Algae scrubber

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Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:24 am

Smile do any of you now of a algae scrubber??? If any of you have built one how is it working??

I'm getting ready to build one, the last month I have had a brown algae problem develope and I'm hoping that it will get rid of it

http://www.algaescrubber.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=68

here are a few sample pic's of a few of them










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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:42 am

Do they work good?? Or are they a nitrate trap?? I have got some Algea growing and would like to get rid of it? How do you set one up?

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by ranger_reefer on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:54 am

Looks like a vertical version of a refugium with macro in it to me. It is the same theory you are just giving the algae a better place to live on the scrubber and the algae on the mesh competes with the algae in your tank for nutrients just like a macro should but you encourage growth on the mesh w/ 24 hour lighting so it should eat the phosphates that the tank algae would usually use to grow in the tank because it is getting longer light.


Last edited by ranger_reefer on Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:41 pm

the scrubber will get rid of all nitrate and phosphate in your tank NO ALGAE will grow in the main tank, all you need to do is clean the screen once a week just rub it clean but don't rub it all off just the loose stuff.. I'll find more info
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:19 pm

Here are some advantages of an algae scrubber:


o Allows you to feed very high amounts without causing nuisance algae growth in the tank.

o Can replace waterchanges, IF THE PURPOSE of the waterchange is to reduce nitrate or
phosphate or nuisance algae. Otherwise, it does NOT replace the water change.

o Grows swarms of copepods.

o Increases pH.

o Increases oxygen.

o Will NOT spread algae into the tank. It removes algae FROM the tank.

o There is no odor from the algae (only a slight ocean smell when cleaning it).

o Is very quiet when flowing, similar to a tabletop decorative waterfall. Your pumps are louder.

o Introduces no microbubbles when built properly.

o Removes ammonia too.

o Works in saltwater, freshwater, and ponds too.



How to build it:

First, get your screen. Any stiff material that has holes in it, like knitting backing, plastic canvas, rug canvas, gutter guard, or tank-divider will do. Try going to hardware stores, craft stores, garden stores, sewing stores, or just get one of these online (in order of preference):

http://www.craftsetc.com/store/item.aspx?ItemId=43844
http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategor...nk%20divider/0

Don't use window screen though. The main problem with this kind of "soft" screen will be getting it to hold its shape; it will bend and fold too much. Stiff screen is easier to make stay put, and easier to clean.

If you have a nano with a filter hatch on TOP of the hood, then it's super easy: Just cut a piece of screen to replace the sponge filter, and put it where the sponge filter went. Leave the hatch open, and set a strong light on it, facing down directly on the screen. This is a good bulb to get; it will be bright enough to power the screen, and to light up your nano too:

http://www.buylighting.com/23-Watt-R...1r4023-51k.htm

If your nano does not have a filter hatch on top of the hood, or if you have a regular tank, then here are the options for larger versions:








The first and main thing to consider is the flow to the screen. You need about 35 gph (gallons per hour) for every inch of width of the screen. Thus, a 2" wide screen would need 70 gph, and so on. Here is a chart:

Screen Width-----Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

1" 35
2" 70
3" 105
4" 140
5" 175
6" 210
7" 245
8" 280
9" 315
10" 350
11" 385
12" 420
13" 455
14" 490
15" 525
16" 560
17" 595
18" 630
19" 665
20" 700


Note that for flow, it does not matter how tall your screen is, just how wide it is. Let's start with an overflow feed: In this case the amount of flow is pre-determined by how much is already overflowing; the maximum flow you'll get to the screen will be what's going through your overflow now. This is easy to figure out by counting how many seconds it takes your overflow to fill a one-gallon jug:

60 seconds = 60 gph
30 seconds = 120 gph
15 seconds = 240 gph
10 seconds = 360 gph
8 seconds = 450 gph
5 seconds = 720 gph


Take this gph number that you end up with, and divide by 35, to get the number of inches wide the screen should be. For example, if your overflow was 240 gph, then divide this by 35 to get 6.8 (or just say 7) inches. So your screen should be 7 inches wide. How tall should it be? Tall enough for it to stick into the water below (this will keep it quiet). But for flow, how tall it is not as important as how wide it is.

Current Aquarium(s) Description: 90 reef, algae scrubber
Experience in Saltwater & Reef Aquarium Hobby: 3 years



Pump feeds: Since with a pump you have control over the flow, start with the size screen you can fit into your space. If the screen will go into your sump, then measure how wide that screen will be. If the screen will go into a bucket, then measure how wide that screen will be. Take the width you get, and multiply by 35 to get the gph you need. For example if you can fit a 10 inch wide screen into your sump or bucket, then multiply 10 by 35 to get 350 gph. Thus your pump needs to deliver 350 gph to the screen.

You can construct your setup using any method you like. The only difficult part is the "waterfall pipe", which must have a slot cut lengthwise into it where the screen goes into it. Don't cut the slot too wide; just start with 1/8" (3mm), and you can increase it later if you need to, based on the flow you get. I used a Dremel moto-tool with a "cut off wheel":




Now install the pipe onto the screen/bucket by tilting the pipe and starting at one side, then lowering the pipe over the rest. You may have to wiggle the screen in some places to get it to fit in:




Lighting: This is the most important aspect of the whole thing. You must, must, have strong lighting. I'll list again the bulb I listed above:

http://www.buylighting.com/23-Watt-R...1r4023-51k.htm

... This the MINIMUM wattage you should have on BOTH sides of your screen. You can get even higher power CFL bulbs, or use multiple bulbs per side, for screens larger than 12 X 12 inches, or for tanks with higher waste loads. The higher the power of the lighting on the screen, the more nitrate and phosphate will be pulled out of the tank, and the faster it will happen. You cannot have too much light. When some folks report back that their algae scrubber is not growing algae or working well, the problem is ALWAYS that they used weak lights, or the lights were more than 4" away. Every single time.


Operation:

Regardless of which version you build, the startup process is the same. First, clean the screen with running tap water (no soap) while scrubbing it with something abrasive. Then dry it off and sand it with sandpaper on both sides. Then get some algae (any type) from your system and rub it HARD into the screen on both sides, as deep and as hard as you can. Then run tap water over the screen to remove the loose algae pieces; you won't see the remaining spores that stick to the screen... they are too small, but they are there.

Put a timer on the light, for 18 hours ON, and 6 hours OFF. You will see absolutely nothing grow on the screen for the first two days. But on day 3 you'll start seeing some light brown growth, and by day 5 most of the screen should have a light brown coating. If this level of growth does not happen on your screen, your lighting is not strong enough (you used a weaker bulb), or it's not close enough to the screen (needs to be no more than 4" from the middle of the screen). Increase the bulb power, or move it closer.

When the screen looks something like this:




...then you want to give it it's first cleaning, on ONE SIDE only. Take the screen to the sink, run tap water on it, and just push the algae off with your fingers (not fingernails):



Wait a week, and clean the other side, gently. Wait another week and clean the first side again, etc. After a while you'll have to press harder to get the tougher algae off, and after a few months you'll probably need to scrape it with something,

and it may eventually get so strong that you'll need a razor blade to scrape it off. But for now, be gentle; you always want some algae to remain on the screen when you are done. NEVER clean it off completely. Algae has to remain on the screen to do the filtering.

Don't forget to test your Nitrate and Phosphate before you start your filter, and each day after. I use Salifert:

http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_Aquari..._salifert.html

Update: The Trick of Dark Brown Algae

This has now happened to many people who have new scrubbers. They get early growth, but it's not the green stuff that they see in most pics. Instead it's a dark brown super-thick "coating", or a black "tar", that looks like it was poured on:










What you have here is the type of algae that grows when nutrients are extremely high (!). After a few cleanings, when the nutirents come down, the color will lighten up to some balance point where it will stay. The big problem, however, is that people think the screen is not growing, so they leave it in to "grow more" (by not cleaning it). BIG MISTAKE! This type of algae does not grow thick, at all. It never gets more than 1/4" (6mm) or so. And worse, since it's SO DARK, it block all light from reaching the bottom layers, thus causing those layers to die and release nitrate and phosphate back into the water. So the solution is to clean ANY and ALL dark brown/black algae right away, and don't even wait until the end of the week. Basically, if you cannot see your screen, then light is not reaching it and it needs to be cleaned. You'll only have to do this a few times before the nutrients come down and the algae color lightens up. Don't fall for the Dark Brown Algae Trick.


The Pet store in West Acres has one on there tanks
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by cdness on Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:36 pm

I hear good and bad things about them. If done right and are large enough for your tank they can help. They can even take the place of a skimmer. Many larger aquariums (Commercial any thousands of gallons) use them but they are HUGE and depend on sunlight to light the scrubber... I would be interested to see how successful yours is and may end up trying it one day for the heck of it. For now though the skimmer works fine for me.

If you need some help building it I have access to lots of tools here in Fargo. It shouldn't be hard to build at all as the idea if pretty simple. Did you look into the already seeded mesh yet? That's supposed to be able to get the culture started quicker and more efficient, but the plasic backing stuff at walmart will work as well on a budget.
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:54 pm

I have almost everything I need except for a pump, I'm trying not to spend alot of money so I'm looking for a cheep one... I've been watching ebay
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by danreefs on Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:06 pm

imdaring wrote:I have almost everything I need except for a pump, I'm trying not to spend alot of money so I'm looking for a cheep one... I've been watching ebay

Just put a maxjet on it 20 bucks
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:17 pm

Well I am going to build one this week and give it a try I have everything here to make one !!!

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by GoingPostal on Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:05 pm

No way am I cleaning off that nasty looking screen with my fingers like they suggest!! Shocked

I've heard they work, hard to judge if they will do better or worse than a fuge with cheato in it. I know I've never had luck growing algea in general, my cheato has never done squat so maybe this would be something different to try.
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by danreefs on Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:13 pm

My cheato takes up space lol
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:18 pm

Well I going to whip one out tonight and I will post pictures soon as I am done

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by tinkerman on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:43 pm


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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:49 pm

Well not sure if this is the proper way but looks like some of the pictures I have seen??

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by danreefs on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:50 pm

Home_Depot wrote:Well not sure if this is the proper way but looks like some of the pictures I have seen??
That looks right to me
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:54 pm

cost me about 5 bucks minus the pump I had an extra!!

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:52 am

do you think a maxi jet is big enough???
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by cdness on Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:23 am

Building them is the easy part. Building them large enough to make a difference can be the hard part.

Garrett, looks right, but how are you going to stand yours up in your sump? Let me know how it works for you after it's installed. I'm interested to see the results.

A maxijet should be large enough for a small scrubber. I don't think the hear height is very good on those though so you'll have to take that into consideration in the build.
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by Home_Depot on Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:45 am

I have to build a bracket for it I had it all in my head and then poof gone and I forgot to to that so I will get one whiped out and give it a try. Will let you all know how it works.

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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:58 am

my sump that I have right now is to small for it to go into it so I'm going to use a bucket till I'm ready to upgrade to my 90 tank with the 55 gal sump
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:03 pm

OK I just set mine up I will post every day of progress her is day 1
I'm very excited!!!! I hope it works


tank pictures by imdaring - Photobucket



Spray bar




Added screen



added lights



Water OUT


Water running down the screen


Tank Day1


Tank Day 1 Nasty Brown Algae growing on my sand scratch


Last edited by imdaring on Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by cdness on Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:42 am

you should link the image with the image code so we can all see the progress without going to photobucket... some of us are lazy Wink
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by cdness on Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:47 am

You might want to remove the tin foil if there is touching the water at all. it will corrode really fast and could leech metals into the tank. If you want a splash guard, get a larger piece of PVC and cut it in half then glue it or brace it to the top of the scrubber pipe.
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:59 am

Shocked wow I never thought of that. I will do that right away Thanks
cdness wrote:You might want to remove the tin foil if there is touching the water at all. it will corrode really fast and could leech metals into the tank. If you want a splash guard, get a larger piece of PVC and cut it in half then glue it or brace it to the top of the scrubber pipe.
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Re: Algae scrubber

Post by imdaring on Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:07 am

I can't for some reason I can not post any pics directly on to any boards like this, somthing is going on with my computer it has been doing this for about 2 month now it drives me nuts!! any site like face book, livingreefs and now I try'd this one I can't event click and paste on to it ?? any ideas?

cdness wrote:you should link the image with the image code so we can all see the progress without going to photobucket... some of us are lazy Wink
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Re: Algae scrubber

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