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Unread 08/01/2008, 09:44 AM   #151
biomekanic
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I'm going to see about modding one of these:
http://www.fish.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=...ccode=FSHSHPNG

I have one sitting around, I was thinking of putting in a divider and doing one of your spraybar designs on the back of the tank.

Or would it be better to have a seperate turf filter?

Okay... now I'm thinking of having a "box" on top where the filter feeds back into the tank.

Light with something like this... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...id=p2759.l1259

Hmmm...

Any thoughts?


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Unread 08/01/2008, 10:22 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally posted by miwoodar
The system progressed to the Berlin method over time and improved as I went.
yeah, this is the same expensive journey that i took.

i went and 'tried' all these different methods etc only to gravitate naturally back to the berlin method.

looking at your sig...my method is very similar to yours except that i dont utilize a po4 reactor. really, the only deviation from berlin is the vodka and i occasionally dose amino's.

as for ats', i think the bucket version is a great design. it has taken an historically complicated cumbersome piece of equipment and streamlined it down with no moving parts (except of course the pump). is an ats for a noobie? i think most have a hard enough time grasping to balance everything that comes with reefing. i can see the benefits of the ats for a fowlr tank and even maybe a softie/hardy lps tank.

there have been excellent discussions and articles about skimmers. i would not disconnect a skimmer unless one has a good water change regime to dilute and remove all the nasties that a skimmer removes and an algae based filter cant.

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-08/rhf/index.php


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Unread 08/01/2008, 11:35 AM   #153
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seaskraP: Maybe you can take pics of what you would be starting out with, and then pics of your building and installing process. N and P measurements would be cool too.

mekanic: I guess you mean the money for the tank, not the turf Maybe you could try a 10 square inch screen on your current nano? As for that 2 gal thing, do you mean use it as the entire bucket, or actually make a 2 gal nano tank with "a spraybar on the back"? If just for a bucket, I'd use a white one because it really seems to reflect a lot of extra light into the turf. And your "box on the top"... I think what you mean is what I'm testing now on a 5 gal nano... it came stock with a little horizontal sponge filter compartment on the top. I will post pics soon. The LED lights I think would not have enough output to energize the turf; I think those lights are just for decoration (and they are very cool... would like to try some blue ones behind the rocks.)

miwoodar: Have not ever used a surge device, but the drawings do look cumbersome; I guess I can see one breaking like yours did. But I guess a better question would be was your turf doing its job while it was working, or not. Because at least with my bucket version, a new pump or timer might be the only thing I would need to replace to keep it going. So it breaking is really not the issue; it's the performance. As for turf for newbies, that's why I'm trying to simplify their understading of using it; if they can just think "ok, to reduce N and P, I need a screen with flow and light", then they can install it wherever they can fit it, and provide us results as to how it works for them. And since most of them will not be starting with sps, it's a nice match.

bergzy: You say you had some turf not doing it's job, and you eventually dropped it? I like the "historically complicated cumbersome piece of equipment" description of the 30-year-old dumping design. Who knows, maybe it was patented just because you can patent "devices", and he thought a simple "flow" design would work but couldn't be patented. That skimmer article you linked (I think I read it last year) reminds me of the very thing that got me thinking about turf: "In general, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate will not be directly skimmed out of seawater because they do not adsorb onto air water interfaces." Turf, of course, uses these things directly. As for removing the "nasties", my current reading is of skimmerless setups, and I still have not found a chemical/substance of major importance that is not dealt with by turf. My last two suspicions were ammonia and metals, but even Aday's patents clearly describe turf's advantage of taking up both. My main interest still lies in N and P however.

Side note: Could everyone take a moment to go to the end of this thread (bottom right hand side) and rate it?


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Unread 08/01/2008, 12:25 PM   #154
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Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are all Nitrogenous Nutrients... algae by preference will use Ammonia first, but then that is usually not present in sufficient quantities in the aquarium (used up fast by the bacteria dealing with the nitrogen cycle) so it is a limiting factor... Most algae will switch to Nitrate when Ammonia is limiting... But all three are nitrogen based substances...

As for metals... some are taken up by plants or algae... Iron and copper for two... others as well. But some are not.

Skimmers remove most Ions, and most polar molecules... this is because water itself if highly polar... meaning it has oposite charged ends of the molecule, attracting negatively charged ions or molecules to the hydrogen side of the V and positively charged ions or molecules to the Oxygen side... So if the molecule is has this sort of polarity, the skimmer will generally pull them out... so the skimmer is not so much pulling out Phosphate directly, or nitrate directly, although it will pull some of these out as well, but it si pulling out the proteins and amino acids that will eventually break down into these things (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, etc.)

So while it may not pull as much of these nutrients out directly, it definitely keeps the levels down dramatically.

Just FYI


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Unread 08/01/2008, 02:18 PM   #155
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Clarification:
It would be a 2 gallon hex tank with an overflow in the back.
I was considering a little ATS in the back, but on second thought, decided that an "over the tank" unit would be better. ( Or maybe under. Still kicking it around in my head). Or, just go with the ATS in the back... decisions, decisions... I have a quad 27w/9w unit I'd use to light it. I could put mylar on the back part of the tank to increase the light levels. As I said, still kicking it around in my head. I just wish the local plastics place had better hours. They're the only game in town, and only open 8 to 4 M-F, since I work 7:30 to 5:00 most days, this presents problems.

The 2g would be for keeping a G. viridis (sp) mantis - they only get to be about an 1" long, and are pretty much homebodies. A 2 gallon tank is probably more space than they actually use in the wild. I know someone who has one for sale... I just need to talk them into a reasonable price. (I'm not paying $1 a mm for a mantis that's 3cm long. )

Given the 2g size, trying to fit a skimmer on this would be a hassle and a half, but a small ATS would help with uptake of nutrients, plus I'd do weekly water changes. The pod production from the ATS would be good too, help feed the mantis a more natural diet. At that size, they're pretty much only a threat to stomatella snails,or bristle worms.

As for the LEDs, they do look cool. I'm considering a 20" bar for my 10g. Having a blue one in the tank right under the rim pointed down at 45deg angle towards the rockwork would hopefully act like supplemental actinic light.

I'll probably eventually do an ATS on this 10g, but I'd most likely keep the skimmer, mostly for ozone supplementation. In my case, the ozone will be used primarily to break down the allelopathic chemicals the coral produce.


One concern I do have is with the notorious yellowing of the water. Have you observed any of that in your system SantaMonica?


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Unread 08/01/2008, 05:24 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally posted by SantaMonica
[B]I want people to try them because the more that do, the more we'll understand how we can all use these thing better and properly. As for an ATS, first I'd have to say that we might not want to use that word, since it is trademarked to mean the dumping device that Aday patented. So yes I'd agree that an ATS proper, is too overly complex and unnecessary. Which is why I came up with a bucket design. I did at first try to find a real "ATS" (with dumping mechanism) that I could buy, new or used, but they basically don't exist because Aday did not go the route of aquariums (he instead went industrial/commercial). You say you had one and it was not worth the hassle; I'd agree, because it looks like a huge and complex and noisy device with lots of salt spray. But my bucket version is not.
My ATS is anything but complex and noisy. Its larger but designed to be a nice fixture on a tank. The most noise is the cooling fan, which your running also. Large, allowed for the 240sq. in. of turf screen and a directional dump chute which added surge flow to an aquarium

Quote:
As for "hardware" and "maintainence" and "work", I can't see how (for example) a 5 gal bucket with a pvc pipe and clip-on lights that only has to be "attended to" once a week is more work than: Buying a fuge; making space for a fuge; plumbing a fuge; cleaning a fuge; buying a skimmer; making space for a skimmer; adjusting and cleaning a skimmer; cleaning sponge filters; buying filtersocks; cleaning/replacing filtersocks; dealing with or worrying about macro getting into display; etc. All of this, and you still end up skimming food out that the corals wanted, and leaving in N and P that you now need to remove using other methods.
Filter socks remove detritus, nothing to do with an ATS. I always found a skimmer and carbon was needed to run my style of reef tank with my scrubber. If you have read any of the threads I participated in, one could see my several attemps at running my tanks on the scrubbers alone. I also asked to see some aquarists doing so and they long term success and pics of their aquariums.

Basically none without additional filtration but also close to nil running turf scrubbers. Many tried but always seemed to end up like mine, in the corner collecting dust.

Anyways as we are expressing our views on them and other filter methods, thats mine. I may add it saddens me how the scrubbers ended up, as I agree they could be a great filtration device, perhaps with some assistance for some types of reef tanks and perhaps alone for others.

If you could find my thread back when we were discussing it with Morgan, there was great interest, perhaps even in the long ATS thread with Eric and the many other participants.

Good luck with yours. I do follow your thread to see how its going and read many of the other posts.


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Current Tank Info: 50g sumpless sps tank..Evergrow 2081 led..Apex control..Tunze 9012 skimmer..Tunze calcium reactor..Tunze kalk reactor..2 rw8,s..1 MP40..1 Hydor Korillia 1200gph..Tunze ATO..all propagated sps frags
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Unread 08/02/2008, 08:53 AM   #157
SantaMonica
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3 week update:

Right (Originally Seeded), 3 weeks old, 1 week after scrape:

Hi-Res: http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Scre...eeks-1week.jpg


Left (Originally Unseeded), 3 weeks old, never scraped:

Hi-Res: www.radio-media.com/fish/ScreenLeft3weeks.jpg


Seems pretty clear that I'm growing a different type of algae than was seeded. The original turf felt stuf was stiff and a dark brown/red; the new stuff is green and slimey. Can't tell yet if it's green hair algae that's matted down, or a different type of slime algae. When I pick at it, I don't find hair strands laying down or anything. I did find a long hair algae strand about ten inches long that was growing on the bottom the screen (reached all the way into the drain tube).

I'm not going to scrape either side this week, since neither side is as thick as the seeded version that was mailed to me. But this new type of algae may never get that thick though, so I'll be guestimating when to scrape it. Will probably do the left (originally unseeded) side next week.

paulsilver: That is great that algae prefer ammonia. I was thinking that turf may not work for a FO tank with no rock and no sand (such as I want to build an all-eel tank with just pvc pipes). It would be a neat experiment to slowly add eels one-by-one and see if the turf can keep up with the ammonia. Good to hear algae takes up copper, too. Sounds like another advantage of turf over a skimmer. Now I do see how skimming can get the precursors of N and P, but I seem to understand that these precursors are the same thing as "food", i.e., if you left them in the water, something would eat it.

mekanic: Just remember that laying the screen down in the lid of the nano only gives you one side; putting the screen in a unit above the nano gives two sides. 2 to 4 square inches is all you need (!). As for yellowing, I did not notice anything the first two weeks of use, but at that point I needed to use blow some dust arount in the tank as I was cleaning, so I used a filtersock with carbon for a day. But I still did not notice any "clearing up" of the water color. Anyways, I figure that carbon has to be used once a month anyways to clean out the coral chemicals, so if there really is some yellowing, it will be cleared up then.

flatlander: I mention filter socks because, when using turf w/o skimmer, you now have a live planton/pod/food population floating around that you probably don't want to trap in a sock or foam filter, just like you would not want a filter sock between your fuge and your display. I did read some of your past turf discussions; matter of fact I thought I read them all, including the big one. But I never did find one with Morgan participating; maybe he will now since I told him about this thread. What indicator from your setups made you want to keep the skimmer going? Anyways I'm going to go search for "morgan and ats" in the archives now...


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Unread 08/03/2008, 12:42 AM   #158
SantaMonica
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(By the way, I deleted a whole inbox full of pm's by accident about two weeks ago, so if you pm'd and did not get a reply, please retry.)

Wow it's great finding more old threads. Here's the most precise answer to the core question of how turf works, compared to skimmers; was from one of the original turf threads: "Algae can't use organic sources of nitrogen, and for the most part, can't use organic sources of phosphorus. They can only use inorganic nutrient sources." Taken from this long post from that long thread:
http://archive.reefcentral.com/forum...70#post6006070

This is why I wanted to get turf to work, because it only uses inorganics (NH4, NO3, NO2, PO4) which are the exact things we want out of our water. These inorganics are not "food" to anything else of interest (clams?). Also from that same post: "Algae can't use detritus as a nutrient source, at least not directly." Yes, another word for detritus is: FOOD. This point is exactly where I see the yes-skimmer crowd separate from the no-skimmer crowd. It's the thinking that detritus is BAD because is LOOKS bad, SMELLS bad, and much of it comes out of the rear of fishes. But look at manure for gardens: It LOOKS bad, SMELLS bad, and comes out of the rear of cows. But it's what makes gardens grow. Same could be said of compost, which is just rotting leftovers of dead things. If in a garden, you added manure or compost, and at the same time "skimmed" it out with some type of machine, it would seem counterproductive. That's what struck me as odd about skimming once I understood it. But at first, I too was telling onlookers "look out much crap my skimmer pulled out in one day!". This, at the same time that I could never grow any filter-feeders, and barely could grow non-filter-feeders. Grew lots of P and N however.

That post goes on to say: "Productivity is highest with turf algae, followed distantly (if I recall correctly) by seagrasses, followed very distantly by everything else (zooxanthellae, macroalgae, phytoplankton, etc.)" And he then shows this comparison from Perspectives On Coral Reefs (1983)...


Turf algae:
1.0 to 6.0 Productivity (g C/m2/day)
10.0 to 50.0 Area coverage (%)

Seagrasses:
1.0 to 7.0 Productivity
0.0 to 40.0 Area coverage

Zooxanthellae:
0.6 Productivity
10 to 50 Area coverage

Benthic algae:
0.1 to 4.0 Productivity
0.1 to 5.0 Area coverage

Sand algae:
0.1 to 0.5 Productivity
10 to 50 Area coverage

Phytoplankton:
0.1 to 0.5 Productivity
10 to 50 Area coverage


As for yellowing, someone in that thread said: "We added ETS skimmers to take care of some of the organics (generally added by the turf algae when the ATS pads were scrpaed of excessive algal growth)." So maybe yellowing is only during scraping, although as I said before I have not seen any yellowing yet.

Getting back to Morgan's input, I found this further down in another post: "Morgan was pretty adament that you need to use a specific type of turf algae for it to work." Well, I wonder if my new algae that is growing on my screen is going to be the right type, and how I might make sure to grow the right type. In another thread: "When scraping your screens, scrape off all other forms of algae growing on it but leave any turf algae until it out competes everything and is the dominant algae." Interesting. I did not do this my first scrape; I took off everything. I might try "selective scraping" when I do the other side, since it now has both turf and green slime. Another post/thread said: "It is very important that the screens are frequently exposed to air so that turf algaes are favored. There are poor examples of turf scrubbers at the Science Center. Their screens are constantly submerged under several inches of water, allowing valonia, aiptasia and macroalgae to grow and not effectively growing turf algae."

Well this got me concerned, so I took the screen out and "scrubbed" it in tapwater, using my fingernails, kinda like washing your hair. Tons of the green stuff came right off, and it seems to have left just the much-stiffer reddish brown turf:

Left side at 3 weeks, never scraped; first pic is before "scrubbing", second pic after:


Hi-Res: www.radio-media.com/fish/ScreenLeft3weeks.jpg
Hi-Res: http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Scre...AfterScrub.jpg


Right side at 3 weeks, scraped 1 week ago; first pic is before "scrubbing", second pic after:


Hi-Res: http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Scre...eeks-1week.jpg
Hi-Res: http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Scre...AfterScrub.jpg


Especially on the left (never scraped) side, you can see how the green slime was hiding the reddish-brown turf. So the question that remains is: Does non-turf algae help or hurt? As for "needing air", it makes sense for two reasons: (1) Real turf is found only where it is exposed to air; and (2) When you turn off your return pump and the water level in the display goes lower, the green algae that grows on the glass does not go past the water line, i.e., it is held back by the air. So I can see how more "air" over the turf can keep green slime out, and favor turf which is used to the air. Therefore I'm going to consider (as a future test) increasing the timer so the off-time is longer, allowing the turf to dry out more.


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Unread 08/03/2008, 09:11 AM   #159
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SantaMonica wrote: "Now I do see how skimming can get the precursors of N and P, but I seem to understand that these precursors are the same thing as "food", i.e., if you left them in the water, something would eat it."

Ah, but not all Food is Food... nitrogenous wastes come from all sorts of chemical processes... and certain of the components in the reactions, such as Nitrite, are reduced chemically... in this case to Nitrate... but many forms are just proteins or amino acids (all contain some amount of phosphorous, nitrogen, etc.) that are floating around, and others are the allelopathic compounds mentioned above... but certainly removing these BEFORE they convert to Nitrate and Phosphate is the goal of the skimmer... the turf scrubber works by removing them AFTER they have been reduced...

Not sure if this is a positive or a negative, for either skimming or ATS, but it seems to be the sequence that distinguishes the two...

Anyway... if it works, dont fix it...


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Unread 08/03/2008, 12:41 PM   #160
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truthfully I would still run a skimmer, if just for a backup.

It looks like a great idea... but I do think the volume needs to be very high for it to pull the amount of nutrients out that you want

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Unread 08/03/2008, 04:14 PM   #161
SantaMonica
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Well it sounds like having proteins and amino acids are a good thing to have floating around (I think I've seen an amino acid additive). So maybe the allelopathic compounds are the only organic that we really do want removed. I know carbon takes care of these, so a once-a-month carbon treatment should do the trick, as well as remove any (phantom or not) yellowing that's occuring.

Franky: Running the skimmer (even if just for backup) creates the very problem that turf is trying to solve: How to leave food in the water for the corals to eat. Matter of fact, if a skimmer is going to actually be used, then I'm not seeing any need at all for turf. A skimmer takes out food, and reduces N and P because there will be less food to decompose. Turf leaves the food in, but still reduces N and P. Both will reduce N and P, but the skimmer wipes out the food too.

By the way I'm having good results with the 5 gal nano test... will post shortly.


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Unread 08/03/2008, 08:07 PM   #162
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I've been running an eco-wheel on my 180 for about 2 years now. I never found nitrates or phosphates in my tank, but I have had troubles growing corals (both SPS and LPS). In addition, I had all sorts of troubles with various algae in my tank, first dinoflagellates, then green hair, then cyano. I ultimately was able to get rid of each type and maintain an algae free display for the last 4 months or so. I finally added a protein skimmer to my tank and I'm pleased with both filters operating. I have a combination of both red turf (similar to what came with the starter from IA) and a green stringlike type on the scrubber. The green algae grows very fast, I usually pull about 2 packed cups of algae every 2 weeks from my wheel.

I believe many of my coral growth issues had to do with algae in the display. I would use caution with the iron supplement. I added iron at one point with the thought of helping the turf. Within a couple weeks I started having hair algae grow in the tank. Coincidence or not, I do not plan to intentially add an iron supplement to my tank.

I will be interested to see your tank after 6-8 months and more equillibrium using the scrubber in a bucket.

Matt


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Unread 08/04/2008, 04:41 AM   #163
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I've been running skimmerless for a few weeks now and the corals are more brown. The sump has a bit of chaeto and LOTS of xenia.


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Unread 08/04/2008, 11:09 AM   #164
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matt/pam: You are one of the rare finds, with that Eco Wheel. There's a fellow also in Long Beach with one too. That design is what proved to me that turf does not have to be done with a dumping mechanism. Great to hear about your zero N and P... that's my primary interest in turf. As for you getting both red turf and green hair on your screen, maybe that has something to do with you still getting algae in your display. As I posted above (and am gathering more info on still), the green hair algae is not the preferred algae to have on the screens... it is not nearly as efficient in taking up N and P. It may indeed grow faster than (and on top of) the red turf, but some experimentation needs to be done on whether or not it should be allowed to do so. I myself just scrubbed the hair off the screen, leaving just red turf behind. And if you added iron and got more algae in the display instead of your screen, this is looking like growing conditions on your screen are not good enough. Maybe the lighting has dropped? The idea is for algae to grow on the screen first, before the display. Screens need very bright light.

bradr: From some of your other threads, I saw that you are not running any turf, and that you are trying a lot of sps. You might be a good candidate for trying a bucket! Afterall, if your xenia is growing, you have N and P. My xenia shrunk to stubs after my turf was installed; they originally were doubling in size every week. I'll be posting a build thread on a turf filter in-a-bucket, but it's so easy you should just throw one together this weekend and try it.


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Unread 08/04/2008, 03:37 PM   #165
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santamonica,
I have both red and green algae growth on the wheel. Unfortunately mother nature has more control than I do on where algae grows in my tank. The design of the eco-wheel uses about 200 watts PC, lighted 24/7.


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Unread 08/04/2008, 11:09 PM   #166
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I had the same problem for the first 2.5 years with my tank. At best, a green film algae covered the entire back wall. At worst, one-inch long hair algae grew from some rocks, and glass needed cleaning once a day (and this was while I was paying a fish guy to take care of the tank). After firing the fish guy, and then studying filters for a full year, if I used every technique simultaneously (skimmer mesh mod, multiple carbons, multiple polyfilters, multiple rowaphos ($$), vodka, siphoning, sump cleaning, RDSB, clams, xenia, chaeto, new live rock, and almost NO feeding) then the algae would start reducing. But I lost several corals and fish from lack of food. And I still had the algae.

That's why I wanted turf (and I'm sure you had a story too.) Keep the corals and fish fed, and pull out the N and P. But your Eco Wheel seems to not be competing enough with the tank for algae placement, and I have a few ideas why. A few posts back I mentioned that I left the pump off by accident, and the turf dried out for six hours. I thought it was fine, but a few days later I started seeing slight pink on the N test and slight blue on the P test (Salifert). So I reasoned that some of the turf did indeed die, and was sloughing off back into the tank and rotting. Then I read about certain types of algae (besides turf) that grow on the screen and smother the real turf. Well since I was getting green hair on top of the turf, and since I thought I had some dead turf anyway, I "scrubbed" the loose stuff off. Those were the pics from a few posts ago. Well that did it, N and P dropped to crystal clear by the next day. And turf is the only filter running of any type (sump looks kinda empty with just water in it.)

So Matt what might work for you is to get that green stuff off the turf before it covers it. Waiting 2 weeks might be too long. The real turf is supposed to be FAR more effective at pulling N and P, but it can't do its job if it's being shaded by the green. Also, maybe switch to halides. My reading showed that turf can take as much light as you can give it, and the more you give it the more it pulls.



Last edited by SantaMonica; 08/04/2008 at 11:18 PM.
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Unread 08/05/2008, 12:28 PM   #167
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Hi all,

A lot has already been said in this thread, but SantaMonica asked me to comment and I do have a few things to add/clarify. BTW... while I personally don't mind, I can see where others may be irritated by a PM'ed request to comment on a thread.

My qualifications to comment: I have run turf scrubbers for quite a while. I have also used conventional refugia. While I haven't read the Addey book, I have observed dozens of turf scrubbers and discussed them ad nauseam with their owners. I have been giving a talk to local aquarium clubs about refugia and turf scrubbers. I will try to point out when my comments are based on my experience, are purely hunches or are what I consider to be fact.

First, to address the original point of this thread, which was the mechanical design of this particular scrubber... I like the idea of using both sides of the screen to get double the algae growth in the same or small footprint. however, lighting through the walls of the vessel will be a maintenance nightmare.

I would be concerned about the vertical arrangement of the screen. It has been well covered in this thread that the turf benefits from surge type water movement that allows the individual "fronds" to move to and fro, increasing light and water penetration. The vertical arrangement will inhibit this even with surge like water movement because gravity and the downward flow of water will mat the algae down. All that said, I did use a flat screen scrubber with trickle flow (no surge) that performed quite well.

IMO and IME, intermittent exposure to air is NOT necessary. The idea that air exposure delivers more CO2 to the turf doesn't Jive, especially if the scrubber is lit opposite of the lighting in the tank (a practice I strongly recommend). That way when the lights are off in the tank and the corals are respiring (producing CO2), the scrubber is scavenging it. The opposite is also true. IME, turfs grow slower with 24 hour illumination.

What I have found to be necessary is that the turf is always grown in a thin film of water and not submerged in more than a few millimeters. I have observed in my own DIY systems and in large commercial systems that when the screens are submerged, caulerpa, valonia, aiptaisia and other undesirable organisms quickly proliferate. I have also found that different systems favor different varieties of turfs. Morgan recommends seeding because he feels that his variety is more desirable, but I have found that even with seeding, a different variety may dominate. I don't think that's a bad thing, I just don't see a lot of benefit to seeding. My screens have always gone from sterile to their first harvest in about a month.

I have always run a skimmer with my turf scrubbers. It is a fact that turf remove few dissolved organics, and may in fact be contributing to the dissolved organics in a closed system (hence the often observed yellowing), so I still like to run a skimmer, even at the risk of skimming out some of the plankton from the scrubber. I also believe in regular partial water changes under all circumstances.

I have never had very good experiences with refugia and consider them to be maintenance headaches. I have always found turf scrubbers quite simple to maintain and quite bulletproof. That said, I know others who have had quite to opposite experience and hold the opposite opinion.

Last, but not least, I took exception to the same group of statements that others pointed out from the proposed beginner's post. In my refugium/scrubber talk, I point out that inflated expectations are one of the biggest problems with scrubbers and several of your statements were perfect set-ups for disappointment. Your pitch for scrubbers sounded more like Jim Jones passing out kool-aid than the nice lady at Costco offering someone a cheddar-wurst sample.

Hope this all helps.

Adam


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Unread 08/05/2008, 03:43 PM   #168
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I don't think harvesting every week versus every 2 weeks will change much in my system. When I harvest every other week, my harvest is much greater than from weekly harvests, i.e., I feel like there I'm harvesting comparable amounts on a per week basis.

I think one concept that needs to clear up is whether you have green turf algae or not. I've received feedback from others much smarter than I that green turf is a more effective consumer of nitrogen than the red turf. I don't know why the green grows or the red grows, but needless to say I'm just happy I'm able to harvest something.


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Unread 08/05/2008, 11:56 PM   #169
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matt: I'll posting soon what I dug up, but it seems to be opposite of what you were being told. I read that you want to have red turf, not green hair, because the green is "mostly water" and does not absorb nearly as much N and P. However the green DOES grow much faster in size than the red (because it's mostly water) and therefore grows over and shades the red. So what might be happening with you is that you seem to be harvesting a lot, but it's mostly green water-filled no-nutrient algae that was covering and shading the stiff high-nutrient red turf. I'll post the info soon, but it makes sense. I just went through this myself on my first scraping: I confused a lot of "green" with a lot of "nutrients". Anyways it's easy enough for you to remove just the green, just massage it (don't scrape it) like you were washing your hair. The green washes away, and the red stays. I did mine in a sink of course; not sure if you can easily do that with the Eco.

adam: Thanks for replying. The original acrylic box was indeed the first version (and is currently being constructed by a LFS for a 200g retail display), but has since been replaced with the ease-of-everything of the bucket design. The big advantage of the acrylic, of course, is the very close proximity of the lights to the screen. Nobody has completed an acrylic one yet, but as for salt spray collecting on the insides of the walls: I just reached into the bucket that I'm using now, and there is almost no spray at all on the sides of the bucket (been 3 days since cleaning). If an acrylic box had the closed-bottom design, it could just be filled with water and swished around to clean any spray off, and if the open-bottom design, you could just reach up from underneath with a wet towel. The trick is to set the flow through the spraybar to be enough to cover the screen, but not enough to actually spray sideways.

I agree about surge being an improvement; the on-off-on of the pump was designed to be the poor-man's solution to this. One of the big questions that remains, is how much improvement is surging anyways? Aday said 50%, but someone will have to test to know for sure. A side benefit(?) of the on-off-on pump, is indeed the exposure to air. I'm getting split feedback on this one; folks experiencing what you did (all the CO2 is "delivered" by water), and folks saying the opposite, saying that breaking the boundary layer is critical. Since putting a timer on was so easy, I thought to just mimic both Aday's dumping, and natural waves, by including it. I'll test it without the timer one day, and I'm sure many folks trying this out will too. Maybe your thin-film-of-water recommendation causes a similar effect as my on-off-on. I know I have no caulerpa, valonia or aiptaisia. Just turf and green hair.

As for seeding, I guess it's a time-saving option; many folks want instant results, and with a seeded screen you can pretty much have it. Now, I thought that my screen too was converting from red turf to green hair, but after giving the screen a little scrub (not scrape), low and behold there was new red turf underneath that was not there before.

Skimmer/yellowing: I'll have to diverge on this one, since this is what got me wanting turf in the first place. Job number one was keeping plankton/pods/food in the water. I really want to keep gorgs, dendro's, sponges, etc., and also be able to feed my other corals sufficiently. Everything else is a side benefit. And the yellowing seems to follow a pattern... folks who saw scrubbers several years ago says "yes" there is yellowing, but folks who are seeing them in the last few years are saying "no" there is not. With mine there is not, but nevertheless I believe we all have to run carbon once a month to remove allolepathics, and this will remove any yellowing too, and so hopefully the concern of yellowing, in general, becomes a moot point.

I agree about refugiums. They are huge, and they trap waste (even mine now, with nothing in it; it's still a settling chamber), two things that I really favor turf for.

Lastly, the intro for beginners... I went and reworded a few of the statements from "it will do it" to "it will help". But overall, it's kinda like buying a vacuum cleaner; One model says "cleans carpet AND tile", while another model says "clean 97% of carpets and 62% of tiles, when square footage does not exceed double the motor horsepower minus 10% for each degree operating temperature over 90 degrees, and successful cleaning should be also be downgraded based on heavy foot traffic, and age". They really both say the same thing: Cleans carpet AND tile. But nobody would buy the second one. Thus my reasoning for simply saying, "reduces N and P."


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Unread 08/06/2008, 04:20 AM   #170
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Is the green algae on your screen a slime like algae or turf like?


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Unread 08/06/2008, 07:38 AM   #171
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breaking the boundary layer is to prevent the algae from matting, and from somewhat stagnant water being in proximity to the algae, thus inhibiting the scrubbing action... no? I dont think it has to do with the CO2 levels...


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Unread 08/06/2008, 09:23 AM   #172
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The green is slime, definitely not turf; it does cover up the turf, however (see the pics from several posts ago.)

I thought the boundary layer was just that, an inhibition of gas exchange (nothing to do with matting.) I'll post the things I found about it in a bit.


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Unread 08/06/2008, 03:49 PM   #173
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Ok, my search in the archives found many useful things:


Power of Turf:

User "galilean" said in 2006: "Slime algae will grow everywhere [in the display tank] very quickly unless large numbers of tiny crustaceans are present to eat it, or the nutrient levels are extremely low (parts per billion). This extremely low level is only achievable with an ATS [turf algae scrubber] in my experience.

User mark said in 2005: "The thing that makes the turf communities so unique is that they are the turbocharged algae. [...] Understand this: A properly sized turf community will outcompete Caulerpa, other macros, and also seagrass. Think of the way Beckett skimmers are to protein skimmers, the ATS is the supercharged motherload of algal export. But the neat thing about ATS is that they require less space. You would need a very large sump full of Caulerpa to get the same level of productivity that you get from a small turf screen.

putawaywet 2003: "This is taken directly from The Environmental Gradient by Steve Tyree but credit is given to Adey & Loveland 1991 for the research... 'The turf algae is a group of fast growing short and moss-like mats of algal filaments. They grow incredibly fast and are constantly grazed upon by herbivore animals. These algae turf's are not very visible but do occur on surfaces that do not contain living anaimals. Turf algae can produce 5 to 20 grams of dry weight plant tissue per square meter per day. A square meter of algal turf growing on a screen can absorb 0.3 to 1.2g Nitrogen a day. A typical square meter of algal turf will contain 30 to 40 species of plants.' "

mark 2001: "From what I've learned by discussing ATS systems with Adey's proponents, it seems the ATS has a lot less of a lag time to catch up to nutrient increases. Accounts of accidentally dumping a whole can of food into an ATS system without ill effects are pretty interesting."

dendroneptha 2000: "Turf algae which grows quickly on a surge screen supposedly is thousands of times more efficient than caulerpa at removing excess nutrients and heavy metals from the tank. I am not sure you can get the same results by having a sump filled with macro algae."


Types of Turf Growth:

borneman 2005: "The algae go through a succession, and without the nice started seeding Morgan had, my succession is still based largely on the rapid growing Derbesia-type greens, and I want the red astro-turf stuff that is so efficient and rarely needs scraping, but haven't gotten there yet. I found a good patch of it on some frag bases in one tank, but have not yet scraped it off and stuck it on the screen."

mark 2005: "At first, long string algae will grow which is very water-logged. [...] So scrapings may be weekly or biweekly. As the tougher turf communities develop, scrapings can typically be reduced to every other week or so. I think it also depends on the nutrient load. ATS units have the ability to reduce nutrient levels to insanely low levels. I suspect when this occurs growth may slow. If growth slows, then it's time to increase food input into the system! Get that algae to grow, so that scrapings occur more frequently again. I think E. Borneman was feeding his 40 gallon ATS system 5 times a day at one point, and the turf communities took care of it. Not scraping the screen is bad for the colony; Smaller turfs may become choked out by longer/stringier species.

borneman 2004: "the labor [required to scrape the screen] goes down the longer and more mature is the turf screen is, as it is successional. the long filamentous hair algae prone to amphipod infestation and frequent scraping eventually gives way to short tufty stiff species that rarely require scraping and are much more resitant to amphipod damage. Furthermore, the nutrients eventually become so low that the turfs are even N limited. the turfs don't spread to the tank because they are eaten unless there is a total lack of herbviory and no amphipods in the tank at all....unlikely."

joe kelley 2004: "IA says that by the fifth or sixth day, you should notice new growth on your screen. Entermorpha flexuosa, a long, stringy macroalgae, resembling strips of green celophane,is almost always the first alga to grow on a bare screen. It takes 4-6 weeks for healthy turf algae to begin to takeover; closer to 4 if a seed screen is used. Because Entermorpha grows very long and retains a lot of water, the screen will have to be scraped much more often during this period."

staceon 2000: "IA told me to shoot for the purple color on the screen (or that type of algae). Anyway, I too had pods in mine when I scrape."


Basics:

piercho 2005: "The basic parameters of the Adey scrubber system are (1) Intense light. The desired algae community needs and uses high energy levels of light. (2) A screen that is easily removable to frequently scrape (harvest), and immersed in FW to control micrograzers. The desired community of algae is not resistant to grazing. (3) A screen that can be alternately immersed and exposed to air. Adey's screens were surged with dump cycles that broke up water boundary layer at the turf and allowed a period of air exposure. Achieving high rates of gas exchange at the scrubber were a primary design parameter."

scot 2005: "I remember reading on [the former site] AlgaeScrubber.com to run the lights 24/7 for a length of time to get things going."

endymion 2001: "I read that to be effective the screen needs to be exposed to air every 15-45 secs."

Dendronepthya 2000: "I have noticed that I have to take the screens out and de-amphipod them more than anything else. If amphipods get onto your screens, they will drastically reduce the effectiveness of your ATS. Maks sure you don't have any obvious bald spots on your screens. I too notice amphipods all over the main tank. I have a mandarin and a sixline, and neither have made a dent in the [pod] populations over the last four months."

mark 2005: "[Turf] have evolved to endure constant grazing by tangs, snails, and other herbivorous creatures. To adapt to this, they have evolved enormous rates of growth and photosynthesis. If the grazing discontinues and the algae grows to longer lengths, the productivity slows down. This is why it is important to scrape the ATS screen frequently. The reefkeeper is simulating this high rate of grazing to stimulate fast growth, and the stuff that gets scraped is the nutrient export."


Yellowing:

mark 2001: "What about algae yellowing water and releasing compounds that inhibit the growth of corals like SPS? That's a bit of a myth. It does happen in poorly maintained ATS systems. The ATS systems with yellow water that Julian referred to in his early 90's article were examples of what happens when you don't scrape the screen. I think at one point, the caretakers of the smithsonian did not scrape the screen for over a year. The algae will leach in those cases. I think Morgan's response to that was along the lines of, "How would a berlin tank look if it was neglected for over a year." By scraping the turfs regularly, you avoid this yellowing of the water. ATS systems do have more particles in the water, which makes them a little less clear than a berlin system, but that's a good thing. It's essentially these particles that help feed the various filter feeding organisms."


Previous Nano Idea:

liquidshaneo 2001: "how feasible is an ATS for a 5 or 10 gal nanoreef for the only filtration? I've wanted to setup a small nanoreef in my cube for a year now and the only thing was that I didn't want to get a skimmer for the setup. I've got a prop tank full of soft corals that would work great in a 5 or 10 gal tank. I'm thinking of putting the ATS in the hood above the lights or maybe off to the side and use that as the sole circulation for the tank."


Previous Non-Dumping Idea:

horge 2000: "Try the concept out with a non-mechanical model. A small tray with a standpipe drain to allow (say) 1.5" of water; a clear cover; a lightsource over it (.5 to 2w per sq.in.); and rigid plastic screening cut to fit the tray (w/ a hole to allow for the standpipe); a means to get water to it and from the standpipe back to the main tank (tray vol/minute up to 4 vols/minute). No wave action. Bare bones."


Even a Previous Bucket Idea:

eddie 2002: "see how cheap and easy it can be done with only 2x4s, 5 gallon buckets, and a tarp from walmart lined with window screen"


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Unread 08/08/2008, 12:28 AM   #174
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For those concerned about yellowing, here is a pic looking lengthwise through the tank with a window in the background, which can be compared to the other window:


Hi-Res: www.radio-media.com/fish/YellowCheck.jpg


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Unread 08/08/2008, 08:16 AM   #175
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I believe that generally there is some yellowing, not only when the scrubber is not scraped for long periods... but as is said above, that is not necessarily a bad thing... it is not related to the yellowing that constitutes old tank syndrome... I think...


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