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I've posted this review for several reasons. The main reason is that a month ago, I badly needed a UV sterilizer, or rather thought I needed one, and could not find any solid reviews. There are several sterilizers out there, in any myriad array of brand, size, wattage, form factor and, and also, a huge range of prices. Choosing one that balanced price, quality and effectivness seemed to me like a stab in the dark, so I stabbed away and went for the model that had (as far as my searching took me) NO feedback whatsoever. It also happened to be the cheapest model I could find. In many ways I got exactly what I paid for, but I'll leave that for the review proper and let you decide what factors are most important to you.

Here's my gift back to the PT community for all the information I've extracted here over the years. I've tried to make this review as objective, unbiased and as thorough as possible.

Objectivity aside... I must admit the desperate conditions that led to my buying the unit. It is also difficult to separate my personal experiences with my tank setup with my overall opinions of this product...

A series of drastic environmental changes (including under-fertilization, drastic plant removal, substrate disruption, fish death, and the subsequent ammonia bloom) in my 45 gallon tank precipitated in a nasty case of green water. My RO unit produces roughly 18-20 gallons a day if left on all day, so at most I was able to perform daily 50% water changes. I started my battle with a huge 90% change, followed by daily 40-50% changes for a week. The water stayed crystal clear for a night but the green water would always be back within two days.

I needed a fast fix. I had remembered Greg Watson pointing to this product in another post, and for 25 dollars, the risk of it being crap was worth a shot.


The unit came fast, and my experience with Aquatraders was definately a positive one. However, once the package came, there was an overwhelming stink of a poorly-crafted, cheap-as-sh*t product, right down to the very packaging (I do NOT mean aquatraders packing job, but rather the factory packaging)

Here's a shot of the back:



I did like how the package illustrations included a parts list and some instructions. What I didn't realize though until I opened the box, is that what you see in these images is the SOLE DOCUMENTATION that came with the unit. No manual, no waranty, no UL-compliance, nothing. Bad news...

The contents of the box:



The white box on the right conains the bulb. What you cannot see is that the plug is not grounded, also, for such a large plug it is exceptionally light... my suspicion is mounting steep at this point.

Included is an over the rim mounting plate, a suction plate with cups for securing it to the back of the tank or in the stand, and two reducing nipples with bushings. By default the unit has 1" output despite the fact that aquatraders lists 3/4". My Filstar uses 5/8" inch tubing, but luckily the nipples reduce to 5/8". The nipples screw on to the in/ouptut hosung:





The whole unit feels very flimsy and cheap. The plastic seems brittle and thin, and the rotational output feels like it will be the first leak point. First I Installed the bulb and tested to make sure it fires up. The first firing had me peeing my pants, as it stuttered uncofidently for about 30 seconds before deciding to stay on. Since the initial test the bulb turns on almost instantly with no stutter.

I installed the unit at the end of my closed circuit. The intake drops approximately 40" to the top of my XP3. On the output side of the canister is a 23"x1.5" pvc reactor, then a drop to 1/2" Hydor in-line heater, then back to 5/8" to the intake of the UV sterilizer. I opted to use the suction mount to stick the unit to the back of my tank. This left about 2 more inches of head before the return hits the tank rim. The frightening rotational action of the sterilizer body was actually quite nice here because it gave me several placement options in an otherwise tight space.

After I got everything installed I did a 90% water change and cleaned out my XP3. Everything primed, turned on correctly, and viola, we have flow and crystal clear water.

The next morning I woke up and everything was still crystal clear. No sign of GW or GDA anywhere. BEAUTIFUL. I begin to boastfully browse the net for other units, amusing myself with my cunning and how much money I saved, occasionally glancing over at my beautiful aquatic garden not but two feet to my left. At this point the clear plastic nipple on the return side of the sterilizer sheared, yes... sheared, tore right down the middle, under the weight of the return side of the closed loop. This is the piece in the last two pictures.

Of course the tank started hurling it's wet, volumnuous body all over my rented hard wood floors, but what I'm concerned about at this point is the look on my girlfriend's face. Next to the tank are my roomates 1000$+ congas, on the floor sits an external hard drive and an overwhelmed power strip providing electricity to no less than three computers and their host of symbiotic gadgets.

I'm lucky in many ways... Greatest of which I'm not sleeping on the floor, but secondarily, the fitting decided to break when I was awake and available to respond. I couldn't imagine what would have happened if this had occurred in the middle of the night, or even worse, while out of town. I was also lucky enough to react quickly, and for whatever inane reason, have a five gallon bucket nearby. Only roughly a half gallon or so was spilled before I was able to redirect the tank's vommiting esophogous into the bucket and break the siphon at the XP3's quick release fitting (thank [insert deity of your choosing] for this feature).

Needless to say, I spent the next day or so driving around to all the hardware shops in town, scouring the plumbing sections for fittings to reduce from 1" down to 1/2" and back up to 5/8". My flow suffers terribly now, but the UV sterilizer still works and the green water has been gone for over a month now. My water has never looked so consistently clear.

With this experience behind me, I would not buy another Odyssea. This is only because 1" input and ouput is terribly large, and I use no fewer than five fittings just to match the various sizes on all my equipment. I would rather pay 50$ more to have everything matched and not have to worry about equipment failure. If you already have 1" plumbing, then go ahead. The sterilizer works great aside from the terribly insufficient nylon reducing nipples. IF YOU ARE USING THESE FITTINGS, PROCEDE WITH CAUTION.
 

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I got one in 2010

Hi, I bought one of these in fall of 2010. It's a slightly updated version apparently. There's no silver region in the middle of the tube and the washers are red.

The tube does have 1 inch output, but these adapters look a little different than mine. My adapters seem pretty heavy duty and reduce to 3/4 inches, not 5/8. I had to get some more parts at home depot to reduce it to 1/4, which is what the small pump that I use (mini jet 404 turned all the way down) has as output. 3/4 inch pipes are just way too big and how much water flow do you really need anyway? The diagram shows this in line with a filter, but I would think a typical filter would have more water flow than is optimal for this. Just a small flow of water is more than sufficient to sterilize the water into perfect clarity. It's a fairly bulky item (after applying all the necessary adapters) but I just keep it below my tank and run a flexible tube to it and back into the tank. So in my opinion, it's perfect.

I originally had this connected to a 350 gph powerhead that I tried to stop down, but without a ton of success. It cleared up my water perfectly in five days (I think all the algae died the first day and then took five days to decompose). Based on this, I think this sterilizer would work for quite a large aquarium. I would guess it would be more than sufficient for just about any aquarium you could keep in a house. I keep mine on a timer with the lights, but I'm guessing an hour a day would be more than sufficient to keep things clear.

Anyway, I wish the input and output were a little smaller so I wouldn't have had to make a trip to the hardware store (stores don't have exactly what you want so you have to get a bunch of different parts and connect them).

More expensive sterilizers have a little window that lets you see if the light is still working. That would have been nice, but it's not exactly a necessity.

Overall my impression of this item is somewhat different from the previous poster. It seems pretty heavy duty to me in every respect. And I am very pleased with it and it works perfectly. I got it super cheap on ebay and it's one of the best purchases I have made for my aquarium. Strike that...it's the best purchase I have made.

Highly recommended to anyone. It is super cheap and effective and I see no reason to spend more on a sterilizer.
 
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