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Thread: The scrubber is now active

  1. #1

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    Nov 2012
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    The scrubber is now active

    Long story short: my tank got mostly wiped out after Hurricane Sandy and no power for 2 weeks. I was able to salvage my more prized pieces after about a week of cold water conditions, and they mostly survived. They were being watched for at a LFS.

    So, new tank, new build, new ideas. The prior tank had a functional DSB, and so will this one. An algae scrubber seems like a perfect complement, after all a DSB needs lots of food, maybe more than a few fish. I also like NPS (Dendros) and filter feeders (feather worms) so I like to dump plankton and decapsulated artemia regularly.

    I never ran a skimmer previously because I felt it better to keep the goodies in the water. I used phosban, chemipure, purigen and Xport in reactors to help control nutrients. I also had Chaeto in the sump that I used for export. For the most part, nutrient control was OK, but of course I had to deal with the typical nuisance algae like Valonia up the wazoo...but that was the price to pay for heavy feeding, or so I thought. Then came the discovery of an algae scrubber, and seemingly my problems may have been solved.

    I am still just into week 3 of my new tank, but my scrubber is up and running 2 days now, ever since the diatom bloom was evident. I intend on slowly building up the scrubber, letting it evolve as my system evolves. It is lit from one side only for now, but it is ready to have double light at any time. I am not going to start feeding heavily until more inverts and sand critters are introduced, so I will take it at a leisurely pace.

    I haven't seen too many algae scrubber threads from day 1 of a new tank cycle, so if nothing else this should at least be a little more interesting than other stories here. I designed it using the typical waterfall build, with PVC and elbows from Home Depot and plastic canvas from Michael's. My pump is a Maxijet 1200, plenty of power for the 6+ inches of waterfall width. The DT is 39-gal and the sump is 12-gal so not counting rock and sand there is probably about 40-gal total water volume.

    The light is a 50W UFO style LED array, 8:1 ratio 660nm: 450nm. There are 50 diodes @ 1W power each. I chose this over the 25x3W option because I felt the light would be too powerful the other way. But still, there is plenty of wattage, man is it bright. The fixture is 6 inches round, similar in size to a smoke detector. I have a diffuser in front to defocus the intensity and protect it from splash. It is about 3-4 inches away from the canvas. The optimum light covers an area roughly 6x6 inches, which if/ when lit from both sides along with the wattage will be more than adequate for my system.



    Shower curtain rings suspend the canvas.


    Flow is excellent and surprisingly quiet and evenly spaced.


    Diffuser sheet in place.


    Day 2, already some diatoms are sticking.


    That is all for now.

  2. #2
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    Hey bud, my tank was also shut down for sandy, my nutrients spiked.. in two weeks my scrubber got everything down and i was able to bring the corals home. It worked great. Set up looks great.

  3. #3
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    Nice clean build.

    Am thinking the power is too much; you might want to pull it back a bit, add another diffuser sheet, and start at just 6 hours.

  4. #4

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    Yes, I agree. It will be a work in progress, figuring out how the algae will respond to this light.

  5. #5

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    Update

    Here is a photo taken this morning. Growth is picking up the last week or so, and turning more and more green.


  6. #6
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    The white places are smooth screen, not letting the algae attach.

  7. #7

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    Nov 2012
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    Algae harvest

    4 days ago I cleaned the screen with a knife, strands of hair algae came off pretty easily. I then increased the lighting from 5 to 7 hours. 4 days later, the screen is full of algae again. Here is a video clip I took today, with scrubber lights off, using a flashlight as illumination. There is drippage because I moved the aluminum foil splash guard out of the way for the video, and there was a temporary leak.

    The purpose of the video clip is to try and show newbies what good flow looks like.

    http://youtu.be/A0n5Vk7-aOo

    Nitrates are now starting to come down. They measured around 25ppm a few weeks ago, today 2.5-5ppm. I still feed consistently and more than most reefers, and will increase this steadily in time.

  8. #8

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    2nd Harvest

    5 days since cleaning the screen, it is ready for another trim. This time around, growth was much thicker and more difficult to scrape. Still a nice, bright green color. GHA in the display tank is in a steady state, which is OK with me. I don't mind a little of it, it does provide shelter for pods after all.

    Full Screen


    Close-Up


    Harvest

  9. #9
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    That's the same light that I've got on its way to me. How far is it from the screen now? Looks like its working ok.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garf View Post
    That's the same light that I've got on its way to me. How far is it from the screen now? Looks like its working ok.
    It's the same distance as in the photo except with 2 diffuser screens, it is very bright. There is enough light to keep macroalgae in the sump below growing well even though the light is not even facing the water.

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