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Unread 07/28/2008, 04:47 PM   #126
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Unread 07/28/2008, 04:48 PM   #127
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Unread 07/28/2008, 04:52 PM   #128
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Unread 07/28/2008, 05:39 PM   #129
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One day they will have those paper thin LCD based lights that bend for fish tanks.

Give the techies about 5 more years and it will come out as a UV Algae destroy and when the light burns out then just wrinkle it up and throw it away.


They have something like this already but its low intensity.


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Unread 07/28/2008, 11:39 PM   #130
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Tuna that is one big unit... looks to be about 10 square feet = 1440 square inches. Since it is only one-sided, my rule of thumb says it's good for 720 gallons. Am I right? And what mods did you make to it?

I removed my skimmer physically from the sump today and put it on a shelf. I figure in an emergency I could get it going again in about two minutes.


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Unread 07/29/2008, 07:08 AM   #131
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its 53" long...only rated for 200 gals...santa monica.
I removed the deflectors.made new base frames for the screens.and found a better screen material also...


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Unread 07/29/2008, 07:52 AM   #132
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now that is a scrubber tray if I ever saw one... what are the dimensions of this scrubber? Not quite as compact as the bucket in this thread, but then, size really does matter... eh?


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Unread 07/29/2008, 07:53 AM   #133
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Sorry... 53" by what? What sort of light is on it? Flow, surge, etc.???


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Unread 07/29/2008, 10:18 AM   #134
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53x12 wide..I use 2 t5 fixtures by coralife to light it 48 " eachx2 t5 bulbs...flow is one ocean runner 2500 pump...no surge...


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Unread 07/29/2008, 06:49 PM   #135
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Unread 07/30/2008, 12:44 AM   #136
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440 square inches: 420 gallons if two sided; 210 gallons if one sided. Pretty accurate. Are you going to get seeded screen?


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Unread 07/30/2008, 05:39 AM   #137
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yes.. I just emailed inland aquatics about it....
the seeded screen is a good idea..because it takes about 90 days for real "turf" type algae to develop on its own...and you never know if you'll really get good turf...


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Unread 07/31/2008, 12:19 AM   #138
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I'm finalizing my build-thread that I'm going to be posting in the beginner forum for those who would like to try turf. I't written in a hyped tone, emphasizing "cheap" and DIY, and it makes some assumptions, but just remember this is for begginers who may not want a bunch of chemistry details... they just want simple benefits and directions so they can build it and try it for cheap, and see if it works for them. I've not posted it yet, so let me know if anything here is completely off base before I do:



---------------Start beginner's thread--------------------------------------------

If anybody has not yet hooked up their refugium or skimmer, or was just looking go get rid of these things, then you might want to try one of these mega-powerful filters first that I built. You build it with stuff laying around, and it can take as little as a few minutes, or up to a day. It will replace (or keep you from needing) a skimmer, refugium, phosphate removers, nitrate removers, carbon, filtersocks, and possibly even waterchanges.

It's called a Turf Algae Filter, and it works in salt or freshwater. It's smaller than most pieces of reef equipment (yet it's more powerful), and it can be put into a bucket or your sump. It's most powerful feature is that it leaves food particles in the tank so the corals can feed, yet it removes nitrates and phosphates down to zero. This is the OPPOSITE of what a skimmer does; a skimmer removes food particles (so corals starve) and then leaves the nitrate and phosphate in the water so you have to use other methods to get the nitrate and phosphate out. And how about all that gunk that your skimmer pulls out? Well, half of it is food that you just fed, and your corals wanted to eat it. What about the other half, the waste? Well, that's food too!

Here is my Turf Algae Filter in a 5-gallon; it's the only filter I have of any kind on my 100 gallon reef:
[pic of my bucket]
[pic of tank]

My nitrate and phosphate are zero, and the only thing in my sump is: Water. I removed the skimmer, carbon, phosban, polyfilter(s), and filtersock; I don't use ozone, vodka, zeo or anything else. I'm feeding massive amounts too; enough that if I had my previous filtering setup, I'd have to clean the glass twice a day, and everything in the tank would be covered in green or brown algae. Amazing.

The process of using turf algae to filter aquariums has been around for decades, but the contraptions were huge and expensive, and for some reason nobody thought to make a simple
one in a bucket or sump. So here is one you can make in a few minutes, or a day, depending on which one you choose. It's simple enough (and basically free) that you should try one on your system even if you have no intention of eliminating your skimmer/refugium, etc.

The principal is very simple: You have a screen; light is aimed at the screen, and tank water is streamed over the screen. What happens is that a type of algae called "turf" starts growing on the screen (it feels very similar to artificial turf on football fields), and this turf eats ALL the nitrate and phosphate in the water flowing over it. However, the turf does NOT eat the food/pods/plankton in the water, so this food will stay in the water for the corals to eat. This is the OPPOSITE of a skimmer, which takes out the food/pods/plankton (so corals starve), but leaves in the nitrate and phosphate that you have to then get out using other means. What about fish waste that skimmers normally pull out? Well that's food too, for somebody. Only after waste decomposes completely into nitrate and phosphate is it no longer "food", and at that point the turf algae zaps it! After all, what do you think the green algae on your rocks and glass are eating? Food? No. Nitrate and phosphate!

The only thing you need to decide is how big your screen needs to be, and if you want it to be in a bucket or your sump. The basic rule is one square inch of screen for each gallon of tank water. A 5 gallon bucket (like a salt bucket) can hold a screen about 12 X 12 inches = 144 square inches = 144 gal tank; a 2 gallon bucket can hold about 7 X 7 inches = 49 gal tank; a one gallon bucket about 6 X 6 = 36 gal tank. Turf filters get really small as you can see. A 12 gal nano tank needs just 3 X 4 inches in a tupperware container! This small thing replaces the skimmer, refugium, phosphate removers, nitrate removers, carbon, filtersocks, and possibly even waterchanges (if the purpose of the waterchanges is to reduce nitrate and phosphate.)

You might ask why you have not heard of turf algae filters before. Well turf algae is actually used quite a bit in commercial/industrial areas to clean lakes and rivers, but the units that were built for aquariums were just too big (as big as the tank itself) and expensive ($3,000+). So they never caught on. But all they do is move water across a screen, and have a light. So putting the turf in a bucket or your sump will work just fine.

My example bucket version takes about a day to build. Water goes in the pvc pipe at the top, flows down over the screen, then drains out the bottom. That's it! Oh, and it has clip-on lights. I can feed the tank as much food as I want, and anything not eaten by the corals or fish eventually ends up as turf algae on the screen.

Here are the sump versions (putting turf in the sump was thought of by RC user "biomekanic")...

Good: Takes a few minutes to build:
[pic of V1]

Better: Takes about three hours to build:
[pic of V2]

Best: Takes about a day to build:
[pic of V3]


The advantages of the sump version are:

o No extra space needed.
o Version 1 can be set up in a few minutes.
o Can make use of the wasted space once used by bio balls.
o Is fed directly from the overflow, thus eliminating the pump entirely.

Disadvantages:

o Pods produced by the turf have to flow through your return pump to get you your tank.
o If the top of your sump is closed, it may need to be drilled or cut open for air/light.


Further down, I'll show how to build the bucket version since I made it myself (and have pics of it), then I'll show you drawings of how you'd do the in-sump versions (since I don't have real pics of that). The bucket version is overall the most powerful, flexible, and even portable. The in-sump version (especially version 1) is easiest to build, but about half as powerful, and a little harder to access once installed. But for now, here's how a turf algae filter (bucket version) compares to other filtering options:


o Will wipe out all algae growth in the tank, since nitrate and phosphate will be zero.

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

o Will finally allow coralline to grow, since the phosphate will be too low stop it.

o Does not skim out coralline spores like a skimmer does.

o Can replace waterchanges, if the purpose of the waterchange is to reduce nitrate or
phosphate or algae growth in tank.

o Has the highest nitrate and phosphate removing power of any macro algae (because of
the high air and light levels it gets).

o Is very quick to respond to excess nitrate and phosphate spikes (the turf "screen" always
stays the same size after it is trimmed); much quicker than refugiums/macros which have
smaller surface area after they are trimmed.

o Is the very smallest size, for the amount of nitrate and phosphate removing it does.

o High removal of nitrate and phosphate, low removal of foods (the OPPOSITE of a skimmer).

o Can entirely replace refugium, skimmer, DSB, carbon, phosban, polyfilters, etc. (although
you can certainly keep these items around for backup.)

o Grows copepods and amphipods that will drain right down into your display (if bucket is
hung above the display).

o Removes both nitrate and phosphate, unlike rock/sand (which removes only nitrate), or
phosban (which removes only phosphate).

o Bucket version is extremely easy to build, using just a bucket and pvc pipe.

o Version 1 of the in-sump version is so simple, it's just a few minutes to build.

o There are no moving parts at all.

o Provides cooling of water, using increased evaporation, especially with fan.

o Does not form bacteria or slime like vodka dosing does.

o Increases pH.

o Increases oxygen.

o Does not release strands into display like chaeto algae does.

o Will not go "sexual" and spread into the display, like caulerpa can.

o Gets strong light penetration into the turf, since there is no water standing over it.

o Easy to clean; just lift the screen up and "scrape" (i.e., "harvest") it.

o Traps no waste like a refugium or DSB does; waste flows right past the screen.

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

o There is nothing to break or clog.

o Bucket version is very quiet when flowing, similar to a tabletop decorative waterfall.

o Introduces no microbubbles when adjusted properly.

o Will not start growing turf in display tank.

o No filter socks (or any mechanical filter) needed, since you want all the food in the
water to continue circulating until eaten by the corals.

o You do not have to turn a skimmer off when feeding, because a skimmer is not running in
the first place.

o Helps remove ammonia, so your rock and sand function better.

o You can even make the bucket portable! Just unplug the lights and fan, lift up the pump
out of the tank water, and go put it in your next tank (or your friend's tank). Don't let
the screen dry out though.)

o Works in saltwater or freshwater.


[details of building it are omitted]


The only maintenance is to "harvest" the algae from ONE side of the screen once a week. You do this by taking something like a ruler and scraping most of the algae off of ONE side, then the OTHER side the following week. Don't scrape it super clean, though; leave some roughness behind. Throw this scraped material away; this is the nitrate and phosphate that was taken out of your tank! After scraping, run the screen under some tap water to remove any loose turf, then put it back for more filtering. To make the turf grow even faster, you can try adding Kent's Iron liquid to the tank water, per instructions.

If you already have a skimmer or refugium or other devices, just add your new turf algae filter to your system, and give it four weeks to grow. Then you can start reducing or turning off your other filters one by one. Just be sure to test for nitrate and phosphate daily as you do this. And do post your pics and stories!


Here are some $ options to make your turf work better:


o Put a timer on the lights: 18 hours on, 6 hours off. This will give the algae time to
"rest". Make sure it's on during the overnight when your tank lights are off.

o Use metal halide or sodium plant-grow lights; the more light the better, and the lower
their K rating (more "red") the better. Don't melt the plastic parts though.

o Put a wavemaker (on-off-on) timer on the pump to simulate waves; gives the algae more
air between the flows. I used the JBJ Ocean Pulse Duo timer ($50 new), and set it to 30
seconds. (note: this timer has a quirk: if you cut the power to it, then restore it, it
keeps the pump "on"; to get the on-off-on function working again, you have to turn the
dial to the left and back again.)

o Hang the bucket up high, so it can drain right into your display; all the live pods that
grow in the screen will flow down right to your corals. Remember this height will reduce
your pump flow, so choose your pump accordingly.

o Get a screen with turf algae already growing on it; will save you a month of waiting (it
will start working instantly; this is what I did). Call Mike at Inland Aquatics
812-232-9000, and get a turf screen overnighted to you. They charge $10 for 16 square
inches (4 X 4), so just tell him how many square inches you need. Then you'll need to
pay for overnight delivery to your location. Already have your bucket operating, though,
so you can throw the screen right in; it will need lights and flow immediately upon
arrival.


How to build the in-sump versions:

There are three sump versions to choose from. Version 1 is the easiest to build, but less powerful because the screen is only one-sided, and also because the water is not flowing evenly across the screen. But it's the only one where you can keep your bio balls (maybe for a heavy fish waste load) if you want to. And it's so easy to build that you may as well start with it if you already have a sump with a "media tray" in it:
[pic of vers 1]


First, size the screen to fit in the media tray in your sump. Now, based on what kind of lid you have on the media tray (where the overflow pipe connects), you will need to drill out that lid so air and light can get through. If that lid is clear, then you need just enough holes to get air in. But if the lid is not clear and it blocks light, you'll need to make many large holes or cutouts in it (or replace it with a clear one). And that's it for version 1! Just clip on the light and fan, and you are done. Use the same light as the bucket version above.


In-Sump Version 2:
[pic of ver 2]

This version allows a more even flow of air/water over the screen, since the overflow is not pouring directly on the screen like version 1. Version 2 needs the same openings on the lid as version 1, however, and of course the bio balls must be removed. The media tray will spread out the water from the overflow into an even-drip across the screen. The screen must still get air, however, so if the media tray does not allow enough air from the fan to pass through, you'll need to enlarge the holes in it.


In-Sump Version 3:
[pic of ver 3]

This version is basically the same as the bucket version described above, but it is contained in the sump. You need to cut away most or all of the lid and the media tray, and connect the overflow directly to a waterflow pipe (shown in the pic as a green "spraybar"). This version is also the only one that allows lighting from both sides of the screen, thus doubling the filtering power of it, as well as being more open for light and air.

The advantages of a sump version are:

o No extra space needed outside of tank.
o Can be set up in a limited fashion in a few minutes, as a test.
o Can make use of the wasted space once used by bio balls.
o No pump required!

Disadvantages:

o Since it is fed from overflow, you get no option to use a timer on the pump for on-off-on
wave action.
o Pods have to flow through your return pump to get to your tank.
o If the top of your sump is opaque (blocks light), it will need to be drilled or cut open
for air.
o It is not portable.


That's it! I hope some folks give it a try!



---------------end of beginner's post--------------------


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Unread 07/31/2008, 05:13 AM   #139
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excellent ! santa monica...just be sure -lots of pics ...so even "a caveman" can figure it out .....LOL !!!


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Unread 07/31/2008, 08:25 AM   #140
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I would be careful about the use of absolutes in this description (will wipe out all...; entirely replace... etc.)

People will get exceptional expectations...

Also, I believe a more appropriate rule of thumb would be 2 sq in per gallon... that is about what Adey recommended.

Otherwise sounds good...


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Unread 07/31/2008, 09:19 AM   #141
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Honestly, I would have issue with several of the statements

o Will wipe out all algae growth in the tank, since nitrate and phosphate will be zero.

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

o Will finally allow coralline to grow, since the phosphate will be too low stop it.

o Does not skim out coralline spores like a skimmer does.

o Can replace waterchanges, if the purpose of the waterchange is to reduce nitrate or
phosphate or algae growth in tank.


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Unread 07/31/2008, 10:24 AM   #142
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Quote:
Originally posted by sjm817
Honestly, I would have issue with several of the statements

o Will wipe out all algae growth in the tank, since nitrate and phosphate will be zero.

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

o Will finally allow coralline to grow, since the phosphate will be too low stop it.

o Does not skim out coralline spores like a skimmer does.

o Can replace waterchanges, if the purpose of the waterchange is to reduce nitrate or
phosphate or algae growth in tank.

YEP!!!


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Unread 07/31/2008, 12:46 PM   #143
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Yes there will be lots of pics; I ordered the very parts that I'll be listing, and I'll be building it per the directions myself. As for the expectations and absolutes, these were just extrapolated from those who have used turf before, and were pretty much true. Most current users (and myself) report N and P to be basically zero, and this is the basis of the entire project: Turf reduces N and P. Now if you are saying that turf does not reduce N and P, then we have to look at things differently. But assuming it's agreed that turf reduces N and P...

From a decide-to-build-it-or-not standpoint, things like "removes" makes it easier for a beginner to take the plunge (kinda like a TV infomercial ad) than if it says "reduces", which a beginner would then have to question ("would it reduce enough?"). And the main factor here is that if some facet of it actually doesn't work, it's not going to harm anything, and they haven't really spent any money.

The bucket screen is two-sided, so that's why one-inch instead of two; it's also extremely easy to remember for a beginner, and easy for them to recommend/explain to their friends. If they do a one-sided sump version, we'll have to see if it's enough based on light, flow, etc. This will apply a lot to the nano people (matter of fact I'm testing now a 6 inch screen in a 5 gal nano; took one minute to cut the screen and place in the filter section, and clip on a light). As for the other points, again assuming it's agreed that turf reduces N and P...

o Will indeed remove algae in display, eventually, due to low N and P.
o Can indeed feed much more, again due to low N and P. (turf will just grow more)
o Will indeed allow coralline to grow, due to low P.
o Does not indeed skim out coralline spores, assuming there is no skimmer.
o Can indeed replace N-and-P-reducing waterchanges, since N and P will already be low.


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Unread 07/31/2008, 01:13 PM   #144
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indeed...

;-)


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Unread 07/31/2008, 01:18 PM   #145
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Why are you so bent on pushing people towards algal turf systems?

Many easier methods exist from both a hardware and a maintenance standpoint. This is especially the case for beginners that have so many other obstacles to overcome. If anything, I would call an ATS system *overly complicated* and *unnecessary*. I've had one before and I don't think I'll ever go through the hassle of setting up and maintaining one ever again. I became a better reefer the day it broke and started investigating other methods.



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Unread 07/31/2008, 01:30 PM   #146
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BTW - I'm not here to bash ATS systems. I used to be a huge proponent of them until I came to the realization that I didn't need to go through all of that work to maintain a successful reef.


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Unread 07/31/2008, 05:52 PM   #147
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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.

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.

In other news, the 5 gal nano test has been a few days, and has just started to show turf growth (was not pre-seeded). Concurrently it's showing that P has begun to start coming out of the rocks (patches of algae on some rocks but not on rocks right next to it.) I'll have pics and measurements in a few days.

I had my first "scare" with the turf... I turned off the wrong switch and ended up turning off the flow the turf for six hours, even while the fan stayed on (lights were off at the time though.) I thought much of it may be dead, but when I touched it it was still moist because of the puddle that stays in the bottom of the bucket. It's back to normal now.


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Unread 07/31/2008, 05:59 PM   #148
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you convinced me, im gonna try one.

miwoodar: curious as to what you ended up replacing your ats with. seems like the ats is as easy as most of the other regular filtration equipment.


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Unread 07/31/2008, 07:12 PM   #149
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When I have the money for it, I'll be using this to filter a new tank.

I'll be getting rock from TBSaltwater, and hopefully this will ensure that more of the hitchhikers survive.

Also, thanks for the credit.


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Unread 08/01/2008, 08:31 AM   #150
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I didn't use a dump bucket. Mine was built into a Carlson surge device that I made. I went back to the very basics after it broke - skimmer and lights. The system progressed to the Berlin method over time and improved as I went.


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