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Lowest cost and easiest way to eliminate green hair, bubble, turf and slime algae


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  • 2 weeks later...

Some more successes from waterfall scrubbers:

 

Damon on the IM site: "I have been completely skimmer less for over a month now, and my ats has brought my nitrates from off the chart above 50ppm and with yesterday's test it has come down to 5 on the high end with color choosing(can't wait for a Hanna to make a nitrate). I am extremely happy with my ats as it is now, but I do believe I'm going to build a second one next to it. I built this size for a small (75-90g heavy bioload), but I'm going to add a second one that will be a more professional build quality now that I have figured out how I want it to run. I still love the fact that I have dropped $25 a month in electricity, haven't done a water change in a month while still dropping nitrates and getting amazing coral growth. The best part is I am making these to utilize my overflow drains, so in essence I adding a more efficient form of filtration without adding any heat or extra electricity. I can't report on long term results as I've only been running an ats since last fall. But from where my tank was to where it is now is enough for me to jump ship, lol."

 

Kerry on the scrubber site: "I was hard for me to believe that this device worked. It took about a year before I built one and now I wish I knew about this years ago. Who would have thought algae would provide so much success? I even have one on my 150G FW Jack Dempsey tank as well. And yes, its so nice not to have a skimmer anymore!!!!"

 

Reefkeeper2 on the RC site: "I run a skimmer, biopellets and an ATS. The skimmer and the pellets worked well keeping nitrates at 0, but there was room for improvement with phosphate control. I tried GFO, and lanthanum. My sps do not like the GFO. I got STN often when I changed it out. The lanthanum worked, but was very labor intensive and so unpractical. The ATS did the trick nicely. I have been a reefer for a very long time. I think I have tried every method of nutrient control thought up by anyone. I really enjoy trying out new ideas and trying to improve on old ones. I have to say that this combination has worked the best of all I have tried over the years."

 

N728NY on the RC site: "Just chiming in to say I really hope this thread keeps going! Lots of good info. I'm still pretty new to keeping a reef tank. I have been running a scrubber with my skimmer for the past three months. Before then I could never get my nitrates below 15, and since I added my scrubber I never been able to detect any nitrates, even after feeding twice as much. I know with my 75 gallon set up, I made my scrubber slightly over sized (sized for 100 gallons) and I dump huge amounts of pellets and frozen shrimp in my tank on top of spot feeding my corals on a regular basis and I still have yet to register any nitrates on my test kit. Being that I'm still new I still haven't built up the courage to unplug the skimmer yet. I may try it once I know for sure my scrubber is fully matured, got plenty of ro water made up and salt ready just in case I need to do an emergency water change lol. I still have a clump of cheato left that I suppose would be good back up if the scrubber couldn't keep up. The cheato doesn't really grow very much right now because of the scrubber. I love these scrubbers, I'm so glad I took the time to read "both sides" of the arguments on them to find out the facts about them."

 

Kentth on the scrubber site: "overall the tank is much healthier, a lot of feather dusters, coming out of the rocks, yellow sponges, other opaque sponges. big thing is no water changes for over 8 months, almost no silt, it has really cut my maintenance"

 

Langtudatinh01 on the RC site: "i completely redo my 40B with the ATS from beginning, i barely see much algae on my display tank but i now have a mature ATS. i relocated all my fish and add another one without any issue. the dead rocks i use bleach quite a lot of phosphate back into the water, but the ATS has handle the issue like a cham. i do not see much algae on my display. everything is green like grass down at the ATS. i am very happy so far.'

 

Bicolour on the MFUK site: "quick update, so my ats has been running since [6 weeks ago] and i gotta say all the algea in my tank and on the sand has gone, wow. gotta say it was well worth doing. i dont monitor growth at the moment but this is something i will be doing in the future, my set up was basic costing very little as i wanted to try this before i really looked into the idea. very impressed and can only say if you got space look into it"

 

Rysher on the RC site: "i have a 6x9 screen, 1 inch is submerged so only 6x8 is really used, i also have a 40b. it has been my only form of filtration ever since i started the tank [months ago], i feed almost 2 cubes a day, only have 2 fishes but u cant see any algae on my DT, almost non existent film algae too, i clean my DT glass maybe once a week."

 

Packman90 on the RC site: "I have a 72 Gallon bow front and until a couple of months ago I was going to throw my tank away and give up on saltwater tanks all together. I was brand new, took a lot of advice, started my system and watched as it became more and more green, until i found out about scrubbers. I lost all of the coral frags I bought, about $400.00 worth, and just felt that I would never get it. I have it now, and just bought my first new frags in over 8 months. Thanks to all of you scrubbers out there who showed me the way. Here is the tank after the scrubber did it's magic. this took a total of 1 month for it to clear up, and I did not remove any of the algae, it just melted a way. Only problem I have is that i have some sea grass that is melting away as well and cheto in my sump is also slowly dieing."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I figured I would throw in my update with the UAS. The first two months of running this things I was convinced I was going to rip it out for the algae growth was dismal, and I figured that my system just couldn't make it work. (I also have algae in my fuge) WELL I WAS WRONG. The thing started to really kick in. So much so that I just conducted my only water change in 2 months and I hardly think it was even necessary. I usually do a change of 30% every 2 weeks. My sand bed has cleared up big time too. With the water change I pulled out a good baseball sized amount of algae off the scrubber, couldn't be happier! I will always be running one of these.

 

I will post pics of its growth next time I change water. Many months from now. :)

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Here are the requirements for building a UAS.

 

Screen material:

 

1)

Use plastic canvas as the algae screen. Remember to roughen it up properly using a wood saw or hole saw. You can get plastic canvas at craft store (under sewing section) or sewing store or online at places like www.everythingplasticcanvas.com or ebay. Screen should look like this:

 

ScreenHoleSaw.jpg

CanvasCompare.jpg

 

Lighting

 

2)

The lighting needs to be 1 watt per square inch (6.25 square cm) of screen material. A 3 by 4 inch screen is 12 square inches not 24. Make sure you have enough wattage and use a reflector if the light doesnot focus on screen. For fluorescent bulbs, it needs to have a spectrum of 2700k-3000k. For LEDs, it needs to be red 660nm. You can cut the wattage in half if you are using LED lights. In order for algae to grow, make sure that the light is on for 18 hours a day. Here are some bulbs and reflector type:

 

CFLtypes.jpg

BeerCan.jpg

 

Bubbles:

 

3)

The bubbles need to be rapid and large and distributed through out the screen evenly for algae to grow. The best way to do this is by slicing the air tubing. Make sure the air pump is good so that the bubbles can constantly flow across the screen for 24 hours a day. This is why you need bubbles:

 

WhyBubbles.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
Do you have any suggestions for the best manufacturer for making these?

 

Unanswerable question without significantly more information provided on your end.

 

For example:

 

Will you be providing 100% of the samples and design for each style of model you want made, or will you provide general specs and the factory has to engineer them?

What features and accessories do you want included by this factory? Plumbing? LEDs/lighting? Pumps? Just the shell of the unit? Final packaging?

What price are you willing to pay for the manufacture of these items and what materials and quality do you need?

Do you want 1-stop shopping (a factory that can provide start to finish complete manufacturing) or will you be sourcing from multiple vendors and separate final assembly/packaging?

 

I could come up with 10 more examples easy, but you get the idea. You need to figure out what your needs are before looking for a factory.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This might be a dumb question... Would puting an airstone under macro in a fuge achieve similar growth?

 

could work, but you'd want to watch the bubbles (especially popping for salt spray) in an uncontained fuge and also, you'd probably need to up your fuge's lamp wattage. they'll be getting access to more CO2, but they need more light to use it.

 

that's just on a technically molecular-speaking basis, it may not be significant in practice. give it a shot, I'm thinking a big fatty long (or round) airstone under your macro would make a lot of sense, give it a shot and let us know!

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  • 2 years later...
  • 6 years later...

Phosphate flow out of rocks

Many people, when they get their scrubber running for the first time, get worried when more (not less) algae starts to grow on their rocks. It seems really strange, especially when nitrate and phosphate tests have been lower than before. What is happening is that phosphate is coming out of the rocks. Remember, phosphate is invisible, so you can only see the effects of it, and it always "flows" from higher concentrations to lower concentrations (just like heat does). 

Example: If your room is warm, and you put a cold object on the floor, heat from the air in the room will "flow" into the object until the object and the air are the same temperature. Example 2: If you put a hot object on the floor, heat will "flow" out of the object and go into the air in the room, again, until the air and the object are the same temperature. Now suppose you open your windows (in the winter). The warm air in your room will go out the windows, and it will get colder in the room. The object on the floor is now warmer than the air, so heat will flow out of the object and into the air, and then out the window.

Think of phosphate as the heat, and your rocks as the object, and your windows as the scrubber. As the scrubber pulls phosphate out of the water, the phosphate level in the water drops. Now, since the phosphate level in the water is lower than the phosphate level in the rocks, phosphate flows from the rocks into the water, and then from the water into the scrubber. This continues until the phosphate levels in the rocks and water are level again. And remember, you can't see this invisible flow. It's like a fast flowing, but shallow, river. And it can be much more phosphate than how much you are feeding each day.

This flow causes an interesting thing to happen. As the phosphate comes out of the rocks, it then becomes available to feed algae as soon as the phosphate reaches the surface of the rocks where there is light. So, since the surface of the rocks is rough and has light, it starts growing MORE algae there (not less) as the phosphate comes out of the rocks. This is a pretty amazing thing to see for the first time, because if you did not know what was happening you would probably think that the algae in the scrubber was leaking out and attaching to your rocks. Here are the signs of phosphate coming out of the rocks: 

1. The rocks are older, and have slowly developed algae problems in the past year.

2. The scrubber is new, maybe only a few months old, and has recently started to grow a lot; possibly dark and thick.

3. Nitrate and phosphate measurements in the water are low, usually the lowest they have been in a long time.

4. Green hair algae (not brown) on the rocks has increased in certain spots, usually on corners and protrusions at the top.

5. The glass has not needed cleaning as much.


Since skimmers, filter socks, etc don't remove any nitrate and phosphate, and waterchanges and macro's in a fuge don't remove much either, most people have never seen the effects of large amounts of phosphate coming out of the rocks quickly. But sure enough, it can with a scrubber. How long does it continue? For 2 months to 6 months, depending on how much phosphate is in the rocks, how strong your scrubber(s) is, and how many other phosphate-removing filters you have (GFO, carbon dosing, etc). But one day you will see patches of white rock that were covered in green hair the day before; this is a sure sign that the algae are losing their phosphate supply from the rocks and can no longer hold on. Now it's just a matter of days before the rocks are clear.

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