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Thread: Thinking of doing my first scrubbed reef tank!

  1. #1

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    Thinking of doing my first scrubbed reef tank!

    Hi!
    First post!

    I'm planning my new 24G Optiwhite Reef Cube with sump. After placing my skimmer and return pump in the sump, I'm only left with a 344mm X 77mm X 287mm (13.5"x3"x11.3") empty compartment for either a fuge with macro algae, a DIY algae scrubber or a top off reservoir with a lid.


    After seeing some YouTube-videos about algae scrubber I find myself quite impressed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD6kA3xDPaM
    That is a lot of waste removal for such a small unit!

    This is the space I have to work with:

    What do you guys and gals think?

  2. #2
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    Welcome from Norway.

    A waterfall scrubber will be tricky to fit in, without a good enclosure. An upflow scrubber however could make good use of that front section.

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    What is most effective, waterfall or up flow scrubber?

    I could also switch it up, and have the "front chamber" in the back. Then it would not be a problem to have say a contained waterfall scrubber elevated above the sump, draining down into the "front chamber". I would still easily get to the skimmer for regular maintenance. Then I could even have a fuge with macro algae also, below the scrubber

    Example

    I did not care to switch around all the baffles, skimmer, return pump and separator now. This just illustrates my point that I have the room to elevate a scrubber over the sump
    Also, picture an enclosure around the scrubber. I left the scrubber without the enclosure, in the picture, so to illustrate the scrubber itself. The scrubber screen in the picture is 300mmx100mm (11.8"x3.9").

  4. #4
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    The more effective one is the one that you operate correctly because you can access it easily. I'm not sure you are seeing the extra accessibility needed for the waterfall, after you add the lights, enclosure, etc.

    Yes you can do both, but then you are adding to your workload to design and build and clean both.

    An upflow is so easy and low cost that there is no reason to no do it first. Look at this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLnBvDkaO0

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    The more effective one is the one that you operate correctly because you can access it easily. I'm not sure you are seeing the extra accessibility needed for the waterfall, after you add the lights, enclosure, etc.

    Yes you can do both, but then you are adding to your workload to design and build and clean both.

    An upflow is so easy and low cost that there is no reason to no do it first. Look at this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLnBvDkaO0
    I see that point!

    Here is a crazy idea: What about doing this, relying 100% on the algae scrubber to keep nutrients down?
    Would a correctly sized and maintained algae scrubber be able to keep nitrates and phosphates low enough in a tank, to grow SPS?

    As a student, that would be great as I would be saving a ton of money on not having to buy skimmer and reactors!
    Also, all the space occupied by the skimmer would be free.

  6. #6

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    If your DT is only 24 Gal. you probably do not need both an algae scrubber and a skimmer.

    An upflow scrubber would probably work fine.

    Whether or not you need a reactor or not depends on livestock and bioload.

    In my experience, a waterfall type scrubber seems to work better for larger sized systems. It may be that the larger you get, the more waterflow you need.

    I do not recommend using macro algae and a scrubber in the same system. They just compete against each other. If the scrubber is running well, your macro will die off.

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    A scrubber can be the only filter (plus sand and rock) if you want. Just get it growing well before adding livestock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rleahaines View Post
    If your DT is only 24 Gal. you probably do not need both an algae scrubber and a skimmer.

    An upflow scrubber would probably work fine.

    Whether or not you need a reactor or not depends on livestock and bioload.

    In my experience, a waterfall type scrubber seems to work better for larger sized systems. It may be that the larger you get, the more waterflow you need.

    I do not recommend using macro algae and a scrubber in the same system. They just compete against each other. If the scrubber is running well, your macro will die off.
    Sounds great! Also, since I'm a student I have to break down the system every year, before the summer holiday. I have quite the opportunity for experimenting










    An upflow scrubber, looking something like this?

    I'm thinking that I should be able to skip the GFO reactor, since the algae will remove the phosphates. Still, an activated carbon reactor, to remove the tannins and make the water crystal clear, should not affect the scrubber action, right?

    Ok, then I drop the macro algae
    My main goal with the macro algae, since I implement a scrubber, was to create a safe haven for copepod and amphipod reproduction. Although, live rock will do the same

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    A scrubber can be the only filter (plus sand and rock) if you want. Just get it growing well before adding livestock.
    Yeah, sand and live rock for sure! I designed the scrubber in the pictures and the animation above using the spreadsheet that is sticked to the top of this forum category. I chose to put in 18 3W 660nm LEDs, in case I later want to go from feeding 2 cubes per day to 3 Am I on the right track?

    I really appreciate the support guys!

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    1. What are the cal / alk / mag sections in the front? I'd think that is where you'd want your scrubber so you can look at the growth.

    2. The design looks good; I'd use sliced airline for the bubbler.

    3. The LEDs seem too much. 3 cubes only needs a minimum total of 36 CFL watts, or 12 LED watts, or double that for a maximum. I'd just do 12 LED watts, which would be four 3-watt LEDs. See how this unit started growing with just two LEDs:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91jQAPB40OA

    4. GAC carbon is fine; will not affect scrubber. It only removes DOCs, which unfortunately includes coral foods such as Vitamin C, etc.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaMonica View Post
    1. What are the cal / alk / mag sections in the front? I'd think that is where you'd want your scrubber so you can look at the growth.

    2. The design looks good; I'd use sliced airline for the bubbler.

    3. The LEDs seem too much. 3 cubes only needs a minimum total of 36 CFL watts, or 12 LED watts, or double that for a maximum. I'd just do 12 LED watts, which would be four 3-watt LEDs. See how this unit started growing with just two LEDs:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91jQAPB40OA

    4. GAC carbon is fine; will not affect scrubber. It only removes DOCs, which unfortunately includes coral foods such as Vitamin C, etc.
    1. The cal/alk/mag sections are reservoirs to hold my 2-part dosing liquids. It is important that they are easy to see, to avoid any of them running empty without notice. Behind them I designed in a 10L/2.64G Top-Off reservoir. That way I can easily see, through the 2-part, when I need to refill it.
    If I run the system without skimmer, it is the top-off reservoir that I need most easily accessible, since that is what I will be using most frequently.
    The reason why I put the 2-part reservoirs in front of the top-off reservoir is because I need to write on the glass what liquid goes in which (for when one of my neighbors might have to refill them, while I'm away on vacation).

    What if I put a mirror on the stand wall? Wouldn't that make it easy to observe scrubber growth, without having to remove it from the sump?
    When I harvest the scrubber, I have to move it to the sink any way.

    2. Is that because the bigger bubbles from a sliced airline will cause a better "rub" on the algae, then smaller bubbles from an air stone?

    3. I'm a little confused. I rechecked the spreadsheet:
    > 2 cubes - 12 LEDs (MIN), 24 LEDs (MAX)
    > 3 cubes - 18 LEDs (MIN), 36 LEDs (MAX)
    > *use 660nm Deep Red 3-watt LEDs
    I read in the related thread, that these values are based on your recommendations. Is the spreadsheet wrong, in this case? Should it be "12 LED watts, not 12 LEDs"?
    I also read a comment in the same thread (page 2), where a guy mentions that "3-watt LEDs does not really use 3W", because of the different currents that you can run the LEDs on (700mA max, for 660nm). Then another dude replies that this will confuse many people, and that is why the spreadsheet operates with the commercial name 3W LEDs, and not their actual power consumption.

    You have some really nice plug-and-play scrubbers for sale. It shines confidence in your products, when you are so active in helping people building their own scrubber, while you at the same time are selling pre made ones. That is like Ecotech Marine teaching and guiding people how to build magnetic circulation pumps, when they at the same time are selling the Vortech pumps! You are like: "If you want, I'll help you build your own algae scrubber. If you don't care to do all that work, want a waterproof light and an already tested and proven setup, I have those for sale also". Brilliant, man! Respect!

    4. I did not know that activated carbon removed anything other then tannins. I have to read more about this. How is the water clarity in a scrubber system, without activated carbon?

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