Twinstar..what is it?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by foxfish, 8 Jul 2013.

  1. PedroB

    PedroB Member

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    Patents exist for this purpose. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against this company, I just want this type of device to be democratized and widely available.
     
  2. CooKieS

    CooKieS Member

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    Hi,

    Got an twinstar mini, used it to avoid algae bloom at the start of my iwagumi, sold it after 4 months.

    Still no algae...no difference with or without it. :rolleyes:
     
  3. cdwill

    cdwill Newly Registered

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    Here's what I think is the same technology, with a similar distribution system, but marketed toward a different purpose (hydroponics)

    This may address questions about cleaning calcium buildup

    Note that I am not affiliated with this company in any way, have not used and am not endorsing this product, and have never used Twinstar. Just thought this would be interesting.

    If there's a YouTube country restriction, search for Oxygen Research Group or O2 Grow.
     
  4. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    Yes, that looks like it uses the same technology.

    I think you can split the micro/nano oxygen bubble generator effects into two components:
    1. There is the sterilization effect, described in the patent <"Nanobubble utilization method and device - US 20060054205 A1"> and referenced on this very informative page <"Nanobubbles (ultrafine.....)">, and
    2. The oxygenation effect.
    I feel much the same about the sterilization effect as I do about UV, or any other <"magic bullets">, they might work, but they are really just sticking plasters compared to plants and efficient biological filtration.

    Plants and efficient biological filtration really go hand in hand, and the reason for this is largely an oxygen effect.

    Fundamentally the more oxygen we have available the more ammonia (NH3/NH4+) our system can process. If you read the blurb from <"O2Grow"> it makes a lot of play of production of "pure oxygen" and compares this to air stones etc, which add air, which is only 21% oxygen etc.

    The difference for us is that submerged plants saturate the water with "pure oxygen", during the photo-period, via photosynthesis. Some of that oxygen will be consumed via respiration during the dark period, but plants are net oxygen producers, partially because their internal tissues are saturated with oxygen at the end of the photo-period, and this is then used for respiration during the night.

    The quicker a plant grows the more CO2 it has converted into carbohydrates (sugars, cellulose etc) and the more oxygen it has evolved. For a plant in active growth we are looking at about x10 more oxygen produced than consumed. You can get an idea of this from plant growth, for every molecule of CO2 fixed an O2 molecule is evolved, and the net addition of CO2 is visible as the plant growth.

    The same also applies to microbial filtration, if we a system with a large gas exchange surface to volume ratio levels of dissolved gases will equilibrate more closely with the atmosphere. You can deal with a huge bioload with a <"wet and dry trickle filter"> (have a look at Tom Barr's post ), because it has a large gas exchange surface.

    cheers Darrel
     
  5. FreeFall

    FreeFall Newly Registered

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    if anyone is interested


     
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  6. AverageWhiteBloke

    AverageWhiteBloke Member

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    Yeah, I watched the same video the other day. Was also going to post it here but you beat me to it. He does say that it's only how he thinks it works. Sorry if this has already been covered, I haven't read through the entire thread.
     
  7. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Would these lower the water levels faster by presumably breaking down H2O?
     
  8. iunknown

    iunknown Newly Registered

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    Has anyone measured the difference in oxygen? I'm thinking of renting a dissolved oxygen meter. What would a typical ppm of a newly established tank be vs and established tank vs a tank with the twinstar?
     
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  9. rebel

    rebel Member

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    You should also check a tank with air stone.
     
  10. iunknown

    iunknown Newly Registered

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    Or a tank with a wet/dry filter. I would guess it's about the same. These seem to make most sense with a canister filter setup.
     
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  11. Ricardo Romão

    Ricardo Romão Member

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    Hello,

    I think you are misunderstanding some points, that I will resume to be more specific:


    1. Water electrolysis was invented around the year 1789. So you are watching a video from a guy, which never used the product and is just doing water electrolysis. This is not what twinstar is about!
    2. The innovation in twinstar is the controller with a different program, to inhibit green algae/promote plant growth, prevent fish or shrimp diseases, depending on model;
    3. You have a different algorithm to inhibit green algae, prevent fish or shrimp diseases. And they are completely harmless to both fauna and flora and this is why there are no models up to 800 liters or so.
    4. This control is done by a microprocessor with a program that changes according to the life cycle of the aquarium;
    5. If you don't know how to control the process and apply the right “quantities”, this can be harmful for both fauna and flora;
    6. This is not an ozone producer;
    7. Twinstar has no timer inside to control the process;
    All you need to understand the product you can find in the following video. About the "secret", what would you do? Give the golden goose to everyone?




     
  12. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I don't have a Twinstar, but I do have a dissolved oxygen meter. The experience I've had with the planted tanks is that the water is fully saturated with dissolved oxygen during the photo-period. If you have a wet and dry trickle filter you can maintain pretty full oxygenation even during the night, unless you have a very large bio-load.

    I think the advantage of a Twinstar would be as a <"nano and micro-bubble generator">, but again whether it really offers an advantage is probably in the eye of the beholder.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  13. iunknown

    iunknown Newly Registered

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    Darrel, how does the meter represent 100% saturation in ppm? Is there any advantage from hydrogen? The same way people add barley to create hydrogen peroxide as an algeacide. Also they seem to imply a water softening effect, and therefore an improvement in fertilizer uptake and therefore plant health.
     
  14. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    Usually as percentage, the meter measures in mg/l (ppm), but then uses the <"conversion factor for temperature"> to give % saturation. Conductivity and barometric pressure are also factors, although most of us can ignore them. If you live in Denver, and want to keep a marine aquarium, they would need to be factored in.
    I wouldn't thing so, hydrogen isn't very soluble, so it will just out-gas.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  15. rebel

    rebel Member

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    Darrel, what sort of average values are you getting for you tanks as maximum and minimum. How about your tap water? What do you get for distilled water which has been left standing for a while? :)
     
  16. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I still haven't connected the oxygen probes we have to a data logger, although I'm pretty sure you can.

    During the photoperiod I usually just use the lab. tank to test the integrity of the DO meter sensor membrane, if the meter won't equilibrate (and stabilise) at ~100% saturation then the membrane is damaged. For various reasons we usually record in mg/l (ppm), so for an aquarium at ~27oC and a barometric pressure of ~1015mb, will have a dissolved oxygen of about 8 mg/l, although this value can be higher (more than 100% saturation).

    There is a quick and dirty conversion chart at <"Water on the Web: Dissolved Oxygen">.

    nomogram.gif

    There is more discussion of @BigTom experiment in <"Maxing CO2 in Low Techs"> where he looks at pH over a diurnal cycle, and the curves indicate that you are actually looking at changes in the relative concentrations of CO2/O2.

    In some ways "dissolved oxygen" is different from nearly every other parameter in that you can have excellent levels 99.9% of the time, but any period of low oxygen levels can cause fish death. Rheophilic fish from cooler waters are particularly at risk, and large fish are more at risk than small ones (large fish actually need less oxygen per unit body mass than small fish of the same shape, but they need more oxygen in total).

    Apologies for the cross forum post, but there is more discussion in <"Apistogramma Forums:SA themed Riparium"> and <"PlanetCatfish:Thumbrule for stocking">.
    Both of these should equilibrate to 100% saturation, because they have no oxidisable materials in them and they are biologically sterile. How long it takes to equilibrate will depend upon the area of the gas exchange surface.

    cheers Darrel
     
  17. Manuel Arias

    Manuel Arias Member

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    Hi there,

    I am more in the Darrel's side here: I feel very skeptical about this specific device.
    The reason is because many of the explanations of Twinstar make no-sense at all, or are even contradictory. Their resistance to explain how works is also highly suspicious. And the arguments they offer to justify why they do not tell are just crap.

    Let's me explain me:

    1. If the method is so advanced or novel that they are scared about being copied, that's why patents were invented. They can pay the patent and ensuring the legal exploitation in exclusivity of the technology, which allows them to tell people how works, and solving this non-sense discussion.
    2. If the problem is they are worried of being copied, this is bloody stupid. Any company with some funding and good engineers can buy some and do reverse engineering to see how works and copy it. Likely Chihiros company did. Chinese are expert into this, as Apple well knows.
    3. Ah! Sorry, the trick is in the software of the IC... Well, it would be the discovery of the history building a software able to remove algae. The algorithm will, at most, control the working routine and operations (as explained in the thread, regulating operating times, sequences, etc, or even controlling input and/or output power). But it will not have any sterilizing effect, and by having some simple electric devices and monitoring power in the circuit components, you can guess what the algorithm does. No rocket science, but laborious.

    Additionally to this:

    1. They claim that cannot kill existing algae, just prevent to happen. This makes really difficult to test if the device really works: if you have algae and you put it, you will not get rid of the algae, anyway.
    2. They say that you need to add Twinstar followed with the usual maintenance routine: Cleaning the tank, removing existing algae, water change, adding the usual crew...Hold a minute...If I do that, I do not get algae for a start, in any tank, so I do not need this. When we have algae is for a good reason.
    3. They affirm the device is not generating ozone and the bubbles are just pure oxygen. Hold a minute...if this is true, and it is only oxygen, then obviously this is an electrolysis device operating with a differential of electrode potential below 1.23V or it is the output of a secondary effect. We are thankful for not generating ozone, because ozone is really toxic for fishes, and you do not want to generate it inside the tank. There is no other way in which the device would generate "pure oxygen". But perhaps, only perhaps, the "sterelization factor" is something else and the electrolysis effect is just a side effect, which could happen.
    4. They negate any possibility: They affirm that does not generate ozone, that does not alter pH or REDOX potential, but still has sterilization capability. Such a miracle.

    But let's assume they are not lying. Besides, some or many people using it see a difference, and I do not think everyone is lying (perhaps some of them after investing money in a useless device). Even if some of the affirmations are clearly marketing and not true, this thing has to work somehow. Only option I see of not using electrolysis is then ultrasonic electrolysis, i.e. splitting water molecules using high frequency vibration. In the points of cavitation the mechanical energy will disrupt cells passing by the device. This will also explain why cannot work over existing algae, or why some algae grow in the surroundings of the device. The cavitation process must happen in a very localized area (probably between the plates, and reached by interference of waves). This also would explain why they need a more or less complex external unit to control it. Even so, looking at the design, I am not totally sure, but it is the only thing that fits.

    Nonetheless, I still do not see the point if you have to run the normal maintenance of the tank, anyway.

    Cheers,
    Manuel
     
  18. Timon Vogelaar

    Timon Vogelaar Member

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    Private detective Manual solved the case :lol:
     
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  19. iunknown

    iunknown Newly Registered

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    I'd say to get through the setup phase. Save time required to clean all that mess and to save valuable plants purchased.

    I broke out my multimeter and measured voltage on the reactor. It has a safety mechanism that shuts the twinstar down when I applied the multimeter. If you look at videos of Ultrasonic electrolysis, the bubbles that are formed look much bigger:

    I don't know enough about water electrolysis, but it sounds like you need a catalyst to help electricity flow. The videos show using baking soda to get electrolysis to work. How would that work in an aquarium?




     
  20. X3NiTH

    X3NiTH Member

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    Great write up Manuel but something is missing.

    The missing something is that the expensive electrodes are Platinum and Titanium. The Titanium is important here because when exposed to water it forms an oxide layer on its surface, if you then electrolyse this H₂O₂ is a constituent byproduct from the reaction. Superfish have a skimmer type in tank device on the market that states precisely that it is producing H₂O₂ as a beneficial byproduct through the electrolysis of titanium, both anode and cathode are titanium mesh, it's sold as an aquarium sterilisation product, the magic isn't obfuscated in a patent its printed as a nice graphic on the box, Maidenhead Aquatics stock this device on their shelves. Patents for the electrolysis of titanium for catalysing reactions in water and peroxide generation date back into the late 1960's, these are likely expired patents or the premium for compensating the patent holder is low value, hence the Superfish product being upfront about how it's working they don't have to obfuscate as the science behind it is already published

    The electrodes in the Twinstar are sacrificial hence why they market replacements. The sacrificial part is the Titanium mesh, the electrolysed titanium will produce its oxide this can be evidenced by the need to clean the device to shift an accretion of a white substance that can form in the mesh (is deposit on Platinum part?). The oxide of titanium is white it goes in white paint, toothpaste, lots of things, plenty of it in sunscreen which coincidentally if you go to see the Great Barrier Reef or other places where the marine ecosystem is sensitive its repeated ad infinitum that you are not permitted to wear sunscreen before entering the water as its harmful to the ecosystem.

    The reason for the last bit up there is that TiO₂ is a super catalyst and doesn't need to be exposed to current under electrolysis to catalyse water into H₂O₂.

    TiO₂ also catalyses water to H₂O₂ when energised by ultraviolet light in the UVA range (UVA and UVB have deep water penetration ability extending down to 20 metres, UVC is about a centimetre), if I remember Peak reaction in the UVB range near 320nm. Coral reefs get lots of UVA and UVB, they don't particularly like H₂O₂ as its heavier than water and will sink onto the reef below where it was formed (where UV is higher). H₂O₂ kills lots of things beneficial to the marine environment, unfortunately from research elsewhere it won't kill the Dinoflaggelate Ostreopsis at doses that doesn't kill everything else, if that's all that ends up living on the reef then that's not just really bad but epic bad.

    What is also interesting about this UV reaction with TiO₂ is that if you remove the UV the reaction works in reverse and H₂O₂ is reduced back to H₂O and O₂.

    I posted something about this elsewhere in the forum with a suggestion for an anti algae device (Passive Type, UV catalysis of TiO₂), I did a lot of homework, I had the plugin inline device all squared away in my head, couldnt sleep for two days because of thinking about this, felt like I had discovered something, that was until a couple of days later that I discovered a Japanese paper describing my exact device I had imagined in my head laid out nice and clear with the supporting science and a nice little graphic. It's a device for sterilisation of water (grey water treatment), even found a paper bubbling ozone through the reactor to increase sterilisation potential (this it turns out produces TiO3 which is even more catalyticaly reactive than TiO₂, I think H2O3 appears somewhere in the reaction). The paper had been out nearly two years before I had the brainwave after digesting the BBA thread here. It's stitched up behind a Patent though, ah well there goes that idea. There's plenty other patents covering pretty much all the avenues from using TiO₂ and UV together for catalysation for sterilisation purposes from trickle filters for sewage treatment works all the way to ships bilge tank water sterilisation (this bubbled ozone into the reaction for greater effect).

    You can't patent the electrolysis of Titanium to produce H₂O₂, already done, it's reversal reaction of using TiO₂ in the absence of UV to consume H₂O₂ probably also done. I'm stating the reverse reaction because if O₂ is the only stated byproduct of Twinstars reaction it explains where the peroxide went (need to have free particulate TiO₂ suspended in the water column and there be no UVA or B to energise it to catalyse H₂O₂, how does a Twinstar tank fare when UV is present over the tank in sufficient quantities ie Metal Halide). If ultrasonics are at play it may be to dislodge TiO₂ into the water column and depending on whether UV is energising it from above it will either consume or produce H₂O₂.

    You can patent the Black Box bit with the specialist electronic timing routines but everything else hanging of from it has prior art!

    :)
     

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