Fluval Spec V Pump Upgrade

Fluval Spec V Pump Upgrade: Is this Worth Doing?

Upgrading your pump is essential for the durability and flexibility of your aquarium. You can address all the maintenance and repair issues with the upgrade. It improves your air pumps efficiency as well.

So are you thinking about your Fluval spec v pump upgrade?

There might be some issues that’ll indicate your pump needs an upgrade. There isn’t any available Fluval replacement, however, with some modifications, the pump should be perfect for your fish tank and provide sufficient water flow. Or else you can upgrade your pump with other brands’ mini-pumps.

Are you excited to know about the entire topic? If so, let’s dive into it!

Do You Really Need an Upgrade?

From time to time you might face some issues in your aquarium tank and notice your Fluval spec v pump not working. Let’s learn the possible issues and when should you upgrade the pump-

No Air Going Into the Tank

There needs to be air running into the tank constantly. The tank shouldn’t be without

air for more than 24 hours. However, in spec v this problem seems to occur more often than usual. Because sometimes the air duct fails to supply sufficient air pressure. 

If it’s lacking air you should do something quickly to save your fish.

You can use these recommended air tubes if your existing air tube is damaged.

However, in this case, you should scan the air duct connections to the air pump first. If they’re all attached without any crack, see if the air pump is functioning.

You can test this by grabbing the air tube off the pump and settling the air duct on

the pump directing to your face. If the pump is functioning, you can sense a surge of air against your face. If you cannot, this suggests the air pump isn’t functioning.

Water Has Gone Cloudy

The most possible reason is that the air tubes of the filter are detached or clogged with fluorite or eco complete or other different gravels that you use. Or the filter sponge isn’t functioning well because, unfortunately, the Fluval Spec V air pump breaks down very quickly. 

Once the tubes are cleaned or reattached or the pump’s been fixed or supplanted – the filter will operate then and the tank will be cleared.

However, if the pump is functioning and the tank is still milky, then either it’s the filter that is responsible or the water is infected.

Here are some filter suggestions for your aquarium. Have a look-

Hope these suggestions will help you a bit to fix your issue.

Pump is Making Noise

Most of the time if your filter hasn’t been cleaned up the plastic hoses of the pump can be clogged and break down. This might result in some excessive noise.

However, the rubber diaphragm in spec V (the component that shakes inside the air pump and delivers the air) becomes too delicate or too weak with time. Then it quits functioning correctly or cracks. 

This will cause limited or no air to be carried into the tank for the fish. It forces the pump to struggle harder, resulting in additional disturbance.

Here are some rubber diaphragm recommendations you can try to fix the problem-

Get any of these diaphragms, replace your current and see if it fixes the problem.

The Fish are Gasping for Breath and Seem Disturbed 

If fish are lifting their crowns out of the water gasping for air, the problem can be

severe and requires it to be fixed instantly.

It’s extremely crucial to confirm that the air pump is constantly functioning appropriately. If the pump is operating, specify which fish and how many are in trouble. 

Occasionally the fish might get disturbed if the tank is congested which is very likely in spec v because often its pump can’t generate the required water flow.

Now let’s discover what technical upgrades are there for your pump to solve the above-mentioned issues.

What Should You Look for While Seeking an Upgrade?

You should give some time in researching your tank’s water flow needs, efficiency. That’s how you can avoid upgrading or choosing a new upgraded pump that disappoints

Simple Installation 

The basic additional equipment might raise the pump weight by as much as 20% while upgrading. So the impact on installation and handling should be a concern. If your upgraded pump isn’t fitting it’s not going to be useful.

Pump Lift

So, what’s the pump lift?

The lift of the pump suggests the altitude at which the pump can push water. However, this doesn’t imply the height of the lift. The pump lift is approximately 1.15-1.2 times the height of the lifting water.

For instance, if the height of your aquarium is 1m, you should upgrade to a water pump that has a 1.15-1.2m pump lift.

Temperature Control

A good temperature range of an aquarium is 76-80°F. So your pump upgrade should be compatible with the heater. By compatible we mean, the appropriate area for positioning a heater is around the absolute water flow. 

For instance, in the stream of an air pump. So the heater and the air pump are basically located in the same section. Having water streaming quickly past the heater is what rapidly and evenly circulates heated water all over the tank.

So if the air pump and heater don’t fit together, it’ll get difficult to control the temperature and the water flow rate at the same time.

Flow Rate 

A good rule of thumb to remember is that a pump needs to have a flow rate of 5 GPH (gallons per hour) for each gallon of water in the aquarium. For instance, if you own a 29-gallon aquarium you need to upgrade to a pump with a flow rate of a minimum of 145 GPH to successfully turn over the tank.

Now let’s know if you can upgrade the pump by doing some mods. 

Can You Upgrade the Pump By Doing Mods to It?

If your pump, in any case, doesn’t fit in the back chamber and isn’t giving a satisfactory performance for wrong positioning you can try some mods. Let’s see what we can do about it!

After doing the mod you’ll see some differences in your motor. This is going to be helpful to fit your pump accurately and get the best performance out of it without any hassle.

Before ModAfter Mod
Bigger and not fittingSmaller and fitting
Taller stock hose, hence not submerged Smaller stock hose and fully submerged 
Weak water flow rate and temperature control Standard water flow rate and temperature control 
Makes humming noiseNo noise with new nozzles 

The nice thing about this mod is with the old pump the water overflowed about 1/8″ over the overflow into the back chambers.

Now with the new pump, it’s slightly over 1/4″ and actually skims and absorbs the nasty stuff. Also a great amount of in-tank circulation and flows very nicely reaching even the sand towards the bottom.

Now let’s get into the whole process!



  • Remove the back cover, it simply pops off with a flathead.
  • Remove the adjustable knob in the front using a small flathead.
  • Now in this part, things get fun. When you pull the knob off you’ll notice a little piece of plastic that prevents the pump from sliding down into the return pump chamber.
  • Just break it off! As you can see I simply grabbed it with wire cutters and rotated it in the direction of the plastic for a clean break-off.

As you can see now that little bracket is out of the way and you won’t be able to place the knob for adjustment anymore.

  • Test fitting, and it should be almost fit.

If the pump has a little nipple on the back it won’t sit with the back of the pump once the cover is removed.

  • Cut this flush with a knife, it doesn’t hurt the pump.
  • Now throw on the small suction cups.
  • The stock hose fits perfectly over the new pump. The only thing is since it’s taller you have to cut it. You can cut it by about 1″ or probably more if it slightly bends after installation. Other than that after this just drop the pump in and call it a day.

Pump Mod vs A New Pump: Which One to Go for?

To be honest it actually depends on your pump performance. If you need to elevate some features or fix some minor issues then the pump mod should be enough. Nonetheless, all economic aspects must be evaluated when doing a mod.

However, occasionally the whole pump installation can be supplanted with a new one. This procedure could be in a reactive method, due to an inaccurate installation, shift in-service requirements beyond the capacities of the current unit. Or a pump that has become old, or the effect of alterations in air or water control.

It can also be performed proactively when the monetary benefits of supplanting a full pumping unit surpass the expenses of a new pump.

So let’s see if the mods don’t work, which new pump can be perfect and reasonable for your tank.

Which New Pumps Can Be a Good Replacement for Fluval Spec V?

Just like you need to choose between different fertilizers to boost your aquatic plants’ health, your fish tank pump also needs an upgrade to improve its performance.

However, you need to upgrade your pump according to your tank’s pump compartment’s dimension so that it fits in. The spec v pump section is 2-1/16″ (52 mm) in length; 2″ (51 mm) in width.

Upgrade Concern 1: Provides Surface Agitation and Gas Exchange 

The reason why surface agitation is crucial for the health of your aquarium is that it’s at the surface where gas exchange takes place. 

Without surface agitation, Oxygen that sits on the surface of the water can’t make its way into the water, and any excess carbon dioxide in the water can’t make its way out.  

The new pump should provide a constant flow of bubbles which will push the carbon dioxide to the surface, creating agitation that allows gas exchange to take place.  

Upgrade: CWKJ 80 GPH 4W Submersible Water Pump

What improved from Fluval Spec V

  • Light Weight
  • Strong Air Tube
  • Easy to Clean

CWKJ 80 GPH 4W Submersible Water Pump beats Fluval Spec V in these areas-

Light Weight
Strong Air Tube
Easy to Clean

The pump is developed with a balancing knob, helping you to get just the amount of water pressure you want. It has 3 optional nozzles to build different impressions, each with its own distinctive layout.

There are two different lengths of nozzles provided. If you try the smaller one, the ultimate flow rate would be less than 80 GPH. 

However, the high-quality motor delivers a calm setting for you. Its impeller shaft is stainless steel which is for durability and corrosion resistance.

Upgrade Concern 2: Increased Oxygen

One of the biggest benefits of increased surface agitation is the increased oxygen that it provides. With that being said, it’s not only surface agitation that adds oxygen to your aquarium water. 

The use of the new pump with an air stone should create thousands of little oxygen bubbles that will drive huge amounts of oxygen directly into your tank water. 

Oxygen is essential and beneficial for all living things in your aquarium. Including the fish, plants, and even the beneficial bacteria that are crucial for the overall health of your entire ecosystem.

Upgrade: Simple Deluxe 80 GPH Submersible Water Pump

What improved from Fluval Spec V

  • Great pump lift around 1.2 m
  • Flow rate is adjustable to 50 GPH
  • Easy to Clean

This pump is manufactured to use in low water levels. Its water inlet is near the underside of the tank and can push water from as deep as 1cm. The 360⁰ omnidirectional filtering, figuring out the difficulty of clearing your fish tank.

Moreover, it comes with a 5ft durable cable which is a plus point for installation. Also, the suction cups are pretty strong. 

But a slight drawback is the sealing of this pump. The epoxy doesn’t cover up fully but it shouldn’t be a problem until it’s submerged under deep water.

Upgrade Concern 3: Enables Sponge Filter Usage

Another reason which should make the upgrade useful is, it’ll allow you to use sponge filters. 

Sponge filters will only work with an air pump because they don’t have a motor of their own. So they rely on the upward thrust of an air pump to drive the water from the tank through the sponge filters. 

Upgrade: Tetra Whisper 2.5W Air Pump

What improved from Fluval Spec V

  • Provide better oxygen and water movement
  • Quiet
  • Runs sponge filter very well

When it comes to running a sponge filter only this pump can be the best deal. Getting this pump provides you with several options.

  • You will be able to try two-way valves if you like to divide the ducts and have numerous air stones.
  • You will be able to use bigger stones, sponge filters or pneumatic decor.

Upgrade Concern 4: Ideal For Quarantine Tanks 

Speaking of quarantine tanks, the instant addition of beneficial bacteria from filter media is not the only benefit of using the upgrade. 

When treating an illness in a fish, one of the most prescribed remedies is to raise the temperature considerably. So that the fish can fight whatever infection is ailing it.

The problem is, higher water temperatures mean lower oxygen levels. When treating a poor fish, you need to make sure there is enough oxygen for them to fully heal. 

Adding the new upgrade to your tank should allow you to increase the water temperature to fight the infection. While at the same time keeping the water nice and oxygenated and suitable for quarantine.

Upgrade: PULACO 50 GPH 3W Mini Submersible Water Pump

What improved from Fluval Spec V

  • Ultra-quiet design
  • Better suction power
  • Maximum flow rate without a pump water pipe

This mini pump seems to offer a sufficient and decent adjustable water flow rate. It helps to push the warm water from the heater throughout the tank and helps to keep the temperature under control. 

But the only problem is the suction cups. They don’t seem to stick properly. Other than that if you’re having a problem managing your tank’s temperature or want to fix the noise problem this pump can be a worthy upgrade.

Is the Upgrade Fitting for the Aquarium Volume?

The ‘V’ in the Fluval Spec V implies the tank volume which is nearly 5 gallons. The tank is well fitted as a freshwater aquarium. 

So, we’ve recommended all the upgrades and mods that are fitting according to the tank volume, its dimensions, and freshwater. 

Are There Any Other Technological Upgrades?

If your fish are suffering because of some issues in the tank, which is caused by the air pump you can try some technological upgrades to increase its airflow.

Quieter Filtration Pumps

Filtration pumps have constantly created one of those continuous buzzes you get from your aquarium unless your device is directed to other areas. However, with the recent low voltage aquarium pumps, you’ll get a calm performance, no matter where your pump is placed. It’s stable for both salt and fresh water and is extra energy-efficient than former pumps.

Here are some recommendations for you-

By upgrading to any of these pumps you can solve the noise issue in your fluval spec v.

Smartphone Monitoring

In this modern era, there’s an app for almost everything, right? So why not get an app for your aquarium? There are many monitors in the market and more being developed or in the experiments, to control your aquarium tools. 

It will warn you in real-time through your smartphone if any difficulties show up in your tank. Moreover, you can modify different elements, like, lights, pumps, filtration, and even automatic feeders effortlessly from your mobile.

We anticipate discovering several more bluetooth and wi-fi facilitated technology for aquarium pumps soon.


Does an air pump go inside the aquarium?

The air pump doesn’t go inside of the aquarium, just the silicone pipe. The pump itself will sit either underneath your aquarium if you have a cabinet, or it will stand at the side or behind the tank. Whatever suits your style.

Can I turn my upgraded pump off at night? 

Unlike the filter, the air pump is not an essential piece of equipment, so it wouldn’t pose any threat to your aquarium health if you turn it off at night. However, if you keep plants in your aquarium, it’s definitely recommended to keep the pump on at night. 

Bottom Line

This was all we had to offer on the Fluval spec v pump upgrade.

However, after upgrading your pump make sure it’s not creating any disturbance for the fish. If it starts to make excessive noise check out if you properly installed it or not.

Have a very good day!

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