Archive for the Product Comparisons Category

Diffuser Dilemma

Posted in Product Comparisons on September 29, 2008 by Bhushan Dalvi

There has been a lot of debate over which diffusers available in the hobby right now are the best or the most efficient in delivering the most amount of carbon dioxide in a planted tank. For larger aquariums reactors are the preferred mode. I believe for aquarium up to 30-40 gallons,  glass diffusers introduced  by Aqua Design Amano (ADA) especially the Pollen Glass Series is an excellent choice. They are efficient, beautiful to look at and almost like a piece of art.

Over a period of two years now there have been a lot of replicas of the Pollen Glass Series available on Ebay from China and Malaysia. There is a big debate going on out there if it is worth paying the price ADA charges for its goods and the Pollen Glass Series is one of the most debated. I have been using both the ADA Pollen Glass Series as well as the Generic diffuser for over a year now and would not hesitate to say “You get what you pay for!”

ADA Pollen Glass

Right from the design to the quality of the glass work every thing is just simply impeccable with the ADA Pollen Glass series. You have to actually hold a piece in your hand to see what I am saying. The ceramic disc is perfectly placed. Once plugged in the Pollen Glass diffuses the incoming carbon dioxide into extremely small bubbles spreading it as a mist all over the tank. The size of the bubbles is actually the smallest I have seen with any similar generic diffuser I have used. The interval between two cleaning for the Pollen Glass is fairly longer than a generic diffuser which clogs up in about 15 days. Over a period of time the efficiency of the Pollen Glass to diffuse carbon dioxide does not fluctuate as much as the generic diffusers. Simply saying the bubble size coming out of the Pollen Glass is far more consistent than the generic copies available in the market.

Generic Diffuser

Coming to the generic diffusers which are copies of the ADA Series, I have had various experiences mostly bad. I once received a diffuser which had a small hole on the glass stem which connects to the ceramic disc. Most of the carbon dioxide escaped from here before reaching the ceramic disc. Another time I received a diffuser which had really sharp edges which would easily hurt the person handling it if they are not careful. This one even came without a suction cup and had a really bad design in general. The stem connection to the carbon dioxide tubing was so badly designed that it just won’t hold the tube on for more than a few minutes before it popped off due to building pressure. The size of the bubbles delivered by these diffusers are not as small as the Pollen Series but I think they would be suffice if you decide not to spend on the ADA product. The bubble size is really inconsistent and they start showing signs of clogging within 15 days.

The generic diffuser cost approximately 1/10th the price of a Genuine ADA Pollen Glass and hence a lot of people prefer buying these over the Pollen Glass. I believe it’s a matter of cost than the quality for a lot of people when it comes to certain things in our hobby. I would just say if you can afford one go for the Pollen Glass you will not be let down. For others there are a lot of generic varieties out there you just have to find the right one