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Question can an aquarium water pump be used as a water cooling system?


Jun 2, 2009
That's where water cooling started. Small pumps meant for aquariums, cars, or fountains were used to pump water through off the shelf (usually hardware and autoparts stores) parts to custom carved/machined blocks of copper or aluminum and vented through radiators made for AC units or cars. Whatever you could hodgepodge together is what you used.

You wouldn't do that today. It's too easy to get appropriate parts made for PC water cooling. Unless you are a youtuber looking for content. That hodgepodge era didn't last long custom parts made for PCs sprang up as a boutique business pretty quickly.
I see no reason why not for some kind of home brew thing.

A couple of things I would point out in relation to aquarium pumps. As you may be aware there are pumps made for being submersible as well as for being out of water. The ones designed for being out of water are typically going to be more expensive as well as typically higher quality than the submersibles.
You will need to do some calculations on required head pressure and flow rate. Aquarium pumps will be rated for head pressure at so many vertical feet inside X size tubing. Pushing through a cooling block, tubing, and radiator will likely require a somewhat strong pump....at the same time you surely won't need something that pushes hundreds of gallons an hour either, lol.

I have had external pumps in constant use for decades on one of my tanks. I would assume that if you could keep the rad free of obstruction it would likely turn into something quite reliable if you figure all the maths. ;)