Following on from our recent unboxing review in which we covered the basics of this unit, we’ve now had the XF150 running on our test tank for a few weeks so we thought we’d share out observations of this product in a full operational review. We’ve also been monitoring discussions on various forums with interest and we’ll aim to specifically discus some of the points raised with our own direct experience. Firstly, the XF150 is easy to install but it’s worth familiarising yourself fully with the operation of the device before sticking it straight in the tank. Although the unit comes in a single piece you will need to reassemble it if you are wanting to use it for anything other than constant one way gyre generation as the different rotors and cages will need to be fitted. It’s certainly worth running through this process anyway actually as being familiar with the principle behind the equipment’s operation will likely mean you get more out of it. One thing we will say is that the adjustment of the outputs is a little stiff and we struggled to ‘tweak’ it while the unit was in the tank. It was better achieved by removing the unit for adjustment. Generally we think the unit is very flexible in terms of positioning though, and in our view it is certainly less visually intrusive than some of the stream pumps we’ve used. In terms of noise, our unit is noticeably audible at anything above 50%, but having said that, the noise isn’t particularly unpleasant. When pulsing, the noise becomes more noticeable. Although this may seem a problem, we actually don’t mind this given the flow performance and we’ll also say that we haven’t tried any of the suggestions to try to reduce the noise emitted because it really doesn’t bother us too much. Getting on to the flow and this unit is seriously powerful. Literally, we have replaced 3 large stream pumps with this single unit and it equals their flow at 50%. At 100% the amount of flow is almost frightening in our 50”x24”x24” peninsular-style test tank. There’s no way we’d run it at this power level from protracted lengths of time and, in this sense, the noise emitted is therefore acceptable. If we are going to run it on more than 50%, we just do this for a few minutes at a suitable time, essentially to ‘flush the reef’ (which in itself is really enjoyable). The rest of the time the 50% level is fine, and close to silent. The different modes are also great if you want to generate lots of turbulence but we find we just run it at a constant flow setting and, as well as flushing, occasionally engage the feed mode for top down viewing or to allow the surface to be skimmed clean (or of course for actual feeding). The controller really is a doddle to use and these operations can be achieved with a push (or two) of a button. We have found our controller gets a little hot but this hasn’t caused any issues so far. In terms of its billing as a gyre generator we think the XF150 successfully lives up to expectations with the unit forcing water back along in a circular motion even at low output. Checking the power draw with our plug in metre reveals that the unit pulls just 6.5watts on the lowest power setting while at full power the draw is 50-51 watts (which matches the claims of the manufacturer accurately). Running at 50% uses just over 20watts and its very interesting to compare this to the power draw of the 3 stream pumps this unit replaces…. in short it uses at least 50% less electricity while generating similar flow (and that’s being conservative). Using just one plug to do the work of 2 or 3 large streams is massive bonus to us too. In conclusion, if we gave out awards for product of the year, the XF150 would likely snatch the top spot. At first glance it’s easy to dismiss this product as just another gimmick but once you’ve witnessed the power of the unit we think you’ll literally be’ blown out of the water’! Sure it’s a bit noisy and if it wasn’t so powerful, or if we had it running on a larger tank, this would detract from the unit for us. As it is though, adding the low power consumption, minimal socket requirements to the superb output, the unit gets our top mark. It’s also worth considering that there are 2 different sized models due out shortly to cater for larger or smaller tanks, and we suspect that future releases of the product are going to be more refined too… we’ll certainly be watching closely. Check out our video test below!