View Full Version : Opinions on Idea for Minimalist Approach

01-05-2011, 03:40 PM

First I would like to give a shout out to Santa Monica. I first stumbled across your thread over on Reef Central and noting the age of the thread(2.5 years old) and the subsequent ban I was afraid that your zeal for this method had left with you. I am very pleased to see you are still going strong and it appears that you have reignited and reimplemented a concept that can be very valuable to reef keeping.

Ok, so onto my idea.

My thought is that this Algae Scrubber can be mounted just about anywhere and be effective as long as we follow the Lighting, Flow, and once a week cleaning regime. It doesn't necessarily have to be in a separate bucket/sump/container. As we have seen, people have been putting these into Nano displays. In addition, Paul B, who is a fairly prolific reef hobbyist seems to have mounted a scrubber on the top inside edge of his reef display in nothing more than a plastic fence post that was cut in half. It is fed through his skimmer outflow(although I don't plan to use a skimmer).

Why not take the Nano concept of using the scrubber inside the tank into a larger venue and eliminate the need for complicated and often risky pluming and the need for extra equipment?

My idea is taking a 40g Breeder tank...
40 Breeder L36 3/16 x W18 1/4 x H16 15/16
which has virtually the same length and height of a 30 gallon tank
30 Gallon 36 1/4 x12 5/8 x16 3/4

If I took 6 inches of space out of the rear by putting in an acrylic overflow divider then I still have a 30 gallon reef tank with the rear of it acting like the sump with my algae screen hanging at an angle in the back and the pump return to one side.

Please excuse the rough drawing here, I am not familiar with CAD.

The water level would be about 8" in height and cover about the bottom 1.5-2" of the screen as per some of the recent designs I've seen with regard to allowing some growth there. The lights hanging over the aquarium for he growth of the corals should be strong enough to not make it necessary to have them within a couple inches since if the right lights can penetrate the water column and allow coral growth, then those same lights should be able to carry the growth of the turf algae as well. The heater would be hidden at the bottom of the sump area as you can see in the picture and thus leaving more room in the main display tank for my rock work. My guess is that this would give around a 29 gallon front area with about 5 additional gallons circulating in back with the sump area.

Some thoughts of the benefits here.
#1. No money spent on a sump box.
#2. No messing/fussing with all the extra PVC tubing and junctions to get the water out of the main tank, to the scrubber, and then back to the main tank.
#3. Light is provided by a single fixture rather than a secondary fixture. 2 for the price of 1.
#4. Extremely low risk of any water mishaps because potential for clogging of any drains is non-existent and should the pump clog with broken away algae or stop working then the tank simply holds its water. Thus no nasty surprises coming home and finding the contents of my saltwater tank on the floor due to some mismanaged or bad tubing failure.
#5. Oversized Screen for size. Rule of them is 1 square inch per gallon but at 20x6 I should have 3x the amount of algae filtration needed for the tank. I would hope that would buffer me against some newbie style mistakes.

Some potential drawbacks.
#1. No reverse photo period for the algae when main tank light is off so therefore possible rise in PO4 during off hours. However this could be solved by putting a second thin fixture on the back of the tank directed at the Algae and then covering the portion of the sump at the top to keep the main display light off the Algae during the day.
#2. Lack of an area to put a lot of other filtration should that be needed...although there is plenty of space to throw a carbon sock into the sump.

My plans for this tank are pretty simple. 4" bed of Live Sand, 40ish pounds of LiveRock, two or three coral varieties, an eventual anemone of some sort, a Clown fish to keep it company, another small compatible mid-tank swimmer, a mandarin Dragonet who hopefully can live off the pods in a 29 gallon well kept tank if he is the only pod eater, and a snail or other needed janitor. I will dose and feed appropriately.

I would appreciate feedback of any sort here. While I have kept and bred plenty of harder to breed freshwater fish such as dwarf cichlids which require a water quality that needs to be managed rather than just taking straight from the tap, ...this is my first primary venture into reef keeping.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions and help.

01-05-2011, 04:06 PM
You mean this?...


01-05-2011, 04:14 PM
Yes, exactly. Only not in Nano size. I'm not trying to say my concept here is original or anything...just looking for feedback on the use of it on a 40g breeder tank(as opposed to a nano) and what people thought the potential things I'd have to watch out for are. Especially since I'm thinking of using the same light for the main display as I am for the ATS. Is anyone else using that kind of unit and do they see a swing during the period of no light? As I said, I'm new to reef keeping so I would rather test the waters by first asking people what the potential drawbacks are to the design or why a sump based unit or outside unit might be more preferable. Any sage advice?

01-05-2011, 07:12 PM
I think you'll have trouble with not enough light, since it is coming from the edge of the screen and not the front. You could try it though... looks simple enough.

01-24-2011, 11:09 PM
I am with you here but I think you need to move the sump wall closer to the back glass (3) inches or less and and use an outside fixure mounted lengthwise. The screen is facing the wrong way to efficently use the light from above. My 2 cents.