Jordan's Space

Technology, music, fishkeeping, me.


Jebao Pump Guide

Jebao has been making wavepumps in the fish industry for many years now, and for better or worse, they’ve always had a mixed reputation. Some, have chosen to label them as “copiers” or “ripoffs”, where as others, see them as perhaps the OEM to the masses. I think the truth may lie somewhere in the middle – in that perhaps they are sourcing parts from the same OEMs that produce the parts for many others on the market. What is and can be said for certain: Look at the impellers of all the popular DC pumps on the market, from ecotech, reefoctopus, neptune, waveline, bldc, diablo, etc, and there’s an odd pattern that emerges, they’re all nearly identical designs. That said – it is clear many people are selling these same designs at extraordinary markups, and we here have been using the jebao versions with as-good or better success than many using the name brand pumps, often at a fraction of the cost.

This article will hopefully help not only help document the revisions of these pumps, but also show the developments jebao has made over the years – and leave it up to you the audience to decide if you think they are the ones innovating with these designs, or the ones copying.

There’s been a variety of jebao pumps and pump lines on the market, and it’s difficult at times to differentiate between them, none the less know which is the latest pump. With this, I hope to provide a basic overview of the various models that I’m aware of at present, and suggestions based on their features and functions.

Jebao Return Pumps
In the return pump world, they started with the original DC line of pumps, then later came the DCT, DCS, and DCP/DCW. Now, as of 2018, there’s also a DCQ model, which seems to sit somewhere between DCT/DCS and DCP, it seems to have a wave-maker type controller, meant for use in closed loops. That said, for a return pump, most of us would want a DCP series pump. This is the latest technology from jebao, using sine-wave control to reduce noise from driving the pump. There’s also the DCW series which just seems to be smaller sized pumps of similar nature to DCP. Coralbox now makes the DCA series which looks similar to DCT/DCS but has 0-10v apex support built-in. More recently, a “wifi” version of the DCP has come out, called MDC.

Some older pump designs used PWM or modified-sine type wave-forms, essentially this was “dirty power” and caused the motors to hum or whine. The first generation, DC line, didn’t use external control at all, but rather took a 0-5v control signal as well as 24v for power, and had an internal controller to drive the pump from said 0-5v. That said, you often saw apex adapters sold to work with jebao return pumps, but they really only worked with that first generation DC series, not the DCT/DCS or DCP. However – now, there exists the aqualink A1, which allows you to have 0-10v control over most of the newer jebao return pumps, as well as some of the newer wave pumps. This also has it’s limitations, as it seems the aqualink a1 only supports certain pumps at the manufacturer’s discretion, so you need to basically check the PDF manual and see what pumps it actually supports, if you need external 0-10v control. If you truly need a return pump with 0-10v support, starting with the Coralbox DCA series is likely a cheaper option than buying a DCP+Aqualink A1.

Wave Pumps
On the powerhead side of things, jebao has 3 distinct lines, plus a 4th line under their
coralbox pseudonym.

Jebao Narrow Output Pumps
The narrow output pumps were one of the first to show up, many considered them a copy of the tunze design, but that’s probably giving them a little too much credit. These pumps put out a narrow stream and I think for most uses are slightly less desirable. I’d suggest these more for speciality flow situations. The TW is the latest model, but the WP was much more common, as it was one of the first Jebao wavepumps on the market.

Jebao Wide Output pumps
Coralbox RN-1, Jebao SLW-10, 20, 30

These pumps are the newest “wide output” pumps from jebao, they look sort of similar to a nero, but come in a variety of sizes.

The wide outputs wave pumps are probably the most popular jebao product by far, and have come in a few iterations. They changed the magnet holder design earlier on in the RW/PP series, and shrunk the entire line by one size between PP and SW, that said, SW are smaller, but flow about the same as a given PP. The SW2 and SW4 are the same size, and the SW2 is basically a neutered SW4 – it runs off 12v instead of 24v, and has known issues with external 0-10v control, that said, I’d skip the SW2 and go straight for the SW4 if you need one of these.

The OW, and now SOW, are the latest series from the wide output pumps, however, like the return pumps, jebao decided to switch from the 0-5v control, to the full sine-wave style control. That said, from OW onwards, apex support must come through the aqualink a1 as opposed to simple wiring harness adapters with a resistor to convert 0-10 to 0-5v (aka the “torx” adapter). At present, the aqualink a1 doesn’t support the OW/SOW series, meaning if you want apex/ghl/RK integration, you should skip OW/SOW, and stick with the SW series, starting at SW4. There’s also a new DW series which is almost like it’s an SW that mounts flush – they claim it runs noisier than OW/SOW, so I suspect that means it’s based on the older tech, but I have yet to try one to confirm.

Jebao CrossFlow Pumps
Jebao crossflow is essentially the gyre – apparently it’s even made in the same factory, possibly even with the same molds. I can’t speak exactly to all that, but these also use the sinewave style control, so must use the aqualink a1 if you want external control. They can be operated in reverse, as well.

Coralbox Wide Output Pumps
QP (quietpump)
The coralbox quiet pump series is the “high end” jebao wave pump line. The included controllers have nice screens and overall nicer build than the jebaos. They also use sine-wave control, and thus need the aqualink a1 if you want apex integration. At present, only the larger 2 models are supposed by the aqualink a1, though that would be an expensive solution, it would be, at present, the top-end externally controllable solution you could do from jebao. Though if you buy these, I imagine you almost want to use the included controller. Stick with Jebao SW if you need 0-10v, you’ll save a ton of money

Coralbox Skimmers
It’s also worth mentioning that jebao essentially has a whole line of skimmers under the Coralbox name, using the jebao pumps with needle wheel impellers installed. The latest series, the D300/500/700 Plus – are pretty impressive, and even include a float switch on the cup at a pretty insane price-point. There’s also a larger “cloud” series. I’ve yet to personally try one, but it’s on my short list.


07/14/18: Original Publication

12/24/18: Updated to reflect new SOW line.