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Thread: Is a scrubber right for me?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Is a scrubber right for me?

    Hi all, I recently learned about turf scrubbers and I am very interested in them. Its kind of hard to find info on them but I wanted to get some opinions on whether or not if one would be right for my tank. (I saw turf scrubbers were used in Reef Central's March 2015 tank of the month. Its seriously one of the best looking tanks I have ever seen, check it out!)

    My issues is I have a constant cyanobacteria problem, but don't have any algae growing except the occasional bubble algae. I am wondering an algae scrubber would help me get rid of the cyano?
    I am looking at getting either the Drop.6X or Drop1.2 from Santa Monica.

    My tank has been set up for around a year and a half - but was bought used. The previous owner had it set up for 2 years and did have an algae issue when I bought it (the algae has since gone away). Its a mixed reef mainly focusing on SPS.

    The details if you are interested:

    Nitrates are always 0.00 ppm, phosphates range from 0.00 to 0.05 ppm.
    Alk 7.5-8.0 dKH
    Ca 390-410 ppm
    Mg 1250 ppm

    I feed around 1/3 cube of frozen (or a couple pinches of pellets) a day.
    I do two 10g water changes a week - I would like to reduce this to once a week but have to do frequent changes to remove the cyano.

    75g display
    20g sump
    ~60 lbs live rock
    Skimz SM161 protien skimmer
    Has GFO, activated carbon and Bio-Pellets
    Kalkwasser is added via auto top off
    I also use filter socks and a block sponge to keep sump free of detritus. These are cleaned every 48-72 hours.

    Would a ATS in this system be able to out-compete the Cyano for the available nutrients in the water column? I had read somewhere that bio-pellets may not allow the ATS to grow.

  2. #2
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    Welcome.

    Well, I've seen this situation many times. The last survivors... cyano and bubble (and bryopsis)... are much better at holding on in low nutrients. Coralline will fight off cyano, but maybe your cyano is where there won't be any corraline. This is a last-stage of balancing the nutrients, and it takes the most time.

    Scrubbers thrive on ammonia, as does your display glass. If you have to clean your display glass more than once a week, then you have a good bit of free ammonia coming from the fish, and bubble algae grab it and concentrate it inside the bubble. Fast growing scrubbers also use lot of inorganic carbon, which cyano need if they can't get organic carbon to fix, so that is one way to attack cyano.

    You would probably need to reduce the pellets a bit, but you won't know until you see how much scrubber growth you get. At least you don't have phosphate soaked into the rock; it came amount long ago when you said the nuisance rock algae went away.

    I would imagine that your periphyton is not very thick on the rocks, because of the mechanical removal of their food particles in the water. So one approach might be to start with one scrubber, and adjust your pellets for good scrubber growth, and see how the cyano/bubble do. It it moves in the right direction, double your scrubbing and cut your pellets, and move in the direction of natural algal filtration, which by it's nature will develop much thicker periphyton, thus fighting off the cyano.

  3. #3

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    Sep 2015
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    Thank you for the detailed reply and advice! I'm going to order the 1.2 and see how it does.

  4. #4
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    Hope you like it!

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