The Tunze Nanostream line of powerheads has a total of five members. The 6015, 6025 and 6045 are the three smallest. These three are non-controllable and are therefore less expensive… all three retail for under $100. Apart from controllability, they have all of the features of all the other Stream and Nanostream powerheads, like high-efficiency, reef-tailored flow patterns and an omnidirectional ball-and-socket magnetic mounting system.
The 6055 and 6095 Nanostreams are different machines altogether. Though they have the same general size, shape and footprint of the three smaller Nanostreams, their inner electronics are much different. The 6055 and 6095 operate on DC power. This makes them fully controllable, either by using one of our controllers or else with the use of another manufacturer’s controller. The controllable powerheads are much more sophisticated and so have a higher price tag, with the 6055 and 6095 retailing for $235 and $269 respectively.
Let’s first look at the flow rates and efficiencies between the 6055 and the 6095. The 6055 moves 1450 GPH and consumes 18 watts at full power. The 6095 moves 2500 GPH and consumes 21 watts at full power. At first glance it would appear that the 6095 is the clear winner here. It provides a nominal 72% increase in GPH flow while only requiring an additional 17% power consumption. This seems like a very good trade.
But flow rates in gallons per hour never tell the whole picture. The 6095 was designed specifically to produce a very wide flow pattern. By opening up the slots on the intake screen, the inflow of water is less restricted. This allows the propeller to pull in more water. Additionally the 6095 has a wider outflow nozzle, producing a much less directed flow pattern, but allowing the propeller to push out more water. The less restrictive nature of the 6095’s inflow and outflow designs allow it to move more water and to move it more efficiently.
But there’s no such thing as a free lunch and the 6095’s gains in efficiency do come at a price. That price is velocity. The wider flow pattern of the 6095 leaves the pump at a slower speed than the water leaving the 6055. Remember that the 6055 has a more focused outflow nozzle. This narrower nozzle serves to collimate the water as it leaves the pump, producing a narrower but higher velocity stream. This stream is capable of moving a greater distance. This increased range is the main advantage the 6055 has over the 6095.
To summarize, the 6095 Nanostream produces a flow stream that is approximately 2-3 feet around a reaches 3 feet. The 6055 Nanostream produces a faster moving stream that’s about 18 inches around and reaches over 4 feet. Though the 6095 is almost always the better choice for aquariums 3 feet or under in length, longer aquariums or those requiring higher velocity or more targeted flow can often make better use of the 6055 instead.