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Thread: SURF2 and SURF2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

    SURF2 and SURF2

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    Floating Surface
    Upflow Algae Scrubber
    with Green-Grabber(TM) surfaces,
    and strings for saltwater

    "It Floats Like A Boat!" (TM)

    Growth before harvest, of similar SURF2xx:
    Subsequent harvests/cleanings:
    Next eight cleanings in saltwater:
    Unboxing and Installation:
    Overview part 1:
    Overview part 2:
    First harvest at 13 days in saltwater:

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    Growth pictures on a saltwater reef pool, new out of the box, with no pre-seeding:

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    Order at Santa-Monica.cc

    Get the no-overflow advantage of an upflow scrubber: since it is ALL underwater, it can't overflow onto your floor.

    The SURF2 and SURF2x (TM) is the world's first floating surface Upflow Algae Scrubber® (also called a UAS®). It is also the first Ribbon Scrubber®, which is what allows the algae to be removed from the scrubber with one hand without needing to disassemble anything or take anything to the sink. Simply lift up the lid and pull the algae out. And you can feed some of the algae to your fish and snails if you want to; fresh is best!

    This SURF2 and SURF2x floating surface scrubber has over 24 square inches (150 square cm) of extremely rough Green-Grabber® algal growth surface which can grow up to a 2" (5 cm) thick block of green hair algae. This is about two small handfuls, and is designed to absorb the nutrients from this much feeding per day:

    2 Frozen cube, or
    20 Pinches of flake, or
    20 Square inches (125 square cm) of nori, or
    5.6 grams of pellets

    The physical size or number of gallons or liters of water in your tank or sump does not matter, however the phosphate level does: The SURF2 is for water with phosphate less than 0.2 ppm; if phosphate is higher than 0.2ppm, get the SURF2x. And if you feed more than the above amounts, you can get multiple SURF2 or SURF2x units; multiple units are preferred over one larger unit because you can clean one unit per week, and because you'll always have one unit filtering while the other one starts growing again after a cleaning. Multiple SURF2 or SURF2x units are also good for backup.

    Note that if you have rocks which are soaked with phosphate from having been in a problem aquarium, each 50 pounds (110 kg) of problem rock will add 1 cube a day to your feeding amounts; so be sure to account for this when choosing a scrubber size. For example if you feed 1 cube a day, but have 100 pounds of rock that came from a tank with nuisance algae problems, this rock will add 2 cubes a day to your feeding, meaning that you would need a scrubber for 3 cubes a day. This applies even if the rock was dried out and bleached, because this does not remove any nutrients from the rock.

    The SURF2 and SURF2x start with two air bubble openings at the bottom, where upflowing air bubbles (from a strong air pump, sold separately) flow up into the growth compartment and bring aquarium water with it. As the bubbles and water enter the growth compartment they rub the algae-attachment ribbons and get blasted by the super-red 660nm LED light. The bubbles then circle around and around inside the growth compartment, rubbing against the ribbons and the Green-Grabber® super-rough rock-hard attachment textures as the bubbles rise up to the water surface. This repeated rubbing of bubbles causes algae to start growing on the ribbons and textures; freshwater grows thin stringy algae, and saltwater grows thicker, denser algae. The air then goes out of the top of the unit, quietly and with very little salt spray, and the water goes down and out two holes in the bottom, without hardly any bubbles remaining.

    A few features of the SURF2 and SURF2x provide real usefulness and are available on no other algae scrubber (except the SURF4). First, the enclosed growth compartment increases the dwell time of the water and bubbles inside the unit so that they rub the algae many times before leaving the compartment. This actually reduces nutrients (nitrate, phosphate) to a level lower than the outside water, which allows greener growth to occur sooner (lower nutrients grows greener algae) inside the unit, especially in high-nutrient aquarium water. In other words, the SURF2 and SURF2x creates a lower-nutrient ecosystem inside itself which is different from the rest of the water in your aquarium. Also, the position of the air bubble inlets (below the growth) causes the bubbles to flow through the growth no matter how thick the growth gets. This is in contrast to waterfall scrubbers, which mostly flow water on the outside of the growth, leaving the inner layers of growth without flow.

    Another feature which was highly requested was quiet operation. Since the SURF2 and SURF2x do not touch the aquarium glass or sump glass, and since it's made of heavy material surrounded by foam, it is by far the quietest algae scrubber ever made. As a matter of fact it's almost silent (the air pump is usually louder). The thick and heavy gauge plastic growth container is coated internally by even thicker and heaver Green-Grabber textures, and is surrounded on the outside by 1" (2.5 cm) of closed cell polyethylene foam. This stops virtually all sound from going sideways. And the 1/2" (12 mm) thick LED lid is filled with super dense but flexible polyurethane, which absorbs more sound than a rigid structure would, and much more than a non-sealed structure would. Lastly the path that air has to take to get out of the top requires the air to first go sideways towards the foam, and then upwards along the foam; this allows the foam to absorb any remaining sound exactly the way foam absorbs sound in a studio. So while you may hear very muffled bubbling if the filter were next to your bed at night, you will hear nothing if there is any other activity occurring in your house.

    Another great feature is the elimination of almost all salt spray (for saltwater). Since the air must come up through the narrow space between the LED lid and the foam, all the salt spray remains in the growth compartment where it is washed away by the water. There sometimes is the occasional bubble that comes out the top, but it's practically nothing compared to the splashing of waterfall scrubbers. And if the unit does ever need to be "washed", you just push the it under the water surface for a few seconds and let water flow over the top; no need to take it to the sink.

    Bubble removal is probably the most-requested feature. Any and all algae scrubbers, whether they are upflow, waterfall or horizontal rivers, all have bubbles which must be removed. The internal growth compartment of the SURF2 and SURF2x keeps bubbles inside the almost 2" deep internal water level, only letting water out of the two small holes at the bottom after the air has escaped out the top. Thus, almost no bubbles at all get into the aquarium or sump water; only a little red light, which gets less as growth gets thicker. And of course the quicker you can grow green algae inside the unit, the quicker you will remove nutrients and nuisance algae from your aquarium, and/or the quicker you can supply fresh green seaweed to your livestock.

    The Green-Grabber algal growth attachment surface is so rough and prickly that is might be the roughest thing you've ever felt. A cactus might be sharper, but that's about it. Rough surfaces are critical for allowing algae to attach and grow and thus provide strong absorption of nutrients. The rock-hard protrusions stick straight out 1 to 3 mm. Previous algae scrubber screens were made from "slippery" plastic canvas that is used for sewing and knitting; algae take a long time to attach to it. Green-Grabber growth surfaces are not plastic at all; instead they are rock hard and have jagged rough edges and points (don't let children play with them). Green-Grabber surfaces are so good at grabbing algae and letting it grow that you may start seeing tiny growth spots within hours, instead of days. And the white color of the Green-Grabber surface reflects as much light as possible, allowing lots of light to reflect back to the algae.

    The main advantage of the SURF2 and SURF2x or any algae scrubber is that if you size and operate it properly, it can be the only filter for your tank, even replacing waterchanges. It can, however, also be used with other filters. Some other filters such as carbon dosing (Zeo, pellets, etc) may slow down the scrubber, but nothing will really "hurt" the scrubber except possibly large amounts of algaecide or copper medications. The SURF2 cannot even dry out, since it's always under water.

    The SURF2 and SURF2x will run on both 120V and 240V, and comes with a 10 ft (300 cm) power cord with a U.S. plug. If you require a different plug you can get an adapter at any local hardware or travel store, or online, or you can cut off the U.S. plug and install your own plug from a hardware store. It is a simple 2-wire plug.

    Comes with 3 ft (90 cm) of dual vinyl airline, but requires a 2-outlet air pump that can pump 5.0 total liters per minute (0.2 cfm), which small low-cost pumps cannot do. Pumps that say they can handle 10 or more airstones, or pumps with 2 tubing attachments instead of one, are best..You can have as much air as you like, however, 10 lpm pumps are no problem. One powerful pump which works exceptionally well for a low cost is the Fusion 700 from JW Pet, which we sell separately HERE. It is quiet and has two outputs which are adjustable by turning the control knob; the two outputs perfectly match the two air inlets on the SURF2 Another even more powerful and completely silent pump, although more expensive and without a control, is the Whisper 300 from Tetra. The Whisper 150 also works but you will need two of them. Make sure to put any pump above the aquarium so that it will not drain any water if it shuts off.

    The SURF2 lid contains 4 red (660 nm) 3-watt LEDs, and the SURF2x contains 6 of these LEDs, which are attached to an aluminum heat sink which is painted black to reduce heat; it does get warm. The LEDs will give the aquarium or sump a slight red color at night when the aquarium lights are off, but this will occur less as the SURF2 or SURF2x fills with growth. You will need to get a timer so you can run the LEDs for up to 22 hours per day (not 24). The LEDs never needs replacing.

    The SURF2 and SURF2x will need to be cleaned ("harvested") every 7 to 21 days. Just lift up the LED lid, grab a handful of algae, and pull it out. You can even feed some of the algae to your fish. You do not need to take anything apart, or take anything to your sink.

    SURF2 and SURF2x size: 6" wide by 8" long by 3" thick (15 cm wide, 20 cm long, 7.5 cm thick). It requires at least 3" (7.5 cm) of water to operate in.

    SURF2 Instructions:
    English (PDF)
    English (Word)
    Arabic (PDF)
    Arabic (Word)

    Selection chart:


    "Here is pictures of my Only SPS system in KUWAIT, My system is running without any refugiums, chaeto reactors, Biopellets or any NO3 reduction dosing.. but running only with Surf2 algae scrubber, and reactor for GFO (Rowa) and another for Carbon. Usually I leave Surf until it is full and starts to die and become yellow, then I take it out to the garden and wash it with fresh water with slightly high pressure so all dead algae falls out easily and the green one stays inside then I return it to the sump with 10% water change ... usually this happens every 2 to 3 weeks cuz my system is ULNS" -- Mohammad Abdullah in Kuwait...

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    "Bought the SURF2x, absolutely love it! Would never run a system without a SantaMonica scrubber again!" -- Tannum_Paul on the MASA site.

    Odilon Zerecero SURF2x from Mexico:

    "Working perfectly!! [SURF2x] -- Cristiano Amaral in Brazil

    "I have a SURF2 the same manufacturer and it is impeccable, it keeps me PO4 zero distributing 3-4 cubes of food per day" -- Eric75003 on the RF site

    "Its a great product!!! [SURF2] I run mine in conjunction w/ a skimmer and cannot run both 24/7 because I cant feed enough to keep at least a little Nitrate in the system for the Acro's" -- TDTA1181 on the R2R site.

    "I run one of these and quite like it. Getting similar results to a typical refugium I used to have that was about 6 times the size. I went to this product basically to buy myself some sump space back and couldn't be happier" -- Sam Parker's Tank Of The Month on MASA:

    "I recent removed bio-pellets, GFO, and trimmed off a lot of macro algae. Oh yeah, overfeeding now to try and bring up my phosphates. Since removing a bunch of nutrient exporting systems like bio-pellets, GFO, and a second algae scrubber, my Surf2 has been growing nuts. It's been less then 7 days and I have to remove more. People are surprised when I open up the Surf2 and show them what I pull out with one hand" -- ReeferEric on the R2R site. pic:

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    "I see algae scrubbers as the single most significant nutrient exporter you can have" -- Stephen Babcock, The Corner Reef, Columbia, Illinois

    "The [SURF2] is really useful and highly necessary for my tank. So I really can't be without it for too long" -- Jason Pappin

    "[SURF2x is] growing very well. Love the in sump design. Will probably get another down the road as I increase my bioload." -- Erik Sulman

    "The scrubber is working great! getting a lot of nice growth in the SURF2" -- Mike Buechs

    "This [SURF2x] is the second scrubber I've bought. Love this product!" -- biggins28 on ebay

    "Many thanks for the safe arrival of the SURF2, Thanks again" -- bungy991 on ebay

    "Happy with [SURF2], would get another bigger version maybe at some stage" -- juggernoght87 on ebay

    "Very reasonable offer [SURF2]" -- edwin65 on ebay

    "I stumbled upon [a SURF2] and took a chance ordering one. They are a really great algae scrubber" -- Reeffirstaid on the R2R site.

    "I pull a handful out every week [SURF2]" -- Choff on the R2R site.

    Matthew Coulthard SURF2:
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    "The [SURF2] has really taken off" -- Reefindownunder on the scrubber site:
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    "Currently I have two algae scrubbers that I purchased from Santa Monica. SURF2 and SURF4. SURF2 is powered by Fusion 700 and SURF4 is powered by Coralife Super Luft SL-38. I can grow significant amount of algae in both" -- Tomasz Cop pic of SURF2:
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    "The [SURF2] at my office is doing great. I would like to order another one for my home tank". -- Thomas Perry 

    "This is one weeks growth, I'm pulling out a lot more turf now it's certainly got a hold on the ribbons and the textured walls of the box. I tested phosphates a couple of days ago on the Hanna checker and it was reading 0. I did the test again because I've never had a 0 reading on this tank." -- Blinkyfish on the UR site:
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    "I am currently using the SURF2 on my zoa garden. It is way oversized for my system but works well. Just takes a little longer to grow" -- Landon on the NTRF site.

    "My SURF2 is doing very very well [...]. i feed 1 cube a day which is enough for the tank, harvest every 14-21 days ish. i saved a lot of money for not spending any money on rowaphos. no algae in display tank. zero phosphate and nitrate" -- Wesley on the UR site:
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    "The [SURF2] is great, works perfectly keeps nutrients low. I still have a bit of bubble algae but it's slowly disappearing. Works well and takes less space than the [waterfall] scrubbers" -- Millar on the UR site.

    "Very happy with the SURF2 so far" -- Juls on the UR site.

    "I used to have so much cheato, I would sell it on RC. Since adding the SURF2, the cheato is just vanishing as the SURF2 grows more and more. The entire middle section of the sump used to be cheato, and as you can see, there is not much left at all. A great product; here's a pic of my growth" -- Dexters Reef:
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    Dlstn on the UR site:
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    "Works great!" -- Marcelo Silva, Brazil

    "Working great" -- Steven Cantor

    Pic from Damien Kwok:
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    "I'm very pleased with the quality of the SURF2 - it's superior!" -- Sergey Frolovichev

    "Using it now in my 60 gal freshwater tank where it works well keeping nitrates below 20" -- Andreas Schaefer

    Translated by Google: "I have a SURF2 and it is impeccable, it keeps my PO4 zero distributing 3-4 cubes of food per day. The HOG1 it's the same thing on a smaller scale, it depends on the amount of food that you distribute." (original: "J'ai un SURF2 du même fabricant et c'est impeccable, ça me maintient les PO4 à zéro en distribuant 3 à 4 cubes de nourritures par jour. Le HOG1 c'est la même chose en plus petit, ça dépend de la quantité de nourriture que tu distribues.") -- Eric75003 on the Recifal-France site

    Translated by Google: "After seven months, I test two of the [SURF2 units], I find that in the device it crawling with copepods that eat algae, now I swarming zooplankton and in addition I take a lot of seaweed every week in my devices (APPROXIMATELY 80 gr) and PO4 photometers to a decrease of 0.02 to 0.01 photometers. more I give an amount of algae my surgeons". Original French: "pour faire suivre cette enquête au bout de 7 moisj'ai tester deux algae scruber de la societe santa monica (SURF2 floating surface) j'en avais pris deuxrésultat au début assez long à venirensuite baisse très moyen des phosphates j'ai décider de mettre en marche l’écumeur sur 12 heures au lieux de 24 heuresdeux mois après très peut d'algues dans les deux appareilsanta monica m’envoie un mail en précisant de bien rincer les appareil a l'eau du robinet je l'ai fait car j'ai constater que dans les appareil il grouiller de copépodes qui me manger les algues depuis je rince une fois par mois les appareils maintenant je grouille de zooplancton dans le refuge et en plus j’enlève beaucoup d'algues toutes les semaines dans mes appareils (ENVIRON 80 gr d'algues essorer) et PO4 au photomètres a baisser de 1 à 0.02 au photometresde plus je donne une quantité d'algues a mes chirurgiens ET JE DONNE 4 CUBES CONGELER PAR JOURS" - Jegou Alain on the Recifal-France site.

    Translated from Portuguese by Google: "Earlier this year the glass of my [DIY] algae scrubber (Model Basso) broke. Due to lack of time and manual skills, not tinkered with skimmer and was only for a few months. decided to spend a little and bought SURF2 of Santa Monica, which measures 20cm x 15cm by 15cm x 10cm outside and inside (area for growth of algae). model is interesting because it is small and is floating in the sump. With that much space gained by removing the previous ATS. SURF2 installed but a few days after my skimmer pump has gone bad. In two weeks the ATS already started forming algae and I played without skimmer for almost one month, only with ATS. Even then parameters were normal. These are photos from yesterday, two months after installation. Already cleaned the box twice and am already almost needs to take algae again. algae that formed in my display during the relax (without ats and skimmer) have gone missing. With the lid closed does not make any noise. You hear only if they get too close" -- Luis Iarossi on the IPAQ site.

    Original text: "No início do ano a placa de vidro do meu algae scrubber (Modelo Basso) quebrou. Por falta de tempo e habilidades manuais, não consertei e fiquei só com skimmer por alguns meses. Resolvi gastar um pouco e comprei o Surf2 da Santa Monica, que mede 20cm x 15cm por fora e 15cm x 10cm por dentro (área para crescimento de algas). O modelo é interessante pois é pequeno e fica flutuando no sump. Com isso ganhei muito espaço ao retirar o ATS anterior. Em 01/05/2014 instalei o surf2 mas poucos dias depois meu skimmer deu problema na bomba. Em 2 semanas o ATS já começou a formar algas e eu toquei sem skimmer por quase 1 mês, apenas com o ATS. Até então os parâmetros estavam normais. Essas são fotos de ontem, 2 meses depois de instalado. Já limpei a caixa duas vezes e já estou quase precisando tirar algas novamente. As algas que se formaram no meu display durante o período de relaxo (sem ats e skimmer) já sumiram. Com a tampa fechada não faz barulho algum. Você ouve apenas se chegar muito perto."

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    Here is a customer's old SURF2x in saltwater. This old model has the old light-frame which did not block the red light from getting out like the current models do. Light is the same though, pure red 660nm deep red, just like natural seaweed uses at the beach and reefs. Some people ask why the inside of the SURF is white, which you can see with the algae pulled out in the second photo. The reason is because white reflects the red light back to the algae at the farthest point away from the light, which is where the light would be weakest. As opposed to a waterfall, where light travels mostly through air, the growth in a bubble upflow scrubber has to go through algae most of the way. So reflecting it back to the algae keeps it brighter, using the same wattage light. The growth in this photo is almost all Cladphora. Add some vinegar and olive oil, and it's a great salad...

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    This customer in the UK has growth that almost looks like green candy in this SURF2 or 2x or 2xx. This scrubber is probably only a few weeks old, because the white Green Grabber rock walls have no growth on them yet. But they will. This type of Surf growth is very rare, but the beauty of scrubbers is that they grow what they need to grow based on conditions. This one will probably start getting some brown slime on the Green Grabber rock walls, and then on the bottom underneath the green. If more food is given to the tank, the bright green will darken up to consume more of the nutrients (darker growth has more nutrients). Also very neat with Surf models with this growth, is that you can just reach in and get a handful. Then just set the light back on it, and you are done. Of course if you are getting dark slime because of very high nutrients in the water, you'll still need to take it to your sink for a brushing...

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    Last edited by SantaMonica; 08-31-2019 at 01:30 PM.

  2. #2
    cdm2012's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    St. Augustine, Fl USA
    That's pretty impressive!!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Neat and nice SM!
    Is this can handle for larger tank?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Not tank size. Feeding size.

    2 cubes of frozen food per day.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Looks awesome. Just placed an order.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Just waiting on the final order of power supplies and foam to come in this week. Boxes / texture / ribbons / tubing are built. So are the LED lenses. Need to test the LEDs before encapsulation at high heat for a few days, and then after encapsulation under saltwater for at least a day.

    Today was a record harvest in one of the proto SURF2's in the reef pool: when lifted up and allowed to drain, the growth did not settle at all; it remained 2" thick. And apparently the SURF2's don't cause much evaporation; I'm topping off about 1 gal a day, and there is about 8 square feet of surface area.

    All feeding for my reef pool is now done by the scrubbers; thus it is now a closed system, food wise. Even my fire fish has been seen nibbling on small segments of gha.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Uk! England
    So your not throwing away the harvest, your feeding it to your stock ?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Led lenses ?? Why are you using lenses ?

    Do you use a 700mA power supply ?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post

    All feeding for my reef pool is now done by the scrubbers; thus it is now a closed system, food wise. Even my fire fish has been seen nibbling on small segments of gha.
    Are you feeding just from the scrubber? No meats for the Carnivores?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Uk! England
    Quote Originally Posted by sabbath View Post
    Are you feeding just from the scrubber? No meats for the Carnivores?
    This can't be right. If you research trophic levels, by the time you go from pods to mysids to fish you would need a massive scrubber (and then one that grew appreciable amounts of micro algae and diatoms). Perhaps SM has no meat eaters!

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