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The Gyre when it first came out was an innovation to reef hobbyist. You no longer had to worry about dead spots or have multiple wave makers installed in your reef tank. With a Gyre everything could be managed by a single device. And this Gyre did such a great job that it virtually eliminated dead spots and performed reliability. The IceCap Gyre was a budget version of MaxSpect’s original version.
The 1st generation of IceCap’s Gyres was in my opinion the best value in aquarium wavemakers on the market. Today, I look at IceCap’s latest Gyre 2K and 4K 2nd generation models and see if they still continue to deliver value.
My reviews are fairly structured. I’m going to be reviewing the following with the categories with these kits:
- Ease of Use
- Value For Money
- Product Support
In a hurry? I recommend purchasing the IceCap Gyre 2K
IceCap Gyre Features
The IceCap 2K Gyre has a number of improvement over the last generation 1K models. The output has been upgraded to 2,000 gallons per hour and it now can be controlled via wifi.
The new wifi app is called CoralVue Hydros. It’s the same mobile app that is used on the Hydros WaveEngine controller. The new app also you to program the Gyre on your phone using presents and triggers. Modes are always available like a feed mode that shuts down the pump. Below is a screenshot of the app. It is a simple to use app that CoralVue has a number of videos available that explain how to use the app.
One observation with the WiFi is that it only runs off 2.4 ghz. It does not run off the modern 5 ghz band. Make sure you have a router that runs 2.4 and 5 ghz bands. Most wifi routers do have dual bands so it’s likely not going to be an issue for most users.
The new controller that runs the Gyre 2K and 4K can actually run up to two pumps. This is an improvement to the prior generation model that had to have a controller for each pump. You can even run two pumps off a single power supply. This reduces clutter in your aquarium cabinet. It’s an added plus feature with this newest generation.
The design of the 2nd generation Gyres look similar to the prior models, with exception to the impeller blades. In the prior models, they were black. In the 2K and 4K models they are a orange color. IceCap does include black impellers that you can switch out though. I would encourage you to switch to the black ones as the orange ones can look odd in the tank when the pump isn’t running. The magnet can work on aquariums up to 1/2″ thick in glass.
IceCap Gyre Craftsmanship
The craftsmanship on the IceCap Gyre is solid just like the last generation. It’s licensed technology from MaxSpect. Maxspect was the original designer of the Gyre technology. It is a cheaper version of the MaxSpect gyre, but I don’t feel any significant cost cutting measures were taken. The impeller design is simple and easy to take apart.
Thepower outlet comes from the top. The Gyre, like all other Wavemakers not named EcoTech has the power outlet on the wet side of the aquarium. Since Gyres are places near the top of an aquarium, I don’t feel it takes away from the look of the tank. It some display tanks, it may blends into the backgrounds and look like part of the return.
Ease Of Use (Installation)
This is where the IceCap Gyre really stands out. CoralVue has done a stellar job of producing video content on how to setup and use the Gyre. I’m going to list them all here so you have a quick guide when you purchase the unit.
Installation and Operation
This video will walk you through the Gyre parts and the setup to install in your aquarium
Pump Controller Setup
This video walks you through the install setup of the Hydros mobile app
This video walks you through flow configurations available off the Hydros app and how to program your Gyre.
Value For Money
There are three comparisons I need to make on the Gyre. The first is comparing it to the MaxSpec XF Gyres. The IceCap 2K and 4K Gyres are superior value in comparison to the MaxSpect. In my opinion, there isn’t much to justify the additional price tag of the XF. This is specifically true now with the CoralVue Hydros app.
The next comparision is against the high end wavemakers on the market. Comparing to the EcoTech MP, the IceCap Gyre 2K and 4K are a superior value. A IceCap 2K Gyre can easily power a 3 foot long tank with no dead spots. The equivalent setup for an MP would require two units. This makes a Gyre a much cheaper alternative for a wavemaker in a reef tank
The last comparison is against the prior IceCap 1K and 3K models. There has been a significant price increase over the 1K and 3K due to the controller. The 1K Gyre used to be an incredible value. It’s a shame that the 2K model has a much higher price tag. However, the controller is a significant improvement and if you run a tank that needs to run 2 gyres like a 6 foot long tank, The IceCap will be a great value for you.
Below are the available IceCap Gyre models available today. The 2K will work for up to 3 foot long tanks. The 4K is a more powerful version that is recommended for higher flow demand environments such as an SPS tank.
IceCap is sold by CoralVue. They have been a manufacture of OEM parts for major years in the industry and are the exclusive distributor or brands such as IceCap. One thing that really stands out with CoralVue is their customer support. They go the extra mile to reach out to you and are regularly involved in hobbyist forums. As you also saw, they have been getting into video content more which has been helpful in understanding how to use the products you purchase.
The cons with Gyres in general are their warranties. You only get a 1 year warranty on them. That is a vast different from the old AC wave makers that would offer multi-year warranties. I still feel they serve great value even with their shorter warranty.
Price is the biggest change with this newest generation Gyre from IceCap. The prior generation was a bargain at the price it was sold at. This new generation has had a significant price increasedue to the wifi enabled controller. While it can be more expensive for a tank that only requires one Gyre, the price becomes more reasonable when you are running 2 or me Gyres. This is because the controller can operate 2 gyres so you can save a good bit of money just buying the pump only for the 2nd Gyre.
While overall it is more expensive than the last generation, it is still cheaper than the higher end wavemakers on the market. I feel it’s still a great value for reef tank owners looking for a wavemaker that is set and forget and not complicated to use.
The IceCap Gyre 2K and 4K are great value for what they offer to a reef tank owner. It is one of the more comprehensive wavemaker solutions that won’t break the bank. The new wifi feature on the controller is a great update from the prior generation and worth the added cost. CoralVue as a distributor has a solid reputation for customer service. I feel that you cannot go wrong with a CoralVue distributed product. This is an excellent wavemaker overall.
You can see the ratings below from me and my best value badge that these series of aquariums receive. Since I’m open to all reviews, you can leave your own reviews below. This provides the community with an unfiltered source of reviews. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping – both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.
The impeller design is simple and easy to take apart.
Thepower comes from the top.