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Unread 07/06/2008, 09:07 AM   #26
atsmann
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i ahve been running a ats for a while now, no algae grows in my 180 display tank at all, i use a flat bed ats with a dump bucket.
wate yellow not realy, its a must to harvest weekly and you wont have any problems.


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Unread 07/06/2008, 09:13 AM   #27
atsmann
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a ats is a much easyer way to matain a reef tank than skimmers and the rest of the stuff, i run a calcum reactor and a chiller with my ats, the most important thing is to grow and harvest the algae, its that simple. people run into problems when they dont follow those two simple things, i harvest a cup of algae a week, and I recommend using 5100k compact fluorescent light bulbs, they use very low watt consumption and have high watt output.


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Unread 07/06/2008, 11:21 AM   #28
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I think you are on the right track, and I think running a thin film of water over a vertical growing zone will be effective. On my last algae turf filter I also avoided the effort to "flash" the turf by making the screen move/rotate. IMO it's easy to focus just on that mechanical aspect and loose sight of the more fundamental parameters of Adey's turf filter: exclusion of microherbivores, optimal gas exchange, etc. I was able to flash that filter by surging the main tank, which caused the water flow to the filter tank to surge as well.

I also have sketches for a vertical algae filter but have not prototyped one. As far as an algae growth surface I've considered the porous side (backside) of plain fired tile, or fiber-reinforce concrete board (backer board) for applications like the one you show. You could also just use thick acrylic and run coarse sandpaper over the surface to rough it up so that the algae can attach well and not be completely scrapped off when harvesting. I was using a PFO mini-pendant with a 6500K Venture 150W DE (M81) on my last algae filter and liked the small size, intensity, and tight light footprint of that setup.

My concern with your design would be salt spray rapidly clouding the surfaces that the light must penetrate. In my own efforts to make turf algae filters work, the spray (even from bursting microbubbles 6" away) that can rapidly degrade the light source has been the biggest obstacle I've have to overcome.

If you can bring this thing to execution I think a lot of people would be interested in the results. In well-executed applications I think that algae turf filters have a lot to offer for reef tank husbandry.


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Unread 07/06/2008, 06:43 PM   #29
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I have to agree with all the previous posts, your design with the spraybar just won't work. I experiments a lot with ATS and unless it's just right, it will grow every other type of algae and just be a mess.

I have kinda slacked off in this hobby over the years, but I always wanted to try an ATS with a small magnet... the water fills up a box/tray and the magnet holds the flap closed. Once the water gets high enough, the magnet wouldn't be strong enough to hold the flap and it would open, the water would rush out and the flap would close and the magnet would grab. Never tried it, but don't see why it wouldn't work. Good luck.

Nick


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Unread 07/06/2008, 07:19 PM   #30
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Nano sized: I bet a tiny version could be made for a nano. If the one-square-inch-per-gal rule works, you would only need a few inches square; could fit it into a plastic box that some retail products come in, and would be even smaller than the Tetratec. I looked up the Tetratec PF150 Power Filter: "Tetratec Power Filters have the Living Filter Chamber which alternately fills and drains completely, submerging the three-dimensional Bio Foam media and then exposing it to oxygen-rich air. This allows increased contact time between the beneficial bacteria and the toxins in the water, ultimately resulting in healthy, biologically balanced water." Maybe the fill-drain mechanism from it could be used, although the reviews I saw said it was very noisy.

Boxes: I did a quick search and found several cheap $5 nano-sized boxes here on the web, but I found every size imaginable (although more expensive) here: www.ClearAcrylicBox.com

Odor: This has been mentioned a few times, so I'll have to predict since I have not done it yet. Obviously the objective of the unit is for it to process as much water as possible, but this also means it's "processing" as much air as possible. If what it does to the air is expel odor, the the "closed box" option seems to be the only choice. I personally want mine under the tank in the cabinet; the cabinet currently has no problem containing the skimmer odor, which you clearly find once you open the cabinet door. But you can't seal the turf box closed, because you need the air in there. And adding complex carbon attachments/filters/mufflers seems overkill. So this area will probably just have to be tried case-by-case.

Cleaning: The super small screen size (that seems will be adequate for my 100 gal) should be no problem to remove; it's smaller that a piece of paper. And for a nano, it could be as little as a cell phone. Thus it does not seem too difficult to just lift it out and clean it (maybe hold a cup underneath it while you walk to the sink, like I do with filter socks.) On further thought though, you could just lift out the whole box... just detach the lights somehow. Maybe the lights don't even need to be attached, they could just be leaning against the box. Indeed, if you put the box in a 5 gal bucket, and set the lights down in the bucket on both sides of the box, they would all be contained close to each other. To lift the box out you just move the spraybar(s) and put your finger over the drainhole.

Use with skimmer: This is one of the big and long-term questions. I read posts going back to 2000, and some users removed their skimmers, and some did not. My understanding is that skimmers remove organics and small particles (which includes phyto, pods, and other food unfortunately), and turf removes inorganics (N,P, and metals too I think). Unless you are running a big fish-only tank where you want to get the waste swept up and skimmed as quick as possible (and where excess N and P are not a problem), I would think that a filter that removed N and P, while leaving all food in the water, would be prefered. That way food stays in the water until it is eaten, or untill it decays (which gives it more time to be eaten.) But my current goal is just to get one running (with skimmer), and deal with this issue later.

Screens: Those screens you linked are a good idea; I was not aware of tank dividers like that. They even have the "frame" around them to hold them in place.

ATSmann: With a name like that, you must be the one to talk to about these things. By the way, why does it say "moved on" for you, when you are here posting? Anyways, great to see your account of using turf with no water-tinting problems. You say the most important thing is to harvest the turf; are you saying that not harvesting often enough will cause tinting? Obviously you have to harvest to remove nutrients, and I read that growth slows down as the turf thickens. Maybe as the newer turf grows, the older turf underneath starts to die or detach, causing tinting. And it sounds like you are running yours without skimmer, correct? If so do you ever use carbon?

Exclusion of microherbivores: I read this a few times too; pods and such eating the turf. However maybe the vertical screen would reduce their numbers with each wetting, since they'd be flowing down with gravity. If not, a standard freshwater flush during scraping seems to work.

Salt spray: Wow, this one proved to be difficult, especially since piercho says it's the biggest obstacle he had. Got a possible solution from the way some goggles work for off-road racers: peel-away strips. But in our case, I think plastic food wrap is better:



You remove the cutter from the wrap box, and glue it onto the bottom of the filter box. Also in this case, the bottom of the box is open, or at least slots are cut to allow the wrap to exit the bottom (so obviously this is for above-sump only). Either way, you don't need the drain hole anymore:



Now, since the wrap is on the INSIDE of the box, and the light on the outside, the roll of wrap can just sit on the light. To clean salt spray, just pull down the plastic wrap and cut off with the serrated edge:




However, since you were truly surging, you obviously had lots of bubbles and thus more salt spray. I'm hoping that by having the water just flow down, the spray would be reduced enough to be able to just manually clean it once in a while. But if implemented, the plastic wrap would indeed keep it clean.

Magnet flap method: That's an interesting way of filling/draining. Would still need a pump though, unless taken from the overflow. However it gets into the same question of: is it enough surge to be effective, compared to a waterfall. It's just filling up and draining slowly.

Spraybar design: Maybe "spraybar" is not the right word; I'm envisioning a lot of water coming through the tube, like a powerhead. Not really a spray. Maybe like 200 gph. Would be a tradeoff between enough water, and blowing off the plastic wrap (if used).

Speaking of flow and pumps, does anyone have recommendations of a pump of this size that can be switched on and off?


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Unread 07/06/2008, 08:49 PM   #31
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For the screen could'nt you use the same kind of screen that you find on a screen door?

From your design I think getting it to work from both side might complicate it, you might be better off adding some angle to it and lighting it from one side. The reason I say this is that you might be able to work out initial kinks in the overall design this way, it would be easier to set up the plumbing as well.

Look forward to seeing your results and whatever pictures anyone can put forward.

Thanks


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Unread 07/07/2008, 12:59 AM   #32
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Unread 07/07/2008, 11:06 AM   #33
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Yes I believe you can use fiberglass window screen, but you then need a frame for it. Might be easier to use a rigid screen like those linked earlier, or the pre-seeded ones from IA.

Not sure how an angle would be easier... you still need good controlled flow coming from the spraybar, and that seems the tricky part. I was just thinking about those tabletop ornamental waterfalls that flow down a sheet of glass; maybe I can use the spraybar from one of those.


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Unread 07/07/2008, 11:52 AM   #34
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There are two types of ATS units that I have considered, other than the type I have now.

One is the Inland Aquatics version, which mounts on top of the tank and has the turf growing on screens that are on a hinge. The water fills up until a certain point that the weight of the water causes the screen to tilt forward and dump. I like this because it not only gives you an effective way to grow your turf algae, but it also gives you a good surge device that dumps pods and bits of edible algae into the tank.

The other is a basic surge device, using a glass or Plexiglass tank (40 breeder?) that uses a float mechanism like a toilet does. The turf screen lays diagonal from the bottom corner to the top corner of the tank and the water fills the tank from a pump in the sump. When the level gets to a certain point, the water dumps from the holding tank into the tank below. This also creates a surge like the IA version above. It is simple and quiet.

The type I have now (pictured below) was made by a company that no longer makes them. It lays flat over my sump and fuge and water flows in one side, goes over some turbulence causing baffles and then empties out the other side. Two lights sit on top of the unit. It works off of the gravity of my drain and requires no mechanical parts. Simple, quiet, and effective.




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Unread 07/07/2008, 01:46 PM   #35
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I have the same one as jglackin: works good but i have made many mods to it...I wish that company would start making them again...


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Unread 07/07/2008, 02:45 PM   #36
SantaMonica
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I wish they were available too. Other than the eco wheel, I could not find any units to buy anywhere, much less something about the size of a book.

I'm going to start working on a spraybar (maybe "water outlet" is a better term).


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Unread 07/07/2008, 04:27 PM   #37
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santa monica : play around with the design...I know where you can order the perfect screen material from...


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Unread 07/07/2008, 04:37 PM   #38
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There are pics of mine in my gallery. But I assume you have read most of the ATS threads and already seen them but if not, they are still there.


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Unread 07/07/2008, 07:09 PM   #39
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flatlander: I had one of those also....had problems balancing the weight in the rear of the tray...was a real pita...


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Unread 07/08/2008, 12:48 AM   #40
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Well the screen material seems to not be a problem (yet). I actually am trying to order the pre-seeded one from IA but can't figure out how to place the order with them.

After thinking about the spraybar today, I got the idea of making it like the kind of perforated tube used underground in gardens and septic tanks. Also, if a slit is placed along the bottom of the tube, the screen can fit right up into it, and thus it would also hold the screen in place along the top, eliminating the need to additional supports.

I'm going to do a test in a 5 gal bucket, using perforated tube (probably just drilled pvc), and two 5100k cfl lights clipped on to both sides of the bucket. I just need to get a timer that can be set down to 1 second intervals.


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Unread 07/08/2008, 05:29 AM   #41
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santa monica...please post results in this thread...thanks


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Unread 07/08/2008, 06:05 AM   #42
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I have surges on my tank and I'd have to agree with putawaywet.


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Unread 07/08/2008, 07:04 AM   #43
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Very informative, thanks!

Who has ATS on the top of the tank, can you post links to the pictures?
How is it done and is it interfering with lights and access for maintenance?


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Unread 07/08/2008, 07:21 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by hottuna
flatlander: I had one of those also....had problems balancing the weight in the rear of the tray...was a real pita...
Yes, same for me, although not really a pain, just adding more weight. Mine ran well and never failed to dump.


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Unread 07/08/2008, 07:29 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by dendro982
Very informative, thanks!

Who has ATS on the top of the tank, can you post links to the pictures?
How is it done and is it interfering with lights and access for maintenance?
Did you check out the picture of my unit. It was designed to sit on the back 1ft. portion of a standard 4ft. by 2ft. type tank of something similar, I would guess. Then, {at least from the pic I seen when they were being sold}, a standard PFO or Hamilton double halide light hood would sit on the front 1ft. portion, which I,m guess was raised to work in the tank.

As mine was behind a wall, it sat on a shelf type set up, with just the dump chute in the tank itself. It could also sit over or just the chute portion, in a sump. Problem is when just running the chute in a tank or sump another 3ft. is needed length wise for the scrubber.


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Unread 07/08/2008, 06:03 PM   #46
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I will indeed post results/efforts. Just ordered the pump and timer, and still trying to figure out how to order the seeded screen from IA. If not a seeded one, I'll use some of the examples from above.

Surge: I do like and understand the surge idea, even if it's just "filling the box up with a pump", but it just seems to introduce too many negatives for the small easily built unit that this is supposed to be. A real surge is just too difficult, but even a pumped fill-the-box technique means that algea will for sure cover the box as well as the screen (and cleaning the box will not be as easy, since it is small). So my first attempt is going to try to keep the box dry, while getting as much flow over the whole screen (no dead spots) as possible. Remember that tabletop waterfalls use the spraybar concept, and they are totally covered using very little flow. A side-benefit to the smallness of the unit is that it can easily be set on top the tank. You might not get lots of surge, but you'll get all the food from it.

By the way, in some further reading I just found out that not having alternating wet/dry/wet/dry cycles (in other words, an algae trough with no air) cuts processing by 50%. Thus, having the timer on the pump should allow the unit to be one-half of the size if it were continuous flow (i.e., no timer on the pump).


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Unread 07/09/2008, 04:17 PM   #47
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Thought on the "Spraybar" and surge:

Have you looked at using a SCWD and 2 'spraybars'?

Unfortunately I am file posting lame ( as well as CAD lame ) so getting a drawing up isn't an option.

Hook your pump up to 2 spraybars, each angled to faced one side of the screen, as the SCWD alternates feed, one side will be dry and the other submerged. With only 200gphs there would be a fairly decent dry period.

HTH


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Unread 07/09/2008, 06:37 PM   #48
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Well the scwd is an option for timing, but, I've had two for the tank already and they both locked up in a few months. Also, I'm not sure how much "spray" from one side would leak through to the other. Also again, you can't adjust their timing. Oh, and the noise.

So, I've got some spraybar ideas I'm going to try. Super simple, just got to find the pieces and get them. Mean time, I got the pump and timer already, and I've setup the test bucket (pics below) with clip-on lights. And I'm still trying to get that seeded screen from IA.


Hydor L20 adjustable flow pump (ultra quiet), and JBJ Ocean Pulse Duo timer:


Test bucket with 5100K 23 Watt CFL Lights (120 watt light output equivalent):



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Unread 07/10/2008, 09:25 AM   #49
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Interesting. Another piece of the ocean into the tank. Our skimmers do the surf; the fuge does the shallows, etc. I'm not inclined to do this much tinkering, and am quite happy with my fuge, but I'm all for experimentation in "new" tech. I didn't use the Berlin method in my last reef (before this one) because it was still too new for my lfs.
I've seen a lot of these things come and go---some work---the live rock thing---some don't work that well (the fluidized superfine sand column: boy, was that a mess!) but I'm all for somebody trying it out and seeing if it's ready for prime time.


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Unread 07/10/2008, 02:27 PM   #50
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I too don't mind being PM'd for a thread whose topic I had previously shown interest in, but I can understand how some may... and even if the poster intends to market the scrubber as a product at some point, why does that mean it is any less interesting to me?

So, I really like the compact size of this, assuming it will work.

That said, I have the Dynamic Aquaria book here on my lap. Adey states that their research showed that: "algae, in a well developed turf, can absorb typically 0.3 to 1.2 grams of N a day per square meter of screen." He goes on to say that too much scrubbing can result in reduction of N levels to where blue Green algae dominate, which absorb less nutrients than the turf algae does. His examples indicate a scrubber size of about 3.3 sq cm per liter (120 gallon coral reef aquarium) This is well more than 1 sq. inch per gallon... more like 3 sq in per gallon. So the size might need to go up to gain the action Adey reports. And this assumes high lighting levels using MH intensity bulbs. Lesser light intensity will result in lesser algae production, and so less nutrient extraction. Important point...

He stresses the need for intense lighting on the turf scrubber... he uses metal halides in most instances... just FYI, so his analysis of nutrient removal rates depends on the high levels of light, which he also says is a goal of the surge, which creates shimmer, and intensifies the light reaching the algae.

As far as I can tell, the surge issue pertains to creating a natural surge environment in the scrubber which maximizes metabolism in the turf algae, according to the book: "Assuming adequate light, algal production is limited only by inadequate exchange of metabolites -- oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nutrients -- between the water and the cells of the attached algae. We have demonstrated a strong correlation between wave surge and improved metabolic interchange: when we occasionally stop the wave generators in our main reef tanks -- while maintaining a constant rate of circulation and level of light -- immediately there is a 50% reduction of oxygen production. The surge generated by the wave maker produces a back and forth motion within the tank, preventing the development of semi stagnant boundary layers that occur when a constant flow of liquid passes a fixed object. A steady current would tend to pin the filaments in an immobile position, and a surface layer of very slow moving water would develop." So say Adey and Loveland.

So for their model, the surge action is deemed an important aspect of the scrubber, keeping the algae moving and enabling higher rates of metabolism, which means faster growth, and better nutrient export. Refugia just don't do this as well, but they seem to work for me.

As for comparisons with refugia, I would have to say that Eric Borneman has said that he felt a refugium would have to be about the same size as the display to have a real impact on water quality, but that it is fine to be smaller if using it as a refugium for pod growth rather than as a scrubber. So I can say I agree with small being effective, so Borneman supports the size ratios described in Adey to some extent, when he talks about refugia and size. Yes, in this instance, size does matter... ;-)

Never the less, I use a Chaeto based scrubber/refugium on my 210 + 90 = 29 that is only 75 gallons in size, has a deep sand bed (6") and a few pieces of LR... it acts to reduce nitrate somewhat, and also Phosphate to a greater degree... My feeling is that the Nitrates are removed more through the deep sand bed action than by the algae scrubbing, and that a good portion of the phosphates are as well. But still I use the Chaeto. And the 75 is nearly full of it, tumbling around in there.

As for the cleaning I would be very careful with the electrical aspects, as pointed out by Dendro982 above, both in terms of splash, creep and seepage, but especially when removing and replacing the screen... perhaps there should be some accommodation for sliding the box away from the lights for the screen removal.

Regarding Spray bars: these tend to clog, almost without exception, so the holes for this, and for the drain must be large enough to make this a non-issue, and must be cleaned regularly. So I would look to this issue as well.

So, where to now?

Perhaps a larger size is needed, but since lighting can be done from both sides, the box/screen combo might need be only half as large as a more traditional scrubber. But still much larger than discussed so far, as per both Adey & Loveland, and Borneman. At least according to these experts. Technical issues such as the cleaning and spillage/creep are in need of addressing, especially for a "commercial" version.

Hope this helped, and hope to see more comments here.


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