For smaller aquariums under 55 gallons a Magnum 350, Eheim, Fluval, or similar pump works well. These canister filters act as both your mechanical pre-filter and water pump in one unit. For tanks that are in the range of about 75 gallons, you can choose to use 2 - Magnum 350's (for example), each one with one carbon tube attached.
If your tank is over 75 gallons you will want to go to a larger capacity water pump with a separate canister filter to use as a mechanical pre-filter to help remove debris that can clog the TBPC making it less efficient. The Mag Drive, Little Giant, Iwaki and Rainbow make pumps in the range of 1000 - 1800 gph. There are a number of mechanical filters, like Ocean Clear, on the market which can be used as a pre-filter.
The following is our interpretation of Dave's "Theory of Carbon Tube Filtration", with a couple of extra features with associated benefits Dave never got around to putting on paper.