Considering all of the different aquarium equipment that’s out there, picking the right items for your next build can be a daunting task. This holds true for every saltwater aquarium out there, from large tanks all the way down to the nano aquariums. To help sort through all of the equipment, we wanted to do a comparison between two of the greatest pieces of equipment out there for the smaller tank crowd…the Tunze 6055 nanostream and the EcoTech Marine VorTech MP10 ES. We are comparing these two pumps because they are the two models from the two different manufacturers that are the most similar, and we had them to play with.
Because these pumps are built for the small tank audience, their size is extremely important. Hands down, the VorTech MP10 ES is smaller. The in-tank footprint is rather minuscule, measuring a mere 2.5″ x 1.5″. The Tunze is rather tiny as well, but does have a slightly larger footprint. It does, however, make up for this larger footprint by being able to be pointed in any direction imaginable. The pump sits on a ball-joint and pivots very easily. The VorTech is obviously limited in where it can point, as it points in only one direction. It does make up for this by having a wide, dispersed flow.
Going on numbers alone, the MP10 has a slight edge over the 6055. It puts out a variable flow from 200 to 1,575gph. The Tunze, on the other hand, moves 264 to 1,453gph. These numbers, in my opinion, aren’t far enough apart to give one pump any edge over the other. However, the difference in the two pumps is how they deliver these flow rates. For example, the flow on the Tunze is more focused, making it more ideal on longer tanks. The MP10’s flow is more widespread, which makes it the better choice for shorter tanks with a wider footprint. Either route you choose though, you’ll likely not be disappointed.
The controllability of the pumps is where the two really stand apart from each other. The Tunze nanostreams do not come with a controller. They do come with the ability to be controlled, but a Tunze mult-controller is required to perform this task. There are multiple Tunze controllers available, with the cheapest being the 7092 at roughly $75. The 7092 can control two pumps in either synchronized flow patterns or opposite flow patterns.
The VorTech does come with a controller, in the form of the EcoSmart wireless controller. This controller comes with multiple flow settings and pulsing modes, which makes it a great tool for detritus removal. If you want to consider the MP10w ES, an added feature to the EcoSmart controller for this model is its ability to communicate with other wireless VorTech pumps nearby. This is definitely handy if you don’t want to see excess wires all over the place, but keep in mind the range on these controllers is limited.
If you want to compare the 6055 and the MP10 ES, the price is nearly identical. It’s when you get into the controllers that you begin to see any real price difference. The Tunze 6055 and VorTech MP10 ES both retail for approximately $220. The added wireless capability of the MP10w ES bumps the price to $265. The cheapest Tunze controller, the 7092, is around $75. With this in mind, the cheapest controllable standalone Tunze 6055 is approximately $300, while the cheapest controllable standalone VorTech MP10 is $220. That’s an $80 price difference if you’re purchasing only one pump with any type of controllability.
However, if you are like most aquarium keepers, you’ll likely have a pair of the pumps. If that’s the case, the pricing is quite a bit different. For a pair of controllable, non-wireless VorTech MP10’s, expect to pay around $440. For a wireless pair, jump that up to $530. A pair of Tunze 6055’s with a controller will run $490. So there’s about a $40 price difference in both directions from the Tunze setup. This isn’t a substantial difference, but it’s important to know the price spread.
All of this being said, either pump will be a great choice for smaller aquariums. Both companies have solid customer service and great products. The only way to determine which of the two pumps is right for you is to find what are the makes and breaks for you, and purchase accordingly.