I am now in full production of my L2 LED Waterfall Algae Scrubber.
Here are the details
This is a downflow style waterfall scrubber with a slot tube for the screen and drain in the bottom of the box.
UAS Conversion Kit
The L2 is not an Upflow Algae Scrubber (UAS), however I will be working on developing a conversion kit to make it a UAS (see end of post for more info)
Each L2 Algae Scrubber comes with everything shown in the picture above:
Acrylic scrubber main body
Lid with crossbraces
False Bottom panel
1" ABS Bulkhead (from BRS)
1" Uniseal Bulkhead & 1" Schedule 40 PVC Street Elbow for secondary/emergency drain
3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe with 6" slot, End Cap, and Threaded Adapter (bonded)
3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Threaded Union
3/4" Thread-to-Hose Barb Elbow Adapter (alternatively, can supply straight adapter)
6" wide x 4" tall (exposed area) roughed-up #7 Mesh Plastic Canvas screen (smooth area at top)
6" Beaded Cable Tie for holding screen in slot
(2) 8.5" x 6" Aluminum Heat Sinks from HeatSinkUSA
(14) 3W LEDs - (12) 660nm Deep Red, (2) 455nm Royal Blue, mounted and wired (Name-brand or Off-brand, your choice)
(3) sets of electrical connectors, installed
Meanwell LPC-35-700 Constant Current Non-Dimmable LED Driver
Plug adapter for Meanwell Driver (installed)
(2) 5.25" x 8.5" Prismatic Diffuser plates
(2) Nylon Thumbscrews for holding heat sinks in place
Optionally, you can also get an Eheim Compact 1000 pump which is rated 40-265 GPH (at the slot, you ideally want 210 GPH of flow)
Here is a video overview of a completed unit
Here are a few videos of the unit in operation (flow test and false-bottom drain system)
I'm still working on perfecting the silent and bubble-free drain, but it definitely works on the test bench.
Primary / Stand-alone filtration for 2 cubes of food per day. As supplemental filtration, combined with other non-competing devices, it would reduce the need for media replacement and PWCs roughly proportionate to the amount over 2 cubes/day that you feed. So if you feed 4 cubes/day, you would likely reduce dependency on these items by about half, but every case is different so I can't guarantee anything.
The box is 100% Cell Cast Plexiglas-G material, all 1/4" black except for the clear windows and a few 1/8" parts. Main parts are manufactured on a CNC router, other parts are manufactured by hand. All joints are solvent welded using the "pins" method and guaranteed for 5 years against construction defects. Basically it's built like I build any other aquarium or sump, except it's only about 0.5 gallon capacity.
Main box is 9" x 7" and 7.25" tall. The lid that sticks up another 3/4" to 1" but that could be replaced with glass or just left off. There is a 1" bulkhead on the bottom which extends approximately 2" down, and a uniseal on the side for a secondary emergency drain. The slot pipe sits in cutouts and extends past the box dimensions (see info on slot pipe assembly for more). The interior of the box (screen housing) is 3" between the window panels, primarily mandated by the dimensions of the bulkhead flange, but also for easy of cleaning.
Side emergency drain
A hole for a 1" Uniseal bulkhead is located at the center of one end. The Uniseal and a 1" street elbow is included. Additional plumbing (not included) will be required to provide a path back to the system should the bottom drain become blocked (which is highly unlikely, but definitely possible). The side drain path can also act as an air outlet if a sealed lid with a fan is placed on top of the box for active water cooling.
Here's the Uniseal installed in the hole
Insert a "street" elbow, then just add drain plumbing as needed
False-bottom drain system
A hole for a 1" ABS bulkhead drain is located in the center of the bottom panel. There is a 6" wide bottom panel that sits in the bottom of the box, above the drain. Water from the screen drains down onto this panel, then around it to the bulkhead. This keeps the screen and algae mat from direct contact with the drain, while also promoting entrapment of water for 3D growth. The false bottom also significantly muffles any sound from the drain, although it doesn't necessarily make it completely silent. Thanks is due to Chrissu who first suggested this concept of the false bottom to me last year.
This is the removable false bottom plate
At the bottom, you can see the stand-offs for the false bottom
This is the false bottom in place
The lid is 1/4" Black Acrylic with bracing on the bottom that keeps the lid centered
As well as bracing on the top, which is perpendicular to the bottom bracing. This is done to minimize warping of the lid.
Optionally, you can mount the driver on top of the lid. I just add a couple of tabs to the top bracing, and drill a few holes
Then the driver can be mounted as part of the lid (stainless steel screws included)
Slot pipe cutouts
Slot pipe sits snugly in the cutouts on each end.
Slot pipe assembly
3/4" white schedule 40 PVC with precision cut slot, roughed-up #7 Plastic Canvas screen (6" x 4" exposed area), beaded cable ties, and pieces of spa flex hose bonded on to the pipe near the ends of the slot for blocking water creep along the pipe. The slot pipe has a cap on one end, and a threaded adapter on the other end. A threaded union is included, and a thread-to-hose barb elbow adapter. This allows multiple configurations based on the end user's setup. It is recommended that the system be fed via dedicated pump, as this is the safest method, yields consistent flow, and is easiest to maintain. However, it can also be fed via a T off the return pump or via overflow; with that option, the hose barb adapter will be straight.
The light fixtures are ready to plug in and use out of the box, and consist of 2 oversized heat sinks (fins oriented vertically), each with 6x 660nm Deep Red 3W LEDs and 1x 455nm Royal Blue 3W LED for a total of 14 LEDs, powered by a Meanwell LPC-35-700 constant current, non-dimmable driver. Connectors are installed for easy disconnection of fixtures from driver and each other. LEDs are mounted to the heatsinks using Berquist Thermal Pads. Heat sinks and LEDs are thoroughly cleaned prior to adhesion to insure proper contact.
No active cooling is required with the LEDs running at 700mA as long as there is some kind of general airflow convection path in the scrubber location. The fixtures will be recessed into the box and protected on all sides, with only the heat sink fins exposed. There is a small range of adjustment for distance between the LEDs and the screen, which is accomplished by adjusting stand-off screws. The fixture is held in position by a nylon thumbscrew.
The 660nm Deep Red LEDs are arranged in a rectangular pattern, 2" apart, with the 455nm Royal Blue LED at the center. The LEDs are roughly 2" from the screen on each side at their closest setting. Lighting intensity is more than adequate to qualify under the double-light rule, so light only needs to be on 9 hours/day (after the screen is fully cured). Diffusion grating is included and it is highly recommended that this be used.
Each scrubber comes with 2 heat sinks
The heat sinks and LEDs are cleaned with denatured alcohol to remove any resin from soldering (I pre-tin the LEDs) as well as oils and/or residue from the factory. This ensures that the thermal pads make solid contact. I then etch placement lines on the heat sinks
The thermal pads are placed
The pre-tinned LEDs are attached
The heat sink is drilled for stand-off screws and wiring pass-thru, and wiring connections are soldered
The fixtures are bench-tested
The stand-off screws are installed
These hold the fixtures such that the LEDs do not directly contact the diffuser or the clear acrylic windows of the box
Holes are drilled in the main scrubber box, then tapped for the nylon thumbscrews. These can be tightened down so that the fixture will stay in place.
Here are a few pics of the unit with the LEDs running
I manufacture the fixtures using either Philips 660s & Cree XT-E 455s or Epistar 660s & Epiled 455s. The Philips/Cree LEDs have 1500mA/700mA max current (respectively), the Epistar/Epiled LEDs have 750mA max current. These are priced separately.
The mA ratings of the LEDs is pretty much irrelevant. The oversized heat sinks keep the LEDs plenty cool. The guys from Rapid said there will be no problems running the Philips at 700mA with the size heat sink they're on.
Besides that, there are a few main differences between these "grades" of LEDs.
The Cree and Philips (or Osram) LEDs are name-brand, and therefore presumably a little more reliable. I get these from RapidLED.
The Epistar and Epiled LEDs are made in Taiwan and Poland (respectively), and I get them from SatisLED in China. Epistar is a well-know brand of LED, and they are a leader in the "deep red" 660nm market. e-Shine uses their chips in their fixtures. I don't know much about Epiled. But both of these are better quality than the e-bay or China-made LEDs (the true generic LEDs), from what I can tell. They do have a lower maximum mA rating, and will probably fail a little more often.
One other difference that I have observed is that the stars that the LED chips are mounted on are of much higher quality on the Cree/Philips than on the ones from SatisLED. This means that they do not mount quite as reliably using the thermal pads, I have had to pop a few of them off and sand the star down to get better adhesion.
All things considered, the SatisLED chips are probably an option for anyone who knows how to replace a bad LED in the case where one goes bad. It's really not that hard, nor is it critical to operation as the array will usually still run with one failed (mine did). But if you don't want to mess with that, then go name brand.
Stock will vary depending on demand. I make these in lots of 15. If I am out of stock, it will last no longer than 2 weeks, unless there are other mitigating circumstances (such as having a full time job and a family LOL)
OPTION #1: Out-of-box kit: Everything described above, fully assembled. Plumbing for your system and support bracket (if needed) not included.
Option #1A: Scrubber w/ Philips & Cree LEDs: $365
Option #1B: Scrubber w/ Epistar & Epiled LEDs: $315
OPTION #2: DIY LED kit: All components, assemble the LED fixture yourself. Kit includes all the main parts plus what you need to make the finished product like uncut wire, crimp-on connectors, plug for the Meanwell, and choice of either 14 Berquist thermal pads or 5g of two-part Arctic Silver epoxy. You will need solder, iron, and wire stripper. $50 savings.
Option #2A: Scrubber w/ DIY LED Kit - Philips & Cree LEDs: $315
Option #2B: Scrubber w/ DIY LED Kit - Epistar & Epiled LEDs: $265
OPTION #3: If you have your own LED components, and just need the scrubber itself, then you can buy the box only. Since the box is made to fit the heat sinks, this option includes those (at my cost)
Full Scrubber w/ heat sinks only (no LED components): $210
OPTION #4: For the scrubber without any light fixtures (this price includes box, cover, slot pipe assembly, roughed up screen, bulkhead, etc - everything except the light fixtures). This would be for anyone that wants to use a different light source, such as CFLs, or if you already have heat sinks and LEDs and like to DIY as much as possible.
Full Scrubber w/o Lighting: $175
I am recommending the Eheim Compact 1000 pump. It provides 40-265 GPH of flow, which should be adequate as long as the scrubber is not a significant height above the operating water level of the sump. The pump is can be added for $35.
These units are packed to survive being dropped from 10 feet onto solid concrete. It will arrive in tact.
The LED fixtures are surrounded by foam padding, which locks them in place, and the parts are placed inside the box
The driver is added, and additional foam inserted
The box is then wrapped in foam and plastic wrap. The lid and slot pipe are placed in the box separately.
The unit is shipped in a 16" x 16" x 16" double-walled box
A base of 1" foam insulation board is made
Peanuts and vertical bracing are added and the scrubber is placed
Horizontal bracing is added
The lid, slot tube, and pump (if needed) is added, as well as more bracing and peanuts
Then more peanuts
It takes me about an hour to get one of these ready to ship, but it is well worth it. These are shipped via FedEx Ground Shipping to anywhere in the USA (lower 48) for $40. You usually receive it within 3 days of shipping.
International shipping is done via USPS International Priority Mail and is done on a case-by-case basis. This typically runs more like $125 USD (that's for shipping and handling), and can take 6-10 business days, any other shipping company (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc) only has the option to ship it in 3-4 days for $350. Any duty tax, etc must be taken care of on the receiving end. Contact me directly for more details on international shipping.
6% Sales Tax applies only if you live in the State of Iowa.
These are introductory prices and are subject to change depending on availability and price of material (mainly acrylic). If I decide to beef up part of the design, or make needed improvements, I will likely do so in order to provide the highest quality product.
UAS Conversion Kit
At some point in the future, I will develop a method for conversion to UAS. The kit will not cost much, but will take a little DIY. The conversion could be done on your own as well, I just figured since I would be putting together the conversion procedure I might as well offer the kit too. But the short version is that you switch the bulkhead from the bottom to the side and put in a street elbow, seal the bottom hole and the slot tube cutouts, and possibly shift the LEDs a bit (I'm trying to work around having to do that though). A better lid may be required for the UAS.
If you're interested and would like your name added to a waiting list, send me a PM with your contact info (e-mail address) and I will get in touch with you. I work on building these in my spare time, so my turnaround time is not that great - just a forewarning.