The wave pump market is a funny one. Everyone wants the newest, the most powerful and the most radical-looking wave pump they can get. And if I were to ask an on-trend reefer to name their top three wave-making pumps I bet the XStream SDC by Sicce wouldn’t be mentioned. But I’ve been running one of these for a couple of months now, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The XStream SDC is a DC controllable wavemaker with a maximum output of 2250gph for 12 watts of energy. Its a small, compact pump for its output however it does have a more conventional powerhead with a cage look to it versus the new breed of round puck or bar-shaped wavemakers from its competitors.
I admit that prior to actually running one this put me off it a little bit, but when you open the box the pump itself is small for its 2250gph and being jet black, once in my black-backed reef tank it virtually disappeared. Unlike some puck-style powerheads you can also angle adjust and pivot the XStream quite a bit, so much so that I can magnet mount it to the back of the tank but have it pointing diagonally down the full length of the tank, also lessening its profile.
It comes with a wired controller or can connect to a free download for your phone. Download the app and you not only get to control it wirelessly, but the device will also send you notifications of water temperature and alerts like if its blocked, been exposed to the air and run dry, or even if there is a loss of Wi-Fi signal.
The temperature monitor is a nice touch as you get instant, accurate monitoring as well as being told if the water gets too warm or cold. This type of monitoring will hopefully avoid fatalities during heater failures or heatwaves, does away with the need for a thermometer, while also letting if you know if the pump stops, again giving early warning of any potential problems that could come after that.
The pump is adjustable from 0-100% in tiny touch control increments and comes with the preset programs reefkeepers want like lagoonal ripple, sharp break, reef crest, slow current and fast current. As well as custom programs like sinusoidal, impulse, constant, tidal, and schedule. I’ve been playing around with many of the preset and custom programs for weeks now and the XStream seems to be capable of any flow pattern I desire, as well as being able to run in sync and anti sync with other SDC pumps.
As an example, I can flick it on to impulse mode to create my own wave. I can then adjust how long it is on and off for, for anything between 0.1 seconds and 29.9 seconds, but then I can also adjust its exact power output during that on time and also if I want the power to ramp up during the on-time. This has enabled me to create gyre and standing waves in a fully aquascaped tank, with just one little XStream SDC and against counter flow from the return pump. And it does all this virtually silently.
Put your hand in front of the pump however and the flow is very soft and wide. It may prove too soft for some but I’d rather that than a pump which jets water across the tank and blows sand and corals over. Due to the cage design its also less likely to get livestock stuck to it.
What you also get from Sicce is reliability. Sicce is a family-owned Italian pump manufacturer which have been making their own pumps for nearly 50 years. Register online and you’ll get up to a five-year warranty on this pump. That’s very rare for an AC pump let alone a DC one, so Sicce may be the pump of choice for those who have been let down with the reliability of another pump range or want to invest in a pump which will last.
Sicce are one of the great European aquarium pump manufacturers and hasn’t farmed production over to China. They do however also make pumps for other people and some of the biggest selling aquarium and equipment ranges in the world use Sicce pumps because of their reliability.
There are lots of options in the X Stream SDC’s price bracket but this pump isn’t short on features and the notifications and five-year warranty do work in its favor.