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Thread: Oversize scrubber to overcome algae in DT and allow more feeding?

  1. #1

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    Oversize scrubber to overcome algae in DT and allow more feeding?

    Currently I am running a scrubber using a bubble wand and a one sided screen that is about 32 sq. inches.

    It grows a good crop of algae - which I harvest every 14 days - I run the scrubber 18 hours/ day.

    I feed roughly 1 good pinch of flake or the equiv. once per day in pellets or other food. This is about one cube of frozen per day from my calculations. Again, rough.

    The DT still has a good crop of hair algae as well. I pull out several handfuls of this stuff every two to three weeks, which cuts it back, but it keeps growing nicely.

    I would like to get enough algae growth in the scrubber - or add another one - to basically outgrow the DT.

    I have tried cutting back the lights in the DT to cut back the algae. All that does is inhibit the growth of my corals [mostly Xenia]

    I have a clean up crew with some really hungry turbo snails that do a good job on the glass, but don't seem to like to eat it from the rocks.

    So.. What would happen if I raise the area of the scrubber - maybe make a waterfall - to add an additional 24 to 48 inches of scrubber area?

    I really would like to get more corals, feather dusters and so on and up the feeding - get a good healthy robust colorful tank going.

    I have to feed something because of the 3 fish I have. A clown, a damsel and a very large Engineer Goby who digs tunnels all through the tank.

    This means I cannot starve the tank and keep nutrients low.

    I would rather go the other way.

    Comments?

    Rick

  2. #2

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    What I have learned and am still learning is that a propperly set up scrubber will do the trick,it does not need to be extra large or extra hi power,it just needs to work properly! Post some pics and the people here will help you get to the bottom of it

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    Your scrubber might already be working good, and phosphate is coming out of the rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    Your scrubber might already be working good, and phosphate is coming out of the rocks.
    Probably is. Would having more scrubber area use up the phosphate and basically starve the DT algae?

    I have been running the current set up with a UAS [home made] for about 8 months now. It is growing lots of dark green algae and works real well to keep nitrates in check.

    I feel that I need to do something instead of just harvesting bunches of hair algae every 2 weeks from the tank.

    What would happen if I added an additional scrubber? Do you think that this would only reduce the effectiveness of the current UAS?

    Rick

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    Last time I checked I had 0 Nitrate and Phosphate at .20 - Hanna Checker.

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    Not more area, but more scrubbing. More scrubbing, which is more area + flow + light, will do it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    Not more area, but more scrubbing. More scrubbing, which is more area + flow + light, will do it.
    OK

    So I add additional scrubbing capacity - which is what I was asking about originally here. Not just more surface area on the existing scrubber, but adding light, flow and so forth.

    Current UAS is sized based on the published up to date recommendations. This is not working to reduce the algae bloom in the DT at all. It works to keep nitrates under control and probably is helping to keep phosphates down as well.

    Doubling the amount of scrubber power or even tripling it... what will happen to the current scrubber growth etc? What should I expect if anything to happen to the DT algae problem?

    What have others done that actually works?
    Last edited by rleahaines; 09-10-2013 at 06:25 AM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Well there could be a couple things going on here.

    1) your UAS might not be powerful enough per your feeding.

    My personal experience is that the sizing guideline does not correlate to UASs, only waterfalls. The tank I ran a 2-cube UAS on my 120 for a year was a total mess by the time I took it off. N and P were out of control, tank algae all over, and I had cut back DT lights and feeding to the point where corals were dying. Fast forward to now, 5 months later, after putting on a 2 cube waterfall, the tank is free of DT algae except for on the glass, nutrients are under control, corals thriving, and I'm back to normal feeding and lighting.

    The UAS was put on a 40 and the result was the same as before until I took all the fish out and stopped feeding the tank except for 1/2 cube every other day for the goby & shrimp, and that's with lighting on 20 hours/day (waterfall on 120 is on 12 hours/day). Nutrients started to drop and algae growth on the screen went crazy, but tank GHA growth is still pretty good - I just did a thorough cleaning & ran a canister filter the other day to get rid of it all.

    But undersized may not be the only factor

    2) you can't battle submerged algae with submerged algae

    This one is more of a theory at this point but I believe it has merit. Algae is known to battle other algaes using chemical warfare known as allelopathy. Algae growing in a waterfall situation in a nutrient-rich tank definitely grows differently than algae on a UAS screen. The UAS screen, once cured grows GHA very well but it's generally the same as what is in your tank, so it may have a difficult time combating a like-type of algae by any other method than just pure volume of growth. Cured UAS screens grow almost exclusively GHA, but I believe there is a difference between algae that grows well and algae that filters well.

    Conversely, algae on a waterfall screen will definitely grow differently in different environments, and also, growth volume/mass does not necessarily correlate to filtration efficacy. It is my observation that on a waterfall screen, the type of algae that grows is more of a reflection on the overall system health. The greener the growth, the better the health. Filtration capacity, however, will remain regardless of the growth type. I believe it is this difference that makes waterfall algae better at battling strong tank algae, because of the allelopathic effect that one algae might have against another algae.

    I think the bottom line here though is that when you do a like-for-like waterfall-to-UAS comparison (same size screen, lighting, photoperiod) waterfall scrubbers are just more powerful than UASs.

    I would add a small temporary waterfall screen in addition to the UAS, maybe even just 5x5 with CFL floodlights on either side, something small, cheap and simple

  9. #9
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    Algae is algae; it does not know up from down. It only knows flow, light, attachment.

    The DT will go away if your scrubber is strong enough. Try adding strings at the bottom.

  10. #10

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    I am going to put in small waterfall scrubber and keep the current UAS as well.

    I will post step by step pics when I get it up and running and keep track of results. I have ordered some LED floodlamps that I can use for this. Expect delivery next week sometime.


    I appreciate the advice from everyone.

    Thanks,

    Rick

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