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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm sure some of you might have heard of this gadget that has been making the rounds for the past year or two. I purchased one on a whim a few weeks ago and set it up in my tank earlier this week. Here's what I think I know about it so far:

It seems to me that through electrolysis it creates H2, O2 and probably a small amount of O3 in the form of bubbles. The gasses in the bubbles then pull hydrogen or oxygen from single celled organisms and destroy them in the process. I have used Sharp Plasmacluster air purifiers for a few years and after doing research on them back in the day I was satisfied that the hydroxyl purification method was sound, the twinstar appears to be working on the same principle. I expect the effect to be about the same as dosing small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in your tank throughout the day. I suspect it probably has a negative effect on beneficial bacteria in the biofilm inside the tank but a good external biological filter should make up for that. One noteworthy effect of the plasmacluster technology in my air purifier is that it's extremely effective at neutralizing ammonia in the air, I suspect the twinstar might have a similar effect since it is working on the same principle. If you're interested, here is a general explanation of a similar hydroxyl purification method that is used in a non-Plasmacluster air purifier: http://www.air-purifier-power.com/photocatalytic-air-purifier.html and here is the specific air purifier that I own: http://www.air-purifier-power.com/sharpplasmaclusterkc850ureview.html

During my research of the Twinstar I also came across a device called the Hann Atocleaz which appears to use the same electrolysis method for water purification. I suspect that the Twinstar is the exact same technology, but the innovation that the Twinstar company added was to figure out the safe dose for using this purification method without harming higher life forms. To put some perspective on why I came to this conclusion, the Hann Atocleaz documentation basically says that it runs electrolysis for one minute per liter of water that is to be purified, compared with the Twinstar that in my observation runs for about 10 seconds four to six times per hour. Since the Twinstar website's marketing focuses so heavily on their smart controller this would support my hypothesis that the innovation in this product comes from using a controller to regulate the dosage.

Lots of eBay and Amazon goodies were all delivered on the same day, I was so excited!


My first impression of the Twinstar is that it feels cheaper than I had expected, the plastic on the electrolysis element that goes in the tank flexed quite a bit when I installed the suction cups and the smart controller was very light. I purchased the Twinstar Mini Shrimp model because out of the options available on eBay this was the cheapest. I think the difference between this and other models is probably superficial.

I can hear a very high pitched whine come from the Twinstar smart controller when it's on, my hypothesis is that they are inverting the polarity of the DC power supply at a very high frequency, the Plasmacluster generator in my air purifier actually makes a similar sound when it is running in high power mode. I have observed the same sound coming from an inverter for EL wire which runs at a very high AC frequency and also at a high voltage. I haven't disassembled the controller to find out if this is the case. Speaking of power, the actual power brick that came with the Twinstar was definitely generic, it outputs 15v DC which is also kind of a weird operating voltage. The plug that was included was a euro plug but the power supply supports 110-240v AC so I was able to just replace that part of the cord and it works just fine.

The electrolysis element of the Twinstar is marketed as lasting about 12 months (though they say that in their own testing they have gotten it to last longer). The Plasmacluster generators in Sharp air purifiers lasts about two years, but can be shorter in humid environments where it becomes more powerful. If they are indeed similar technology then the shorter lifespan of an electrolysis element that is completely submerged in water would make sense.

I have put my hand in the tank directly into the bubble output of the Twinstar and didn't notice any irritation. That doesn't definitely mean that the tank livestock isn't feeling an irritation but it at least instills some confidence in myself that I am not torturing my livestock in the name of experimentation. I think it's worth noting that I actually do feel irritation on my skin when placing my hand within two inches or so of the output of my air purifier when the Plasmacluster generator is turned on.

I don't have much of of a problem with algae in this tank, there has been some persistent GDA since the beginning but it has never gotten out of hand. I use a magnet cleaner on the glass once or twice a week and occasionally I will brush it off the hardscape, usually every two months or so. The main action of the Plasmacluster generator in the air purifier that I use in my home is to neutralize mold spores in the air, and from what I understand the lifecycle of many algaes is not too dissimilar from that of mold. I hypothesize that I should see effects from the Twinstar in about 3-4 weeks, which I understand to be the general lifespan of GDA. I don't expect the existing GDA "fur" to dissolve from the action of the Twinstar, but if it is indeed inhibiting the life of algae spores then I think it should break the lifecycle of the GDA and once the currently mature GDA dies off it should not grow back. That's assuming the Twinstar is actually effective, of course. I will be reporting here regularly with my findings.

Here is a picture of my installation:


Here is a full tank shot of the tank the Twinstar will be running on (you might notice that the left side was rescaped and replanted with DHG recently):


Here are some pictures of GDA on the dwarf hairgrass in this tank before installing the Twinstar:

 

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Nice review! I heard you have to replace the disc every 12 months or so. There isn't much info about the product on Twinstar's website. The price is a little steep especially if you have to replace the disc.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice review! I heard you have to replace the disc every 12 months or so. There isn't much info about the product on Twinstar's website. The price is a little steep especially if you have to replace the disc.

I agree that the price is steep. I paid $160 for mine and I think if they actually wanted these to catch on they would have to charge closer to $100 for it to be practical. I think the issue at this point is that the company is probably very small and is making up costs for their R&D still, added to that the fact that the electrolysis element is the most expensive part. I haven't seen a place to get a replacement disc in the US and I don't expect to considering I had to order the unit itself off eBay from an overseas seller. At this point I think it's too early for me to say whether it's actually effective and worth recommending, but in theory if it actually works then it should be a step up from a UV sterilizer since it can sterilize surfaces in addition to the water column itself.

Most of all I wish they made an inline version, I was happy to add it to my tank for this experiment but I will not keep it there forever because without it I have a clean looking tank with no equipment inside it except for glass pipes.


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An inline version would be nice but you will get tons of micro bubbles from the outlet. Remember this unit only prevents algea bloom, it doesn't kill it. I guess to put it into a real test, you would need to do everything wrong to promote algea growth. Like leaving your light on 24/7 and feed your fishes 3 meals per day, then hopefully the twinstar can prevent algea bloom.

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Thanks for the review Aaronbear.

I've been experimenting with a similar solution that differs mainly in the design of the electrodes. I'm using a linear rod design which produces a 'wall' of nano bubbles. The family affectionately refers to it as the 'Algae Wall of Death' :)

What I'm still tweaking is the run-time and the current I'm using to drive the electrodes. Would you be able to give me more detail around the run duration of the Twinstar unit? I want to increase the run-time sufficiently to combat algae without harming the fish and crustaceans. Its a real slow process determining it empirically :(

One thing I have noticed is that the device does cause the pH of the tank to increase. I believe this is because the process of water dissociation not only produces O & H, but also results in OH- which is alkaline (and reactive). I think it's the OH- which is what is actually damaging the algae (but I'm not 100% certain).

-T2
 

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An inline version would be nice but you will get tons of micro bubbles from the outlet. Remember this unit only prevents algea bloom, it doesn't kill it. I guess to put it into a real test, you would need to do everything wrong to promote algea growth. Like leaving your light on 24/7 and feed your fishes 3 meals per day, then hopefully the twinstar can prevent algea bloom.

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Good management prevents all algae blooms, no product on the market does that for aquarist. It also gets rid of all algae blooms.

It also only targets a few green algae, does nothing for BBA.
This suggest that the O2/O3 is under dosed for most tanks, adding a little, but error on safety of the fish.

O2 is highly toxic about 150-200% ranges.

Seems it would be much wiser to simply get a decent pre filter skimmer and wet/dry filter. No surface lines, no scum, massive much better filter etc.
ADA uses them on all their nice larger systems, including Amano's home tank.
O2 ppm was 1-2 ppm higher in each filter conversion I've done to date.

I would not say I see much different in algae per se, I do have higher O2 and happier fish, the ability of a tank to respond to trimming and uprooting, is better certainly.

If you accept what the claims state, then a wet/dry filter would be a much wiser/and cheaper investment.
 

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I would agree with Tom - algae blooms are not prevented...I just had a bloom occur with my 'Algae Wall of Death' running. My first bloom in over 18 years of keeping planted tanks. The cause in my case was WAY to much light which was corrected once I completed the code to ramp brightness and vary spectrum. I should have known better...

Other than the algae bloom - the tank is spotless. It's still not clear to me if the AWoD is in any way beneficial but the bubbles do look cool! Ultimately this experiment needs to be done with two identical tanks one with the AWoD (or Twinstar) and the other without. Otherwise any conclusions would be largely speculation.

-T2
 

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+1 Tom. Twinstar may look cool with the mist effect but there is no way to back up what it claims it does as beneficial vs starting with RO/DI Remineralized water and wet/dry filtration.

ADA makes the Cube Garden Overflow, in 90-P, 120-P and 180-P sizes, AFA can special order them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Here's an update after 8 months.

Twinstar hardware: The Twinstar did its job for nearly all of the past eight months, however after moving to a new apartment my tap water is harder than at my old location and the electrolysis disc seems to have built up enough calcium to significantly reduce its effectiveness. I removed the disc from my tank about three weeks ago and I am planning to buy some ADA Superge to remove the mineral buildup and reinstall the disc. I have read some forum posts of people using vinegar or lime remover to clean the Twinstar disc and it sounds like there's a fairly high rate of those chemicals also removing the insulation of the titanium plates rendering them useless. Unfortunately I have not found a place in the US to buy a replacement disc without buying a whole new Twinstar and the Twinstar company never replied to my email about getting me a replacement disc or their cleaning solution so it appears I'm on my own for this, I suppose it comes with the territory. I am looking into getting an RO/DI system to mitigate this issue, however living in an apartment my only option is one that connects directly to the faucet as I cannot modify the plumbing. If anybody is familiar with a good apartment solution for RO/DI I would appreciate some advice on this.

Twinstar efficacy for shrimp health: I have the version of Twinstar marketed as preventing shrimp disease specifically, which according to the company (although I am quite skeptical of this) its method of sterilization is different enough to the other models that it should have a reduced effect on algae compared to the other models. My tank contains about 200-300 cherry shrimp and 9 mollies. I started my shrimp colony with around 20 cherries around the same time as the introduction of the Twinstar and I did not have a control tank so these findings are not scientific, however anecdotally I can say that I have had a flourishing colony with no instances of dying or sick shrimp. It's hard to say that the Twinstar is responsible for this but it certainly doesn't appear to have hurt the situation.

Twinstar efficacy for algae inhibition: This is where I really noticed the effect of the Twinstar. I had an ongoing (albeit minor) problem with GDA in my tank and the Twinstar eradicated this algae almost completely within a week or two of being installed. I say 'almost' because while there was no algae remaining on the surfaces of the tank exposed to the Twinstar bubbles, there was still a little bit of GDA underneath the surface of the substrate against the front glass of the tank. I'm not surprised that the Twinstar wasn't able to have an effect on this algae because it was inaccessible to the bubbles. I have noticed that since removing the Twinstar disc from my tank I have had a little bit of GDA buildup on the glass that needs to be cleaned about once a week, though it is significantly less than what I had seen before the Twinstar and it took more than a week to even notice at all after the initial removal. I hypothesize that this would increase over time without some other method of dealing with the algae presence. The Twinstar had little effect on algae buildup in my glass pipes and I still have to clean them regularly to keep them looking nice. Overall I found the Twinstar very effective at reducing algae and it drastically decreased the maintenance my tank required in order to stay at peak health. The company behind the Twinstar explicitly states it does not work on all types of algae though so if you want to pick one up for algae inhibition make sure to do some research on their website to see if it will work for you, I can say that it was quite effective at inhibiting GDA and diatoms which are the only algae present in my tank at a noticeable quantity.

Personal thoughts: There have only been two drawbacks to my Twinstar experience so far, other than making my wallet a little lighter. The Twinstar disc in the aquarium isn't ideal aesthetically as it is rather large in my smallish tank and while the white color doesn't stand out much against my light colored background it still takes away somewhat from my effort to remove equipment from inside the tank and use glass pipes for aesthetics. My other gripe is just that the added bubbles in the tank are quite distracting. Between the Twinstar, my co2 diffuser producing visible bubbles from the filter outlet, and the insane pearling I get during my highest light photoperiod my tank can be filled with a comical amount of bubbles to the point that my water doesn't appear to be as crystal clear as it really is. Even with these drawbacks I still intend to reinstall the Twinstar once I've cleaned off the mineral buildup if for no other reason than it would be a waste to have it and not use it.

The test tank: as it exists today is a 20 gallon long with mineralized dirt substrate capped in Eco Complete. Plants include pearl weed, dwarf hairgrass, and dwarf baby tears. The tank is never fertilized aside from the ferts naturally residing in the substrate and is on the lower end of high light.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have about my experience and I will do my best to answer them.
 

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Put the disc in boiling water with citric acid (electric kettle cleaner). It will fizz for a few minutes and then be perfectly clean. The Japanese twinstar web site offers this advice. The English language versions tell you to buy their special cleaning solution and put it in boiling water. No prizes for guessing what their cleaner really is.

Cheers

Waddo
 

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I'm sorry I've lifted up the thread, but I don't see deep meaning to create a new thread.
I've bought Twinstar schrimp for algae control, but I haven't seen how is it work. I seen on youtube's videos a white mist during some time, but I don't see it in my aquarium. I think I saw only a few bubbles, similar to bubbles, which I saw from diffusor co2 (At the moment blue spot is flashing).

Sorry for my English.
 

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I himself found the cause of the bad work Twinstar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4FWLhcxHQQ

I'm sorry I've lifted up the thread, but I don't see deep meaning to create a new thread.
I've bought Twinstar schrimp for algae control, but I haven't seen how is it work. I seen on youtube's videos a white mist during some time, but I don't see it in my aquarium. I think I saw only a few bubbles, similar to bubbles, which I saw from diffusor co2 (At the moment blue spot is flashing).

Sorry for my English.
 
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