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Thread: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    Coolhandgoose on the scrubber site: "Since I installed the new light two weeks ago my nitrates have gone from 20 to 0. The cyano in my display is now starting to disappear."

    Desert_Fishy on the SWF site: "I started my 75g reef 5 months ago (2nd venture w/SW) and decided to start up with a scrubber and no skimmer due to this thread. All I have are powerheads, lights, scrubber and a heater. My water readings are perfect, corals are really flourishing, fish are happy and I spend 10 minutes a week cleaning the algae off the scrubber - although that is becoming a bigger and bigger job. My only problem now is that copepods, feather dusters and some other small pink bug-like creatures that live on the glass are multiplying out of control. I have feather dusters everywhere!"

    Toddo on the MFK site: "This is my 125 freshwater tank with medium bio load. I have an XP3 with Biomax/mech pads, and this scrubber as the only filtration now. Its been 12 days with just the scrubber for nitrate control. Nitrates and ammonia are still at zero. No water changes. This is significant, as my well water is 35-40ppm Nitrates. It grows enough algae to need weekly cleaning now. I had a specific freshwater requirement for low to no nitrates, and I have met that, using my scrubber. It was properly designed and built using info provided, and is now functioning as expected."

    DeathWish302 on the RC site: "The turf scrubber slowly drove out the cyano, and has been amazingly processing EVERYTHING I have thrown at the tank in regards to food."

    AlgaeNator on the scrubber site: "I have been running a version of ATS for about 2 months, and have been skimmerless for 4 weeks now, and am very happy with the ATS concept and performance so for. I have been running my prototype Victory Scrump for about 3 weeks now, to prove the concept and it's working VERY well. My corals are healthier than EVER, Two of MY RIC's that were dying going clear, are now SPLITTING after removing the skimmer. Im amazed actually at how well my other softies are doing too. In my case, I might not be typical though, as I think i was OVERSKIMMING my tank with my larger skimmers i build and sell, removing the good stuff with the bad"

    Manuelink on the scrubber site [from spanish]: "with algal over 4 months without water changes, no skimmer, no additives anything, just food and my corals growing like additives. the coralline algae and is infested by all sides, that speaks of good levels of alk and calcium. is a wonder this invention"

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    LethargicCoder on the MOFIB site: "A little update to [the] post I made a year ago today. I had removed the skimmer from this [33 gal] tank when I added the scrubber, and I have only done 1 water change on the tank since then. I had said "starting nitrates...let's just say they're high", that meant off the chart even after diluting with RO water. Tonight I tested the water and it looks like it's under 5ppm. All that showed up on the screen for months was brown sludge. After 7-8 months, it finally started looking green but no significant growth, but algae did start showing up around my overflow and return pipe and sump. I assume nitrates were too high to grow algae before this point. Algae is now green and growing some volume, not rubbery, and more like typical hair algae. With some water changes and better bulbs, I'm sure I could have shortened this process but I really wanted to see what it would do with nothing but [screen] cleaning. I think with the results of this, I'll be going with an algae scrubber instead of a skimmer on the 135g tank that will hopefully replace this tank soon."

    Kidult on the scrubber site: "There are brown dense algae growing on my algaescrubber. I scrape my scrubber one time a week. I suppose that i did something wrong, because it's running for more than 2 months and PO4 is 0,34mg/l (hanna). how many time it will take to go PO4 down from 0.36 to 0? [...] One scraping for 3 days. After last advice (1 scrape for 3 days) my tank achieved PO4 0.07 (hanna) from 0.36 about 4 weeks ago. [...] Po4 is 0.02 (hanna) No3 is 0 (salifert) Thank You All!"

    Chrissu on the scrubber site: "the heart of my ATS is a 24"x24" screen that keeps the ammonia at 0, the nitriate at 0, and my nitrates hover between 0-25 depending on how much I feed my fish. They get to eat VERY well now that I have the ATS. I've been able to eliminate my macro algae, DSB, and protein skimmer from my sump without issue (makes maintenance a breeze now)."

    Rosenaa on the scrubber site: "My tank looks great since I set up my ATS and the corals are feeding in the water colum many times. Readings are all zero and just a little algae on the stones (due to phospate leaking out I guess)"

    Rainer_Feyer on the RC site: "the scrubber is blowing my mind! I have really no [nuisance] algae left - very little, and hope a little bit stays forever so I don't have to separately feed the snails. Water is clear, no yellowing at all. And, still am only doing 5gal water change every 3 weeks - that's it (75g tank w/ 20g fuge which is really the scrubber)"

    Markjack on the UR site: "[scrubber is] best thing iv'e ever done for my tank. saves you a small fortune in phos and nitrate removers"

    Pengelli on the UR site: "I have been running [a scrubber] for about a year. I think they are brilliant. I have brilliant parameters and not a glimpse of nuisance algae."

    Gigaah on the LR site: "Day 6 - The green [scrubber] algae really just started filling in. I also got a bit of a nitrite/nitrate spike. I had to take my HOB filter off line to get this [scrubber] running. I suspected and was ready for that. Nitrite .50, Nitrate 40. Did 10 percen water change. Day 8 Nitrite = less than .25 (not quite zero tho), Nitrate= 30, I am happy to report that all algae from the sand and glass is GONE! some on the rocks yet but I understand the phosphate rock leech thing is probably the reason. Day 14 Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 20. Screens are filling in better but not even half full. Day 17
    Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 10. End of week 4: Nitrates are ZERO and my tank is stocked pretty high and was stocked pretty fast."

    Reeffish on the SG site: "After running this [scrubber] for nearly 10 months for my 3 foot [tank], i have not look back since. It has solve my high NO3 & PO4 problem. From [over] 100 to 3 mg/L (NO3), and [over] 3 to 0.03 mg/L (PO4), both using salifert test kit; live rocks [were] covered with red algae; [now] live rocks covered with purple coralline algae; tank [had] algaes growing everywhere, to [now] a spotless one, it is really amazing. Thanks for this wonderful info. A short info to others on my setup, dedicated aquabee 1000 to supply water to my vertical screen, 8" by 10" (a bit under size). Took me 1 hours to rough up both sides of the screen. Two 24W Philips Tornado, one on each side running 18hrs a day. Cool daylight. Clean the screen every 5 days. Took me 2 months to see NO3 & PO4 results dropping. No magic here, i follow Bro SM recommendations closely and of course, patience. Good luck to all who wants to give this alternative method a try."

    Murrman1969 on the WTF site: "Here it goes. I started with nitrates in my 180 salt tank of over 240 ppm which is a dark orange colour indicator on my test kit. Here is a picture of what the colour was. The picture does it no justice it was actually almost burgundy. So I did some research and this is what I came up with for an in-sump design and one for an external container [scrubber] design. The nitrates in my tank now are non existent."

    Russel_P on the TR site: "Well my scrubber has finally gotten NO3 levels to zero. The only complaint I have is cleaning it. The algae (more like moss) grows in a large thick sheet that all wants to come off at once when I clean it. I bet I could pull a pound of algae of of it in one cleaning. No yellowing of water, though I do run a small H&S skimmer. The display tank went from a forest of bryopsis to no visible algae. I am building more for every rack in my shop."

    Scottt on the MB site: "I built one for my small clownfish hatchery after reading this thread. It keeps the nitrates down (between 0 and 15) without any water changes. I use a skimmer and a filter bag also, as it is a hatchery, with tonnns of food input. I don't have any pics of my current scrubber. Its just a piece of plexi-glass at a 15 degree angle, sanded and drilled. I keep it ~10" below a 150w HPS."

    Desertdawg on the SWF site: "I get about a handful of algae off of it every week, so far the water levels are staying almost perfect with just this scrubber and no other filtration or a skimmer running!!!"

    Bridgeport on the scrubber site: "I set up my first turf scrubber [6 months ago] after reading through this site. Its gone through many changes since then as I did not have the right flow, lighting, or screen roughness to start. I finally adjusted all those problems and now the screen is growing thick light green algae. I did this project as an experiment and set it up on a ten gallon saltwater tank. I was plagued with red hair algae outbreaks in the ten gallon, and my 55 gallon tank. My plan was to start the algae scrubber on the ten gallon and then switch it over to the 55 gallon. I decided against this and have built another scrubber for the 55 (not in operation yet). The screen on the ATS for my 10 gallon was rather overkill. It is 11in. wide by 8in. height. Although it took a while to get it going because the bio load was very low, it is now working very well. I always clean the screen every weekend. It only takes a couple of minutes and is very easy. My ten gallon tank is now algae free(phos. near 0) and doing very well. As a matter of fact, I have been taking live rock from my 55gal which is still plagued with Red Algae, and putting them in the ten gallon to clean them off. I have done this several times and it has worked well."

    Nrosdal on the scrubber site: "i have had an ats going for about 4-5 months and am finally happy with my design and the results that it is giving me, so i figured that i would post a thread with pics from along the way. i would love to say that my tank clearing up is only due to the ats but there are other factors (vodka dosing/more water changes) that also did contribute. But i can definately say that the ats is the biggest contributing factor in my tanks successfully staying free from green and my N and P staying within a reasonable range. [...] i was getting a little better growth of algae and doing 1-2 water changes a week, also changed bulbs to 6500k from the standard ones and put the scrubber on its own timer so that i could have it on for 18hrs as opposed to 12. over the next few weeks i saw some serious improvements in growth on my ats and noticed that the algae in the display was not growing back after my snails/crabs cleaned it. fast forward to today and the tank has been clear of algae (except for on 1 coral that the snails dont like to touch) for about a month now and even has a slight purple hue to it as opposed to green. Corals are slowly popping back out of the rock... and i have my latest version of the scrubber up and running for a week now (same screen just new lighting/box setup)."

    Wormside on the spanish AR site, Google translated from Spanish: "From the beginning I had problems with algae in [my] tank, [i bought] a better skimmer (ASM G2) as recommended, but [it] was not so drastic a change as when I put the scrubber. I was running both for a while, about 3 months, and the algae began to disappear; the fourth month I broke my pump sedra (the skimmer) and since then the tank is with pure scrubber. The change to the tank to operate only with the scrubber is impressive; zero abolutamente algae in the display anything! Another thing [] is that now only change the water every month, and now it takes 2 months without water change, and everything perfect. Add course trace elements, Strontium and Molybdenum, Iodine, every week or 15 days , BioDigest Bioptima and in principle every 15 days, but now, every month. I saved a good salt water changes, and unlike [with] the skimmer, I have no saltwater replace []. Also saves energy because the Sedra I used 35w or something and I also heat the water, [but without skimmer] when the quite, low temperature 1 or 2 degrees []. Well many things are good [] we brought the scrubber, is incredible as simple as effective."

    Labperck on the Spanish AR site, translated: "my tank is 8 months without a skimmer and water changes only, with the algal and some charcoal, and going very well my PO4 levels 0 and no3 to 0"

    Lugac on the spanish AR site, translated: "After 2 months of use to me is working great, nitrates had stalled at 15 mg/l and sometimes climbed to 25 mg/l, and install the [scrubber] after that I went down to 10 mg/L, after a 5 mg/L and Last weekend are at 2 mg/L, I'm on the verge of leaving them to zero. As for phosphates, had at 0.1 mg/l and install the [scrubber] as quickly dropped to .03 mg/L."

    Antonioalvarez on the spanish AR site, translated: "After 15 years of struggling with high phosphates and nitrates in the clouds, alone in my aquarium fish, I read about the algae scrubber [] and I decided to build it following the instructions:

    Oct 24 2009: Build Algal Scrubber; pipe 3/4 inch, screen 30x40cm, pump 840 Gal/H and a pair of 55-watt bulbs 6500K savers. Water values for the time:

    NH4, NH3 = 0
    NO2= 0
    NO3= 20 mg/l
    PO4= 0.1

    Oct 26 2009: The first and second day started sprouting weeds.

    Nov 1 2009: Significant growth was observed.

    Nov 2 2009: First harvest only one side of the screen.

    Nov 9 2009: We measured parameters:

    NH4, NH3 = 0
    dNO2= 0
    NO3= 20 mg/l
    PO4= 0.05

    Half Phosphates, Nitrates remain.

    Nov 25 2009: Measured parameters remain the same, is harvested the screen. Bio-Balls delete, delete, mechanical filters, remove sand substrate and 25% water change. Measured parameters:

    NH4 NH3 = 0
    NO2= 0
    NO3= 10mg/l
    PO4= 0.25

    The measures gave results.

    Dec 1 2009: I introduce to my tank live rock cured for 30 days previously. Measured parameters:

    NH4= 0
    NO2= 0
    NO3= 7.5 mg/l
    PO4= 0.25

    Dec 9 2009: It is harvested and measured parameters:

    NH4 NH3 = 0
    NO2= 0
    NO3= 0 mg/l
    PO4= 0
    PH= 8
    Temp= 25-26

    TOTAL HAPPINESS!!! and remains so values.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    Donny Mac on the MFT site: "i have built mine 1 year ago and it has made the maintenance of my tank so easy, the appearance of the glass and water is crystal clear. i keep coral and fish"

    PRC on the LR site: "I tested my nitrates tonight. they are officially at ZERO. Couple of small details. I installed this DIY unit on a tank that was cycling. I started out with 20ppm Nitrates. i'm not running anything on this 90g tank except the algae scrubber. So within a 1 1/2 months I have a nice stable system. It may have taken a little less time, if I would have initially had the flow where I needed it. The entire thing took me less than 1 hr to make and install in my sump. And it works great. I use 4 lights (2 on each side). I'm using the lights recommended at the beginning of this thread. All I can say is the thing works... My nephew is running a skimmer, a filter, and has 100lbs. of rock and can't get his nitrates under 15ppm.. I spent .39 on a screen and have 0 nitrates."

    Tristan on the LR site: "Im now convinced that the algae scrubber a more suitable than a skimmer. all the algae in my dt is gone!"

    waucedah_joe on the RS site: "This thing works. When my [CFL] scrubber-prototype crashed [due to broken pump] my nitrates got up to 25 ppm before I was able to get this [LED scrubber] online, and then in 3 weeks they were near non detect level with the Salifert test kit. Rather than just say it's working for me, here's the datum:

    Tank specs: 75g display w/ 40g sump. Heavily stocked. 1-3" blue tang, 1-3-1/2" powder brown tang, 2-Oscy clowns, 1-lawnmower blenny, 1-purple firefish, 1-manderin goby, 1-radiant wrass, 1-high fin goby, 3 BTA's, shrimp, crabs, 1-sand sifting star, 1-brittle star.

    1/7 Return pump failed while out of town. Small CFL scrubber pretty much dead from drying up. Cleaned both sides and continued to use while working on new scrubber.
    1/10 Nitrates 20 ppm. 20 gal water change
    1/21 New scrubber on-line
    1/24 Nitrates 25 ppm, old scrubber off-line. 20 gal water change. Last big water change. From here on out the only water change is 3-4 gallons every other week to replace water removed from vacumming detrius from return chamber of sump.
    1/30 Nitrates 10 ppm
    2/14 Nitrates 5 ppm
    2/20 Nitrates 2.5 ppm
    2/27 Nitrates <.2 ppm, Increased feeding 17% (from 5 cubes in two days to 6 cubes in two days. Mini icecube sized homemade frozen food. + small piece of nori every other day)
    3/7 Nitrates 2.5ppm
    3/14 Nitrates 2.5ppm
    3/21 Nitrates 2.5ppm

    No sugar, no skimmer, no macro algae. This is my only filter."

    Rosenaa on the algae scrubber site: "Well its been a good while since I put up my ATS and I am very pleased! I had problems with red bubble algae and they are all gone now! Also coraline algae have sprung up everywhere and covering stone, glass and powerheads".

    Inkidu on the algae scrubber site: "As far as this working, after several weeks with only a power head running, which feeds the scrubber, and some air pumps, there is absolutely nothing that is filtering besides the ats, my tank of 5 (say 5") discus and some cardinal tetra. My fish seem content (in fact I brought them back from the brink of death), I feed pretty heavily, the pea green water disappeared, and I have no algae in my tank. Thanks for all the help guys, I am going to call this a success."

    Aeros on the algae scrubber site: "As a RO/DI is not within my budget at this time, I have been using tap water to top off and in my salt mix. [...] all my corals have doubled or tripled in size since December, and since adding my ATS all the hair algae has dissipated from the display (thanks mostly to the yellow tang) as well as the red cyano, and nitrates dropped from ~80 to ~10ppm. And pods galore!" All that being said, I will be investing in an RO/DI as soon as possible. For peace of mind mostly, and as part of an ATO set-up; manual topping off sucks."

    Pepetj on the FL site: "As I reached the 2 months mark [with the scrubber], this is what I have to share. I've been measuring for Nitrates and Phosphates (Nitrates with Seachem's Nitrite/Nitrate test kit as well as calibrated PinPoint Nitrate Monitor; Phosphates with API's Phosphate test as well as Hagen's). I can tell that in my setting, which is a Nano Reef, I have been obtaining almost negligible readings (meaning as close to steady zero as I've ever seen) for both phosphates and nitrates."

    Sillygoose on the RC site: "It's been two weeks since we scraped algae off of our new turf scrubber. As you can see in the pictures, growth has really taken off. Today, cleaning maybe 2/3 of the outer surfaces, we got 1 1/2 cups of algae off. The mat was 3/4-inch thick in places. The best part is that our NO3 is down from around 10 to below detect in 2 weeks without a water change. I can't tell if PO4 went down because I have a hard time with interpreting the test, but we are starting to see new coraline growth. It's very cool."

    Gowingsgo on the RC site: I have been running a ATS for about 8 months now but set mine up with a skimmer. I built my sump with 5 separate chambers. (1 intake from main tank) (2 ATS) (3 skimmer) (4 fuge with live rock and sand so if I need to I can also put stuff in my sump) (5 return to main tank) I set mine up to remove algae from my display tank (and that is exactly what it is doing). But I have noticed that my skim-mate is much darker [note: scrubbers should not affect skimmate] and that I do not have to clean it as much (about once every week not every other day). also my nitrates have never been undetectable (more like 5+ ppm) but they have been 0 for the last 6 months now. [...] With turf scrubber [I have to clean the glass] once every 4 days, sometimes longer, without the scrubber I have had to clean the glass every day. [...] I love my ATS and don't think I would run a tank without one."

    Lewk on the RC site: "I'm running a very simple scrubber on my 65 gallon. I've been using it since day one on the tank and my nitrates and phosphates have been at zero for several months now. I set everything up according to the algae scrubber site, and it's working great so far. I'm in the planning stages for a 135, and plan on using a scrubber there as well."

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    Ddinox44 on the RS site: "I hated the constant drone of my skimmer which aided in the push [to get a scrubber]. I really do see an improvement and I believe my tank is healthier for it. Cleaned my screen today, tons of pods on it. Hurts to wash those critters down the drain after thinking of the money spent trying to stock them."

    Docjames on the RS site: "No one in [Taiwan] has ever heard of such a thing, but my mind was determined to either be a success or a failure. At that time, the NO2 and No3 were all off the chart, unmeasureably high. That was 1 week ago. Then this morning, when I did the water check, NO2 was undetectable, NO3 was less than 12.5, PO4 was less than 0.5, Kh was 11 dkh (Sera testing kit), and Ca was 440. So I called up the lfs guy that I planned and purchased everything from, and he told me never in his business (he's had this store for decades) has he ever heard of anything like that. He had insisted that I purchased a good Protein skimmer prior to the start of the aquarium, of which I strongly refused and insisted that I'm going to be a pure ATS only filtration person. Tonight, he brought some fishes, shrimps and invert and they became the first inhabitants of my new aquarium."

    Cheely13 on the RS site: "I have been using a alge scrubber for about 6 months now with no skimmer, the only thing i do is use a sock with carbon in it for my corals that i place in new every month i harvest one side every 7 days then the next week do the other side. My tank is very clear and seems to be doing very well. all tests are good. I do a 15 to 20 percent water change every week you know theres nothing like a good old water change."

    Schwa on the RS site: "These things work great. I had some brown slimy algae in my display that was not going away no matter what I did so I decided to give a scrubber a shot and within 2 weeks of it running the slimy algae is gone out of my display. I am still running my skimmer and run GFO and carbon in the canister filter that powers my scrubber. My favorite, a tyree flower petal Montipora, has polyp extension that is starting to look like an acro millepora without the white sweeper in the middle. MY stuff is very happy right now the best I have seen in 3 years of reefkeeping. I am a firm believer in the algae scrubber and I think they are soon going to be here to stay for a while."

    Amphiprion on the AC site: "Well, an update again. The scrubber is still progressing well. I'm starting to get a predominance of brown turf now, as opposed to the usual green. This stuff is a lot tougher, too. I'm now using a razor blade to scrape the screen, along with a toothbrush to try to get at least some of it off. At the same time, the tank is going through some algal succession as well. The bubble algae has stopped growing, and is now dying, as is much of the tough filamentous algae I had. I am getting a few patches of hair algae, however, I found that they all had one thing in common--they are areas that had deep holes with sand and detritus tended to collect. Extra particles would also settle in the algae itself, further feeding it. So, I scrubbed off the algae and removed it's food source and it has halted growth. The stuff is grasping at whatever it can to keep growing--but not while I'm around. There is a definite noticeable difference from when I started this scrubber. Feeding is at an all time high, while levels of N and P remain minimal to undetectable--PO4 about .01 ppm and NO3 undetectable. I'm feeding about 2 cubes of frozen food daily, plus pellets and coral food mix, which consists of rotifers, cyclops, and phytoplankton. I only have 2 clownfish now and a small handful of corals. I'm basically trying to test the limits of this scrubber and I've yet to stretch it even close to 100 percent."

    Jstdv8 on the AC site: "So I tested my water today for nitrates and phosphates and both came back at 0. My phosphates have never been below .5 before. The screen is just starting to grow in and is no where near established like most pics I see of them, yet it seems to be working." Later: "Well, about 5 days ago I cleaned my screen and I added another light to the backside. One of my old 23 watt fully enclosed lights with the reflectors built in.
    I also doubled my feeding now that I have a clown in there to help eat some of the stuff I'm dumping in there. The screen is really starting to grow some thick bubbly looking green algae on the side of the screen witht he two lights. The bubbly stuff is growing thickest on the 1" side nearest the 2nd light where there is little flow on the screen because of the tabs where it enters the pipe above (1" tabs on the left and right) both sides of the screen overall are seeing much better growth. Still a little weak, but certainly 10 times better than anything I've been seeing up until now. I'm going to play around with it and see if I can still get the same growth without the second light and continue the heavy feeding (also adding a much larger CUC) or if the second light is the hot ticket. I'm hoping to not have to use the second light as it's just more power consumption, but I'll see how it goes. If it truely needs more light I might build up something like SM's T-5 setup instead. I'm getting the zillions of miniture pods all over my front glass in my DT now. I have a mandarin and a sixline and will not hesitate to add more pod eating creatures in the future as there is way more than enough for everyone. phosphate and nitrate are still showing zero. Still have two large patches of GHA in the DT, but now that the screen is starting to grow faster I think I'll remove as much as I can during the next water change and hopefully get the screen to finally outcompete for the nutrients."

    Kdc on the MD site: "built a scrubber for myself some time back. All i have to say is awesome! I have yet to see something that compares to it. it has literally taken all the work out of keeping marine fish. My nitrate level is zero, i have never seen that before, even using phosphate absorbers and skimmers. which are very expensive, and always missing with them. if anybody is skeptical dont be, this thing works and works very well."

    Borge on the MD site: "don't remember how long ago I started my ATS, I've had some bad *** yellow algae (not diatoms or some easy to get a hand on algae) that grew on anything, and a heavy duty deltec 902 and ozone figthing a constant battle on those food particles, and loosing bigtime to this algae. of course its still there, but shrinking. BIGTIME. don't know any po4 numbers (seriously I hate testing for anything other than whats available at the LFS). What I do know is zero on the no3 (witch is ok considering all the algae) but no silicates and I didn't supply my tank with some new sand full of silicates! anyway today I found blank spots on my ats 6 or 7 days since last cleaning and pods ate greedy on my rug screen. now, base color on this thing is yellow for the algae, but don't you know it, it's turning green, as in long green hair, and coralline is showing up everywhere in the sump, together with a larger amount of baby snails and macros is growing... BIGTIME. Now I feel like I'm fighting a winning battle. oh... btw... my skimmer has been off for as long as the ats has been on... nothing is dying, everything looks more healthy than it's been for a 5 months. I feed just as much if not more, the fish hunts more and my banded goby is always out of his hole picking at things in the water column."

    Allnatural on the MD site: "well my tank has been up for 6 weeks now. i used my ats from the very beginning. i had a very short cycle and only a small diatom bloom in my dt. it took a while for my screen to start but now it is turning green and i clean it weekly. i have yet to add any fish or corals but i did add a small cuc consisting of 3 turbo snails, 3 astrea snails and 4 nassarius snails. after the 3rd week my water parameters have been and consistantly remain perfect. nh3=0 no2=0 no3=0 po4=0 ph=8.4 cal=420 alk=13.4. i am adding my first corals this weekend. i thought i wouold see the usual algea bloom that most tanks get after the first month of operation but have yet to see any other then the initial diatoms. my copepod population is extreme and coraline is now covering my aragrocrete rocks i made. my live rock is still as healthy as the day i bought it. im so excited this tank is going to be sweet!!!!!"

    Stevenkoh08 on the SG site: "i've my system running for quite awhile now... So far i nvr test no3, no2, po4 and amonia as i trust Algea scrubber alot. The algea did bloom but most of it is brown w/ abit of green. What's best of all is that my sand bed is clean, glass panel clean and the rocks u can't see any hair algea nor red/brown."

    Scottt on the MOFIB site: "I run [a scrubber] on my 300gal combined broodstock and grow out. I siphon the tank bottoms weekly. Water changes are done with the siphoning, about 5% of total water volume weekly. Siphoning and algal scrubbing are my only nutrient export methods. Nitrates stay around 10ppm. I add buffer to keep the pH proper. My scrubber is a 2'x2' piece of acrylic at a slight angle (almost horizontal). 150w HPS about 10" above it. I'm planning on adding a skimmer one day. The more filtration the better. But, the scrubber does keep the nitrates really low. It's a 14pair system with about 500 juveniles currently. It seems like the more food I add, the faster the algae grows. I've had no problem with algal scrubbers, only success."

    Geminianspark on the MOFIB site: "I currently have two tanks running with scrubbers. My 20g biocube is a mixed reef. The ONLY filtration on that tank is a 3.5" x 9" piece of acrylic with a piece of canvas glued on top that slants across the middle chamber with a fluroscent cabinet light over it. Granted, the size is smaller than SantaMonica's recommendations and i'm not technical so i have no clue how many gph run over it but that tank has been operational with ONLY the scrubber on it since october of '09. I have macro algaes popping up ... some red grac, and some grape calepura and a couple other things i've never seen before (I'm assuming due to the regular addition of calcium, mag and alk that i dose) but VERY Very small amounts of hair algae... less than a quarter inch spots in about three places that my snails keep mowed down for me. But again, mine is undersized for the size tank it's on so that, on top of the fact that i feed pretty heavily because of my sun coral has me hooked on these as filters. I only do water changes on this tank once a month or so and i only have to clean my glass about once every two weeks. Since putting that filter on the cube, it's been the best i've ever had my cube looking.. it's stocked full. I haven't had much fun building them as i'm not very handy with things but the difference in the way my corals looked with a skimmer and how they look with the scrubber is like someone added a super vitamin to the tank. From color to polyp extension to growth... i've seen improvements in all of them with no other changes in routine other than going an extra week without doing a water change. They have my vote."

    Gigaah on the LR and MOFIB sites: "I personally vouch for the scrubber cycling. It dramaticly reduces the time from when you add water and rock to when you add fish. Generally a tank needs to have the beneficial bacteria multiply to the point where it can absorb the die off from the rocks and sustain livestock. The scrubber develops faster and starts removing the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate in a capacity to support livestock faster than having to just wait for the bacteria to grow to that point. After the bacteria of course does grow to do this the scrubber keeps doing what it does and creates what I've been calling "bullet proof chemistry" in your tank. Obviously as with any system the scrubber does have to be built properly in order to fill this role but that is a pretty beaten path by now and pretty specific instructions can be found as well. If it wasn't for the wealth of information I'd probably be doing things..what I'll from now on refer to as "The old way". I hope eventually to see massive fuges (not all fuges..just massive ones) and skimmers in a junk pile along with under-gravel filters and T12 lights. I will personally certify that an algaescrubber, if built properly, will withstand the most intense bioload and feeding! These devices are just unbelievably fantastic, its almost surreal. Highly oxygenated water, eats ammonia, nitrate, nitrite like crazy. Case and point, I stirred up some crap in my tank on two occasions. My ammonia spiked to 1.5 and 10 hrs later it was .25, 12hrs later it was zero. The scrubber on my main tank is about twice the reccomended size. A scrubber 3x the size would bear a heavy heavy bioload without skipping a beat, as long as its built properly (my biggest issue at first was making sure algae cannot grow into the water supply slit and choke the flow). I can feed my 55g 6+ cubes of food in a day and it won't even flinch. They eat phosphate and control algae with ease. To be honest, with all the bennefits from this more natural method of filtering its is obvious to me this is the best filtration system.. and especially for breeding as it adds great deal of oxygen to the water and keeps the parameters stable on a high bioload. If you have any questions at all about the system please ask. I can easily spew out build parameters as I've built two for myself and a two for friends. They are extreamly cheap too. I use no other method of filtering my tanks, mechanical, chemical, biological or otherwise on any of my tanks. I refuse to in fact."

    Mrbncal on the scrubber site: "Well the horizontal version was a success, it grew algae, it lowered the "Big Three" numbers like it was supposed to... but... Theres always a but, it created a lot of salt creep and spray. In short, it was a maintenance headache. I was spending more time cleaning the inside of the stand and outside the sump walls than anything else. So I have switched to an in-sump vertical model. It does everything the other one did and is quieter and there is virtually no splash. Bulbs have been clean for three weeks now. Water is supplied with an independent powerhead to an old ehiem spraybar with 1/8" slot and 3/16" holes drilled every inch (am going to increase this to every half inch) and one plastic screen. Thats it. Works great, coral and fish are healthy like never before and I am even growing some gorgonians and doing great with dendros. Still dealing with the dreaded bubble algae and I get a "five o'clock shadow" of green algae on the display glass after a week or so but that is down from "heavy growth" every couple days, a year ago. After fourteen years in this hobby, its too simple to believe it works, but but it does and I am a believer."

    Vanpytt on the scrubber site: "I've read all the Norwegian and Swedish forums about this [scrubber] subject, and none have posted results and pictures before me. I can conclude that this was a great success. My water values are perfect, more or less, im not running skimmer, don't change water, and feed alot. I'm going to be upgrading my current 130l into a 1k liter system (300l of wich is a sump) with 6*39w t5ho and acrylic diy box and fixtures. I'm not going to run anything except getting an UV filter for killing paracites and the well sized scrubber as standalone filtration in the sump. Will be posting pictures once the building starts."

    Wak on the scrubber site: "Well i have a ten gallon nano reef. The nitrates in this tank were always around 20ppm, the filtering was a skimmer + small cannister filter and 10 pounds of live rock in the tank. Four weeks ago i found this info and decided to build a scrubber, I went for a one sided 30 degree sloping design the screen is 10 inch long by 2 inches wide and lit by 2 8watt linear t5 3500k tubes, flow about 200 litres per hour. Two weeks ago i took out the skimmer, Today my nitrates in the tank hit 0 for the first time ever thanks to this info"

    Fholguera on the scrubber site: "I'm very happy with the results, my corals look very happy and the algea in my rocks is disappearing, the glass last longer without cleaning and the sand looks whitier. The kind of algea that grows in my scrubber it's starting to change, first it was a lot of filamentus and brown algea and now it's almost all filamentus and a little bit of ciano I think."

    Bridgeport on the scrubber site: "Since I started this 55gal. close to two years ago, I had nothing but trouble from the start. Most of it was due to my lack of experience. The last time I had saltwater tanks was back in the 70's and as you know a lot has changed since then. Was plagued with green hair algae. After that cleared, then the red hair algae started, and lots of it. I started a scrubber about a year ago but didn't have it really going properly until about 5 months ago. Since then i am getting lots of growth. Most of the red hair algae [in the dispay] has disappeared. Just disconnected my hang on refugium about 2 weeks ago. The Cheato was dead and fouling the water. I did take the rocks out several months ago and cleaned them. Its a lot of work but it really helped to clean up the tank. My Algae Scrubber has gotten the Nitrates to 0 and the Phosphates to 0 and has disintegrated most of the red hair algae [in the display]."

    Ihfarmboy75 on the scrubber site: "Ok, I'm sold. I have this scrubber on my 125 gallon African Cichlid tank and when I set it up on march 12th, my nitrate levels were 120 ppm. I was doing weekly 25-35% water changes and still couldn't get them under control. In a little over two months my nitrate levels have dropped to 5ppm and I would imagine they'll be zero in a few weeks."

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    Trichome on the CR site: "I took my skimmer out of my 29g sump about 2 months ago. Since then i have not done a water change...I know i should but i am bad about that. I NEVER have to clean my glass in my DT. I don't take water parameters so i can't tell you what mine are, but i do know i don't get any algae in my tank other than bubble algae. I harvest one side of my scrubber about every 2 weeks [needs to be more often]. The water must be pretty clean because my 2 golden striped maroon clowns have spawned, for their first time, about 1 month after i took my skimmer out. Not only are there several people in Cincinnati trying algae scrubbers with great success there is a 50 page thread of people with great success too. 6 month update: I have had my turf scrubber going on my 29g tank for 6 months now without a skimmer. Currently i have 2 Gold Stripped Maroon clownfish, a Yasha gobie, a sixline wrasse, 2 cleaner shrimp, and a candy cane pistol shrimp in the tank, along with several anemones. I have to say everything had been running great! I only have to clean the glass about once a week. Everything in the tank seems to be very happy with the current bio load. I have been doing water changes about once every 2 months (I know i should be doing it more) [not really]. As far as i can tell the turf scrubber has been a success for me and when i move i plan on adding one to my 120g display tank. However, I will not be going skimmerless on the 120g display."

    Redwing on the CR site: "I set [my scrubber] up to remove algae from my display tank (and that is exactly what it is doing). But I now I have noticed that my skim-mate is much darker and that I do not have to clean it as much (about once every week not every other day). also like I posted my nitrates have never been undetectable (more like 5+ ppm) so if you ask me [the scrubber] is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. Could I take my skimmer offline maybe but I most likely will not I like knowing that I have backup if something fails [except, skimmers don't remove ammonia, so they won't help]. also my skimmer is a CL125 and I have more than 160 gallons in my hole setup so my skimmer has always been way undersized. (most people would use a skimmer twice that size for this many gallons)"

    Mrbncal on the scrubber site: "I have a 75 w/ 30 gallon sump and ran w/o a skimmer for over a year BEFORE I found out about ATS'. There were some things that didnt do well, but anenomes and zoas, most lps did great, montis and a few acros grew fine w/o a skimmer. Bubble algae and hair algae did great also. Since I started running a screen covered in algae my tank has never been healthier. Its been 6 mos or so maybe 7, I have NO hair algae and the bubble algae is losing ground. Almost gone completely. I feed a ton of frozen and oyster feast. I should probably back off some feedings but the coco worms love life and the gorgonians are growing, so why change anything."

    Tien on the MFK site: "So I have been running a scrubber on a test tank with goldfish. At one point nitrates were near 80 ppm (I know this is WAY high, but I did this intentionally with the goldfish). I have done no water changes, and my nitrates are now about 7 ppm! and nitrites are zero. I do not have the best set up with lighting yet and the scrubber set up only cost me $25, but it works with fresh water! [yes scrubbers work just as well with FW]. I am going to continue to add goldfish and overstock the tank to see how the scrubber handles it. Looks like I will be building a large scrubber system for the 500 gallon!"

    Billy_m24 on the MFK site: "my algee scrubber is working, I finally have purple on my rocks! I have 175 reef tank with 2 400w MH light and 2 blue vho, my nitrate was always very high in the red zone, and now after 2 month [of using the scrubber] I'm running about 10 on the nitrates and I have purple [on the rocks], and my ph stays at 8.2"

    PRC on the LR site: "I use a scrubber on a 180g tank, that I upgraded from a 90g tank. Neither ever had a skimmer. I ran across this [scrubber] thread when I was initially cycling my tank, I set it up according to specs, I've never had 1 piece of algae in my tank. I, like everybody, get the usual dusting on the glass that gets brushed off. But I've never had algae, and I've never had nitrates above 5ppm. I feed alot because I've got big fish with big appetites. I also have very little clean up crew. I panicked when I first set mine up because I didn't think it was working. I just left it, it started to work and has kept my tank very stable. Just tweek it a little and give it time. It doesn't take control of the system overnight, but once it does it keeps it very stable....on top of that it only takes about 5 minutes to clean once per week. I'm so naive when it comes to algae issues that when I read a thread about hair algae, I automatically assume that somebody is just neglecting there tank terribly because I've never had to deal with it."

    Renman303 on the MD site: "I have been running a 4-sheet (8 1/2" x 11") ATS since June '09 with not only no ill effects but, my water is crystal clear! I have unhooked my Deltec AP851 Protein Skimmer in July of '09 (anyone want to buy it?) and have been running solely on the ATS since then (~15 months). I scrape one side of each of the 4 sheets once a month [needs more often!]. I add no chemicals of any kind to the water and only do a 10 percent water change once a week. Salt is much cheaper than chemicals. I don't even use RO/DI water any more. I just run through Carbon as Phosban prior to mixing. Simple....as it should be!"

    Vannpytt on the scrubber site: "I'm experiencing massive amounts of live particles in my water. When the lights go out, and I turn on a flashlight, I can see with my bare eyes 1-3mm long shrimplike creatures swimming in the water, jumping on the stones. It's amazing, while the water is so clear, there are still so much life. I'm also experiencing massive critical comments from the local forums claiming I'm destined to fail etc. I still have no values measurable of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate nor phosphate. The pH is fine as well as the salinity. The algae growth [in the tank] that came initially, is slower, and I added 2 lawnmovers to take care of the rest. Coraline is spreading on the live rocks, I added a Sun Coral who seems to be happy, as well as some Zoas."

    Vykhang on the scrubber site: "After 4 yrs, it has become so hard to maintain my 300 gal reef/fish tank due to nitrate and phosphate. Just doing 10-15 percent water changes on 300 gal tank per week is driving me crazy not to mention salt cost. After seaching the net and came across this website, I've started my own version of scrubber. It has been running over a year for me and I've not changed (add only) water since (I don't belive in changing water if all chemicals are in spec. The scrubbers are 1" above the water line to minimize the water noise [would be even better to have the screens in the water]. Water line is maintained by electronic sensor. Can't speak for everyone but the results has been absolutelly wonderful. Nitrate and Phosphate are un-detectable. I can't thank Santa Monica enough because little to no water changes. I just maintain chemical additives and add water to my reserve tank."

    Yesman on the scrubber site: "I clean it all off completely every 7 days. However as you can see with over 3 pounds in weight of algae every 7 days being scraped off the screen and with nitrates and phosphates at zero, it may be ok to clean this way. Interesting to note that at the bottom of the acrylic box, the water level is about 3 inches with algae growing all over the acrylic and alive with pods, even some amphipods!"

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)

    Success Updates:

    Mrmikeasaurus on the RC site: "i had one that worked great after about 2 months... youll love how clear the water is"

    Coralrookie on the RC site: "I have one.. keeps phosphates down, ph in check. Minimal water changes and I do not run a skimmer"

    Zangmann on the RC site: "I've been running an ATS for about 18 months with no other form of filtration (not even a filter sock). It most definitely works. Conversion from a 5 year old FOWL with consistantly high nitrates (50+PPM) and off the chart P04. Now everything is rock solid at 0."

    Spamreefnew on the RC site: "I have an ATS witch is much like floyd r turbo's, it is my ONLY filtration and has been for 6 months now. It has been the BEST 6 months of reefing in my life. skimmers are only good for sps only tanks IMO. scrubbers are the best option for everything else. my water is clear, my coral is healthy, my fish are fat,,i mean fat!,,,and my pods and shrimp,,that's right shrimp,,,reproduce like crazy. I could never say all that when i ran a skimmer."

    Lps_blasto on the RC site: "After using [scrubber and skimmer] both, I've come to the conclusion that I'd never run a reef tank without a scrubber. But I would run a reef without a skimmer. I could only have one, I'd pick the scrubber, no contest. Don't get me wrong, I'm not part of the "anti-skimmer" crowd. I use a skimmer. I've been running some form of protein skimmer for over 2 decades. I had one back in 1985 when all they were was a wooden airstone and a poorly designed venturi. I just won't rely on ONLY the skimmer anymore. I'll always have a simple turf scrubber on any reef that I have."

    King_Richard on the RC site: "I setup a tank about 8 months or so ago. The tank started out as a seahorse tank and all was fine and dandy until an oil spill occured in the gulf area. I used NSW at the time for water changes and due to the spill, I quit doing water changes for about 6 months. In that time I lost focus on the tank (college student) and by december time the tank had started to slip away from me. Holiday season hit and we were away for some time, came back and found one of our seahorses dead, within the next week, our other seahorse died also. We also loss a mushroom that we had but our scooter blenny was still alive and well. Not entirely sure why the seahorses died, they quit eating the water clarity was becoming a nightmare so it could've been a number of things. A few weeks ago the water was so green that I literally could not see into the tank. Now the good news. With this tank, I've been striving for a natural system, no filters, no skimmers, no carbon, nothing except nature's methods. I had been looking at algae scrubber designs off and on for some time and out of desperation I decided to give it a try, originally I didn't think I had enough room for one. I didn't do anything fancy, just picked up some screen from walmart and pieced together some 1" pvc that I had laying around, I then hooked it up to my drain located in the sump, the whole process took about 5 minutes. Now two weeks after setting up a 1" pvc with a slot and a screen hanging from it, water is now, almost, crystal clear again. I really wish I would have taken a before and after picture because you wouldn't believe how nasty it was compared to now. And all in two weeks! I'm sold, I think I spent about $6 for a roll of screen. This is by far the cheapest, most efficient method I've come across. I even tossed out my chaeto the same day I installed the algae scrubber, well actually I kept it in a spare tank just in case, lol. To be honest though, I had a decent amount of faith in the method before I attempted it, based on previous observations with algae in some of my older tanks that would grow algae along the baffles. I always assumed that algae was doing something good. The water should be crystal clear again before the end of the month, excepts for the pods and stuff occosionally floating around!"

    Johnarky on the RC site: "I've been using the scrubber for 6 weeks now and water quality is great. I turned off the skimmer and removed the sock over a week ago and everything is still good. I think I'll continue in this way for another month or so and if everything goes well I'll start the transformation into a seahorse tank."

    Green_reefer on the RC site: "I have been using an ATS since [four weeks ago], about 1 week after my tank finished cycling. I designed it over-sized and built an acrylic box to house it over my sump and use 4x24w T5's to light it. My [display] hair algae outbreak after my cycle was gone within 4 weeks, even the algae in my overflow has disappeared. I grow all different colors and textures of hair algae on different parts of the screen, but GHA is the dominant. Other than a pipe organ frag that has doubled in size since I got it, I can't really comment on coral growth as my tank is too new. After reading all the posts on combating algae outbreaks on new tanks I can definitely say that an ATS works to control algae. The only coral introduced that did not have full polyp extension within 2 hours of being in my tank is a sun coral that was introduced over the weekend. Digitata, Pocilipora, Stylophora, Acropora, Candy Cane, Zoa's and Gorgonians (photo and non-photo) all showed great PE (even after being shipped for 24hrs). It could be the NSW that I use, but the lack of algae [in the display] and great water quality from the ATS doesn't hurt."

    Alaska_Phil on the RC site: "I added an algae scrubber to my system 5 months ago. I inherited care of this tank nearly 6 years ago and I've been battling one type of algae after another ever since. I'd tried everything imaginable, GFO, frequent massive water changes, starving my fish, daily manual removal, and hords of snails and hermits. But my nitrate and phosphate was always undetectable due to all the algae [in the display]. I use a 6" wide vertical screen style with spiral PC light. when I started it my display was over run with brown cotton candy type algae. it grew on everything, rocks, sand equipment even the cords for my power heads. It took about a month for algae to really start populating the screen. At that point the only real difference I noticed was the lack of diatom algae on the glass. I'd had to clean it daily, now I only have to clean it about twice a week. After 2 months, i only had algae growing on my rocks, but my equipment was staying clean. I'm assuming the rocks were leaching phosphate back into the system. After 3 months the rocks were still covered, so I got impatient and plucked it out manually. I completely filled a 1 gal pitcher with algae from my 50 gal display! After that the algae on the screen really took off. But it never came back to the display. Even after my life got rather busy and I neglected doing water changes for 3 months. Now, I still get a little algae in the tank, I pluck out a few little tuffs about once a month. I clean half my algae screen every 2 weeks. It takes that long for it to build up again. I'm still running my skimmer, but it's just back-pak II, so not a very efficient one. I've always run carbon since I have a mixed reef with leathers. Never noticed any bad smells or water discoloration. I could probably have gotten the same result with a high end skimmer, or zeovite, or bio-pellets too. But so far I'm really happy with algae scrubber."

    Williah on the RC site: "I added an ATS 1 1/2 years ago, and after 10 months I got rid of my skimmer, but I was very careful and watchful before I did it. I will point out I use a phosban with mixed GFO & active carbon in it. I will continue to use this to deal with phosphate and other nasties in the water, regardless of the other subject. Also I do a water change every 2 weeks regardless. With either setup, I found a water change every 2 weeks kept everything looking happy, so I'm going to continue with this timetable. Now, I had 2 major goals when I started experimenting with ATS: 1. coming up with an affective, long-term method for reducing my nitrate levels (I was between 50-100 at the time); 2. to increase phytoplankton levels in my water column. 1. My nitrates have been 0 or barely above 0 since I got my ATS working. I NEVER had this before. This definitely never happened with just a skimmer. I like to feed heavily and since going with a working ATS I've been able to do just that without freeking out about my nitrate levels. 2. I wanted to maintain high levels of phyotplankton to my tank, and it was my understanding that the skimmer would remove the phyto from the water. People said to turn off the skimmer while feeding, but I wanted a constant presense of the little criters, and the methods behind an ATS seemed to allow this. Since I went ATS and removed the skimmer, my filter feeders have exploded in size (at least 3x the original size). They all look larger and healthier and beautiful-er (laugh, people, it's funny). Could be a coincidence but I believe more food plus more phyto in water has been the direct cause."

    Der_wille_zur_macht on the RC site: "My TS was not running for very long, but it was essentially the ONLY nutrient export on my 360 g, except for a small bundle of chaeto. At one point I tried to run a skimmer on the tank but it produced zero skimmate - there was nothing in the water for it to skim. In the short time that I had it operational, I made a few observations: I noticed a SIGNIFICANTLY higher growth rate of naturally occurring filter feeders in the tank. Mini feather dusters, stuff like that. There was noticeably more "stuff" in the water column. It wasn't enough to distract from viewing the aquarium, but it was clearly enough to make a significant difference for filter feeders."

    Williah on the RC site: "I removed my skimmer a year ago and added an algae turf scrubber as a replacement. I did this with the thought of creating a more nutrient rich yet low Nitrate environment. The result has been an explosion of growth with my corals."

    King_Neptune on the SWF site: "I had a scrubber going for almost a year. They work awesome! But I swapped over to a skimmer in the end. My water paramiters arent as good as my scrubber, and I dont even have 1 percent of the pods I used to....but it looks alot more pristine and clear. [Meaning, there are no more food particles in the water, like there is on a natural reef. A few months later...] Im having Nitrate troubles these days. Everything else is perfect..as in undetectable. Scrubbers will work off of nitrates alone correct? I think I will start one up again."

    Gnorman on the SWF site: "through the years we would have times where unwanted algea would take over, and then we made this sweet little filtration called a turf scrubber. [...] since we have added one ( its a DIY project ) we have never had a problem with unwanted algea."

    Floridabob on the SWF site: "personal experience!!!! nitrates and po-4 very high for long time, water changes helped. made diy algea scrubber and within 1 month everything was at zero. so ....imo good cheap build for big results"

    Mangrovejack22 on the MOFIB site: "I stumbled across a thread on ATS's over a year ago and decided to give it a try. I could never get my skimmers adjusted right, and was always tweaking them trying to either stop the milk jug diy (off the collection cup) from overflowing onto the floor, or scraping thick sludge build up out of the cup itself. took me less than an hour to build my first scrubber following SM's guide and links to others diy's. I'm now onto my 2nd generation of it and couldn't be happier with the results over the last 18 months or so. I've seen pretty much every expected phase of nitrate reduction as mentioned in his threads. i've had patches of hair algae spring out of the rockwork in high flow, even though i had no algae growing anywhere else in the tank, and watched those patches dissappear over the next few weeks. I spend 10 mins a week cleaning the screen and pump intake prefilter sponge, and every few months change some cheap home depot CFL's, which do the job for me. I highly recommend giving one a try if you are on the fence. I only wish i had documented the nitrate reduction in my tank to support the changes"

    Fishstink on the RS site: "i used one one my 75 gallon system and it went from nuclear (off the chart) to undetectable in two months. going to have one in my 270 frag tank with no skimmer, we will see how it goes as i will be doing the pappone feeding method twice a day"

    Mgraf on the RS site: "I always ran a skimmer until I set up a algae scrubber, IMO the scrubber works better. Less upkeep, less hassle, and more food to the corals. Seems like many are resistant to change, but changes and new ideas open up new doors to the hobby. I guess it is all a matter of what works for you! I prefer a little "marine snow" floating around in my system, corals look great, and a scrubber will clear out just about any algae blooms you will come across."

    Drbark on the RS site: "I have a 115 gallon reef with about 40 gallons of sump space. It has been running for 2 yrs now. Half of it is growing macroalgae it in. 6 months ago I added a turf scrubber in. I was running my skimmer 24/7. I noticed with the scrubber that corals started growing faster. The dealer I bought the scrubber from said to run the skimmer from midnight to 12 noon only. I noticed the corals were growing even faster along with my refugium and turf algae growing faster. The tank looked healthier. I have been running the skimmer on half time for only 2 months now. Might not be that much time yet. Too chicken to turn the skimmer of completely. I have a very heavy bioload because people just give me stuff and I have a hard time saying no. Just wanted to throw this out their since people were talking about the all or none thing. I just run it half time."

    Sikpupy on the RS site: "Been a long time (about a year) algae scrubber user. I can attest that is seems to work because I have 6 gobys, 2 tangs, a clown, Anthia's, royal gramma and another fish or two. My tank is just about clear, maybe a teaspoon diameter "total" all over of very soft hair(?) algae. I have a coast to coast which has a baseball size clump of hair algae I have let grow for pods. Other than that, the tank is totally free of algae. I may, may get a small dusting of algae on the glass once a week. It usually takes 10 days to build up enough to see it on the front. If fact, i am so algae free, my poor Blenny is starving with a sunken belly, lol."

    Accident on the MFK site: "I put mine in the hood on my 150. Working in conjunction with a fresh water drip system, all the bad stuff sits at zero. All the brown algae is gone now. Forget how long it took to die off, but it was tough stuff."

    Geosquid on the MD site: "after going through your thread about 3+ years ago I've used only a diy scrubber as a filter. That was the healthiest tank I've ever had. I sold the whole system and moved to VA for a new job recently but I have a new tank on order right now and can't wait to get going."

    Kevvin27 on the LR site: "If I had known about algea scrubbers when I was first setting up my tank I would have started out with it right away. Everything in my tank looks so much better now with just the scrubber running then it did when I had a skimmer...and so much easier to clean and quieter too."

    Rwing on the RA site: "Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with algae breakouts. For some these problems are a minor nuisance, but for others this problem can drive them right out of the hobby. In dealing with my algae problems, I became determined to educate myself with why I was experiencing this outbreak as well as how I could stop it and hopefully prevent it in the future. I hope that the experience that I gained can help others who are plagued by this nuisance. My plan of attack was to look at my home made filtration system and determine if I could make some improvements. I came across some articles about Algae Scrubbers that seemed very interesting. They looked really easy to build, and I thought "What have I got to lose?". I purchased the items needed to build it and had it installed in 1 evening. I used 2 5700k power compact bulbs and reflectors that I bought at Home Depot. I anxiously awaited for something to grow, and low and behold, in about a week I had a nice little algae crop growing. Within 2 weeks I was scraping it off, and have been ever since. I was starting to feel like I was going to beat this [nuisance algae] menace. When I [originally] started asking questions about controlling algae I was told to run a multitude of reactors and various chemical solutions. After reading many articles about algae, I chose not to run any reactors of any kind...I use 2 algae scrubbers to filter my water, I currently run a protein skimmer, and I do regular water changes . That is it, and my results have been remarkable! Sometimes I think we make things a lot more complicated than they really need to be. This entire process [scrubber plus some other changes] took about 3 months, but I can honestly say that my tank is now completely free of nuisance algae, and I am very confident that it will remain that way.

    Slovak on the RA site: "In theory, all sounded reasonably good. How would this hold up in a real world application? The early adopters reported nearly too-good-to-be-true results. Just like everyone swore that all the approaches I already tried would work miracles. Besides, you canít believe everything you read on the internet! Then again, what did I have to lose? I built my algae scrubber from 1/2-inch plastic tubing and a 8 1/2 x 11íí plastic mesh screen found at Michaelís craft store. Two light fixtures with energy-saving bulbs and a timer for a total expense of less than $40. The results didnít come overnight. I ran my skimmer in parallel for a couple of weeks simply because I feared a tank crash. The water flow and the lighting periods needed tweaking. For an impatient person itís difficult to watch algae grow. Besides, there is nothing to clean as with a skimmer. After 4 weeks of this experiment I started to notice less algae in my overflows and on my pumps. 8-10 weeks and I could see the rocks again. My corals looked healthier, polyps were opening larger every week. There are many additional benefits from this approach: Less maintenance, as the algae screen is only cleaned every 7-10 days. I have even taken a 3-week vacation with only feeding and glass cleaning performed, and the tank was as beautiful as ever; There is also a significant cooling effect in the summer as the water runs over the screen. More energy efficient, as I traded a 50+W skimmer pump running 24 hours per day for 2 13W energy-efficient bulbs running 18 hours per day; The system is silent! One less pump injecting air into the water - nearly every visitor has commented on the quiet system - my office desk is 5 feet away from the glass; The algae growth is directly proportional to the load of the system and the amount of feeding. Once set up, there is nothing to adjust! My tank has been algae free for nearly 9 months. I perform weekly filter cleaning about every 10 days, with general tank cleaning / coraline scraping once a month. Water changes are back to 15 percent every month. All corals and inhabitants are very healthy. The anemone has split multiple times and the largest one is now over a foot wide. The hammer coral that started from a handful of heads is now over 10 inches in diameter and boasts over 100 heads. I now supply many local reefers with ample frags and my enjoyment of the hobby has finally returned!"

    Vannpytt on the scrubber site: "since my scrubber started growing green, the polyps on the sps has been INSANE. During light off period (when light is on the scrubber) the polyps extend 5mm looking amazing. Later update: the tank is clean, the SPS are more than happy, a few of my Acros extend polyps all over the place, especially the milleporas, and the fish are fat. The Salifert nitrate test show <0.1 and the same with the Merck Phosphate test. Life is good. Skimmer is offline. Running carbon and doing a small waterchange every month to reduce the sulfate buildup when doing 2 part Randy's recipe. Going to take the carbon out also, just not yet. Had some startup problems with Acro's stressing out and RTN'ing each other. Seems fine now."

    Donj on the scrubber site: "I would just like to add a little something about scrubbers, even though im not getting the green hair algae [on the screen] yet, the benefits so far have been incredible, the life in my system is thriving, the amount of little critters from having an ats is unbelievable, with lights out I can take a flashlight and see what seems to be millions of little critters. I have a 125 gal. tank with a fairly heavy bioload, with fish and mostly sps and lps coral, all are doing very, very well compared to when they were in my ninety gal with no ATS. About 4 weeks ago, I added a pair of mandarins (male n female), the male had a shrunken belly at my LFS, since then he has put some weight on, I would never have attempted this in a system thats been up for only a couple of months, its hard enough to keep 1 mandarin alive, much less 2, but there not only alive, there getting fat , this is pleasing to me as this is one of my favorite species of fish. The coral growth is mind blowing as well, just gotta say thanks for your site, as I would have just kept on blowing more $$ on equipment I dont really need, had I not stumbled upon this site."

    Craig1 on the scrubber site: "Thought I'd post an update. After over two months of use, so far, so good! Algae is growing nicely on the screen, more than enough to clean off each week. But for the results: Feeding at least a cube of food a day; 0/0/0 in the big three; Plenty of pods all over the place; No other filtration except for the rock; Almost zero algae in the DT (Few bubbles remain); Zero water changes in over two months; Have to dose Ca & Alk now, since not being replaced by the water changes; Coraline is growing like crazy now. For all the skeptics out there, the science works. Truly a revolutionary idea on the home tank, if done properly.

    Chip on the scrubber site: [pic of "before", nitrate = 100], [pic of "after", nitrate = zero].

    RumpyPumpy on the scrubber site: "My 55 gal reef system has been running for 7 months (I'd been keeping freshwater fish for 20 odd years previously) using only my home made (and probably not very efficient) scrubber (ok, for the first 2 or 3 months there was a bit of Purigen in the sump too but I don't think it did much). I have made no water changes at all over that time (obviously I have topped up with RODI water to replace evaporation), and other than food, I've only added Alk, calcium and occasionally some Seachem Reef Plus (still on my first bottle). The tank is not heavily stocked with fish, (a Yellow tang, pair of clowns, a coral beauty and five chromis) but I feed quite heavily (I think), everything is growing, the water is clear and I have only lost one fish since the start (a small clown which I believe was attacked by one or more of the other fish when introduced them). All the corals have grown and the hermits and other inverts appear to be thriving (although I did lose a shrimp too)."

    New2scrub on the scrubber site: "my reef aquarium has never looked so good! I have built a scrubber that looks much like the sm-100 for my 45 gallon reef tank and the results are out-standing! the only thing that i do differently is i change a little water once a month, but not much. I have crystal clear water, pods everywhere, and have raised baby shrimp in my sump without any intervention! to me that is proof that scrubbers work well and provide much more food for the critters we keep!"

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    Re: Results of Successful Scrubbers (newest at end)


    Calvin415 on the scrubber site: "I think the results are outstanding, by far the cleanest tank I've ever had with the least amount of maintenance. I clean the scrubber once a week, skimmer once every two weeks, and clean the film off the glass once a week... I don't hold back on feed, I feed frozen, pellets, arctic pods and phytofeast all the time!"

    Srusso on the RC site: "My last harvest was my heaviest yet! I am not weighing my harvest yet but man when your scrapping over an inch thick layer of algae off your screen you feel like you can truly feed your tank any mount of food!! I actually tell other people its "ok" to feed the fish! I should have made it clear that this is two total inches. Once on each side of my screen."

    Eums on the RC site: "Tank PH is rock solid stable at 8.41-8.44 PH (with the skimmer it would swing 0.15). Only need to clean the front glass every week or two. Nuance algae is gone (got a frag with GHA and the GHA died off). Cleanup crew is small (2 turbo,7 astraea, 4 certh, 5 margarita, 5 trochus, 1 Nassarius). Dont need to worry about over feeding, has no impact to the tank other than more food for the micro fauna. Increased micro fauna (tons of red feather dusters, pods, etc). Happy fat fish from all the food available, water clarity improved (tint gone, no longer running carbon)"

    Maglofster on the RC site: "So far I am amazed! Almost no algae in the DT since startup, and I have been flooding the tank with food. For example, today: 6 cubes Supershrimp, 2 cubes Formula2 and 2 cubes Lobster eggs. Without the scrubber I'm sure there would have been lots. Also I only have Riffkeramik (from Korallenwelt) which is supposed to give lots of algae (during startup) due to it's content of silcates, almost none of that either. So to summarize.. I'm a happy camper!"

    King_richard on the RC site: "My little update on the scrubber. For the first two weeks of my redone scrubber I was rinsing the screen and occasionally scraping it every 3 days or so since the black stuff was covering it rather quickly in areas. It's about time for another cleaning of it either today or tomorrow but I did a water change the other day and tested only for nitrates which are now pretty much 0, I can't see any color difference and the natural seawater that I use has the same reading of 0. So within the two weeks of my rebuilt scrubber, my nitrates have dropped from the almost 5ppm to 0ppm. Also, in the older thread, I was the one who had the nasty case of green water, well our water is now crystal clear and my standards for calling it crystal clear are rather high, lol. The only things in the water column are food that we feed and live food from the dsb and scrubber that make it into the display tank. It's clear enough that you don't see the light rays penetrating through the water if that makes sense."

    Acts4me on the RC site: "WOW is all I can say! I have had my scrubber running since [2 months earlier]. I posted pics of the algae farm I had going on. I have cleaned my scrubber twice and almost all of the algae is gone from my display tank. I thought it would take much longer. I still have a few patches but the bulk is gone. I am going to build scrubbers for the rest of my tanks starting tomorrow. The ATS is the single best addition to my tank I have done as far as equipment goes."

    Fragfarmer on the scrubber site: "this is really helping my tank a lot!! I've been plagued with slimey green cyano in my tank for months. It's disappearing. Getting thinner and lighter shade of green every day. I'm so happy to see coraline growing on my glass again, instead of green slime. Thank you!! I can't completely express my gratitude from behind this keyboard."

    Harry_y on the RC site: I made mine [scrubber] out of a storage bin. The nice thing is my tank is doing better now than it ever has, I feed heavier and I'm not skimming out the food that the corals want"

    Slow_leak on the RC site: "I have run ATS since September following these guidelines. SPS have grown and people in local club have commented that SPS are growing out nicely. I have a continuous diatom problem before the ATS and that was gone in two weeks. Only trace valonia remains. SPS are easy this way. Soft corals have not flourished as well in this lower nutrient system, but that is not my goal. Unfortunately I had one fish that never reacted well to captivity die after year. The ATS handled it very well. It is a very very forgiving system that most people run with an old set up or incorrectly maintained. I haven't had any [coral] bleaching since I started and will keep it long term."

    Fragglerocks on the RC site: "starting levels: Nitrate was around 30, P04 was a whopping 2.21 YIKES! after a month and half with the scrubber: Nitrate: ZERO!!! P04: 0.11 and still steadily dropping! Tested with Hanna meter. My feeding schedule - I feed 2 frozen cubes a day of assorted store bought foods, i try to mix it up a little, but the equivalent is 2 cubes per day. I also feed a pinch of flakes once a day and dose 2 cap-fulls of DT Phyto once a week. I have no protein skimmer anymore, I sold my Tunze months ago. I no longer run phosgaurd since adding the scrubber. The only thing I do is a 2 part dose weekly, Iodine every once in a while, and I run carbon in the sump. I don't do water changes anymore, just top-offs. and with all this feeding the fish are fat, corals healthy and growing (mix of SPS, LPS, and softies...), and macro in the DT has been dwindling since adding the scrubber. Actually, the reason I wanted to add the scrubber to begin with was the overgrowing macro in the DT. I wanted a natural and gradual way to get rid of it without the use of chemicals, and this has worked wonderfully. Just make sure to clean the screen weekly. I just wanted to add that the day I learned about algae scrubbers was one of the best days in my saltwater journey, thank you Chris! The scrubber has put an end to one of my biggest concerns with my tank, and a great side-effect is that it oxygenates the water and all the corals/fish are extremely well fed and thriving. all of my sps are super happy now and the growth is exponentially faster than when I diddnt have the scrubber and only ran the skimmer. In fact, I had a tri-color colony about 6 inches x 7 inches that had been slowly STN'ing for over 6 months, 3 weeks after I added the scrubber it started coloring up again, stopped stn'ing, and has been showing signs of new growth. I encourage you to set up a small experimental tank. get a biocube or aquapod and fill it with your choice of sps, good lighting, and sufficient flow. Add a scrubber and let us know what happens".

    Bguile on the RC site: "I think I'll go ahead and chime in on this one since I've been running skimmerless on my 210g since [7 months earlier] and setup a new 40g that has basically been only ATS since it was built [3 months ago]. I haven't done a water change since it's been running, water parameters stay unusually stable and my ammonia, nitrates, and phospates are all or very very close to 0. In fact, I started overfeeding the system when it only had inverts in it to start the algae growth on the ATS. I had NEVER fed so much to a tank filled with fish for fear of algae and cyano. Back [7 months ago] I decided to try going skimmerless on my [other tank] 210, after I wasn't getting the success I thought I should with it. I immediately noticed that the small corals I did have began opening and growing like gangbusters. However, I wasn't keeping up with water changes as I should have been and algae and cyano went crazy too. Just as I decided to build a smaller reef tank and make the 210 a FOWLR, I happened upon ATS' looking for nitrate reducing solutions. So after I tested the ATS on my 40g. I'm in the process of redesigning it to an enclosed unit, but it's maintaining the system the way it is. To really clean up the sand I need to add approx another 100W of light [to the scrubber] but since it's becoming a FOWLR, I haven't put much urgency on it. In closing, I must admit I'm VERY excited about the results that ATS's have shown me and that my limitations (read, money) have now been removed for me to run as many specialized tanks as I would like without the need to purchase an expensive skimmer. Oh...I wanted to add that I NEVER had any of the diatoms that usually shows up in new tanks using the ATS. Since it's been installed, I've only run into one problem when I started seeing a hairy type algae poking out of my sand. I found out I was choking off my return flow by not removing the included mechanical filter on my Eheim. Once I removed that within days the algae was gone and I once again have clean grey/white sand!!"

    Nac on the scrubber site: "Nitrate and Phosphate levels are at zero at last test. No water changes ever, and had fish for 6 weeks now. Algae on the live rock, which was growing like crazy, is starting to slowly subside. The growth on the screen is still pretty dark, I'm cleaning it twice a week. I put both lights on one side of the screen, might add wattage."

    Dlp40 on the scrubber site: "Well since my last post a few weeks ago I think i have finally gotten my ATS working. I tested the water today and from 20ppm nitrate to 0.00ppm and po4 of over .2 down to unmeasureable. Not to say i haven't had my snags in the 2 months I have been using it, but it's well worth the trouble. I mean I havent done a water change in 2 months, this has already paid for the ATS twice. another testimit on how much i like this DIY filter is, even when i had the wrong screen and lights on it, my algea from the tank disapeared. I had a few rocks completly covered with hair algae and it disapeared in less then one month."

    Maxhtic on the UR site: "No need to spend your cash for all these unecessary "media"... my oppinion and personal experience. Alga Turf Scrubber mate... and you will NEVER spend any more money on filtration, saving extra cash every month for livestock. Simple as that - give it some chance and you will change your reefing procedures for ever."

    Albass15 on the UR site: "build yourself a turf scrubber. I only do a 20 percent water change once a month and my nitrate and phosphate is zero."

    Mrbncal on the RC site: When I set this 75 back up 4 years ago I battled with my Euroreef skimmer for 7-8 months. Every couple of weeks it would go into overflow mode for a couple days and flow teh skimmate back into the tank. Things looked horrible every time it would overflow. Just got sick of dealing with it. I unplugged it and let the tank go. Three months with no attention. Almost tore it down. 90 days later when I scrubbed the front glass I was surprised to find that things had gotten better since turning off the skimmer. So i left it like that for about a year and a half. But hair and bubble algae had a serious foothold. I couldnt feed much. Then I read the articles on ATS's and eventually decided to try one. So I built a bucket scrubber and haven't looked back. Is it tank of the month material? No. But my maintenance time is a lot less than those guys also. I still have great growth on corals and most important I enjoy the hobby again. My only source of cal/alk is kalk in the top-off water and I run a bag of chemipure hanging in the sump. I have not changed any water since [6 mo ago] (30 gal). (I had a hot day prior to hooking my chiller up and things got a little soupy, stupid gamble and I lost a few corals). I have been running ats since [14 months ago]. Anemones, tubeworms of all types(cocoworms), photosynth gorgs and LPS as well as green slimer and birdnest, pocillipora have all grown very well. My scrubber is underpowered, I use a MJ1200. So my algae is browner than what it should be. I am using 120 watt equivilent indoor/outdoor CFL bulbs. They have a 3500K rating, which is why they are kind of yellow. I alternate changing the bulbs out. So one bulb is replaced every month and a half (this is apprx, I try to use the bulbs 3to4 months). I have some plans to redo the scrubber but it works so well right now I keep putting the rebuild off. I have a slow drip on the pipe in the pic above, you can see some salt creep everywhere. Another thing that needs redoing. The scrubber gets cleaned at least every 2 weeks, but I really try to clean it every Sunday morning. I get a coffee cup full of algae every time as long as I am feeding regularly. Right now though, the limiting factor on my scrubber is flow. I only have about 3/4 of the flow that my screen size demands according to the guidelines (35gph per inch of screen). Once I replace that with a 350+ GPH pump my algae should green up. I havent checked N&P since it went to 0's or undetectable. Took a sample to the store and they verified my results with their test. So I assume its still there as I dont have any indication it has changed. I have not checked Cal/Alk/PH lately either. The clams are putting on new white growth, the grape and red monti caps are getting big. Acros dont grow as fast as the guys with cal reactors I spose, but they do pretty well."

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Some success stories of people using waterfall algae scrubbers on different sites:

    Aydee on the scrubber site: "I'm going to call this a success. My nitrates had been sitting steady at about 10 or so for over a year. For it to drop to undetectable in 2 weeks.. THAT is impressive. I have got my skimmer running still, but once my ATS is running, I'll turn off the skimmer (not remove.. Yet....) If situation remains excellent as the trend currently is, I'll remove the skimmer. However, I came into ATS thinking "It can't hurt, as I'll keep my skimmer running" and now I'm thinking "WOAH! They're right!".
    Obviously, the proof will be in 2 years time, ATS sans skimmer.. But.. So far, the numbers are fantastic."

    Robert_Patterso on the RC site: "Best thing I have ever put on any of my tanks in over 25 years of being in the hobby"

    Pskelton on the RC site: "I personally have not done a water change in 6 months ever since I implemented my scrubber. long story short my tank was a mess, kid dumped container of food in tank. I got a snow flake eel that dug up my sand bed and I was running a very under powered cheep skimmer. This lead to my nitrates peeking at 160. I did water changes for a while but the nitrate just keep coming back up to 160. The water changes were getting expensive and I was about to give up when I tried the scrubber. Within a few weeks nitrate dropped to 60 and slowly came down from there. As of my test last week I am finally at 0 nitrate and I haven't done a water change in six months. The protean skimmer has been removed and my tank is healthier than ever. I am just waiting for the algae on my rocks to finish dieing off."

    Murph on the scrubber site: "my ATS is coming along fine. I think I spent about 30 bucks making it. When I compare that to the thousand or more I have spent on skimmers over the past ten years or so that made little to no difference when it came to nuisance algae in the display I want to pull my hair out. My ATS has out done them all in a matter of a few months."

    Spotter on the RC site: "Nitrate Day 1: 5ppm, Week 1: 0ppm, Week 2: 0ppm. P04 Day 1: .035,
    Week 1: .015, Week 2: .0092 I am liking this very much."

    JohnnyB_in_SD on the RC site: "I feed about 6-7 cubes a day on a 100gl tank, and 10-12 cubes two days a week when I do the nems & corals too. N&P have been undetectable since I started using ATS, which is a mickey mouse rubber maid tub version. Since I am always looking for the easiest way to do everything, I will continue cleaning the whole screen once a week. For me, it was a real struggle maintaining water quality with just a fuge: starving my fish, super skimming, massive weekly water changes - just to keep Nitrates near 20ppm and Phosphate under 1.0. That all went away with an ATS, the hobby is much more enjoyable and not a huge chore."

    Thedude657 on the scrubber site: "So my screen finally filled out with greenish algae. Water quality is excellent and now I have all sorts of cool things growing on my live rock. Little white sponges are popping up everywhere, some stuff I have no clue what it is yet. Just wanted to say thanks to help me get started."

    Chrisfraser05 on the RC site: "I just wanted to jump in and say after bumping into Santamonica on a forum a while back and also watching Lafishguys videos I started a marine tank [8 months ago]. Obviously I started my first tank with a DIY algae scrubber and have NEVER seen either nitrate or phosphate."

    Redneckgearhead on the scrubber site: "Heres the pics of my HA problem. [algea all over]These where taken just before I added my scrubber. I had tried EVERYTHING nothing helped. I paid a small fortune for a skimmer that I was told would surely take care of the problem. The HA laughed and kept on growing. My lights where down to 3 hours a day, my fish where only fed a small amount every two to three days, I was doing 10 percent water changes twice a week. And keep in mind those picks are only about 3 days growth, I would remove about 80 percent of the HA during my water changes. These are pics I took today just before my weekly water change. [almost no algae] I am feeding daily, my fish are now fat and happy. My scrubber is working beautifully! I am so glad I found out about scrubbers. I am still using my skimmer, but I may take it off line as soon as all the HA is gone. From the looks of things that shouldn't be much longer."

    Fragglerocks on the RC site: "Ive gotten rid of 95% of all "bad" algae in the DT and my P04 Level is 0.12 checked by Hanna meter. Nitrates - Zero. I feed the equivalent of 2 frozen cubes per day, along with pellets whenever I think about it. up to 2 times per day."

    Scrubit on the scrubber site: "have been running a scrubber-only 90gal tank for over a year now with great success. [...] I was ready to buy a big ol skimmer for my new tank build when I came across some of the info SM had posted. That was all it took, and I've never looked back. NEVER had algae in DT, NEVER had readable nitrates/phos after cycle, and have probably changed out maybe 40gal of water since setup. Personally I find running a scrubber almost as fun as the tank itself!"

    Psyops on the RC site: "I had a DSB and chaeto fuge. When I added a ATS, the chaeto disappeared. I don't know if the DSB is doing anything. I feed my fish and tank from 1-2 times daily depending on my schedule. The ATS is doing really well, especially when I added a Calcium reactor 3 months ago. I did not believe some of the stuff people were saying on how effective an ATS system could be, but they were mostly correct."

    JohnnyBinSD on the RC site: "I finally got around to putting an ATS on my tank 3 weeks ago. Just harvested a pile of algae off it tonight. In those 3 weeks I have doubled the amount of daily food I put in the tank, run the skimmer 6 hours/day instead of 24/7, and removed the lighting from the chaeto in the old fuge. Nitrates & phosphates are undetectable, algae in the display tank is almost nonexistent, fish are fat & happy. An ATS is the cheapest & most effective thing I've ever done to improve water quality. I wish I had built one sooner."

    Kcmopar on the MFT site: "Its been about 5 weeks (started the weekend before fathers day) or so and the green hair algae has stopped growing in my 40G. Yeah!!! Its all receding, maybe just a few percent left at the base of a couple rocks that my coral beauty snacks on. Just amazing. Started this 40G salt from Jump with an ATS. IT NEVER CYCLED!!! I have little pods, tiny feather dusters, and other critters thriving like crazy. Coraline already starting to spread across the tank. Nutrients are always zero to just barely detectable on both the 10g and 40g. Also a note on the 40G, I never had to do a water change yet!!! No test results ever got past barely detectable. I have been dabbling with an ATS on a 10 gallon Freshwater as well. Same results so far. I am building a bigger one for my 150G FW in a few weeks."

    Reeftanker on the MFUK site: "i have cleaned it about 8/10 times now, about 50-90 grams of algae each time and i have just tsted my tank i have on my test kits; Phosphates = clear that means undetectable levels on my test kit, Nitrates = 1ppm maybe 2ppm, what more do i have to say im am chuffed to bits and over the moon"

    Etan on the MFUK site: "Just to share some of my results with my scrubber. I set up my new tank at beginning of Jan(Rio 400). The only filtration I have on the tank is a scrubber and about 50kg of live rock. After the tank had cycled my nitrates peaked at about 25ppm about 2 weeks ago. There were only 2 clowns and 2 chromis in tank and small cuc. Just tested today after all stock and cuc from old tank have been in there for about 1 week and nitrate reading is only 2ppm and not much signs of algee in main tank or on glass. It seems to me the scrubber is doing its job."

    Weatherby68ss on the scrubber site: "i have been into this hobby for 3 years now and was using a wet /dry filter for the first year and a half or so untill i found out about algae scrubbers. i have to admit i would not still have an aquarium if not for my ats. its simply to much time, work and $$$ using any other type of filtration. with the ats i can actually sit back and enjoy my tank and keep my fish fat and happy with out worrying about the next water change because i hav'nt done 1 in over a year! anyone thats thinking about building 1 all i can say is go for it THEY WORK!!! nuff said"

    Mgraf on the RC site: "I have been running a scrubber for about 8 months now, at first I had a skimmer running, macro's, rock rubble, and deep sand bed. Same setup as you almost. I still have the deep sand bed but, eliminated the other stuff over time for the sake of simplicity. I clean the scrubbers algae once a week, do monthly water changes, feed often and alot, and my corals and fish have never been happier or fatter in the year and a half it has been set up. Many may disagree but, for me it is the easiest way to run a salt water reef."

    Jukka on the RC site: "I used to have various carbon sources + ATB Supersize skimmer as filtration for my 400 gal reef. I never succeeded to outcompete nutrient problems with those, no matter how much carbon I added. I also tried the pellet version. Since building a large scrubber with lots of light, all problems are gone. But I didn't take the skimmer out of the system and didn't stop carbon dosing, and don't intend to. I just reduced carbon amount to about 1/10 of the original. I like the effects carbon does for fungi, and other stuff like that, growth. Though other reason for keeping skimmer online is the amount I paid for the supersize ATB.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Damon on the IM site: "I have been completely skimmer less for over a month now, and my ats has brought my nitrates from off the chart above 50ppm and with yesterday's test it has come down to 5 on the high end with color choosing(can't wait for a Hanna to make a nitrate). I am extremely happy with my ats as it is now, but I do believe I'm going to build a second one next to it. I built this size for a small (75-90g heavy bioload), but I'm going to add a second one that will be a more professional build quality now that I have figured out how I want it to run. I still love the fact that I have dropped $25 a month in electricity, haven't done a water change in a month while still dropping nitrates and getting amazing coral growth. The best part is I am making these to utilize my overflow drains, so in essence I adding a more efficient form of filtration without adding any heat or extra electricity. I can't report on long term results as I've only been running an ats since last fall. But from where my tank was to where it is now is enough for me to jump ship, lol."

    Kerry on the scrubber site: "I was hard for me to believe that this device worked. It took about a year before I built one and now I wish I knew about this years ago. Who would have thought algae would provide so much success? I even have one on my 150G FW Jack Dempsey tank as well. And yes, its so nice not to have a skimmer anymore!!!!"

    Reefkeeper2 on the RC site: "I run a skimmer, biopellets and an ATS. The skimmer and the pellets worked well keeping nitrates at 0, but there was room for improvement with phosphate control. I tried GFO, and lanthanum. My sps do not like the GFO. I got STN often when I changed it out. The lanthanum worked, but was very labor intensive and so unpractical. The ATS did the trick nicely. I have been a reefer for a very long time. I think I have tried every method of nutrient control thought up by anyone. I really enjoy trying out new ideas and trying to improve on old ones. I have to say that this combination has worked the best of all I have tried over the years."

    N728NY on the RC site: "Just chiming in to say I really hope this thread keeps going! Lots of good info. I'm still pretty new to keeping a reef tank. I have been running a scrubber with my skimmer for the past three months. Before then I could never get my nitrates below 15, and since I added my scrubber I never been able to detect any nitrates, even after feeding twice as much. I know with my 75 gallon set up, I made my scrubber slightly over sized (sized for 100 gallons) and I dump huge amounts of pellets and frozen shrimp in my tank on top of spot feeding my corals on a regular basis and I still have yet to register any nitrates on my test kit. Being that I'm still new I still haven't built up the courage to unplug the skimmer yet. I may try it once I know for sure my scrubber is fully matured, got plenty of ro water made up and salt ready just in case I need to do an emergency water change lol. I still have a clump of cheato left that I suppose would be good back up if the scrubber couldn't keep up. The cheato doesn't really grow very much right now because of the scrubber. I love these scrubbers, I'm so glad I took the time to read "both sides" of the arguments on them to find out the facts about them."

    Kentth on the scrubber site: "overall the tank is much healthier, a lot of feather dusters, coming out of the rocks, yellow sponges, other opaque sponges. big thing is no water changes for over 8 months, almost no silt, it has really cut my maintenance"

    Langtudatinh01 on the RC site: "i completely redo my 40B with the ATS from beginning, i barely see much algae on my display tank but i now have a mature ATS. i relocated all my fish and add another one without any issue. the dead rocks i use bleach quite a lot of phosphate back into the water, but the ATS has handle the issue like a cham. i do not see much algae on my display. everything is green like grass down at the ATS. i am very happy so far.'

    Bicolour on the MFUK site: "quick update, so my ats has been running since [6 weeks ago] and i gotta say all the algea in my tank and on the sand has gone, wow. gotta say it was well worth doing. i dont monitor growth at the moment but this is something i will be doing in the future, my set up was basic costing very little as i wanted to try this before i really looked into the idea. very impressed and can only say if you got space look into it"

    Rysher on the RC site: "i have a 6x9 screen, 1 inch is submerged so only 6x8 is really used, i also have a 40b. it has been my only form of filtration ever since i started the tank [months ago], i feed almost 2 cubes a day, only have 2 fishes but u cant see any algae on my DT, almost non existent film algae too, i clean my DT glass maybe once a week."

    Packman90 on the RC site: "I have a 72 Gallon bow front and until a couple of months ago I was going to throw my tank away and give up on saltwater tanks all together. I was brand new, took a lot of advice, started my system and watched as it became more and more green, until i found out about scrubbers. I lost all of the coral frags I bought, about $400.00 worth, and just felt that I would never get it. I have it now, and just bought my first new frags in over 8 months. Thanks to all of you scrubbers out there who showed me the way. Here is the tank after the scrubber did it's magic. this took a total of 1 month for it to clear up, and I did not remove any of the algae, it just melted a way. Only problem I have is that i have some sea grass that is melting away as well and cheto in my sump is also slowly dieing."

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    "Algae scrubbers are one of the few, if not the only, nutrient removal systems that give me something back: Growth. It's a no brainer" -- Jim Stime, LA Fishguys

    "I see algae scrubbers as the single most significant nutrient exporter you can have" -- Stephen Babcock, The Corner Reef, Columbia, Illinois, USA

    "I am very happy with my [upflow scrubber] which is working great. I will be [using] more scrubbers for my other 8 tanks" -- Bruce Ashcraft

    "The [floating upflow scrubber] is really useful and highly necessary for my tank. So I really can't be without it for too long" -- Jason Pappin

    "My [tiny upflow scrubber] works great, and I was thinking about another one. The biggest difference I seen was my phosphate level went from 0.11 to 0.03-0.06 range " -- venom on the CR site:

    "The [upflow scrubber] is producing lots of lovely green algae for me" -- K19RKS on the UR site.

    "Growth from our [upflow scrubber]" -- Alyse Fisher:

    "Tank is heavily fed and [upflow scrubber] definitely seems to have made an improvement since the algae started growing" -- Jason Oneppo

    "[floating scrubber is] growing very well. Love the in sump design. Will probably do another down the road as I increase my bioload." -- Erik Sulman

    "I'm getting good results from my [2 upflow scrubbers].. It's bringing my phosphate down and starting to get some decent hair algae my tangs love" -- Dane Wilcox

    "WOW! 173grams. Two weeks growth [on the floating scrubber]. We LOVE it! The growth rate of the chaeto in our refugium had been steadily decreasing over the past six weeks or so. Yesterday, it became obvious that the chaeto had started to melt/die-off and needed to be removed from the system" -- Mike&Terry on the R2R site:

    "There is getting to be some nice looking green hair algae in it" -- Dane Wilcox

    "I clean my [scrubber] once a week. Definitely helped lower my nitrates." -- Nagrom on the MR site

    "I installed a [upflow] ATS in my 3rd chamber with the return pump in my 29 biocube works well for me. My nitrates stay between 5 ppm or lower. Phosphates are usually .04 or lower -- Saltyphish on the R2R site"

    "I didn't really expect much from the [upflow scrubber] and put it in my sump. After about 3 weeks the algae was in abundance and now I have to clean it every 2 weeks" -- Jukeboxjury on the RF site.

    "The [upflow scrubber] is doing really great. The first time it was full of green small rounded shape of algae, feels like jelly, i dont know what that is. The second and third week after that is full of green hair algae. Water parameters are great, with readings from hanna checker and salifert testers" -- Yuppy Suhandinata:

    "The scrubber is working great! getting a lot of nice growth" -- Mike Buechs

    "I installed a [small upflow scrubber] in my 3rd chamber with the return pump in my 29 biocube, works well for me. My nitrates stay between 5 ppm or lower. Phosphates are usually .04 or lower" -- Saltyphish on the R2R site.

    Other growth pics:

    Damien Kwok:

    Quy Van:

    Marlon McNeish:

    Alanreef on the R2R site:

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