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Old 02/15/2011, 08:29 PM   #1
srusso
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Algae Scrubber Basics

SCRUBBER BASICS

-Disclaimer-

These are the materials used by many successfully scrubbed tanks, and is the unoffical standard build method. In no way is this gospel, however if you are building your first scrubber you should start with this standard build. This will be a very inexpensive build and will cost most people ~$15 - $25 dollars. Although, most keepers have a lot of these materials just laying around.
After you make your first scrubber and you feel you can make adjustments to the design to achieve better results, please always post pictures of weekly growth, harvest measurements, water chemistry and materials used as well as how you designed your system.


LIGHTING
-23w Spiral CFL bulbs- (2,700 kelvin is suggested)
Bulbs should be about 4 iches away from screen
Vertical MINIMUM 0.5 watts per gallon
Vertical HIGH 1.0 watts per gallon
Horizonal MINIMUM 1.5 actual watts per gallon

SCREEN

-Plastic Canvas- (Roughed up, Cactus-like)

(Veritcally Hanging)
1 sq. inch of screen per gallon with bulbs on BOTH sides
(10 x 10 = 100 sq. inches = 100 gallons)
2 sq. inches of screen per gallon, if lit on just ONE side.
(10 x 10 = 100 sq. inches = 50 gallons)

(Horizontal) - (can only be lit from one side, for obvious reasons)
4 sq. inches of screen per gallon
(10 x 10 = 100 sq. inches = 25 gallons)
FLOW
Minimum of 35 GPH per inch of width of screen, EVEN IF one sided
Flow should cover screen evenly


(Should be noted, if one increases flow, light or screen size. The others need to be balanced accordingly)


MAINTENANCE/SCHEDULE
-18 hours lights ON, 6 hours lights OFF, per day.
-Flow is 24 hours
-Clean 90-95% of algae off of screen every SEVEN (7) days. (Even in the begaining)
-Screen needs to be removed from tank and cleaned under tap (will cause water yellowing if cleaned in tank)
-Bulbs must be changed every 3 months

BASIC DESIGN PLANS



Overflow Feed - Engery Savings (one pump system)

Sump Feed - Easy add to exsiting Setup

People have used bucket systems as well as systems directly feed into the top of the display tank. As these designs are not asteadicly pleasing and google can be your friend for design plans for these setups. However other than plumbing, and placement they have little differences.

Many thanks to the work done by SantaMonica, most of this collection of data has been gathered form his great work.


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General Interest Forums > Advanced Topics > Algae Scrubber Basics Thread
Basics Write Up - Post #1 | Quick Troubleshooting - Post #1902 | Alternate/Updated Sizing - Post #2723 | Latest Summary - Post #3251 - #3264

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Old 02/15/2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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Here are pictures of my setup, its a single pump system. Uses four 23w CFL bulbs and I commonly harvest 1 cup of algae.





This was my harvest from a few weeks back. This Sunday I will post my current harvest results.



This is a full tank shot for reference, its 6 months old and never has had any algae issues.



Here are my last testing results.

02/10/2011
SG 1.025
pH 7.96 - 8.24
KH 7.4
Ca 420
Mg 1320
NO3 0
PO4 0


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Old 02/15/2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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I have a few questions and comments, and please don't take some of them as an attack. I am trying to learn and critique...

1. Why is the area underneath your scrubber so filthy? The pump area and tank are free of algae, but the scrubber area looks like a cess pool. Is this from algae breaking off? Is this normal?

2. You write-up was awesome, but I think your price is a little misleading. I started my ATS 2 days ago. By the time I bought 2 26 W CFLs, 2 reflectors, a timer, PVC fittings, PVC pipe, tubing, screen, and a MaxiJet 1200, my total was between $75-80.

3. You might want to be more specific about the "canvas". I got mine at Hobby Lobby. It came in different sizes. I bought a 10.5"x13.5" piece for $0.49.

Again, I applaud your contributions to the forum. Please dont take my comments as a slam!

I started mine 2 days ago and have ZERO green on my screen. By the rules, I should be fine, but please critique mine in case I missed something:

40 BR, ATS lit on ONE side, so I did 8" W x 12" long = 96 squareinches
2 26W CFLs in a dome reflector, 4-5" from surface = 52 W
Powered by a MaxiJet 1200 = 296 GPH
Pump non-stop, light 18 hrs on, 6 off.


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Old 02/15/2011, 09:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
I have a few questions and comments, and please don't take some of them as an attack. I am trying to learn and critique...
None Taken

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
1. Why is the area underneath your scrubber so filthy? The pump area and tank are free of algae, but the scrubber area looks like a cess pool. Is this from algae breaking off? Is this normal?
That algae grows from the extra light into the sump, I have never once cleaned the sump of the tank, I feel that it (the algae) helps breed pods, mysis and other critters, they live well and undisturbed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
2. You write-up was awesome, but I think your price is a little misleading. I started my ATS 2 days ago. By the time I bought 2 26 W CFLs, 2 reflectors, a timer, PVC fittings, PVC pipe, tubing, screen, and a MaxiJet 1200, my total was between $75-80.
Price can very, I got my lights for $6 dollars each, your screen price is accurate, and PVC is cheap, I got a 10 footer for my tank for $10 at homedepot. Still using it up from when I pumped the tank... I should add that I added two additional drop lights a couple of weeks back for some each growth, one on each side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
3. You might want to be more specific about the "canvas". I got mine at Hobby Lobby. It came in different sizes. I bought a 10.5"x13.5" piece for $0.49.
Its plastic canvas that can be purchased at most hobby stores, like Joanne's and Michael's. I its used for knitting, it looks like a plastic mesh screen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
Again, I applaud your contributions to the forum. Please dont take my comments as a slam!
No slam, thanks. I hope we can clarify things for people

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvacman250 View Post
I started mine 2 days ago and have ZERO green on my screen. By the rules, I should be fine, but please critique mine in case I missed something:

40 BR, ATS lit on ONE side, so I did 8" W x 12" long = 96 square inches
2 26W CFLs in a dome reflector, 4-5" from surface = 52 W
Powered by a MaxiJet 1200 = 296 GPH
Pump non-stop, light 18 hrs on, 6 off.
Reads right, lets see some pictures of the setup as well as a whole tank shot for reference later on... thanks!! Welcome to the wonderful world of ATS!


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General Interest Forums > Advanced Topics > Algae Scrubber Basics Thread
Basics Write Up - Post #1 | Quick Troubleshooting - Post #1902 | Alternate/Updated Sizing - Post #2723 | Latest Summary - Post #3251 - #3264

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Old 02/15/2011, 09:51 PM   #5
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Here is some great videos to watch on algae scrubbers, Inland aquatics use a dump bucket type system, and it was the first type built in the 70's. Although this design made building and ATS easy and cheap for hobby use.

This is proof that algae scrubbers can be used on small and large scale systems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsVEVUfVtcM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dvTtwQzLaQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsCstx50p54


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Old 02/15/2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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here's a pic of the screen I plan on using:

purchased from walmart






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Old 02/15/2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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That will work, be sure to make your slit in the PVC 1/8th of an inch wide. Be sure to use a hole saw and rough up the screen as much as you can stand it. Then a bit more...

Ps... your camera needs glasses jk


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Old 02/15/2011, 10:36 PM   #8
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for a 40B, the size of the plastic canvas would be 5''x8'', which gives an area of 40 inch²?

EDIT: BTW, if you got the ATS, do you still need CUC in your DT?

i already have all the materials needed for my ATS, i just didnt assemble it yet cause i want to try a refugia with chaeto.



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Old 02/16/2011, 05:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rysher View Post
for a 40B, the size of the plastic canvas would be 5''x8'', which gives an area of 40 inch²?

EDIT: BTW, if you got the ATS, do you still need CUC in your DT?

i already have all the materials needed for my ATS, i just didnt assemble it yet cause i want to try a refugia with chaeto.
Yes, a 5x8 inch screen will work for a 40 gallon as long as you have lights in both sides of the screen.

Yes, a clean up crew is still needed.

If you doing a design like mine, you can setup a refuge under your ATS screen, however some people report that their algae scrubber out competes chaeto easily and it dies out in most tanks.


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Old 02/16/2011, 08:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info. This may be a stupid question but for those of us with all in one tanks and no sump to speak of (just a cramped back chamber) is there a way to implement an alternative ATS design.


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:12 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info. This may be a stupid question but for those of us with all in one tanks and no sump to speak of (just a cramped back chamber) is there a way to implement an alternative ATS design.
Some others have managed to modify small bio cubes to include a small screen and light. People have taken pictures I will post them as soon as I can.


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:40 AM   #12
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Any thoughts on the 3D ones people have talked about?


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:50 AM   #13
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Any thoughts on the 3D ones people have talked about?
3D scrubbers have huge potential, however in terms of basic scrubbers they are a bit more advanced than most first timers should attempt to build. They require an acrylic enclosure.


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:53 AM   #14
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Very nice write up and graphics. One small nitpicky thing: a 10"x10" screen lit by both sides actually has 200 square inches of surface area (both sides).


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:55 AM   #15
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T5HO ATS Part 1

This is my ATS build, based on about 4 months of research and design, and it is the 2nd generation that I'm running on the tank.

It is built out of 1/4" acrylic and is 2 parts, a frame and an enclosed screen box.

The outer frame spans the sump, supports the inner box, provides mounting suppport for the lights, and shields the sump from excess light (although not perfectly).







The inner box that encloses the ATS screen, which protects the lamps from spray and allows the box to fill up with water as the algae grows, promoting 3-D growth.



Here it is in action:





This is of course a more costly build, but the results are phenomenal. It would take some time to break it down, but I can give you a quick estimate:

Acrylic Material: $20-30
Acrylic manufacturing: if you know what you're doing, it only take a few hours from first cut to last joint weld. To have someone make one for you could run several hundred $.
Sunlight Supply TEK-II Reflectors & Clips: $25 x 4 = $100
T5HO Waterproof End caps and standoffs: $15/pair x 4 - $60
Fulham Workhorse 5 Ballast: $27
T5HO Grow Lamps: $4/each x 4 = $16 http://www.aghydroponics.com/T5-2Ft-...pxfl248308.htm
Heat sink made from aluminum angle purchased at Home Depot: $25
PVC piping: $30
Filter Screen and nylon nuts & bolts: $20
Misc parts (wire, wirenuts, electrical tape, silicone): $20

Total material cost: about $320 + cost to manufacture ATS box

Next couple posts will showcase the results...


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:56 AM   #16
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As the algae grows on the screen, it expands out enough that it makes contact with the walls of the box. This causes it to trap a little extra water, which starts a cycle of addtional algae growth that has been termed "3D" growth. In reality, all algae screens do this, but the advantage to the flooded box is that as the algae gets suspended in the water column, more light reaches the algae beneath it (closer to the screen) and so you get deeper growth. Supposedly, you can let a screen grow longer than 7 days between cleaning with a design like this, but I'm not risking it anytime soon, since this isn't my personal tank.

Here's what the screen looks like at the end of the week (this is with water running)





Here's what the screen looks like at the end of each week, right before cleaning:







...and this is the amount of algae I harvest from this system EVERY week



I've never bothered to drain & weight it or put it in a measuring cup. I should probably do that. It looks like at least 3 cups/week and probably at least 16 ounces.

Some tank parameters:

120g acrylic
40 Breeder sump
>200 lb LR
effectively about 110 gallons system water
Mag 12 return pump
Screen is approx 20" long and 7" tall
Flow rate is 433 GPH, so screen flow rate is only 22 GPH/inch, which is horrendously low. Working on fixing this.
Lights on ATS are on from 4pm to 7am (15 hours)
1 Koralia 4
2 Koralia 3s
48" 8 lamps T5HO Nova Extreme light fixture w/5 ATI Blue Plus, 2 ATI Purple Plus, 1 Geisemann Aquablue

Corals:
40 heads of Red Sea Pulsing Xenia
3+ colonies of Brown Anthelia
Green Star Polyp
Kryptonite Candy Cane Caulastrea
ORA Green Birdsnest, baseball size
Tri-color Valida, approaching baseball size
Rose millepora, pinky size
Green Digitata, 2 about 6" and several others from 1-3"
Red Caps spread out through the tank
War Coral, golf bal size
2 Frogspawn colonies, 5 heads & 8 heads
Branching Hammer, baseball size
Sun Polyp, thumb size (which is never target fed and continues to grow)
Florida Rics: Blue, Green, Tri-color
Zoas: GUNK, Watermelon, Packer, and about 3 or 4 others I've forgotten the names of
Mushrooms: Green, Lavendar, Speckled, Fuzzy
Leathers: Toadstool, Tree, one other (can't remember name)
Trumpet Coral, 7 large heads
Dendro, 5-6 heads

Fish:
6" Blue Hippo Tang
4" Scopas Tang
4" Flame Fin Tang
10" Engineer Goby
2" Green Chromis
1" Yellowtail Blue Damsel
(2) 2" Ocellaris True Percula Clowns
(2) 2" Ocellaris Black & White Clowns
5" Banded Jawfish
3" Scooter Blenny
4" Snowflake/Starry Blenny

CUC:
Lots of snails and hermits
(4) Peppermint Shrimp (maybe, never see them)
1 Coral Banded Shrimp

Water test results:
Nitrate 0 (sometimes as high as 0.1)
Phosphate varies between 0.11 and 0.2 (overfeeding until I get rid of Xenia)
Salinity 35.5-36 SG 1.027 (Reef Crystals)
KH 8.5-9.0
Calcium 420-430
Magnesium 1350
pH 7.95-8.2
Temp 77-80 (was 81.6 last weekend - need fans & controller!!)


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:57 AM   #17
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This thread has been stuck.


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankpayne32 View Post
Very nice write up and graphics. One small nitpicky thing: a 10"x10" screen lit by both sides actually has 200 square inches of surface area (both sides).
This is incorrect, a screen lit on both sides that is 10x10 has a 100 gallon scrubber capacity.


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Old 02/16/2011, 09:59 AM   #19
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This thread has been stuck.
THANK YOU! This is huge for the algae scrubber community!!


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Old 02/16/2011, 10:04 AM   #20
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Ok. I have been following all of these threads lately and it does spark my interest.


Honestly I don't care how I get the water clean: ATS and carbon bag vs. skimmer and bag, I just want it to work. I think along the lines of tools in a work bench. All can be used for the right job at the right time.

Also I want to look at my tank not care for it if that makes sense.

I am setting up a 37 gallon FOWLR DT and a 20 gallon high sump.

Putting it at 50 gallons total I will need:

lighting: 2 x 23 CFL in metal reflectors (have)
screen: 50 sq. in. double side lit or 100 sq. in. single side (would have to add more lights correct?).
not sure since I am in the sump design phase right now.
flow: will probably T off my overflow pipe and adjust with a valve or could do a second pump like above though gravity = no cost.


Has anyone split a ATS into two parts single sided so that there is at least one part lit 24/7 like cheato.

Such as midnight on 4 pm off for one
4 pm on 8 am off for the second.


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Old 02/16/2011, 10:05 AM   #21
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Also if you've got some time, I posted videos of the cleaning process to YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9q6exxX2Hs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbwAyVu87fk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb_kSnS8Tcc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJOx1KsQHIE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FOFZMBQI0k

And the tank

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdH2I8RWNFs


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Old 02/16/2011, 10:08 AM   #22
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Floyd R Turbo, thank you for your wonderful write up!! Great example of a 3D scrubber. Wonderful pictures and videos!!


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Old 02/16/2011, 10:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankpayne32 View Post
Very nice write up and graphics. One small nitpicky thing: a 10"x10" screen lit by both sides actually has 200 square inches of surface area (both sides).
+1 for Srusso's comment.

Some additional hints:

Flow across screen should be minimum 35 GPH/inch of screen width. of course, you can get away with less, just look at mine at 22 GPH/in, but it's also T5HO and enclosed.

Slot tube should NOT have crosscuts. Slot should be 1/8" wide. Use spray and light blockers if not enclosed in acrylic box so that your lights are protected. Originally, crosscuts were recommended to prevent slot clogging. Eventually it was determined that it makes the flow uneven and actually promotes algae growth into the slot. With no crosscuts, the head pressure on the slot prevents algae from growing into the slot, but may cause sideways spray. Hence spray / light blocker.

For this purpose, find a sheet of black plastic at your local hobby store for $2:



Lights must - MUST - be in close proximity, and must pointed directly at screen, perpendicular if possible. The vast majority of ATS issues are related to incorrect placement of lighting.

After screen is broken in (5 to 6 weeks), you MUST clean every 7 days no matter what. During screen break-in period, cleaning may need to be more frequent depending on nutrient load and type of algae growth.

You want green hair algae growth as it does not block light from reaching the lower layers as much as red turf. Plus it cleans off easier. This is a pic of a just-cleaned screen



You can see that the GHA cleans off easily with the backs of your fingernails. The dark spots are the red turf. You need a razor blade to clean that stuff off. Old dump-bucket style scrubbers used this stuff and whoa does it stink bad when it's exposed to the air and your nostrils.

Some hints if you are thinking of adding one of these to your system:

1) Plan it out and do your research. Building a scrubber without thinking about it could put you into the category of "I tried that and it didn't work" because you failed to plan. Don't be that guy. We want you to not be that guy. Or gal. We want you to succeed.

2) Test your overflow rate. This is critical and I cannot overstate the importance. TEST YOUR OVERFLOW RATE. Take a pitcher and record the time it takes to fill it from the overflow inlet into your sump. Do this a dozen or so times and figure out your actual GPH. Don't use your pump rating or even pump rating less head, do it with real conditions. You might be surprised. Design the WIDTH of your screen accordingly, Flow rate / 35 = inches of screen width. Then, tank volume / width = length of screen.

3) Present your design to someone who has built one and see if they catch a potential issue. It's easier to go back to the drawing board than it is to deal with a poor design after it's already running.

4) Look at as many examples as you can and learn from what others have done. There's a huge thread on Reef Sanctuary with hundreds of builds (ignore the hotheads) and of course there's SM's site.

That's all I can think of for now...


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Algae Scrubber Basics!!! GOOGLE "algaescrubber zoho"
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Old 02/16/2011, 10:44 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Gamepro_inc View Post
Thanks for the info. This may be a stupid question but for those of us with all in one tanks and no sump to speak of (just a cramped back chamber) is there a way to implement an alternative ATS design.
Not a stupid question at all. The original dump-style scrubbers were top-of-tank.

For nano scrubbers, SM did design one using a specific type of CFL lamp.

You can also implement a top-of-tank acrylic box scrubber that would be about 24" long, 6" tall, and 6" wide with lights. You would run the pump directly from the tank into the screen tube, and the output would just dump out into the top of the tank.

This design is actually the preferred method if you want to acheive massive Pod growth, since the pods live on the screen and would get washed into the tank without having to go through the pump.

The downside is the ATS competes for space needed by DT lighting.


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Algae Scrubber Basics!!! GOOGLE "algaescrubber zoho"
General Interest Forums --> Advanced Topics --> Algae Scrubber Basics (sticky)
--> POSTS #3251-64 (Basics), #5206 (Cleaning), #6884 (LEDs), #729
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Old 02/16/2011, 11:13 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by KafudaFish View Post
Ok. I have been following all of these threads lately and it does spark my interest.


Honestly I don't care how I get the water clean: ATS and carbon bag vs. skimmer and bag, I just want it to work. I think along the lines of tools in a work bench. All can be used for the right job at the right time.

Also I want to look at my tank not care for it if that makes sense.

I am setting up a 37 gallon FOWLR DT and a 20 gallon high sump.

Putting it at 50 gallons total I will need:

lighting: 2 x 23 CFL in metal reflectors (have)
screen: 50 sq. in. double side lit or 100 sq. in. single side (would have to add more lights correct?).
not sure since I am in the sump design phase right now.
flow: will probably T off my overflow pipe and adjust with a valve or could do a second pump like above though gravity = no cost.


Has anyone split a ATS into two parts single sided so that there is at least one part lit 24/7 like cheato.

Such as midnight on 4 pm off for one
4 pm on 8 am off for the second.
I am in your exact shoes; I don't care what works, just as long as it gets the job done. Hence why I am doing this ATS experiment.

I put the ATS on my 40 BR which houses a pair of clowns, eventually a nem, and some frags. It does have a skimmer and new ATS at the moment.

My 100 gallon has an skimmer rated at 1.5x tank volume, refugium w/ deep sand bed, and chaeto. My nitrAtes are 0, PO4 is 0.07 (which was last taken an hour after feeding, and I dont rinse my food) Hanna checker was new, so I only have one reading. I have ZERO algae in my display; I have to feed the crabs and snails algae sheets. I have such little growth on the glass I only have to mag-float it every 7-10 days. I cannot complain about my tank; dumping a skimmer cup once a week is the easiest thing in the world to do.

I am curious what happens on the ATS/40 BR tank. Shutting the ATS down, scrubbing algae off the screen, replacing bulbs every 3 monthas, etc seems too much work at the moment (I can be lazy ), but I am willing to try new things.


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