variety of nutrients, water or food that you want to top off the aquarium water with.

One of the best features of this product is that every pump can be individually calibrated, to give just the amount of liquid that you want.

We also like how flexible the interval control is. Each liquid could be dispensed up to 24 times per day, or only ever few days. This leaves you free to adjust the settings to the needs of your aquarium inhabitants.

In terms of programing, this is a relatively easy device to use, with a touch pad LCD display that is kept minimal. Simply control the regularity of each pump, and you’re good to go.

Who is it for?

The Aqua Medic Reef Doser Evo 4 can be used with most any type of aquarium, although it is advertised as a reef system. It will do well with freshwater as well as saltwater, and its convenient, 4 pumps system make it adjustable to almost any environment.

What we like about it:

  • 4 pumps
  • Individually adjustable pumps
  • Professional grade pumps
  • Practical size
  • Easy to program

2. Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump DP-4

Also a 4 pump system, the Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump DP-4 is one of the most affordable options on the market, but a very impressive one.

Like the Aqua Medic Reef Doser Evo 4, all four pumps are adjustable individually, making it easy to choose how much of a certain nutrient, food, or water solution should be dispensed into the aquarium.

One of the features that we really like about this one is that it is actually capable of holding very large quantities of liquid. A given pump can top off up to 9999-ml of your liquid of choice per day, which makes it ideal for larger aquariums that may need a regular dosing, for example.

Should you need an even bigger capacity, a slave unit can be added, bringing the total number of pumps to 8. This can be really useful for much larger tanks, as it means you don’t have to buy two separate dosing pumps to get twice the capacity of one.

Finally, it is a very easy program to use that won’t confuse even the least tech-savvy among you.

Who is it for?

The Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump DP-4 works well in any tank, even larger ones. From freshwater to saltwater, it will do well in the environment that it is placed in, as it is able to deliver small as well as much larger doses of the liquid of your choice.

What we like about it:

  • Affordable
  • 4 controllable pumps
  • Large capacity
  • Can be attached to a slave device to add 4 extra pumps

3. Eshopps Dosing Master Pump

This is a smaller device with only two dosing pumps that does very well in terms of quality, and ease of use. The two pumps are controllable individually and can dispense quantities from 1 to 1,999 milliliters. This gives you the opportunity to be very precise when your aquarium requires a certain dose of nutrients that must be measured exactly.

One of the things that we like best about it is that it functions very quietly, you can simply place it in a discreet place under your aquarium, and forget that it is there.

Who is it for?

The Eshopps dosing master pump works well in any type of aquarium, but may be best suited for smaller ones because of its limited liquid capacity.

What we like about it:

  • Good quality materials
  • Easy to set up
  • Master unit can be connected to additional slave units
  • Quiet operation

4. Neptune Systems DOS 2 Channel Dosing and Metering System

Another smaller device, the DOS 2 is a futuristic-looking dosing pump with some interesting features. Unlike the others, it can be programmed to perform more complex tasks, including delivering very low doses and replacing water. With its precision pump that can deliver doses down to 0.1 milliliters, it may be very useful to you if you are looking to deal with dangerous liquids for which overdosing can be harmful. But the feature we like best about it is the two synchronized pumps that allow you to replace the water in your aquarium. The two pumps can be used in conjunction so that one removes old water while the other one pumps out fresh water, saving you from having to change your own aquarium water. By far one of the most multi-functional devices on the list, this may be a good option for those with smaller aquariums who also want to use more automation in their routine.

Who is it for?

Although this one is advertised mainly for reef aquarium, it can do well in most any aquarium. It is popular with those looking to add calcium and alkaline solution to their aquariums, but any liquid can be used in any of the two pumps.

What we like about it:

  • High quality
  • Two synchronized pumps
  • Water changing option
  • Precise dosing

5. CoralBox Wifi Dosing Pump

This is another four pumps system that does very well in terms of quality, and ease of use. Built with solid materials, this one comes with a 12 month warranty for each individual pump.

The most useful feature of this pump we find to be the wifi connection, which means that this device can be operated from your phone. Choose the quantity of liquid that should be dispensed each day, and the device will automatically calculate how to spread that dose over the course of 24 hours.

As well as being easy to control from your smartphone, the device also has documentation online in the form of YouTube videos which can make it easier to understand if you are a visual learner.

Overall, it may be a good option for those looking for a four-pump system that is not only solid but also involves newer technologies.

Who is it for?

This is the perfect device for those who like to automate their aquariums and are not afraid of using more advanced technology like app-controls. It does well in any type of aquarium, including larger ones thanks to its four pumps.

What we like about it:

  • Precise
  • Easily programmable
  • Four pumps
  • App-controlled
  • Well-documented

Final Words

When it comes to finding the best dosing pump, it’s good to know what the needs of your aquarium are. These devices can be very useful for anyone keeping reef or plants as they allow you to dose regular nutrients, keeping your aquariums thriving and healthy.

Luckily, there is a great variety of devices you can choose from, varying in size, features and price. We hope that this guide has been useful to you, and answered all of your questions on dosing pumps. Remember, you can make automation really work for you by choosing the right technology!

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