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Thread: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

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    Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Hey guys I have my algae scrubber running fo r8months.. I run a mag3 to feed it and have plenty of flow.. I have a 23W fluorescent light on each side and the screen is very rough..

    I grow algae but only yellow algae.. don't know why.. the only time I grew green was when I went on vacation and didn't do a waterchange.. but when I go back to doing water changes it goes back to yellow...

    Can you guys recommend anything?.. I have tons of hair algae in the display so I don't know why not in the screen.

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    There should really be a sticky for scrubber probs with basic questions to be filled out.

    1: what size of screen?

    2: calculated flow from slot, not rated flow of pump?

    3: age, spectrum, reflector, hours of operation, distance from screen of lights?

    4: cleaning schedule of screen?

    5: other type of filtration used?

    6: tank size/stock/feeding?

    This is a preliminary to diagnose any scrubber issues. Off the top of my head, sorry if I missed anything.

    I will throw my educated guess in from what you have provided thus far 8)

    Yellow algae is a sign of:

    Too much light. Lights too close, incorrect photoperiod. 18:6 on/off.
    Not enough flow. Pump needs cleaning, wrong size pump.
    Not enough iron (from too little flow). Not enough food being fed. Nori? Iron supplements?

    And lastly, the algae in your tank is in direct competition with the scrubber. It may seem counter intuitive but feeding more, and reducing your DT's photoperiod to 6 hrs really gives the scrubber an advantage.

    It's apparent from your WC habit not being followed. More food for the scrubber 8)

    Don't lose heart, were here to help. My DT looked terrible. Couldn't see any rock. Just GHA with some acro poking out. Took 4 months to be completely gone; happened almost overnight too. And that's without a single WC

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    thanks for your help..

    Its a 30g cube with led lights.. have about 25lbs of live rock with an mp10 for flow..

    I have a pair of ocellaris clowns.. three chromis, a small anthias and a blenny.. allong with a harley shrimp..


    the sump is a 10g, the screen is 10" x 8".. lights are less than 3" away.

    I think you nailed it when you mentioned too much light... the bottom of the screen where it almost hits the water does have green algae and right out of the tube as well..

    Any other ideas?.. here is a pic of the scrubber.


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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Your bio load is pretty light for that sized screen. Which means you can feed more 8)

    As for the light, the more the merrier IMO. As long as you have flow to feed enough iron to the algae that is.

    Your set up looks great. Similar to mine, but I have 4x 23watt. When all I was seeing was yellow slime I started dosing Kent's iron and manganese for planted fresh water as per SM's instructions. I hear iron supplements intended for human consumption disolved in water and separated from the fillers works too. I also upped the food and cut the slot bigger so as not to spray but flow down the screen.

    If you can't increase flow, or if you can't get iron right away you can try reducing your photoperiod on the scrubber while keeping everything else the same. In steppes of two hrs I believe is reccomemded. Till you no longer see yellow crap.

    Or, you can feed iron rich algae such as nori, and spirulinae fed brine shrimp. And feed more! Your fish will love you.

    Long term up the flow. And add iron, either via food or additive.

    Keep us posted too 8)

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Im going to up the flow by conecting it to my overflow.. that should give me about 500gph.. I have allot of water running thru it as it is.. way more than other working scrubbers I see on youtube.

    I dont see how iron is the problem if the freaking tank grows tons of hair algae in the back..

    I think its a problem with the lights.. I'm running a bit smaller lights right now in the 18yr schedulle.. I'll see if It makes a differece...

    any other ideas?

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Iron is usually a limiting factor. The only method of adding it to most tanks is via feeding. There isn't iron added to salt mixes, and RO/DI strips it outta' top off water. And the small amount that is being added is being consumed by the HA in your DT.

    Here is a way to look at it. You have limiting factors as far as algae growth is concerned:
    [list]1: Light (obvious)
    2: Food (P04, Nitrogen, Carbonate)
    3: Iron, and other elements, but mostly Iron[/list]
    If you limit any of these factors you will cease algae production, which does nothing to your established DT algae (it will just stop growing, not die-off), but limits your scrubber growth.

    The target of a scrubber in removal of DT algae is to out compete the established algae you already have by providing an environment better suited for algae growth than where you currently have algae. It will "steal" all the food, and iron before it gets to the established algae.

    If you limit any of the above factors your scrubber will not have a sufficient enough advantage over the established DT stuff.

    It's hard going from wanting to "starve" out the algae in your DT to having to feed your scrubber intentionally. it seems counter intuitive. But rest assured the scrubber will win, they always do. If for no other reason than they get 18 hours of better suited light and better flow (more food via flow) versus what's in your DT.


    Light should be intense and at the proper Kelvin (color temperature 2500-3000). This is our best tool for out-competing DT algae.

    If algae is yellow and snot-like (yuck) you are not getting enough iron for the amount of light/hrs. Either too little flow (to deliver enough iron) or you have an iron limiting system and you'll have to dose.

    If algae is dark and slimy you have too much P04/nitrogen (but it's still filtering). This is normal for the first few weeks/cleanings until nutrients drop.

    The algae in your DT is locking up a lot of iron/P04/Carbonate/nitrogen, and is acting like a scrubber keeping your nutrients low. You have to tip the scales in favor of the scrubber any way you can. Do not limit any of the above factors, and you will win.

    These are well established and tested techniques.

    Sorry if I keep repeating myself, or if this seems condescending. I'm here to help 8)

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Ohhhhh... I get it now.. ok im going to icrease flow and feed a little more to see what happens..

    Thanks sooo much for the help

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    I dont see how iron is the problem if the freaking tank grows tons of hair algae in the back.
    Because the tank is currently a stronger "scrubber" than your scrubber is. It has more algae touching more water with more light, and all-together more flow over the total area.

    I think its a problem with the lights.. I'm running a bit smaller lights right now in the 18yr schedulle.. I'll see if It makes a differece.
    What you want to do is reduce the display lighting. This will weaken the "display" scrubber, and give your real scrubber more nutrients (including iron). Now, if your scrubber were dark, you'd want to increase your display lighting so that your "display" scrubber pulled more nutrients out; this would allow your real scrubber to grow lighter.

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    Ok It kinda makes sence.. but I cant reduce my lights in the display because I have constant current led's.. I already only run the actinics 8yrs and all of them for 4hrs..

    I'm actually in the process of upgrading to a 120g tank right now... when I build my new scrubber Im going to drain it right from the overflow and keep the 23w lights... that should give it allot more flow...

    Also the new tank is going to have 4 bulb t5 fixture witch is a ton less light than I have right now.. I plan on keeping Easy corals for now untill the tank matures.. so that should provide the scrubber excellent conditions.. I HOPE...

    Thanks again for all your help guys.. Im going to post pics of the new scrubber as soon as its ready.

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    Re: Scrubber set up 8months not working!!!!

    I cut my actinic back to about 3-4 Hrs and run my 10,000 and 18,000K bulbs all day and run my 12,000K halide for about 3-4 Hrs as well. This has really helped to reduce the growth of algae in the display and has increased growth on the screen. This is on a 40G breeder tank, reef/fish set-up. I run 2x 23W CFL's for 14-16 Hrs on a vert scrubber. I plan to dose iron this weekend to see what happens with the screen growth.
    150G. Reef/Mix
    125G. 3 Regular Oscars/1 Jack Dempsey
    75G. 20+ Africans
    40G. Fish/Reef. Algae Scrubbers on ALL my SW
    10G. SW Fish/Reef.
    10G. SW Hospital/new fish quarantine/pod breeder tank
    6 stage RO/DI system 200 GPD.

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