First announced just in time for InterZoo, the Tunze NanoStream 6040 is a controllable DC propeller pump with the entire pump assembly literally turned on its side. This neat little pump is basically identical to a smaller, more basic model called the NanoStream 6020 which is not controllable, cheaper and pushes about half as much flow compared to the NanoStream 6040’s rating of pushing up to 1,190 gallons per hour.
Tunze was the first company to produce a propeller pump for moving water in marine aquariums and they are redefining the category with the NanoStream 6040 pump. Nearly all propeller pumps released after the first Tunze Turbelle stream pumps followed its basic design of having a propeller mounted to a motor right behind it with the entire assembly having some degree of directionality.
With the NanoStream 6040 Tunze has packed more functionality than we’ve ever seen in a pump this size and they’ve really defined what it means to “think outside the box” with a unique asymmetrical design. Rather than having the pump motor mounted behind the propeller and jutting out into the aquarium, the guts of the NanoStream 6040 are located to the side of the rotor and it even has the first open stator design we’ve ever seen in an aquarium pump.
Getting all of the moving parts to hug closer to the aquarium led to a pump design with an outflow that is essentially parallel to the aquarium glass but Tunze solved this issue by creating a new kind of flow deflector. The shroud covering the outflow of the NanoStream 6040 is half of a hemisphere (a quartersphere?) and this deflector can be rotated 360 degrees to direct the outflow where it is desired in the aquarium.
The opportunities afforded by Tunze’s novel quarterspherical flow deflector was primarily intended to allow the NanoStream 6040 to be tucked behind aquarium rockwork, out of view, while simultaneously pushing water up and over or around the reef structure. The image of a curveball comes to mind when we picture the how the flow exits the NanoStream 6040.
The other thing that we really love about the use of this flow deflector in the new NanoStream pumps is that it creates water movement in a cross section which is beneficial to creating mass water movement through gyre-generating principles of which we are particularly fond. The super simple addition of this directional flow deflector affords the NanoStream an impressive degree of flexibility in terms of the kind of flow it produces and the myriad of ways this outflow can be directed.
What really brings home the features and functionality of the NanoStream 6040 is the updated controller design that Tunze is rolling out in all their new pumps. Various short and long terms modes are built in to the controller, with four dials to adjust the pulse timing and intensity to create either long periods of gyre flow or very short pulses to generate true wave motions.Some other things to like about the new controller is the considerable amount of cord that Tunze has allotted between the pump and controller, the ability to link the primary controller of multiple pumps to a single master controller sold separately, and the led-lit dials which change brightness and blink with the pulsing of the pump.
Speaking of the wave functions of the NanoStream 6040, it is actually quite impressive to see such a small and hidden water pump create a decent back and forth wave in tanks as long as three feet and these can be made even while the pump is obscured by aquarium rockwork. Compare this to the wavebox which is a commitment of aquarium space and visibility inside the aquarium.
After multiple generations of refinements we are not surprised that the NanoStream runs exceptionally quiet during normal operation. More impressive still is how effective the noise and vibration absorbing pads in the magnetic mount are at reducing audibility when the pump is in pulse mode, and the entire assembly jerks backwards from the force of the pump coming on with just a hint of being heard.
Not only are there shock absorbers built into the magnet mount of the NanoStream 6040, the magnet itself also features a blue rubber ring. This ring further absorbs vibration and it also forms a makeshift suction cup helping the entire assembly to better fasten onto aquarium walls without sliding.
Among this year’s abundant crop of nano sized propeller pumps the NanoStream 6040 is in the middle of the pack in terms of size, being a touch larger than Sicce and Hydor’s smallest offerings but decidedly smaller than those from Cobalt and Eheim. However the NanoStream is in a different category altogether since it is controllable and pushes considerably more flow, and the $140 retail price reflects that. So if you’re looking for something more basic you’ll want to check out the standard-issue NanoStream 6020 which bears the same asymmetrical pump design.
It’s easy to get excited about such a concentration of feature and versatility that Tunze has achieved with the Tunze NanoStream 6040 water pump. We’ve come to accept seeing large, unsightly water pumps inside the aquarium but since the NanoStream is designed to be hidden behind the reef scape, perhaps this pumps biggest legacy will be a paradigm shift in aquascaping where we come to expect good flow within the aquarium without seeing the devices that create it.
FTC regulations require that we inform you that we were given this product for review, but our opinion of a product is never affected by how we acquire them.