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Turf Scrubber ??


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Anyone have one, or any experience with one ?? I found a great webiste that has a DIY one that has a great explanation and instructions on how to...with pictures even!!


Was curious about this as I am at that point in my 125 gallon setup.....to skim or scrub ??

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Turf scrubbing showed a passing popularity in the hobby a little over 20 years ago. Some people took interest in it after Dr. Walter Adey built a large system at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Turf scrubbers again showed a passing popularity when Dr. Adey featured his system in the 1991 book, co-authored by Karen Loveland, "Dynamic Aquaria - Building Living Ecosystems".


In 1986 I began assembling an algal turf scrubber. I later changed my plans converting it into a "mini-reef" system modeled after the early European reef aquarium systems. These earlier reef systems for some reason, had heavy growths of Caulerpa for exporting nutrients. I found that whenever I cut back on the use of my protein skimmer, I would have to remove large quantities of macroalgae from my system(Caulerpa and Halimeda), as their accelerated growth would soon fill my tank. I can imagine the amount of algae I would have to be removing on a regular basis with a turf scrubber. These turf scrubber consist of regular removal of mats of mostly hair algae (Derbasia)and Blue-green algae(cyanobacteria).

Although I did not visit the Smithsonian, I have seen photos of Dr. Adey's system. People that did personally see the tank with it's turf scrubber and seagrass lagoon, always commented on how yellow the water was.


My observation of the hobby over the years has shown a progression from dependence on algae growth and removal, the acceptance of the "Berlin Method", toward a preference of optimized biological filtration, lighting, and better quality skimmers, as we have today.


Here is a series of articles including photos and diagrams of the Smithsonian system, a DIY algae filter, and an early "mini-reef" system.



I have a copy of "Dynamic Aquaria", if you want to read it.

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Thanks for the info....I was reading about the scrubber last night and found it intresting to say the least....I have little knowledge in SW and after reading the few articles I found myself wondering if this is such a superior system...meaning it only removes the " bad" organincs....and the actual cost of the system....then why do more people not use it ??


I can see the yellowish water forming ....that makes since....maybe in the day it was popular there was not sufficient information or products available for dosing the tanks with supplemental elements? Was a interesting read .....but I'm not convinced enough yet to " scrap the skimmer " or the water changes...but I see some people actually do this and they report good results.

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Algal scrubbers really lost popularity by the time skimmers became more powerful and standard equipment. In a system that has an efficient skimmer, it is near impossible to even get algae to grow. Your best bet if you wanted to try this sort of system would be to run skimmerless, but that opens the door to a whole other set of challenges.

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Wow! That's quite a range of scrubbers. From 5 gallon bucket size, to full room-sized MH setups! I will definitely take time to read the full text. What's a little yellowing of the water anyway? Nothing some activated carbon can't cure!:D

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