View Full Version : UAS for aquamedic cubicus

11-05-2015, 11:59 AM
Dear All,

I've been reading about algea scrubbers for a while and decided to build a simple diy upflow algea scrubber. I have an aquamedic cubicues aquarium and currently have some issues with red slime algea as I have no fancy equipment to filter the water. I decided to go give the UAS in he hope that this will help me get rid of the cyano;

Light: 21w growspot (3w leds, 6x660nm, 1x455nm)
Airpump: Tetratec APS 150 (150 lph, 2.5 lpm)
Screen size: 11cm x 40cm, 440cm2 (4,3 inch x 15,7 inch, 68,2 inch2)
(Extra white scrubber section is 11 cm x 16.5 cm)

I hope someone can give me a bit of feedback. I added a white section to the scrubber because I do not know if the black leaf catcher (I do not know the right name for it) is usefull scrubber material. Currently a bit of cheato got stuck in the white section..

11-05-2015, 12:15 PM
Few more pictures.. a bit dark at the moment though;

The distance between the led spot and the white scrubber section approximately 4 inches (lowest section 6.7 inch, upper section 2.8 inch). I hope to receive lots of feedback to ikprove the current setup. I do not know how much I will feed though. I am still in the process of maturing the reef tank it is up and running now for half a year apart from 2 clownfish and a few inverts there are not many animals to feed.

11-05-2015, 04:46 PM
I have a very similar set up in the back of my nanocube 28 and I am using a 5 watt grow light. I was thinking I might need a 10 watt but in the past few days it has really started to grow. I may be wrong but I was thinking the 21watt led was too much since they are so close proximity.

11-05-2015, 09:31 PM
Welcome from the Netherlands.

The black material won't grow too well, because the holes are too big, and of course because it's black. But the white should do well. :)

11-06-2015, 02:22 PM
I really appreciate the replies. I wondered though how I should optimise conditions even more for growing algae. I currently have some cyano on the sandbed (and glass if i dont clean them for a week or so).. and I do not want a to get to the point where the cyano is taking over the tank. I am considering rubbing some algea from someone elses crubber onto the white canvas.. good idea? I fear the cyano will inhibit algae from growing as they compete for nutruints.

About the 21w growspot, I also purchased another one maybe a bit overkill, but I also have 2x 15w growspots (those came alsready with the flexible holders) I chose for this set-up so I could play around with the distance & light intencity depending on my findings. I hope everybody here can help me out. All suggestions, hints & tips are very welcome. Kind regards from the Netherlands indeed.

With a bit of luck green algae will grow naturally on the canvas, I hardly feed anything right now as I fear a red slime breakout, maybe someone can give me some advise as I do not want to starve the algae.. for now I hope there are enough pollutans in the tank to get some initail growth.

11-06-2015, 06:38 PM
No need to rub algae; it will grow on it's own. Cyano on the sand will go away quickly after your scrubber grows.

Your screen is small enough for 1 light. However you could point the other light at the back side of the screen, once it starts growing.

11-07-2015, 12:24 AM
That is the answer I was hoping for, a waiting game it is. I will post an update on the scrubber as soon I notice any significant differences. Lights are now on 18 hours a day. I guess some slimy stuff will develop first, hope it all works out. I've been watching all of your videos and reading manuals for the scrubbers so I have an idea what to expect. Exiting!

11-09-2015, 12:11 PM
Today I received my second led light, unfortunately I noticed a difference between 2 identical leds lights i purchased. The second one turned out to be totally different the blue is much more bright and reds much less red.. I believe they forgot I requested 660nm and 455nm blue.. even worse.. when I tested the lights I nogiced the 21w had a totally different color! They were not red but orange! No wonder it wouldn't grow any algea... i hope i can get the right led lights.

11-09-2015, 07:53 PM
Yes I can imaging it is hard to special-build just one light. I sometimes have trouble ordering 100 of something.

11-09-2015, 11:54 PM
Well it seems that I am not getting my mony back, the chinese seller simply states they tested the wavelenght and that it is 660nm.. however.. it cannot be 660nm because it is orange. It is easy to see when looking into the light.. on the picture a bit harder to tell. I almost start to doubt myself as the seller does not admit his mistake.

6297 (l believe the left one is correct and the right is not seem 660nm)

11-10-2015, 08:54 PM
Try both, and see what happens.

11-13-2015, 12:03 PM
I am currently running both indeed. I first tried 2x15w and got some growth 18 hours on, 6 hours off.
There are some patches of green stuff growing on the glass now;

11-20-2015, 03:35 PM
Incredibly.. the red slime has VANISHED... i am amazed how fast the cyano disappeared after some algea started to grow.. I decided to buy 2 new type led grow spots. Both have 5 x 3w bridgelux full-spectrum leds. These leds cover 400 - 840nm.. (loads in the red spectrum and a bit in the blue) I decided to give it a try as nobody replied to my topic on COB leds.. I guess these type of lights are too intense as I need to place them pretty close to the screen. however these bridgelux leds seem nice so I will give it a try.

11-20-2015, 06:45 PM
Nice to hear. Yes cyano needs nutrients too, and if the nutrients are not there...

11-21-2015, 12:05 AM
Nice to hear. Yes cyano needs nutrients too, and if the nutrients are not there...
It sure is, a little algae can make a big difference!! What do you think about the bridgelux 400-840nm leds? They cover a wide area of the red spectrum and a bit of blue. I have a silimar bulb with 4x 660nm and 1x 455nm.. I wonder which will grow algae better.. I assume the 660nm because that is the best wavelength for algae.. but I do wonder if the broader range in the red spectrum will benefit the algae. COB leds have a simmilar range.. but I guess they are to strong to position close to the glass (else light will reach the tank to if I would increase the distance). The bridgelux on the other hand are not like COB so i'll give them a try
I also noticed the COB leds are slightly different.. the red spectrum does not go as deep compared to these (although the graphs above should be the same, but are not the same if you look at the peak of the blue)

11-21-2015, 11:51 AM
There are too many variables; just try them and see.

12-14-2015, 02:22 PM
Small update, the tank had some ups and downs.. I overfed and got quite a bit of hair algae in the tank instead of the scrubber. Scrubber has been growing green hair algae but it is turning yellow so I decided to switch off the lights for a few more hours and see how that goes. Some pictures;

I dedided to change the setup. I will go for a *surf* style scrubber and try to make one myself.. although I will be using plastic canvas anyway and make a casing out of pvc, I also need to see if I can purchase some of those (nylon?) strings anywhere.. if not i'll try some vertical rows with canvas. I am strill wondering about the holes in the bottom and put an airtube underneath.. what if I creat a jet airlift with some pvc tubes and let the water & air mixture run over the canvas from the side, would that work? I guess the algae would attach much better with the increased flow. What do you think santa monica? Obviously the contact time with the algae will be much shorter.. as long as the algae is pulling nutriunts out of ths wated at the same pace I guess the netto result is the same.

12-14-2015, 10:02 PM
Yes you can build it that way. You do not need much water flow, however; you mostly need air bubbles.

12-14-2015, 11:41 PM
Thank you for the feedback! I guess that would be difficult to achieve.. air will rise up and not pass the algae. I'll go with the normal setup.. however.. I wondered about the following: santa monica you make 4 holes and place the airtube right underneat 2 of them... what if I would lengthen the casing pass by the bottom and put an airstone underneath? The air cannot escape because of the casing (I got this idea from my fresh whater tank, using a diy co2 system and flipping a box upside down in the water and let the co2 collect underneath). I guess many airbubbles will reach the algae that way and I can drill multiple holes in the bottom.. Would that work? Of should I stick with your original idea? I tend to use your design because I am unsure what works and what will not..

12-16-2015, 12:28 PM
Yes you can use an airstone if all the bubbles will be routed up through the holes. You will still want some holes that don't get bubbles though, so the water can drain back down.

12-26-2015, 07:36 AM
I recently made a floating style scrubber.. some pictures;

12-26-2015, 07:42 AM
The only thing that bothers me is that it is just a few cm deep.. I am worried that this will not be sufficient... however.. I am stuck with this size scrubber.. 9cm by 11cm.. is the size of the bucket.. so it will be even less. I did make an airlift that works great.. the bubbles are now actually going in the scrubber instead of around it.. the bubbles enter in only 4 holes in the middle.. I added a lot of pictures to show what I came up with. I would like to get some feedback about it, if the design sucks please let me know.. i qm thinking of making a deeper scrubber to incease the surface area, but wonder if the lights would penetrate the bottom.

12-26-2015, 07:46 AM
I also added the airlift because there are 2 glass walls on the sides (which devides the sump area in different parts).. so the airlift is below these 2 glass side panels else it would just circulate its own water..

12-26-2015, 04:30 PM
Nice build. No really need for deeper unless you have lighting there. Growth on the top is going to only get a few cm thick anyway.

12-27-2015, 08:43 AM
I will stick with the current set-up then.. and hope to get a lot of algae growing. Unfortunately I had an accident with the fist scrubber where I tried to scrape hair algae from the glass.. but I did not expect the hair algae to be so loosely attached.. eventually I ended up with a bunch of free floating algae in the sump area.. I scooped out most but when I turned on the pumps again, algae fragmens were blasted in the main tank.. so I got myself an algae breakout in the display tank.. I hope I can solve this with the scrubber.. although it is quite small. I added some 3mm polypropylene rope;
6355 and attached this to the bottom of the knitting canvas with some fishing line.
I use 2 different type of leds.. 4x660nm+1x455nm led bulb.. and 5x full-spectrum led bulb.. maybe it works.. maybe not.. if not I will go with 660nm red only in the future.

12-28-2015, 04:29 PM
My experience with algae scrubbers (both waterfall and upflow types) is that there are always bits of algae floating around in the main/display tank. If you're using a sump, you could run the return through a filter sock or something similar to catch it before it gets back into the main/display tank. I've never had any problem with algae growing in my main/display tanks, possibly because the lighting is not very good for algae growth. What little grows usually goes away on its own eventually since the scrubbers out-compete it for nutrients.

01-08-2016, 03:12 PM
Thank you for your reply.. it took some time and I changed a few bits and pieces, but I there has been some growing going on. There have not been any pieces floating around as far as I can see, so far no complaints. I added the airstone again which silenced the scrubber a bit.. still some big bubbles every now and then.. but I guess I'll have to live with that.

The only thing that bothers me is that there is no growth on the strings? Why not? Maybe I used the wrong material?
Does hair algae not attach to polypropylene? Should I use a different matterial like nylon.. or just be patient?

01-08-2016, 09:11 PM
PP is fine as long as it does not have anti-microbial additives. They will probably fill in later.

01-11-2016, 12:36 PM
Thank you! I'll just sit and wait. I hope it will grow a good amount of algae to compete with the algae in the display tank. Unfortunately I still have a bunch of hair algae on the back of the glass and also on the substrate for some time now. It bothers me a bit. Maybe I should add a devider to the sump area? Right underneath the scrubber. If I can direct the water flow towards the scrubber, all of the water must pass the algae first. what do you think santa monica? In theory this will direct many times more water than the airlift.

01-11-2016, 06:55 PM
You do not need much water flow at all. Just air bubbles.

02-28-2016, 02:59 PM
Update: the design did not work for me.. I failed to figure out why so I decided to go with a mini waterfall scrubber

02-28-2016, 06:34 PM
That sure is a mini :)

02-29-2016, 12:10 AM
That sure is a mini :)

It currently 7 x 11 cm.. enough for 1/2 cube food.. its better than nothing haha. Maybe it is possible to extend it a bit further.. a pvc framework maybe.. but it is quite challenging in this confined space for someone with 2 left hands.