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Friday, 7 March 2014

JBL Floaty Blade - A quick review

I’ve been in the market for a glass cleaner for my reef tank so recently got my hands on a JBL Floaty Blade. Now i have used many magnetic glass cleaners over the years, but not had a chance to have a look at JBL’s offering.

The JBL glass cleaners tend to come in two different flavours and various sizes, but only the Floaty Blade has the included algae scraper included.

So heres a few pictures and a first look review.

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Of course one of the main points of the ‘Floaty Blade’ is the blade itself, which is angled in at around 45degrees, and thankfully has no sharp edged corners.

I for one am terrified of the prospect of a magnetic glass cleaner causing scratches on the glass, so I’m always a little cautious!

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The blade can be detached if you so wish by squeezing a pair of clips in on the sides...

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The internal glass side has this rough, almost velcro feel to it, like most other mag glass cleaners out there to provide a bit of scrubbing power against any tough stuff bonded to the glass...

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The outer part for the external glass surface has a soft felt like fabric attached to it, which will simultaneously buff the outer glass surface as you work against whatever is on the insides.

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A small white piece of plastic is provided should you need to clamp the two halves together when not in use. I accidentally allowed them to come together without this piece in place and they are VERY difficult to separate after! I don’t recommend doing that! With the little plastic piece they twist apart very easily.

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I was intrigued at first as to what this curved edge was for on one side of the internal half...

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So i gave it a test run on my Juwel Lido...

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On glass this thin, the magnets are far too powerful and the whole thing vibrates and judders as you pull the outer magnet along the surface.

However i did note the neat trick of the curved edge mentioned a couple of pictures back… its purpose seems to be to run up the edge of your silicone joints and keep the blade edge away from snagging the silicone itself… a nice touch!

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Next i put it onto the substantially thicker glass on my larger reef aquarium (15mm) and the increased distance on the magnets allowed it to move much more freely, in fact it glided along seamlessly. All the time i was apprehensive about that blade catching the glass, but the steep angle gives very little chance of it putting any gouges into the surface.

There wasn’t much to clear/scrape at the time, just some dust and weak filamentous algae until the bio side becomes established, but it cleared all that away with absolute ease! I will have to make a future review regarding its outright cleaning powers.

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Another neat thing i discovered is the extended edge on the ‘wet side’ of the glass cleaner, it seems a little odd at first until you discover its purpose...

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The extended edge, literally extends up beyond the boundary of any hood/pelmet that you may have installed your aquarium and essentially allows you to clean beyond that point and not leave an unsightly line of algae around the very limits. Or have to go in manually afterwards to finish off the job. A very neat design addition.

As you can image, the ‘float’ bit of the Floaty Blade’s name means exactly that, the wet side will float to the surface should it become completely detached, instead of sinking to the depths, a minor ask of the design of any magnetic glass cleaner i suppose, its also semi buoyant enough to do a quick exchange to another pane of glass if you are quick enough, i found parking it up against the silicone, then hold the dry side close to the corner and move it round, would bring the wet side along with it, so you can continue cleaning elsewhere without having to go in through the the top. If you have a high or deep tank, this small trick is generally very helpful!

The JBL Floaty Blade so far has proven to be a good little tool out of the box with some interesting extra design features, time will tell in the near future when i get to test it out on some more stubborn stains.

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