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Thread: Algae Scrubber for Freshwater tank

  1. #1
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    Algae Scrubber for Freshwater tank

    Hello all,

    Firstly I must say Kudos to SM and the team for bringing this idea from a mere thought to what it is now. I started reading the posts on RS forum and followed here and this has greatly influenced me in my decision to start with SW tanks.

    I currently have two FW tanks 180g and 50g.

    I will be waiting for the new release to build my own ATS for the new SW tank that I am planning for (the idea of no skimmer and no other equipment was the major point that pushed me in that direction and my first trial will be on a 50g tank with a sump...I will post about it once the build up starts as I am more than sure I will need your valuable input to help me along the way...

    Right now my question is with request to my freshwater setup:

    As stated above I have a 180g heavily planted and moderate to heavily stocked. Dimensions are L=2 meters, Width=50Cm and Height = 70Cm.

    At the moment, filtration is taken care of using one canister filter with UV (Sun-Sun type) and another "Atman bio tube" (canister-like horizontal tube with smaller tubes filled with filtering material). I use mechanical and biological filter media such as sponges, ceramic rings, bio balls etc. nitrates usually tested at 20ppm, 20% WC every 10 days or so...feeding heavy.

    my questions are:

    1- will an ATS work with such a tank?

    2- will it replace the current filters or supplement them?

    3- would there be any negative impact on the existing plants?

  2. #2
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    Click image for larger version

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    Here's a pic of my 180g tank. its embedded in a mini bar setup so I get to enjoy a drink and smoke a cigar while watching the fish swim around

  3. #3
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    Welcome. Nice bar

    1. Yes

    2. Can replace all but the UV. Although I don't know that you need a UV. You should have enough gravel to do your ammonia removal,

    3. This is the real question. A strong scrubber would hurt the plants, so you need to reduce the number of hours the scrubber is on.

    You could start slow, removing only part of your bio media, and starting with only 6 hours of light on the scrubber. Then once a week remove more media and filters, and add more light, until your nitrates are low but your plants are still doing good.

  4. #4
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    I've used ATS for a FW tank, smaller than yours but yes they work.

    Not tried it with a planted tank, but I understand that the scrubber will eventually out-compete the plants and they'll die off.

    If you search this forum you should find plenty of references to FW.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the quick response SM.

    UV was an addition to the canister so u can say it was an add on ... i switch it on from time to time as its been said to keep diseases at bay and help with the water color...dont know how true it is but i figured it cant hurt so...

    I think I will play with the smaller tank using the method described above as the big tank is the result of almost a years work and lots of $$$ put in...and i dont want to mess it up ...

    another option is to will work on the SW tank first...I'm keeping it as low budget as possible to make sure i master this as much as I can and then apply to my other tanks (that's if I don't end up converting all tanks to SW as it is becoming a real obsession hehehehe...i tell you I spend a huge portion of the day reading, drawing and planning...)

    btw you should see the looks I get when I tell local LFS guys about my plan to go on an ATS only setup for SW tank...hehehe...

    fun thing is that they come up with same comments as on other forums and I just have to sit and explain to them what i would have read the night before :P

    i plan to build it as a POC (proof of concept) just to show them that it works and that this hobby is about out-of-the-box thinking...I will definitively keep a journal over here as stated above.

    thanks again.

  6. #6

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    I am considering doing this with my FW tank as well, I feel it should be possible to create a slightly weak algae scrubber, via shorter hours would be best as SM said, and to carefully balance fertilizer and scrubber strength.

    Algae can grow with just nitrates whereas higher plants require other nutrients. In the end it should be possible. I want to try it with a single 5 gallon bucket sump on my 30 gallon planted tank, I will probably have to fertilize the same amount daily, and carefully tweak my scrubber just enough to consume all the nitrate.



    Sorry if this doesnt make much sense, my home brewed mead is stronger than I expected, and honestly im pretty looped. =D

  7. #7
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    Cool tank JE

    thing is with my overcrowded schedule, I am looking at as little maintenance as possible...with ATS, the appealing thing was a five minute cleanup every 7 days which is feasible since anyhow I am doing WC and maintenance tasks every sunday on my tanks... my plants are growing like mad on the big tank right now..no nutrients to be added...just whats in the soil and gravel substrate...tests are good to...and most importantly fish are happy

    I ordered the stand on my new tank yesterday and once I get it will start working on the sump for my first ATS only SW system ...then I will have to drill the tank and begin the installations... I guess it will be the first in the region... I will open a new thread for questions on this as I dont want to hijack my own thread...mods which section should it go in btw?

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