Nice little media reactor - within limits By raysun on 10/14/2013
raysun would recommend this product to a friend
All of us reefers trying to emulate the ocean in a teacup of a nano tank are constantly striving to keep things stable. Small form factor media reactors are a lifesaver, but can also be a bit of a boat anchor. The CPR Nano Tumbler is a case in point.
I bought 2 Nano Tumblers for a 16 gallon SPS tank.
This is a typical, quality-assembled CPR product. Its simple design is well thought out and is intended to be used immersed in a filter chamber of an all-in-one nano system (or for the lucky, a nano sump.) Water flows in from the bottom, is diffused into the media chamber, and exits via the grate/screen orifice at the top, then re-enters the aquarium by flowing down the outer surface of the reactor.
Right out of the box, it's apparent the Nano Tumbler was designed for large pellet media - like nitrate reducing bio-pellets. The diffusion plate and bottom chamfer of the media chamber tumble them nicely. The little Rio pump with control valve dials in flow rate easily. The pump is quiet under load.
When using other media the unit's performance varies. (To be fair, most all media reactors start suffering as the media becomes finer grained.)
Large pellet carbon is no problem.
Small pellet carbon and GFO require additional sponges and screening that are not included. CPR sells a small media kit for a few bucks, but when I ordered them from CPR for the Nano Tumbler, I received kits for the larger Mini Tumbler. These don't fit the Nano without re-cutting and fitting. The medium porosity sponge and top screen kit work fine for media like BRS carbon and standard GFO (and others too, no doubt, but that is what I tested.)
The Nano Tumbler fitted with CPR fine media kit was an abject failure in my ultimate media reactor torture test - fluidizing Seachem Purigen. Purigen is a great product, but the super-small, slippery balls are a pain to contain. When loaded into the Nano Tumbler with fine media kit installed, Purigen blew right through the sponge and ended up jammed against the top fine media screen. An extremely low flow rate will allow this stuff to stay suspended in the media chamber, but once the unit is turned off and it settles onto the bottom sponge and works it's way through to the pump volute. Eventually, Purigen found it's way into the display tank. A much finer pore sponge would certainly help here. Also a fine media kit purpose-cut for the Nano would be a blessing.
One other struggle I had was specific to my setup, but others may be impacted as well. I was hoping this unit would fit into my Innovative Marine Nuovo 16 filter chamber. Mounted on the Rio, the unit is about 1 1/2" too tall. I mounted it on a Tunze Universal pump Mini (5024.04) and the height was perfect. I know I could have gone with the IM marketed media reactor, but just didn't want to spend twice as much. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet here.
All in all, this is a nice, simple media reactor that is easy to set up and load media - as long as it's not too fine. It's quiet and fairly easily to maintain. The media fluidizes nicely and circulates through the reaction chamber in a nice co-current / counter-current motion.
I'm keeping one for a GFO reactor, but this tank doesn't need a nitrate bio-pellet reactor, so the 2nd one is going back.