Do You Need A Booster Pump For Aquarium RO Filters?

Using an RODI filter to produce pure water for your saltwater reef tank is crucial for maintaining the health of your fish and corals.

If you currently own an aquarium RODI filter system or looking to purchase one, consider adding a booster pump.

A booster pump is an affordable and effective add-on to any reverse osmosis filter that will pay for itself easily. 

It’s one of those purchases that you will be glad you made for your tank.  


What is a booster pump?

A booster pump is simply a pump that will increase or boost the water pressure that goes directly into your RO or RODI filter system. 

Do you need a booster pump?

You don’t need a booster pump if the water pressure going into the filter is sufficient. But in most cases, the water pressure will be low preventing the filter’s ability to make pure water effectively. In this case, you should add a booster pump.  

By increasing the water pressure that goes into the filter, this will make the filter system operate more effectively and efficiently. It will also decrease the consumption of the DI resin allowing it to last longer and produce more water.

If you live in an area where the water pressure is low, a booster pump will be required as your filter system will not be effective.

It is common for municipal water pressure to be between 50-60 PSI.

RODI filter systems are most effective when the water pressure is around 80 PSI. 

Using a booster pump will increase the water pressure from your tap to around 80 PSI allowing your RODI filter to operate at its best.

Not only is a booster pump effective for people with low water pressure, but if you just want to increase the productivity of your RODI filter, a booster pump will help even if you don’t have low water pressure concerns.

A booster pump will also reduce the amount of wastewater produced. Most RO filters will have a product to wastewater ratio of 1:4. With a booster pump, it’s possible to achieve a ratio of 1:1. 

Read: Do you need to use RODI water in a saltwater tank?

Where to install a booster pump

A booster pump should be installed inline prior to the membrane.


This will increase the water pressure that goes into the membrane to an ideal level.

This allows the membrane to produce high-quality water at an effective rate. 

Booster pumps can be activated manually or by adding a switch that will automate the system.

If you are using a float valve to turn off the RO system, you should add a pressure switch that will turn the booster pump on and off as necessary when producing water.


Best booster pumps for aquarium RODI filters

There are 2 booster pumps that I recommend using for most RODI filter systems. 


Aqua FX

Aqua FX booster pump at Marine Depot


One of the most commonly used booster pumps is the Aqua FX. It is easy to install and includes everything you need. They can be used on systems up to 100 GPD and are effective in increasing the water pressure going into the membrane of your RODI filter. It is recommended that the water pressure stay at or below 80 PSI.


  • High-pressure switch to automate the pump
  • Anti-vibration mounting tab
  • Heavy-duty bracket
  • Quick connect fittings

The Aqua FX booster pumps are available at Marine Depot here. 


Aquatic Life Smart Buddie

Smart Buddie booster pump at Marine Depot


If you are using the RO Buddie filter system, you can add the Smart Buddie booster pump on either the 50 GPD or 100 GPD units.

These booster pumps are very effective in increasing the water pressure going into the filter’s membrane which allows for pure 0 TDS water. 

Aquatic Life has designed these pumps to be easy to use and install. They are very quiet and have some great included features.


  • Press fittings for easy installation
  • Pressure switch which automatically turns off pump above 33.35 PSI
  • Will increase water pressure up to 90 PSI
  • Includes an internal automatic flush valve to flush the membrane

The Aquatic Life Smart Buddie booster pump is available at Marine Depot here.


If you are looking to improve the quality and efficiency of water being produced from your RODI filter system, then you should consider using a booster pump. If you have low water pressure in your home or if you are looking to improve your current system, a booster pump is an affordable way to produce high-quality pure water for your reef tank.

They can actually save you money by reducing the time in between the filter and resin changes.

Any time you can save money in this hobby is a bonus in my books.