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Translation: i thank Mr. Giovanni Bubici a lot for his productive and important translation work, that has maintained the original content and descriptions of the italian version of this article.

Massimo Iannella’s preface

I have obtained the celebrated VUPPA-I, a new product of the Japanese manufacturer, and still difficult to find on the European and Italian markets. I was able to book and obtain this product in a very short time. This was possible because of the aid of Fabio & Fabio, the H2O Acquari’s holders, who pay a special regard to ADA’s products which, furthermore, can be bought directly through their own web site. 

1 ADA Vuppa I rareaquaticplants iannella massimo

The celebrated ADA manufacturer, known for the high quality of its fresh aquascaping products, provides certainly a wide and complete range of accessories for aquarists minded to high costs for their hobby. VUPPA-I is a new Takashi Amano’s product that, as well as other ADA’s products, will obtain certainly a big worldwide success. In fact, it has already received a great interest since its first launch on the market. It should be highlighted that this kind of products has been already made by other manufacturers, but using plastic and other materials less durable than the steel used by ADA. Moreover, the Japanese manufacturer has developed an independent and nice accessory: many manufacturers produce ‘Surface Skimmers’ that are efficient, but have to be installed at the inlet of the external filter. VUPPA-I works independently because it is provided with a little submerged pump, so that it does not require the water flow of another filter to work.

ADA Vuppa I rareaquaticplants iannella massimo

Surface biofilm

The Surface Skimmers like VUPPA-I eliminate the water surface layer consisting of an oily bacterial or organic coating. The decomposition of the organic matter yields Particle Organic Carbon (POC), first, and Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), later, which is smaller in size. The POC is the coarse part consisting of animal and vegetal organic matter, sugars, proteins, etc., and is decomposed, though rather slowly, by bacteria: this is why it is important to introduce in the tank invertebrates like snails and shrimps, which help greatly in this early decomposition process. The DOC is present also in the humic acids originating from the decomposition of plant organic matter like dead leaves and fibrous plant tissue particles (POC), which often appear on the aquarium water surface as white bubbles (like a soap). All these compounds, more or less decomposed (POC>DOC), are largely present on the aquarium water surface, and represent the basic substrate for several bacteria, which aggregate around them to form a thick layer. The bacteria remain on the surface until the substrate is available, while they move to the furniture, plants, bottom substrate, filter materials, etc. in order to find a new substrate, or they move freely in the water, thus conferring to the water a murky and opaque-whitish color. This causes a drastic decrease in the light penetration through the water, so that the growth of plants may be strongly reduced (even over 50%). This problem has been frequently underestimated by many aquarists.

Elimination of the surface biofilm by several methods

The elimination of the surface oily coating is not so easy. In fact, several skimmers often re-introduce in the water the removed biofilm, which is therefore just mixed and mixed again. Many skimmers utilize several types of active carbon, which must be replaced periodically (every 7 days), otherwise it would release the adsorbed compounds. Nevertheless, this method does not eliminate completely the biofilm, because the active carbon removes through ‘adsorption’ only some compounds, but not others used by bacteria on the water surface. Also, accessories like the ADA ‘Lily Pipe’, installed at the filter outlet and causing a superficial water flow, do not solve the problem definitively, but just temporarily.

ADA VUPPA-I really eliminates the biofilm

VUPPA-I has been developed with precise criteria, surely based on the consideration mentioned above. The constant and definitive biofilm elimination is due to the following characteristics of VUPPA-I:

- separation of the biofilm from the water by breaking the water surface tension, due to the exact width and number (two) of percolating openings (in fact ADA made an error in the early version of VUPPA: three openings with different width arranged after a first opening substantially failed in the biofilm elimination)

- presence inside the cylinder of BIO-CUBE, a synthetic material adequate for the bacterial colonization and coarse particles retention

- a submerged pump with a high power, that does not mix air into water (due to the bottom position), so avoiding the formation of bubbles that can carry again the biofilm into the tank

- presence of a filtering material (BIO-CUBE), which retains the biofilm for a long time, and which can be washed periodically (when the oily coating tends to appear again)

Including all these features within one product, ADA has been able to develop an efficient and durable accessory.

VUPPA-I description

As mentioned above, VUPPA-I is completely made in steel. It can be totally dismounted to facilitate an accurate periodic cleaning. The long electric cable is provided with a jack for the connection to a power pack. The Italian supplier provides an additional voltage converter, because VUPPA-I works with a non-European power voltage.

All parts of VUPPA-I are described in the pictures below. Moreover, an article dealing with the mounting and testing of VUPPA-I will be published soon.

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In the package, all parts of VUPPA-I are neatly arranged. Instruction manual and quality control certificate are also included.

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The instruction manual is in English and Japanese.

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This is the additional voltage converter provided by the Italian supplier.

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This is the original VUPPA-I power pack, which is not appropriate for the European power voltage.

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BIO-CUBE medium. In the package, a sufficient amount for its replacement into VUPPA-I is present.

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The flow adjustment ring can be easily pulled up; the resistance occurring within the cylinder is due to the spring shape (steel ring slightly larger than the cylinder lumen of VUPPA-I).

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In this picture, the opening can be seen.

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Once the flow adjustment ring is removed, the internal parts can be dismounted. Strainers serve for the blockage of the filter media (one adjacent to the pump, and another between the pump and the flow adjustment ring) and BIO-CUBE. The L-shaped support can be taken out simply, because an internal spring confers some resistance in the sliding (this allows to immobilize it once regulated). This allow to regulate VUPPA-I in height (max 80 mm) and width (max 22 mm, by a screw, depending on the tank glass thickness).

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The pump compartment consists of a steel cylinder holding the little submerged pump. The pump can be taken down as showed in the pictures.

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Inside the pump, a little removable impeller is present on a steel axle. For a longer durability, the magnet is embedded into the plastic of the upper screws to form a unique body. The pump front case can be unscrewed because provided with a thread.

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Upper sight of VUPPA-I showing the first strainer that blocks the BIO-CUBE.

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