My Attempt at An Algae Scrubber With Pics

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by dngspot, Nov 27, 2009.

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  1. NASAGeek

    NASAGeek Eyelash Blennie

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    I have decided to build an elcosed scrubber and incorporate using gravity feed from my overflow before it enters the sump skimmer section. Should be interesting. More to come.

    Mark
     
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  3. NASAGeek

    NASAGeek Eyelash Blennie

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    SantaMonica,

    I have decided to try to build one as well. In reading your site, this thread and Av8BlueWater's Thread the design tennants that I observed are as follows:

    1) Use double screens, one square inch per gallon.
    2) Clean weekly with fresh water (Getting more details on cleaning procedures
    would be good.)
    3) Use 3K-7K bulbs, more watts the better, CLOSE to screens on both sides.
    4) Get lighting on all of screen; use a reflector
    5) Roughly 10 GPH per square in mesh flow... is that right?
    6) Run lights 16 On/8 Off
    7) CFL lights need to be changed about every 3 mo. PC 6 mo., T5 1 year.
    8) Screen needs to be very rough surface for algae to grab hold.
    9) 1st week cleaning completely clean all algae off.
    10) Clean all black brown oily growth that will come during break in..There will be more for high nutrient tanks.
    11) You may need to clean it sooner than a week if you have high nutrients. Always clean any oil slick off. Once the water is in good shape you won't see this...at least I haven't.
    12) Clean with fresh water to kill pods.
    13) Light BOTH sides of the screen

    Credit to Av8BlueWater since I stole some of this from his posts and reading his thread,

    Any other do's or don't's that I should watch out for? Effectively, I want to write down all the requirement and operations procedures. I am a NASA rocket guy... not trying to make this rocket science, but am trying to get it right the first time. Maybe getting that all written in one place would help you moving forward as well??


    I am basically planning on getting the 800+GPH flow from my overflow and channeling it into an algae scrubber with an approximately 12" wide, 9" tall double screen (108 sq inches). Lighting on both sides with reflectors.

    I could start with something like this (The Container Store > Letter-Size Acrylic Document Box) and just drill some holes where I need them and mount the lights. Just a concept right now. Feedback appreciated.

    Mark

    PS -- I'd like to understand better the trade between the complexity of the dump bucket approach versus the "drip" approach. Also, using true turf versus just letting gunk grow.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas
     
  4. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Fire Shrimp

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    2) With a double layer screen you can clean all the way to the plastic since there will be algae living between the layers.

    3) 2K to 6.5K

    5) No. 35 gph per inch of WIDTH of screen. Height does not matter.

    7) I am finding that any PC/Flourescent bulb needs changing every 3 mo, when used to power a scrubber.

    If you really have 800 coming from the overflow, you can have a 20 inch wide screen, or two screens each 10 inches wide. A compromise would be a 15 inch wide screen.

    Dumps: Forget anything about them for now.

    Turf: Same.

    All other details can be found in the FAQ:

    Algae Scrubbers • View topic - ALGAE SCRUBBER FAQ (12/17/09)
     
  5. dngspot

    dngspot Spaghetti Worm

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    I now have some results. For a couple of months I did not see any progress for the scrubber except the $100.00 pad of turf algae die. I will even say for two months this thing stayed as clean as the day I installed it, nothing was growing on it.
    There was a two fix solution. The first was to put a fan on the thing to move the heated air from the inside of the scrubber. It did not seem hot but must have been. We had this little 4 inch fan we bought from Wal-Mart that did the trick. I also increased the time the dump bucket rotated. I had it set for 30 seconds and increased it to 8 seconds. The fan gave me slow brown growth, with the faster water duration green and red algae growth took off.
    I would also like to add, the die off of the turf screen is not completely a waste, the turf algae is now growing in my sump and if you look closely at the cleaned off screens there is a dark reddish tint to the under screen, that was not there before. So I guess it must be in the system, I have never seen this red algae before I added the red turf screen.

    In the first pic you will see the dirty unit and the fan sitting on top of the splash guard.
    [​IMG]

    In these pics of the somewhat cleaned screen, I just finished scraping it with a piece of acrylic.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is a hand full of the green algae that was removed from the screen. I guess it is about 6 inches in diameter and about 3 inches high.
    [​IMG]

    I will post a pic of the screen with algae on it the next time I clean it.
     
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Not sure I follow you here. You increased it to 38 second intervals total?

    Looks like you have it dialed in now. Cool. 8)
     
  7. dngspot

    dngspot Spaghetti Worm

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    :oops:I decreased the time the bucket rotated to 8 seconds from 30 seconds
     
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  9. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Ahh... I'd love to see a youtube video of this thing in action! :)
     
  10. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Fire Shrimp

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    No surprise. That design that you found and used to make yours has all kinds of errors/problems that can be spotted from just a single pic.

    Air has nothing to do with how much algae grows. It only affects the evaporation, and therefore, the cooling on your tank.

    This is what helped... increased flow (2.5 times, in this case).

    Any die off, while the screen is in the system, is not good. This puts Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate right back into the water.

    You don't want anything growing in the sump, because you can't remove it for cleaning. And if you try to clean it where it is, the broken pieces of algae will color your water. If you don't clean it, the bottom layers will start dying and clouding the water.

    The thing that is "in the system" is Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate. That's what feeds algae. And the red you are finding is the algae that grows when lighting is weak, i.e., under your screen. If lighting is strong, you get green.
     
  11. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    That is a real smug comment. Regardless of your 'expertise' that is not merited. The guy should be commended for building one himself and working out the kinks through experience - not slammed because he didn't follow your standards or protocol.
     
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  12. bwalker9801

    bwalker9801 Zoanthid

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