Review: Cascade glass spray bars from Aquarium Plant Food UK

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Fed up with ugly spray bars spoiling the look of your aquascape? Here's an alternative, says Nathan Hill...

It’s good…

Here’s something a little novel for the aquascaper: a glass bar return. For ages, the market has been dominated by lily pipe types of outlet, which are great if you just want a single source of flow. These new offerings allow for a smoother gradient of flow over a wider area, which will be more than welcome in longer or densely planted layouts.

To make life easier, Aquarium Plant Food also supplies glass rear exit pipes (sold separately) to get you over the lip of the tank. A small piece of clear tubing is then used to connect the two and the spray bar positioned accordingly. The exit pipes come in left or right handed orientations, making them all the more versatile.

Like other Aquarium Plant Food glassware, two sizes are available: 13 and 17mm, and holes are spaced at 3cm/1" intervals.

If the tubes aren’t long enough (there are 20cm/8" and 40cm/16" types available) you can extend them using the separate 10, 20 or 40cm/4, 8 or 16" open-ended tubes. If you’ve got the money, you could make the things a mile long, should you so choose.

But…

The only real downside to the bars, aside the inherent fear of breaking them, is getting them clean enough inside. Lapse on your cleaning regime and you’ll quickly be overrun with sediment and algae that’ll dig itself in like an Alabama tick. Keep them cleaned every few days, however, and they’re gorgeous looking alternatives

to the usual black or smoky devices available. You’ll need to keep those holes clean if you want immaculate flow, too. At the first instance of clogging, flow can become very disproportionate.

The verdict

If you’re after cheap and practical, then these aren’t for you. If you’ve got fish that knock hard against in-tank accessories, then they’re not for you either. But if you want to put the final smart touch on your pride and joy Iwagumi, then you’ll want to have a much closer look at these pipe sets.

Good:

  • Finally an answer to ugly spray bars.
  • Better flow for aquascapes without ruining the aesthetic.

Bad:

  • You’ll need to be hot on cleaning.
  • Expensive for a spray bar kit.
  • Sold as separates, and adds up if making something substantial.
  • Connections (hose) impact on the look a little.
  • Not the easiest to clean.

Price: Glass spray bar 40cm closed end 13mm or 17mm diameter £34.99; glass spray bar 20cm open end 13mm or 17mm diameter £26.99; rear exit pipe 13mm £19.50, 17mm £19.99. More info from www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk

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