View Full Version : New ATS user

09-16-2012, 03:35 PM
Hi to all!

I am Roni from Croatia, and I will be a new scrubber user :)

First of all I would like to apology to you all for my future English writing, but English is not my natural language so I will type as good as I can.

I heard about ATS few months ago, but like most of you I also experienced stories that ATS is no good enough by people who represents skimmer sellers etc...

Few days ago I visited friend (user of this forum) and saw his beautiful tank which run without skimmer for 6 months now. Of course i couldn't believe my eyes :)
Then he pulled some cold beers and start explaining the story behind ATS :)

So to make this story little bit shorter... for last few days i was reading this forum (and some other forums) learning about ATS, and I totally decided to build myself one.

Current situation:
-tank is 360 liters (95 gallons if not mistaken) without sump
-bio pellet reactor
-i don't know parameters because i didn't measure them for long time
-i have 5 fishes (chromis viridis, 2 clowns, yellow tang, hepatus tang)
-some soft corals

Plans in general:
-build DIY vertical ATS with T5 lamps
-build it like close box (to be as silent as possible)
-put some more fishes in tank (I know i have to know how much I will feed them)
-put much more corals in tank

-stupid question but... can ATS be my ONLY future filtration in tank, without any skimmer, DSB etc. ?
-If I don't know now how much food will I put in tank in future, is there any thing that can help my calculation of screen size?
-I read that much of calcium is added in general along with ATS usage, so question is can I run ATS and balling together?
-what about active carbon, do I need it? (it is not a problem because i have small reactor for it, it is only info question)
-What are benefits/not benefits of water changes if running ATS (I cant quite understand is it needed frequently as now or what)?

Thanks for help in advance.

P.S. When I will building ATS, I will post pictures, and some ATS log for sure ;)

09-16-2012, 03:45 PM
And one other question:
Can ATS be too big?
Maybe answer to this is that if ATS is too big then growth af algae will be poor, but I still want to check this.

And sorry if I make some questions that sound stupid, I only want to be sure before I make some mistakes and want to make ma ATS as good as possible. I am not lazy for reading and searching, but sometimes my English is not good enough for fully understanding what i read.

09-16-2012, 04:37 PM

Yes a scrubber can be the only filter, without sand, or carbon. Should be fine without waterchanges as long as you as add Cal, Alk, Mag, and Str.

Not familiar with Balling.

Yes they can be too big. Get feeding estimates from fish people, and size accordingly.

09-16-2012, 11:42 PM
ATS is not related to calcium+alkalinity addition methods at all. You can chose one that you like the most.
Water changes cant harm but not needed if ATS is working well.

09-17-2012, 04:02 AM
You can always make your ATS "expandable" by having it big enough for future growth, but only cutting a slot in the PVC pipe that feeds the screen that is big enough for now. What I mean is, if you want a screen that is 10" long x 6" deep in the future, make your box big enough for that (10" long) but only cut the PVC pipe feeding the screen to 4" for now, so you can make it bigger in the future.

I hope you understand, I'm still asleep while typing. The numbers were just pulled from the air for an example.

09-17-2012, 04:12 AM
I understand Smitty, thanks.

Thanks all for reply!

09-18-2012, 04:02 PM
I have done some math calculating size of my screen, wattage, and pump flow. Will feed for now minimum of 2 frozen cubes per day, and sometmes will add some food for anemona (once a week) and some nori.
Acording to this link http://algaescrubber.net/forums/showthread.php?1291-Algae-Scrubber-Basics-The-Summary&p=13975&viewfull=1#post13975 results should be:

screen size: 7x8 inches
lights: 2x 15w CFL (btw is this ok lamp: http://shop.emgd.hr/zarulje/kompaktne-fluorescentne-zarulje-stedne/mini-lynx-standard-t4/stedna-z-2u-15w-827-e27-2700k-6000h.html)? I planned T5 lamps but it is complicated to find small ones here.
Waterflow: 250 GPH

And one other thing... do you have any idea from where to buy "Clear #7 Mesh Plastic Canvas". This is closest one I found: http://www.amazon.com/Artist-Plastic-Canvas-8x21-5-Clear/dp/B001DEGBIW. Keep in mind that I dont have different hobby stores here.

Is all this OK or i miscalculated some figures.
Thanks for help!

09-18-2012, 04:07 PM
Option 2 for lights, LED-s.

This should be ok? http://www.aquastyleonline.com/products/Bridgelux-LED-3W-2800K.html
But how many of them on my 7x8 inches screen?

09-18-2012, 04:50 PM
For the CFL I would say yes. For the LED I'm not sure because they say that you need red spectrum LEDs. I would look at some of the build threads for LEDs to make sure you get the right ones.

09-18-2012, 08:37 PM
Screen: yes
CFL: yes, if you add reflectors
LED: no, get 660nm instead.


09-23-2012, 12:26 PM
Should canavas be stiff or soft?

09-23-2012, 12:57 PM
Stiff, but bendy. It's called "7 count canvas"

09-23-2012, 01:59 PM
I'm now using the very-stiff ones from Darice. Takes more pressure to rough up, but does not break as easy. Probably lasts longer too.

09-24-2012, 02:46 AM
Yeah I saw them on internet but here I cant find canavas.

Thx for help anyway

12-14-2012, 10:25 AM
Hi again.
I finally build my first ATS. Here sre some specs and some pics (I feed 2 cubes per day):

Flow: cca 230 gph
Screen size: 9x7.5 inch
Light 4x9w CFL with reflectors

Here are some pics:


Please if you have some advice I will gladly read it.

Later i will post some pic of growth after 5 days

Floyd R Turbo
12-14-2012, 11:13 AM
You are using the old screen-sizing calculations, which were based on gallons of water in the system.

They are now based on feeding, so you only need 12 sq in for each "cube" fed per day. This means only 24 sq in for you.

Your 9 x 7.5 screen is big enough for 6 cubes/day. I would leave it as is for now, because if your tank has been running without a scrubber for a long time, it may grow very well for a few months. But when it starts to "clean up" the tank, it will end up being too large and you will want to reduce the size.

Also you need better reflectors - those are too small. Use the same shape, but you want then to direct all the light to the screen. you are losing 75% of the light to the sides.

12-14-2012, 01:54 PM
Might as well see how well it grows...

12-16-2012, 08:39 AM
This is growth for 5 days.
It seems to dark!? Or it is because it is new scrubber?

Please some advice...


Floyd R Turbo
12-16-2012, 08:47 AM
That's not really that dark. I would not expect growth to really kick in until 3-4 weeks in, don't worry what it looks like until then - you're going to go through various stages of growth

12-16-2012, 11:24 AM
What about cleaning the screen in that 3-4 weeks?

12-16-2012, 12:29 PM
Great for 5 days. Clean in 14.

12-24-2012, 02:53 PM
Here is growth after 14 days. Is it ok?

I cleaned it.


12-24-2012, 03:04 PM
BTW Merry Christmass :)

12-26-2012, 02:11 AM
And one question...

The pressure along the pipe is decreasing, so I have situation that on the begining of the pipe is full pressure and at the end water is barely coming on screen.
Any advice for taking care of that?

12-26-2012, 07:26 AM
Happy Croatia holiday :)

Clean the screen completely.

Water will need to be flowing over the whole screen. If not, reduce the size of the screen and tape up the slot to make it smaller.

12-30-2012, 10:27 AM
Design update:


With this new desing i have:
-lamps are not wet any more
-ATS is 100% silence
-i have nice option to make my ATS bigger or smaller if this will be necessary

Further more i will increase reflectors on lamps and in future i will put some LED lamps on ATS.

Please comment if you have any suggestions.

12-30-2012, 02:32 PM
Will see how it grows...

01-25-2013, 01:34 PM
Here are some pictures of growth.
Is this ok or should I change anything?


01-25-2013, 01:41 PM
Looking good. Have you changed your bulbs yet ?

01-25-2013, 01:44 PM
No, i didnt know that i should changed them. There is 36W (18 per side) with reflectors. 2700K

01-25-2013, 01:47 PM
No, i didnt know that i should changed them. There is 36W (18 per side) with reflectors. 2700K

Yep. Every 3 months. Think you may find you get a growth increase a few weeks after changing them for new ones. I change mine every 3 months without fail. It's quite amazing how you notice the new bulbs are so much more intense.

01-25-2013, 01:54 PM
Ok i know about changing them eveery 3 months. I thought that you are talking that this lamps are not efficient enough.

Beside that, is this ok?

01-25-2013, 01:59 PM
Sorry Roni. Thought you started it in September, but now realise its a December start date. Considering that, yeah, it looks great.

Only improvement I can see is perhaps having deeper reflectors to reduce the light lost out the sides of the bulbs.

01-25-2013, 02:04 PM
Yes i agree, that is in the plan, bigger reflectors.

Thx for reply

02-02-2013, 12:17 PM
One week later...


02-02-2013, 04:09 PM
Looks nice; maybe a bit more/longer light.

02-03-2013, 03:38 AM
I still didnt put additional reflectors, so that is first thing.
Light period is 18h on... 6h off, is that ok?

Btw i still dont put 2 cubes a day in tank. ATS was calculated according number.

02-03-2013, 03:43 AM
One week later...


Looking a lot how mine started off. You may experience a bit of rediculous screen growth soon :)

02-03-2013, 03:55 AM
What do you mean "rediculous"? :D

02-03-2013, 03:58 AM
What do you mean "rediculous"? :D


02-03-2013, 04:04 AM
That is nice "rediculous" ;)