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Thread: scrub from Italy

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    scrub from Italy

    Hi all!
    Finally, I started my scrubber trying to solve the problem of algae in the tank.
    My tank is a Mediterranean aquarium at 17C (62.6F) of about 240 litres (63 gal) with mostly azoox invertebrates.
    I used a fiberglass insect screen with 1,4 mm mesh (0.055 inches), roughed by scraping with coarse sandpaper and an hole saw. The screen (one side only at the moment) is 29x40 cm (11.4x 15.7 inches), the maximum size possible in my sump. The flow is 1200 l/h (264 gph about). The light is a 23W (120 eq.) bulb, the most powerful I found, and I have to make a reflector, and is 11 cm far from the screen; Im thinking to add also a Sylvania t8 aquastar r grolux with reflector (tubes of that brand filled my tanks of algae since mi father tried the first one, around 71-72.. :twisted: )
    Algae are just starting after a week; I tried to inoculate the screen rubbing on it algal mat from the rocks, but evolution is really slower than what I see in the forum. Now Im waiting another week to see effects. Do you think is probably the light inadequate or may be the temperature too? Thankyou for any advice and observation? At the moment I have few pictures, after holidays next ones .
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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Looks good for single sided. I would highly recommend making a reflector like Santa Monica showed recently and now sells the material to make them (although you being in Italy I don't think buying from Santa Monica would be the quickest/cheapest route). With a reflector you will get much better growth. The light is the weakest light I would recommend for that size screen, ideally a 32w would probably be the best option if you could find one. I would not go with T8 bulbs, no enough power in them for what you want them to do. T5HOs would be much better but I have a hard time seeing how you could mount them on your setup.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3453bswfiz0

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Thankyou. Ive seen that mirror, is wonderful 8-) , may be on september with some friends well buy some materials all together. Now Im studying the best curve to create a plexiglass shape to be coated by reflecting film. About the T5 tubes, we have two problems: here are really expensive and, moreover, they are too hot; in our tanks we dont use T5 not even as light. In summer ambient temperature can exceed 34C, and keeping the tank at 17 is challaging, so warming light in the sump could be a further problem. Im looking for most powerful bulbs; but, first of all, I have to make the reflector :idea: !

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Yes at least make a reflector out of a can. Then try to get a bulb on the other side (very important).

    Now for the screen:

    1st: Sometimes window screen has anti-mildew ingredients, which might or might not slow algae growth.

    2nd: As you can see at the end of the pipe, the screen is already wavy. This will get worse when the growth gets heavy, and it will start pulling out of the slot.

    3rd: Flimsy material like that is hard to clean; it's much easier to scrape a solid material.


    So, I would really try to get some solid knitting screen material instead. Then, I'd get a bulb on the other side, with reflectors, of course.

    Being azoo, you probably are (or should be) feeding tremendous amounts of liquid coral food. So, there is no limit to how strong you can make your scrubber. The stronger it is, the more you can feed. I personally would target 2 watts per gallon, which for you would be 120 watts. But you can't put a 60 watt bulb on both sides; so I think 33 watts is about as much as you can fit.

    The skimmer is the worst thing you can have on an azoo tank: It's killing your azoo's by taking out the food particles, and it's not removing any nitrate or phosphate at all (none). So if you remove it you will have more room for larger bulbs on both sides, and your azoo's will get more food, and your nuisance algae will go away, and you will be able to put more food in the tank.

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Thankyou SM for your precious advices! I'll try to comply all the indications about materials. About the screen I asked the producers, they told me there is any treatment (we have some strict regulations about chemicals usable in houses building).
    The only thing I don't fully agree is about the skimmer, because I tried to manage mediterranean tanks since the 70''s but only with skimmers I was able to keep good results . Moreover I've put the skimmate under a SEM with EDAX spectrum analyzer and I found the skimmer (almost, my skimmer ) is removing only amorphous organic matter and bacteria (http://www.aiamitalia.it/forum/viewtopi ... SEM#p31317), I didn't find any other particles (phytoplancton or zooplankton); and mediterranean gorgonians are reported in scientific papers indifferent to dissolved organic matter. But when the scrub will start full, i'll try to stop it monitoring values. It is always exciting to try something new
    thankyou again!

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Good about the screen chemicals.

    For skimmers, remember the "good results" you got in the 1970's did not including feeding azoo's with lots of liquid organic food. Liquid organic food goes directly into a skimmer; I'm surprised you did not find phyto or zooplankton in the skimmate too... it's been shown many times that these are removed too. You can see pods in fresh skimmate if you use a regular (not electron) microscope. And sometimes you can see large pods with your bare eyes if you spread the skimmate out on a black surface when the skimmate is fresh (if you wait too many days the pods will be dissolved).

    But the main point is that skimmers do not remove any Inorganic Nitrate, Inorganic Phosphate, Nitrite, Ammonia/Ammonium, or metals at all. And as your tank shows you, you have nuisance algae, so your skimmer is not removing these. Think about it: If you have nuisance algae, but you are using a skimmer, then what is the skimmer doing? It's not solving the problem. So you might as well remove it. Everything in skimmate is food for some animal.

    Lastly, there are the thousands of people who have already removed their skimmers and used scrubbers instead. In every case, they get more food particles floating in the water, but the nuisance algae goes away. Every time.

    Try it. Your azoo's will thank you.

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    good points of interest! and new experiments to carry out! As matter of fact my problems come from a crash due to a power failure (3 days last summer without circulation and chilling); I saved few animals and rocks adsorbed a lot of o.m. Algae are starting now to regress but too slowly. DSB seems not more able to digest anything, although new imput of critters. So i hope ATS could steer the situation , that's because I'll try to fit as better as possible the "standard" . In any case with cold water all the changes are slow, very slow. And sure ill try to stop skimmer after the scrub is started.

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    update after fifteen days; it seems starting now I have to improve the system. mirror and, if I can find enough space, a tube on the back. tomorrow, first cleaning!
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    Re: scrub from Italy

    Nice start. If your light is strong enough, it should be greener next time.

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    Re: scrub from Italy

    thankyou SM, next days I'm trying to fix some things according to your advices to improve the system. As you can see in the next pict. folds in the screen reduced the useful area; I'll try to fix it too looking for better material.
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