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Absolute diffuser nightmare

23 Mar 2010
Hey all, having a major headache with my diffusers. i have 4, 3 cheapies off ebay and one good one from AE, all are within 4 months old, they all work fine for a day after cleaning but when i come home from work the next day the co2 is barely pushing out 1 bubble every few seconds, but when i remove the diffuser from the tube the bubbles start pouring out at a rate of at least 10 bps, it comes out this fast because i have to have the needle valve way open whilst the diffuser is attached. I've only tried cleaning with bleach, i used to either soak it in bleach/water solution for 20 mins or so then thoroughly clean, or pour neat bleach on the disc for 5 mins then wash and repeat always soaking in de-chlor after, since the daily problems have arrived frustration has led me to soak in a 50-50 bleach solution overnight but there have been no improvements.

This is driving me insane as the plants are only getting full co2 for 3 hrs a night between getting home and lights out, i'm going to change the tubing although as i said when the diffuser is cut off the bubble rate is normal but i'm out of ideas.

I heard hydrogen peroxide might be a good alternative but also that it will probably only oxidise the algae and i don't think algae is the problem.

Any help would be fantastic!
Arte Et Labore 1875 said:
ey all work fine for a day after cleaning but when i come home from work the next day the co2 is barely pushing out 1 bubble every few seconds

mine are the same. it has never really bothered me though. i dont touch my co2 once setup and only clean my diffuser quickly once a month.

Arte Et Labore 1875 said:
but when i remove the diffuser from the tube the bubbles start pouring out at a rate of at least 10 bps

it should do. it needs pressure to push the co2 through the ceramic disc. i would just set it up so that the co2 is the right bsp the day after its been cleaned. that way it should stay consistant
Thanks for the quick response Sam, I wish i could do that but even with the needle valve all the way open the co2 still only comes out at 1 bubble every 2-3 seconds, thats no where near enough, i like to keep it at around 2 bps - i mean the drop checker shows dark blue so its barely flowing. Every day when i get back home the co2 only comes out of a few holes in the disc, usually around the edges. There has to be a block doesn't there?
There's an intresting new series on AquaJournal about the NA Gallery and its maintenance:
we knew this before they keeping clean all glass stuff for the weekends (opening time) but they tell us they clean every glass item weekly on these pages.

with my diffusers i keep the diffusers in the solution for overnight or for a few days. depend on if i can use a replacement for that time. using ADA Superge and i never had problems with cleaning them.
I never got more than 2 weeks out of glass diffusers without a clean before they dropped in performance. So Victor is probably right IMO, a weekly clean is probably best for peak performance especially if you only give them a 5-10 minute clean as I used to anyhow .
Besides checking for leaks, you may want to check your non-return valves too, in case they're leaking or clogged.
Thanks for all the replies fella's, I came to the same conclusion about the non-return valves so i will check both. I'm now sure that the problem isn't the diffusers as when i cut the seemingly blocked diffuser from the tube it works fine again when i re-attach it just seconds later, this has to mean there is a leak somewhere when the pressure inside the tubing gets to a certain point, releasing that pressure by cutting the tube then re-attaching the diffuser allows it to work again until the pressure builds back up, i'll have time on Thursday to have a proper inspection, so i'll let you know how it goes.

Was there anybody that had heard of or experienced the usage of Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning diffusers?

Thanks again.
Hi Arte
Have you opened the regulator valve enough?
What are the readings on the gauges?
Flyfisherman(Paul) may be able to assist you in solving the problem.
Hey mate, yes the needle valve is way open, if the regulator valve is a different thing then it can't have one - unless theres a screw under the reg shell somewhere. The cylinder pressure reads 58, the output pressure only 0.2 which is no where near the green zone on the gauge, i have a dennerle classic set up and the regulator that comes with it - I'm not sure if this means anything significant?

edit - it does fluctuate sometimes, i just turned the needle valve totally open and now the bubbles are streaming through the diffuser and the output pressure needle is wobbling between 0.4 and 0.6 - i do this every night but the day after the flow rate virtually stops....?
0.2 Bar is really low, I would up that to something like 1.5 if you can.

Just to confirm, you have a cylinder, a regulator and a needle valve?

A photo of your set-up may help.