Algae Scrubber Basics

Discussion in 'Turbo's Aquatics' started by Turbo's Aquatics, Aug 4, 2011.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,732
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    Hey TA, I finally made an ATS! It's vertical, and has 2 sheets of roughed up knitting board,
    each utilizing 270 sq inches x 2. (LIght on both sides)
    So roughly up to 540 Sq Inches

    I'm using a DC1200 and 1.5" pipe, with about a 3 ft head = LOTs of flow- if needed.
    I started my own thread on my build- and pretty sure I credited your thread as one of the best for builds on ATS.

    My question is simply, If the system can handle it, is it still possible to have TOO much flow?
    I'm varying between 2/6 or 3/6 on the pumps controller.
    My thread on 3Reef is here:
    http://www.3reef.com/threads/todds-ats-build-week-2-pics.158942/
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,732
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    And btw, this new sizing parameter of cubes per day?
    What if you don't feed 'cubes'?

    I really like you informative thread, and I'm really hoping that my new ATS build will be a mainstay in my system from now on.
     
  4. Av8Bluewater

    Av8Bluewater Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,401
    Location:
    Dallas
    The cube things is just a rough estimate of total food. It's something Santa Monica came up with years ago.
    Not really sure about too much flow. I know Santa M did years of practice to figure out what seemed to work best though.
     
  5. Turbo's Aquatics

    Turbo's Aquatics 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    @Todd_Sails those look like 10x13.5 screens, each one, correct? The area measurement goes by LxW vs total area, so each screen would be 135 sq in for a total of 270 sq in of screen - that is what is used for the calculation.

    The feeding-based guideline is based on cubes but there are ways to estimate the equivalent, see the end of post #70 for the equivalents.

    So your scrubber would be:

    270 / 12 = 22.5 cube/day, based solely on screen size. But for that to be "true" you would also have to have a minimum of 270W of CFL spread across it, or, for 4 fixtures, about 65W lamps. I didn't see where you called out the wattage on those but they look pretty decent so I'm guessing 42W? Any bigger than that and they get pretty $$. So let's say 42W, then you would basically de-rate the screen by a bit, 42/65 = 0.64 so 22.5 x 0.64 = 14.4 cube/day

    Me recommendation is to not overbuild much more than 2x what you feed, and I'm guessing that you might actually be feeding in that 6-8 cube/day range, that's not out of the realm of realism so your build looks pretty good to me!

    Flow looks good. You have a spray blocker (saran wrap) so that's good. I noticed that you had to re-cut the slot pipe, those are tough to get nice and straight using a dremel but you will also want to check the width all the way across it after you get done cutting it, 1.5" S-40 pipe might not pinch too badly but with a long slot, over time, it will "relax" and close up in the middle. Easy solution, just trim it out after a few months so that it's 1/8" all the way along the slot and you're good to go. Then check it again a few months later, eventually it will stop closing up.

    For overall flow, 35 GPH/in is the "guideline" range but that's just a number to shoot for. You can get away with lower flow, and usually what happens is that overall flow will decrease over time due to many factors, so starting out there, if you end up with 25 GPH/in after a few months (or even 20), you're probably just fine. On the high end, if you go over 50 GPH/in then you're approaching the point of diminishing returns - a lot of that water will go over the top of the screen.

    One of the unanticipated side-effects of my snap-on light blockers is that when growth gets thick, they actually 'trap' the water and force it down through the middle of the algae mat,reducing the over-the-top issue on higher flow rates. But then, you can get flow going out the ends between the light blocker and the pipe still - better than over the top. But this is actually solved with my SquarePipe in the Rev 4.
     
  6. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,732
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    TA- Thank you for taking the time for such a nice indepth answer to my questions, and thanks for adding even more info/caveats to it!

    And Thanks for looking at my build- in which I essentially credit you and your build/how to thread for. While I had briefly looked at SM's thread/s, yours is what I went off of.
    Some other locals in my club/group have also recently tried ATS's!

    MY wattage is where I'm probably lacking a bit. I"m using the 100W Eq.= 23w power usage,
    x 4 bulbs in large aluminum reflectors.
    2700K- IIRC, you recommend the lower K bulbs- right?

    I really don't feed that much, and often skip days per week due to my work schedule.
    I"m trying to 'overbuild' my ATS to help it take up some nuisance algae in my DT, and to hopefully take my MASSIVE chaeto offline, and eventually my skimmer too if all goes well- what's your thoughts on the chaeto/skimmer comment please?
    I am giving/trading away 3 of 4 gallon ziplocks stuffed full of it away this weekend- that will be at least 1/2 of my churrent chaeto mass.- I'm hoping this will leave a few more 'things' to help my ATS grow faster too!

    TIA,
    Todd
     
  7. Turbo's Aquatics

    Turbo's Aquatics 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    No problem @Todd_Sails glad to help

    with 4x23W = 96, 96/12 = 8 cube/day so "technically" you could try to cram those lights all on to one screen and grow more algae per unit area in a smaller space. But, since you have the space, no big deal. Plus trying to get those big reflectors next to each other on the same screen would be tricky, you would almost have to slice the edges off and butt them up next to each other so they looked like an "8" and then you would lose a bit of efficiency. Or you could do different reflectors - hang the lamps vertically with a curved reflector behind them (similar to a MH reflector or shop-light / "beer can" reflector)...but...I think I would only consider that if you start running into issues with your growth of the current scrubber. Thing like thin growth, yellow spongey patches, etc - a general lack of thick GHA, which is what tends to occur when you try to encourage algae to grow over too large of an area (compared to the nutrients available). There is a pretty wide range of spec that will get you good growth, which is what is generally nice about Algae Scrubbers, they're relatively easy to DIY

    2700K is correct
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,732
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    Thanks again, awesome. I only cleaned one screen so far, I thought I would stagger the cleanings. The one I cleaned is already almost looking the like the 2 wk. old one, after only a few days!
    The screens are 10.5 x 13.5", x 2 of them, both double sided.

    And about reducing of eliminating my chaeto; and also taking the skimmer offline?
     
  10. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Cubes was used because it's a visible, measurable thing, with no difference between U.S. and metric.
     
  11. Turbo's Aquatics

    Turbo's Aquatics 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    Sorry I missed this question @Todd_Sails. The scrubber should eventually out-compete your chaeto (if it hasn't already). Regarding the skimmer, that's really a personal choice IMO and largely depends on your tank. Skimmers have a bit of functional crossover, but for the most part, scrubbers and skimmers do different things. So they can pair up and be a pretty good combination. Also, larger tanks usually mandate multiple filtration methods, either complementary or supplementary. You are protecting your investment so it seems to make sense to not rely on just one method. At least that's my opinion.
     
  12. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,732
    Location:
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    Thanks TA,

    Recently I've had some 'scrubber hitchhikers', my turbo snails are getting on my scrubber sheet and feeding away! One of them is very close to my ATO apparatus.

    [​IMG]