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Thread: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

  1. #1

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    Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    So I'm always looking for ways to improve on my current system, and an algae scrubber may be the next thing I need to do.

    I run a 200 gallon display tank, a 20 gallon small tank with a juvenile octupus, and a 110 gallon lobster tank as a sump.

    The majority of the tanks inhabitants are all non photosyntheic filter feeders.

    I have an autofeeder on the system, but to date I have not been running it all the time. With the high bioload and slow bacterial breakdown associated with NPS coldwater tanks I am debating on adding an algae scrubber to the system.

    I have the room to do it since the octopus tank is just a flow through tank sitting on top of the 200 gallon, I could covert the drain line into a slot pipe and have it dump down into the 110 gallon. It is even situated in front of a window that gets sun light, and I already have track lighting installed above everthing.

    I was actually planning on trying tidal macro algaes in the 110 and lighting it from above, but I may just go the scrubber route now and utilize the saved space for holding livestock.

    Here's some pictures of the area I am working with:





  2. #2
    rossigeologo's Avatar
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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Interesting corner! Just a question: what temperature do you keep the water?
    In mediterranean tanks we keep the water between 17°c and 21°C according to different environment the tanks are reproducing. But we all try to put out of the room the chiller because it is noisy and, moreover, it warm up ambient temperature. So the chiller works better (and less, saving power, very expensive in Italy), you can see a movie on TV without noise, and your wife (or mum or girlfriend according to your status) doesn’t grumble .
    My friend Stefano (“eyeinthesky”) and me started with ATS on cold tanks, both at 17°C (62.6°F), its tank is 1000 l, the mine is 240 (264 and 63 gal respectively). Eyeinthesky bought an original screen from SM ?, I used a DIY solution, but they run very well.
    My target was to create competition with hair algae grown up in the tank after some problems and a wrong light; Stefano (yes, we have the same name!) is fighting with high level of nitrates and phosphates since the scratch of the tank. He used powerful bulbs since the start of the ATS so he had green screen after the first week and now, after a month, nitrates are =0 and phosphates are the same: 0! Instead I started with a light too weak, so brown algae and cyanobacteria covered the screen; increasing light time few green algae started just in front of the bulb; now I’ve put a new bulb such that used by Stefano, and after only two days the screen is turning to green. I
    So, at the moment we can state ATS is great also for low-temperature tank. The only issue is the temperature, a screen brings 1 °C more to the tank (I can check it in my small tank, but 264 gallons with a monster chiller is a huge system to register such a small heat input). Another friend in Sicily is starting to make a DIY solution with LED; it could be interesting because of the absence of IR radiation in the light (then no warming of illuminated areas) and the fact you can connect heat-sinks to a tube with fan, bringing away heat.

  3. #3
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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Nice coldwater

    I'd go for 2 watts per 1 X 1 inch of screen, and start running it at 8 hours (this is the high-wattage technique).

  4. #4

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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Quote Originally Posted by rossigeologo
    Interesting corner! Just a question: what temperature do you keep the water?
    I run my tanks right around 55°F (13°c)

    Quote Originally Posted by rossigeologo
    But we all try to put out of the room the chiller because it is noisy and, moreover, it warm up ambient temperature. So the chiller works better (and less, saving power, very expensive in Italy), you can see a movie on TV without noise, and your wife (or mum or girlfriend according to your status) doesn’t grumble .
    Thats why my tanks are in the garage, both because of the noise and the added heat. My garage during the winter stays within a couple degrees of the tank temp, and Its well ventilated enough that in summer all I have to do is exhaust the extra heat out. I utilize a used lobster tank (the silver and black one on the left in the picture) as a sump, it has just about every filtration option you would need built right into it but it is very noisy. The original plan was to have a large display tank inside the house and plaumb through the wall and into the garage. But I picked up my current tank for free, so I just set it up in the garage since its quite nice enough or the right size to put in the house. (Its only 5 1/2 feet long and I needed a 6 foot tank to fill the space I have planned.

    Quote Originally Posted by rossigeologo
    My target was to create competition with hair algae grown up in the tank after some problems and a wrong light; Stefano (yes, we have the same name!) is fighting with high level of nitrates and phosphates since the scratch of the tank. He used powerful bulbs since the start of the ATS so he had green screen after the first week and now, after a month, nitrates are =0 and phosphates are the same: 0! Instead I started with a light too weak, so brown algae and cyanobacteria covered the screen; increasing light time few green algae started just in front of the bulb; now I’ve put a new bulb such that used by Stefano, and after only two days the screen is turning to green.
    Currently in my system there is not plant life or anything photosynthetic to remove nirtrate or phosphate. I use carbon, GFO, and skimming. My hope is that with no other algae competition the ATS should flourish.

    Quote Originally Posted by rossigeologo
    So, at the moment we can state ATS is great also for low-temperature tank. The only issue is the temperature, a screen brings 1 °C more to the tank (I can check it in my small tank, but 264 gallons with a monster chiller is a huge system to register such a small heat input). Another friend in Sicily is starting to make a DIY solution with LED; it could be interesting because of the absence of IR radiation in the light (then no warming of illuminated areas) and the fact you can connect heat-sinks to a tube with fan, bringing away heat.
    That is exactly what I plan to do. I currently light my tanks with only LED lighting. I've tried to eliminate as much added heat to the system as possible up to this point. One of the LED lights I build is a single 50watt LED chip that puts out the equivelant of a 250watt metal halide bulb. That is the light you can see in the first picture over the main tank. Total cost was under $60

    I'm also going to utilize as much natural sunlight on the ATS and sump fuge as possible since I have a window right there.

    I've also been growing out several colonies of Tigriopus californicus that I harvested from the coastline here for use as a food source for my coldwater pipefish and corynactis. There has been a good amount and variety of algae that has been popping up in their grow out bottles that I can use to seed my ATS with.

  5. #5

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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica
    Nice coldwater

    I'd go for 2 watts per 1 X 1 inch of screen, and start running it at 8 hours (this is the high-wattage technique).
    Sweet thanks, I cant wait to get started on this

    Hopefully I'll have it up and running in the next couple days so I can show it off at the meeting for the local fish club we are having at my place.

  6. #6
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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Nice solution such led.
    In cold water I've found the ATS the easiest, safest and cheapest way to control nitrate and phosphate. Easier, much easier than a DSB, less tiring, although needing more maintenance. and less expensive if you have to buy sand. Not speaking about de-nitrification filters with redox controller... Now we are waiting long-term experience, but in any case ATS was the fastest way ever experienced to lowering nitrate and phosphate.

  7. #7

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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    I have my plumbing list already made for a trip to HD tomorrow.

    Already picked up 2 sheets of the plastic canvas in clear. I have a 19" high x 28" area to fit the ATS and hang my plastic canvas from, so I think I am going ot get a 3rd sheet and cut them all down an inch or so. That way since I'll only be able to light it from one side I will have 3 seperate algae sheets and I can rotate through them.

    I will have a total of 384 sq inches of surface area for algae to grow on.

    It'll be lit with natural sunlight from a north facing window (so not a whole lot) and an LED array I had laying around.

    Mods, feel free to join my other thread about using natural sunlight into this one.

  8. #8
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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Make sure to group the LEDs together so they are not spread out too far.

  9. #9

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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Well I got it all plumbed into the system back behind my existing filtration. I was only able to fit 2 full sheets side by side, and it will only be lit from one side, so I will have 283 sq inches of surface area for the algae to grow on. I seeded it with some algae that was already growing quite well in my tigriopus californicus grow out bottles.

    I'm going to try it on just natural sunlight for now since I already have a skimmer handling the load. I promise pics soon

  10. #10

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    Re: Algae Scrubber on a Temperate/Coldwater system?

    Managed to take some pics of mine all set up, now just gotta wait for the algae to grow I think I am going to build a 30w LED floodlight similar to my 50w and put it behind the tank for additional lighting if the natural light thing doesn't work out.

    Here is the lobster tank I am using as my "sump" for the 200 gallon main display tank. You can see the window behind the tank.





    Here's a closer pic of the opening to the filtration area where the ATS is housed. You can see just the top of it in the pic.



    Here's a top down pic looking at the back filtration area where the ATS is.





    Pic of the ball valve to adjust the flow rate, and the union so I can pull the hole thing out.



    Used a spare piece of PVC to brace the capped off end so that when it gets coverd in algae it doesn't put stress on the joints.


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