On August 31, 2014 I met with the awesome crew of Coralvue at MACNA in Denver. Although I worked the show, they were the one booth I had to visit in order to catch a glimpse of the highly anticipated Maxspect Gyre XF-150 in action. Overall I’m not generally excited for most product releases these days. Many are subtle improvements on existing products that technophiles go bonkers over. But this thing turned my idea of flow upside down well before I had seen it in person. For years many of us had attempted to create gyre flow throughout our aquariums to keep detritus in suspension and replicate a natural environment for our animals. Sometimes it was successful, other times not even close. Regardless right off the bat I could tell this thing was a drop-in solution for any aquarist wanting to achieve amazing flow.
I was presented with one of the prototype units at MACNA to take back to the office and run it through its paces. After packing up our booth I carefully slid the unmarked box within the Visqueen, whispering softly, “I’ll see you soon, my love.” The first real test I ran was within the raceways of Cherry Corals. The three of us watched in awe as coral eight feet away from a single unit swayed back and forth where prior to that they were utilizing several other pumps to push that far. Detritus was coming out of every crevice we never thought existed. It quickly became apparent to Todd that they needed to get a few of these things on order. They now have around a dozen running throughout the aquaculture facility.
On my office aquarium I had been running a vortech MP40w ES for around four years. I have always been, and still am continually amazed by these pumps. In fact I’m still running the good ‘ole MP40w as I have it hooked to a battery backup for those untimely power outages. With that said Maxspect has been touting the release of their own battery backup in the near future. My next test was to run the Gyre located on the same pane that the MP40 had been running on. Holy. Crap. Again detritus shot out from every corner and rock within this aquarium. Now we can’t knee-jerk and say, “This pump is so much better!” simply due to detritus now flowing. Without a doubt placing even a MaxiJet on the same side would result in unknown detritus coming to light. Anytime you alter the flow in an aquarium that had a certain flow for an extended period of time you will see detritus. What amazed me was the pattern the detritus then took. Everything remained suspended and slowly made its way to the overflow then down to the sump to be filtered out. I should note that my MP40 was running at full blast while I had to turn the XF-150 down to roughly 60% so my coral stayed attached.
The real test for any of us tenured aquarists is longevity. Saltwater is a brutal environment for any piece of equipment, namely those that have to run 24/7 keeping our animals thriving. There was a hidden Facebook group for the beta testers where we could provide feedback and discuss issues/concerns that arose regarding the pump. The most commonly noted concern was noise, which has been greatly subdued with the production model release. Past that there were a couple of minor issues found, but that’s to be expected with any new release and the whole reason [superior] manufacturers launch prototypes. The beta test units came with the most basic of controllers, but it did the trick. Later on I was pleased to see how easy to work with the production controllers proved to be. Since I permanently installed the prototype XF-150 in my coral QT system back in September I have not had to touch the unit once. I turn it off from time to time to view coral, however with the exception of showering me with saltwater when first powered up I’ve had zero complaints after turning the flow speed down.
Since the production release I’ve installed ten units in various clients tanks, and as previously mentioned there’s no less than ten installed at Cherry Corals. At this point I’ve encountered one minor hiccup that was quickly rectified and put immediately back into use. I have been following some of the reviews on various dealers’ websites, and overall these pumps have been greatly received. The most common major complaint I’ve found is people having little snails crawl into the pumps and damage the blades. Well I have Stomatella snails throughout all of my personal and clients system, along with several other species of considerably larger snails, and have never had an issue with them. Frankly I’m curious how a snail can crawl into the whirlwind flow these things create to cause any damage. Regardless, you’ll find someone complaining about every pump on the market for one reason or another, so take it with a grain of salt. Or bag of salt. Yep, they’re full of salt in my opinion.
In conclusion I’ve been incredibly impressed while running the prototype unit for over six months now. I’m excited to test all the sizes out, along with other accessories that are sure to be headed our way shortly. Hats off to the Maxspect and Coralvue crew for bringing such an amazing product to market. Should you be looking to add more flow, or itching to setup a new system, I highly recommend considering the Maxspect Gyre line of pumps.
While I took some videos of the unit in action, this one by Ben Wagoner clearly demonstrates the flow patterns on the Gyre versus other pumps.