We’ve had a good long week to play and experiment with a sample HydroWizard HW42 from the first production run and we’ve got a pretty good feel for how the mechanics of this high performance propeller pump behaves.
To recap, now that we’ve got some actual experience with the thing, the HW42 has six built in flow speeds that take it all the way up to 5500gph at 31 watts. We’re not talking “Tunze gallons” here either; the HW42’s produces the kind of force you’d expect from over five thousand gallons an hour. In our six foot long, 150 gallon fish tank, we’ve been pitting the HW42 against our favorite non-controllable prop pump, the Sicce Voyager HP4000.
With the Sicce Voyager rated at 4000gph, the HW42 is a fair comparison of force and flow, with the small HydroWizard feeling somewhat stronger than the HP4000. Both pumps are in the same league as far as flow rate is concerned and they are both bordering on silent. Whereas the Voyager HP4000 is about twice the size, and a third the cost of the HW42, it’s not controllable but these two devices definitely have their own niche.
That being said, it was hella fun to put both pumps on the same side of the tank and expose my fishes to over 10,000gph of fast moving water. The real difference, the one thing that is really unique about the HW42 is the nozzle which is designed to really straighten out the flow.
This nozzle produces a more efficient laminar current, but it also doesn’t entrain as much water flow along with it. Moving forward and for the sake of more “private” aquarium sized reef tanks, we’d like to see a nozzle that broadens out the flow, even if just a little bit.
Next up, we relocated the HW42 to the four foot long, 90 gallon reef tank which is currently being pushed by a single Vortech MP40. In this comparison we were mostly looking at the footprint of the pump inside the tank and as you’d expect, it’s impossible to compete with a pump that has its motor half on the outside of the tank.
The Vortech’s trademark broad flow stream couldn’t contrast more with the super laminar jetstream of the small HydroWizard. While both pumps are priced in the $450 neighborhood, the HW42 clearly pushes more water, but it’s not the kind of characteristic flow which is going to immediately supplant a Vortech.
On the contrary, one of the thing that makes the Vortech so popular is its brains in the Ecosmart controller, and connectivity with other Vortech pumps and models. At present we have not had access to the brains of the HydroWizard HW42 so we haven’t tapped into the daisy chaining or controller feature, but we can’t wait for those cables to become available.
What we can say about the newest HydroWizard is that we love the small size, quiet operation and sheer efficiency of the HW42. But it’ll take some smart programming to really make the smallest HydroWizard one of the must-have prop pumps of the reef aquarium hobby.