Turbo Twist, LifeGuard UV Sterilizer Review
The Coralife TurboTwist 3x, 6x, & 12x are very popular compact UV Sterilizer for aquarium or pond use.
Initial results are comparable to other compact UVs, and are usually good from my experience as well as other aquarium maintenance professionals I know.
However is is important to note that NO compact UV whether the TurboTwist, the slightly better SunSun Terminator or Tetra, or the lessor Jebo can compare to a high dwell time straight tube UV such as the TMC Vecton UV.
While often promoted and given reasonably good marks in poor reviews websites such as Amazon, long term and actual results are not as good as often inaccurately stated in these non professional reviews.
One problem that is rarely noted in these Amazon reviews is the fact one of the selling points is also more of a gimmick and that is the baffles.
These Baffles do NOT maintain a consistent 3mm distance from the UV lamp/Quartz Sleeve at all times. As well these baffles can trap air which then impedes the optimum flow and sterilization time of these UV Sterilizers. Sometimes repositioning the Turbo Twist can help with air trapped, but often you simply need to accept this trapped air and lower your flow rate to 20 gph per watt or less just to maintain level 1 sterilization.
Aquarium or Pond UV Sterilization; Penetration
UV Sterilizers Gimmicks; 'Turbo' Twists, Baffles Wipers
A couple of problems that often show themselves after 6-12 months are leakage due to poor build and worse a VERY high electronic ballast failure.
See my other review about this problem:
Weak or Poor Quality Ballasts; UV Sterilizer Review
Another issue no Compact UV can compare on is dwell time.
In a controlled test from:
A controlled dwell time experiment
Also Read UV Sterilization, Facts & Information
Here is a quote (courtesy the above website, please read the referenced article for more):
A controlled experiment between a Terminator 13 Watt UV Sterilizer (which is one of the best if not the best compact UV Sterilizer design as per water contact design) VERSUS a TMC Vecton 8 Watt "High Dwell Time" UV tells the story of UVC Dwell Time:
Using a Rio 600 (200 gph), with 2 feet of 5/8" ID tubing; the dwell time inside the Vecton was 2.6 seconds, while the Terminator was 3 seconds.
It is important to note that the Terminator holds DOUBLE the water volume at 20 oz. water (meaning a less efficient design with more water not within the optimal .3 cm exposure zone) versus 10 oz. of water for the 8 Watt Vecton. Keep in mind that the Terminator is one of the best designed Compact UVs, as it is noteworthy that the Turbo Twist has an even higher water volume due to even less efficient water contact design.
The result is 6.66 ounces of water per second is exposed to UVC irradiation for the 13 Watt Terminator while 3.84 ounces of water per second is exposed to UVC irradiation for the 8 Watt Vecton. MORE IMPORTANTLY the results are 1.95 watts of UVC energy per second for the Terminator 13 watt versus 2.08 watts of UVC energy per second for the 8 Watt Vecton/
Now consider that the TurboTwist 3x actually has a flow pattern that has less water within the correct distance of UV Lamp from UV Sterilizer containment 'wall' when compared to the Terminator used in this test.
See: UV Sterilizer, Basic Factors for Sterilization
So my question is; WHY spend almost as much money for a TurboTwist with a lower quality Chinese build versus the European designed TMC Vecton 8 Watt??
Based on my use and others, this is a no brainer, especially after one aquarium maintenance friend in particular purchased several Turbo Twist 3x UVV Sterilizers and after a a year, he had to replace all of them and he noted that the observed results were much better when replaced with the TMC Vecton UV Sterilizers/Clarifiers
A resource for: TMC Vecton UV Sterilizers/Clarifiers
The LifeGuard 15 Watt is an example of another somewhat lessor known UV Sterilizer. I have used these UV Sterilizers going back to 1978.
The build quality is good (comparable to the TMC UV Sterilizer), as well the dwell time is very good, however the flow pattern is not as good as the TMC Vecton & Advantage, or the Emperor and Aqua UV.
I also have found these UVs somewhat over priced for what you get, although the price has come down to be more comparable to the slightly more superior TMC Vecton 15 Watt.
My summary of the Lifeguard is while it is still inferior to the TMC, Aqua, Emperor; it is still an excellent UV Sterilizer and far superior to the Turbo Twist and other Compact UVs.