Mega Powerful Nitrate and Phosphate Remover - DIY! - Page 40 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #391 of 435 Old 11-07-2010, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Success updates...

Trichome on the CR site: "I took my skimmer out of my 29g sump about 2 months ago. Since then i have not done a water change...I know i should but i am bad about that. I NEVER have to clean my glass in my DT. I don't take water parameters so i can't tell you what mine are, but i do know i don't get any algae in my tank other than bubble algae. I harvest one side of my scrubber about every 2 weeks [needs to be more often]. The water must be pretty clean because my 2 golden striped maroon clowns have spawned, for their first time, about 1 month after i took my skimmer out. Not only are there several people in Cincinnati trying algae scrubbers with great success there is a 50 page thread of people with great success too. 6 month update: I have had my turf scrubber going on my 29g tank for 6 months now without a skimmer. Currently i have 2 Gold Stripped Maroon clownfish, a Yasha gobie, a sixline wrasse, 2 cleaner shrimp, and a candy cane pistol shrimp in the tank, along with several anemones. I have to say everything had been running great! I only have to clean the glass about once a week. Everything in the tank seems to be very happy with the current bio load. I have been doing water changes about once every 2 months (I know i should be doing it more) [not really]. As far as i can tell the turf scrubber has been a success for me and when i move i plan on adding one to my 120g display tank. However, I will not be going skimmerless on the 120g display."

Redwing on the CR site: "I set [my scrubber] up to remove algae from my display tank (and that is exactly what it is doing). But I now I have noticed that my skim-mate is much darker and that I do not have to clean it as much (about once every week not every other day). also like I posted my nitrates have never been undetectable (more like 5+ ppm) so if you ask me [the scrubber] is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. Could I take my skimmer offline maybe but I most likely will not I like knowing that I have backup if something fails [except, skimmers don't remove ammonia, so they won't help]. also my skimmer is a CL125 and I have more than 160 gallons in my hole setup so my skimmer has always been way undersized. (most people would use a skimmer twice that size for this many gallons)"

Mrbncal on the scrubber site: "I have a 75 w/ 30 gallon sump and ran w/o a skimmer for over a year BEFORE I found out about ATS'. There were some things that didnt do well, but anenomes and zoas, most lps did great, montis and a few acros grew fine w/o a skimmer. Bubble algae and hair algae did great also. Since I started running a screen covered in algae my tank has never been healthier. Its been 6 mos or so maybe 7, I have NO hair algae and the bubble algae is losing ground. Almost gone completely. I feed a ton of frozen and oyster feast. I should probably back off some feedings but the coco worms love life and the gorgonians are growing, so why change anything."

Tien on the MFK site: "So I have been running a scrubber on a test tank with goldfish. At one point nitrates were near 80 ppm (I know this is WAY high, but I did this intentionally with the goldfish). I have done no water changes, and my nitrates are now about 7 ppm! and nitrites are zero. I do not have the best set up with lighting yet and the scrubber set up only cost me $25, but it works with fresh water! [yes scrubbers work just as well with FW]. I am going to continue to add goldfish and overstock the tank to see how the scrubber handles it. Looks like I will be building a large scrubber system for the 500 gallon!"

Billy_m24 on the MFK site: "my algee scrubber is working, I finally have purple on my rocks! I have 175 reef tank with 2 400w MH light and 2 blue vho, my nitrate was always very high in the red zone, and now after 2 month [of using the scrubber] I'm running about 10 on the nitrates and I have purple [on the rocks], and my ph stays at 8.2"

PRC on the LR site: "I use a scrubber on a 180g tank, that I upgraded from a 90g tank. Neither ever had a skimmer. I ran across this [scrubber] thread when I was initially cycling my tank, I set it up according to specs, I've never had 1 piece of algae in my tank. I, like everybody, get the usual dusting on the glass that gets brushed off. But I've never had algae, and I've never had nitrates above 5ppm. I feed alot because I've got big fish with big appetites. I also have very little clean up crew. I panicked when I first set mine up because I didn't think it was working. I just left it, it started to work and has kept my tank very stable. Just tweek it a little and give it time. It doesn't take control of the system overnight, but once it does it keeps it very stable....on top of that it only takes about 5 minutes to clean once per week. I'm so naive when it comes to algae issues that when I read a thread about hair algae, I automatically assume that somebody is just neglecting there tank terribly because I've never had to deal with it."

Renman303 on the MD site: "I have been running a 4-sheet (8 1/2" x 11") ATS since June '09 with not only no ill effects but, my water is crystal clear! I have unhooked my Deltec AP851 Protein Skimmer in July of '09 (anyone want to buy it?) and have been running solely on the ATS since then (~15 months). I scrape one side of each of the 4 sheets once a month [needs more often!]. I add no chemicals of any kind to the water and only do a 10 percent water change once a week. Salt is much cheaper than chemicals. I don't even use RO/DI water any more. I just run through Carbon as Phosban prior to mixing. it should be!"

Vannpytt on the scrubber site: "I'm experiencing massive amounts of live particles in my water. When the lights go out, and I turn on a flashlight, I can see with my bare eyes 1-3mm long shrimplike creatures swimming in the water, jumping on the stones. It's amazing, while the water is so clear, there are still so much life. I'm also experiencing massive critical comments from the local forums claiming I'm destined to fail etc. I still have no values measurable of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate nor phosphate. The pH is fine as well as the salinity. The algae growth [in the tank] that came initially, is slower, and I added 2 lawnmovers to take care of the rest. Coraline is spreading on the live rocks, I added a Sun Coral who seems to be happy, as well as some Zoas."

Vykhang on the scrubber site: "After 4 yrs, it has become so hard to maintain my 300 gal reef/fish tank due to nitrate and phosphate. Just doing 10-15 percent water changes on 300 gal tank per week is driving me crazy not to mention salt cost. After seaching the net and came across this website, I've started my own version of scrubber. It has been running over a year for me and I've not changed (add only) water since (I don't belive in changing water if all chemicals are in spec. The scrubbers are 1" above the water line to minimize the water noise [would be even better to have the screens in the water]. Water line is maintained by electronic sensor. Can't speak for everyone but the results has been absolutelly wonderful. Nitrate and Phosphate are un-detectable. I can't thank Santa Monica enough because little to no water changes. I just maintain chemical additives and add water to my reserve tank."

Yesman on the scrubber site: "I clean it all off completely every 7 days. However as you can see with over 3 pounds in weight of algae every 7 days being scraped off the screen and with nitrates and phosphates at zero, it may be ok to clean this way. Interesting to note that at the bottom of the acrylic box, the water level is about 3 inches with algae growing all over the acrylic and alive with pods, even some amphipods!"
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post #392 of 435 Old 11-27-2010, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning Guidelines:

Black/oily growth, but no green: Clean every last bit of it off every three days.

Dark brown growth, but no green: Clean all of it off every 4 days.

Light brown growth, but no green: Clean most of if off every 5 days.

Mostly brown growth, but some green: Clean all of the brown off every 6 days, but leave some of the green.

Half brown and half green growth: Clean most of it off every 7 days.

Mostly green growth: clean most of it off every 10 days.

In all cases, stronger lighting will help you get to green faster, even if the extra lighting is only temporary.

Also, when there is lots of green, you are getting the most filtering. So to minimize nutrient spikes which might occur after cleaning the green off, consider cutting the screen vertically into two halves, and cleaning only one of the halves every 5 days. This give 10 days of growth for each half (about the max you can go), but always leaves the other half to do the filtering.

After several months, you may start getting some thick brown algae that feels like fuzz, and it won't come off. That's turf algae. You don't want turf because it's thick and dark, and it blocks light from reaching the screen (also, because turf does not grow fast enough to be a good filter.) Scrape the turf off with a hack saw blade. Matter of fact, if you start getting turf, you can just start doing all your weekly cleaning with a hack saw blade.
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post #393 of 435 Old 12-29-2010, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the micro table saw that I use to cut the slots in the pipes:
Mighty Micro Table Saw at Penn State Industries

It comes with two blades, and if you put them together like a pancake the thickness will be perfect for a 1/8 inch slot for a single layer of plastic canvas. I've cut about 20 slots and the blades are just starting to need replacing. There are other similar micro saws if you search for them ("mini table saw", etc), as well as some slightly larger "mini" table saws which get a bit expensive for just cutting pipes.

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post #394 of 435 Old 01-20-2011, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Here is what it seems the 25 is going to look like. The pink part on the top is the lid. The open part on the front is where the bulb and ballast go. The bottom is open, and will sit on a 5-pound metal plate. The back side will have the water tubes and drains:

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post #395 of 435 Old 02-07-2011, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Success Updates:

Mrmikeasaurus on the RC site: "i had one that worked great after about 2 months... youll love how clear the water is"

Coralrookie on the RC site: "I have one.. keeps phosphates down, ph in check. Minimal water changes and I do not run a skimmer"

Zangmann on the RC site: "I've been running an ATS for about 18 months with no other form of filtration (not even a filter sock). It most definitely works. Conversion from a 5 year old FOWL with consistantly high nitrates (50+PPM) and off the chart P04. Now everything is rock solid at 0."

Spamreefnew on the RC site: "I have an ATS witch is much like floyd r turbo's, it is my ONLY filtration and has been for 6 months now. It has been the BEST 6 months of reefing in my life. skimmers are only good for sps only tanks IMO. scrubbers are the best option for everything else. my water is clear, my coral is healthy, my fish are fat,,i mean fat!,,,and my pods and shrimp,,that's right shrimp,,,reproduce like crazy. I could never say all that when i ran a skimmer."

Lps_blasto on the RC site: "After using [scrubber and skimmer] both, I've come to the conclusion that I'd never run a reef tank without a scrubber. But I would run a reef without a skimmer. I could only have one, I'd pick the scrubber, no contest. Don't get me wrong, I'm not part of the "anti-skimmer" crowd. I use a skimmer. I've been running some form of protein skimmer for over 2 decades. I had one back in 1985 when all they were was a wooden airstone and a poorly designed venturi. I just won't rely on ONLY the skimmer anymore. I'll always have a simple turf scrubber on any reef that I have."

King_Richard on the RC site: "I setup a tank about 8 months or so ago. The tank started out as a seahorse tank and all was fine and dandy until an oil spill occured in the gulf area. I used NSW at the time for water changes and due to the spill, I quit doing water changes for about 6 months. In that time I lost focus on the tank (college student) and by december time the tank had started to slip away from me. Holiday season hit and we were away for some time, came back and found one of our seahorses dead, within the next week, our other seahorse died also. We also loss a mushroom that we had but our scooter blenny was still alive and well. Not entirely sure why the seahorses died, they quit eating the water clarity was becoming a nightmare so it could've been a number of things. A few weeks ago the water was so green that I literally could not see into the tank. Now the good news. With this tank, I've been striving for a natural system, no filters, no skimmers, no carbon, nothing except nature's methods. I had been looking at algae scrubber designs off and on for some time and out of desperation I decided to give it a try, originally I didn't think I had enough room for one. I didn't do anything fancy, just picked up some screen from walmart and pieced together some 1" pvc that I had laying around, I then hooked it up to my drain located in the sump, the whole process took about 5 minutes. Now two weeks after setting up a 1" pvc with a slot and a screen hanging from it, water is now, almost, crystal clear again. I really wish I would have taken a before and after picture because you wouldn't believe how nasty it was compared to now. And all in two weeks! I'm sold, I think I spent about $6 for a roll of screen. This is by far the cheapest, most efficient method I've come across. I even tossed out my chaeto the same day I installed the algae scrubber, well actually I kept it in a spare tank just in case, lol. To be honest though, I had a decent amount of faith in the method before I attempted it, based on previous observations with algae in some of my older tanks that would grow algae along the baffles. I always assumed that algae was doing something good. The water should be crystal clear again before the end of the month, excepts for the pods and stuff occosionally floating around!"

Johnarky on the RC site: "I've been using the scrubber for 6 weeks now and water quality is great. I turned off the skimmer and removed the sock over a week ago and everything is still good. I think I'll continue in this way for another month or so and if everything goes well I'll start the transformation into a seahorse tank."

Green_reefer on the RC site: "I have been using an ATS since [four weeks ago], about 1 week after my tank finished cycling. I designed it over-sized and built an acrylic box to house it over my sump and use 4x24w T5's to light it. My [display] hair algae outbreak after my cycle was gone within 4 weeks, even the algae in my overflow has disappeared. I grow all different colors and textures of hair algae on different parts of the screen, but GHA is the dominant. Other than a pipe organ frag that has doubled in size since I got it, I can't really comment on coral growth as my tank is too new. After reading all the posts on combating algae outbreaks on new tanks I can definitely say that an ATS works to control algae. The only coral introduced that did not have full polyp extension within 2 hours of being in my tank is a sun coral that was introduced over the weekend. Digitata, Pocilipora, Stylophora, Acropora, Candy Cane, Zoa's and Gorgonians (photo and non-photo) all showed great PE (even after being shipped for 24hrs). It could be the NSW that I use, but the lack of algae [in the display] and great water quality from the ATS doesn't hurt."

Alaska_Phil on the RC site: "I added an algae scrubber to my system 5 months ago. I inherited care of this tank nearly 6 years ago and I've been battling one type of algae after another ever since. I'd tried everything imaginable, GFO, frequent massive water changes, starving my fish, daily manual removal, and hords of snails and hermits. But my nitrate and phosphate was always undetectable due to all the algae [in the display]. I use a 6" wide vertical screen style with spiral PC light. when I started it my display was over run with brown cotton candy type algae. it grew on everything, rocks, sand equipment even the cords for my power heads. It took about a month for algae to really start populating the screen. At that point the only real difference I noticed was the lack of diatom algae on the glass. I'd had to clean it daily, now I only have to clean it about twice a week. After 2 months, i only had algae growing on my rocks, but my equipment was staying clean. I'm assuming the rocks were leaching phosphate back into the system. After 3 months the rocks were still covered, so I got impatient and plucked it out manually. I completely filled a 1 gal pitcher with algae from my 50 gal display! After that the algae on the screen really took off. But it never came back to the display. Even after my life got rather busy and I neglected doing water changes for 3 months. Now, I still get a little algae in the tank, I pluck out a few little tuffs about once a month. I clean half my algae screen every 2 weeks. It takes that long for it to build up again. I'm still running my skimmer, but it's just back-pak II, so not a very efficient one. I've always run carbon since I have a mixed reef with leathers. Never noticed any bad smells or water discoloration. I could probably have gotten the same result with a high end skimmer, or zeovite, or bio-pellets too. But so far I'm really happy with algae scrubber."
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post #396 of 435 Old 02-07-2011, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Williah on the RC site: "I added an ATS 1 1/2 years ago, and after 10 months I got rid of my skimmer, but I was very careful and watchful before I did it. I will point out I use a phosban with mixed GFO & active carbon in it. I will continue to use this to deal with phosphate and other nasties in the water, regardless of the other subject. Also I do a water change every 2 weeks regardless. With either setup, I found a water change every 2 weeks kept everything looking happy, so I'm going to continue with this timetable. Now, I had 2 major goals when I started experimenting with ATS: 1. coming up with an affective, long-term method for reducing my nitrate levels (I was between 50-100 at the time); 2. to increase phytoplankton levels in my water column. 1. My nitrates have been 0 or barely above 0 since I got my ATS working. I NEVER had this before. This definitely never happened with just a skimmer. I like to feed heavily and since going with a working ATS I've been able to do just that without freeking out about my nitrate levels. 2. I wanted to maintain high levels of phyotplankton to my tank, and it was my understanding that the skimmer would remove the phyto from the water. People said to turn off the skimmer while feeding, but I wanted a constant presense of the little criters, and the methods behind an ATS seemed to allow this. Since I went ATS and removed the skimmer, my filter feeders have exploded in size (at least 3x the original size). They all look larger and healthier and beautiful-er (laugh, people, it's funny). Could be a coincidence but I believe more food plus more phyto in water has been the direct cause."

Der_wille_zur_macht on the RC site: "My TS was not running for very long, but it was essentially the ONLY nutrient export on my 360 g, except for a small bundle of chaeto. At one point I tried to run a skimmer on the tank but it produced zero skimmate - there was nothing in the water for it to skim. In the short time that I had it operational, I made a few observations: I noticed a SIGNIFICANTLY higher growth rate of naturally occurring filter feeders in the tank. Mini feather dusters, stuff like that. There was noticeably more "stuff" in the water column. It wasn't enough to distract from viewing the aquarium, but it was clearly enough to make a significant difference for filter feeders."

Williah on the RC site: "I removed my skimmer a year ago and added an algae turf scrubber as a replacement. I did this with the thought of creating a more nutrient rich yet low Nitrate environment. The result has been an explosion of growth with my corals."

King_Neptune on the SWF site: "I had a scrubber going for almost a year. They work awesome! But I swapped over to a skimmer in the end. My water paramiters arent as good as my scrubber, and I dont even have 1 percent of the pods I used to....but it looks alot more pristine and clear. [Meaning, there are no more food particles in the water, like there is on a natural reef. A few months later...] Im having Nitrate troubles these days. Everything else is in undetectable. Scrubbers will work off of nitrates alone correct? I think I will start one up again."

Gnorman on the SWF site: "through the years we would have times where unwanted algea would take over, and then we made this sweet little filtration called a turf scrubber. [...] since we have added one ( its a DIY project ) we have never had a problem with unwanted algea."

Floridabob on the SWF site: "personal experience!!!! nitrates and po-4 very high for long time, water changes helped. made diy algea scrubber and within 1 month everything was at zero. so ....imo good cheap build for big results"

Mangrovejack22 on the MOFIB site: "I stumbled across a thread on ATS's over a year ago and decided to give it a try. I could never get my skimmers adjusted right, and was always tweaking them trying to either stop the milk jug diy (off the collection cup) from overflowing onto the floor, or scraping thick sludge build up out of the cup itself. took me less than an hour to build my first scrubber following SM's guide and links to others diy's. I'm now onto my 2nd generation of it and couldn't be happier with the results over the last 18 months or so. I've seen pretty much every expected phase of nitrate reduction as mentioned in his threads. i've had patches of hair algae spring out of the rockwork in high flow, even though i had no algae growing anywhere else in the tank, and watched those patches dissappear over the next few weeks. I spend 10 mins a week cleaning the screen and pump intake prefilter sponge, and every few months change some cheap home depot CFL's, which do the job for me. I highly recommend giving one a try if you are on the fence. I only wish i had documented the nitrate reduction in my tank to support the changes"

Fishstink on the RS site: "i used one one my 75 gallon system and it went from nuclear (off the chart) to undetectable in two months. going to have one in my 270 frag tank with no skimmer, we will see how it goes as i will be doing the pappone feeding method twice a day"

Mgraf on the RS site: "I always ran a skimmer until I set up a algae scrubber, IMO the scrubber works better. Less upkeep, less hassle, and more food to the corals. Seems like many are resistant to change, but changes and new ideas open up new doors to the hobby. I guess it is all a matter of what works for you! I prefer a little "marine snow" floating around in my system, corals look great, and a scrubber will clear out just about any algae blooms you will come across."

Drbark on the RS site: "I have a 115 gallon reef with about 40 gallons of sump space. It has been running for 2 yrs now. Half of it is growing macroalgae it in. 6 months ago I added a turf scrubber in. I was running my skimmer 24/7. I noticed with the scrubber that corals started growing faster. The dealer I bought the scrubber from said to run the skimmer from midnight to 12 noon only. I noticed the corals were growing even faster along with my refugium and turf algae growing faster. The tank looked healthier. I have been running the skimmer on half time for only 2 months now. Might not be that much time yet. Too chicken to turn the skimmer of completely. I have a very heavy bioload because people just give me stuff and I have a hard time saying no. Just wanted to throw this out their since people were talking about the all or none thing. I just run it half time."

Sikpupy on the RS site: "Been a long time (about a year) algae scrubber user. I can attest that is seems to work because I have 6 gobys, 2 tangs, a clown, Anthia's, royal gramma and another fish or two. My tank is just about clear, maybe a teaspoon diameter "total" all over of very soft hair(?) algae. I have a coast to coast which has a baseball size clump of hair algae I have let grow for pods. Other than that, the tank is totally free of algae. I may, may get a small dusting of algae on the glass once a week. It usually takes 10 days to build up enough to see it on the front. If fact, i am so algae free, my poor Blenny is starving with a sunken belly, lol."

Accident on the MFK site: "I put mine in the hood on my 150. Working in conjunction with a fresh water drip system, all the bad stuff sits at zero. All the brown algae is gone now. Forget how long it took to die off, but it was tough stuff."

Geosquid on the MD site: "after going through your thread about 3+ years ago I've used only a diy scrubber as a filter. That was the healthiest tank I've ever had. I sold the whole system and moved to VA for a new job recently but I have a new tank on order right now and can't wait to get going."
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post #397 of 435 Old 02-07-2011, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Kevvin27 on the LR site: "If I had known about algea scrubbers when I was first setting up my tank I would have started out with it right away. Everything in my tank looks so much better now with just the scrubber running then it did when I had a skimmer...and so much easier to clean and quieter too."

Rwing on the RA site: "Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with algae breakouts. For some these problems are a minor nuisance, but for others this problem can drive them right out of the hobby. In dealing with my algae problems, I became determined to educate myself with why I was experiencing this outbreak as well as how I could stop it and hopefully prevent it in the future. I hope that the experience that I gained can help others who are plagued by this nuisance. My plan of attack was to look at my home made filtration system and determine if I could make some improvements. I came across some articles about Algae Scrubbers that seemed very interesting. They looked really easy to build, and I thought "What have I got to lose?". I purchased the items needed to build it and had it installed in 1 evening. I used 2 5700k power compact bulbs and reflectors that I bought at Home Depot. I anxiously awaited for something to grow, and low and behold, in about a week I had a nice little algae crop growing. Within 2 weeks I was scraping it off, and have been ever since. I was starting to feel like I was going to beat this [nuisance algae] menace. When I [originally] started asking questions about controlling algae I was told to run a multitude of reactors and various chemical solutions. After reading many articles about algae, I chose not to run any reactors of any kind...I use 2 algae scrubbers to filter my water, I currently run a protein skimmer, and I do regular water changes . That is it, and my results have been remarkable! Sometimes I think we make things a lot more complicated than they really need to be. This entire process [scrubber plus some other changes] took about 3 months, but I can honestly say that my tank is now completely free of nuisance algae, and I am very confident that it will remain that way.

Slovak on the RA site: "In theory, all sounded reasonably good. How would this hold up in a real world application? The early adopters reported nearly too-good-to-be-true results. Just like everyone swore that all the approaches I already tried would work miracles. Besides, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet! Then again, what did I have to lose? I built my algae scrubber from 1/2-inch plastic tubing and a 8 1/2 x 11’’ plastic mesh screen found at Michael’s craft store. Two light fixtures with energy-saving bulbs and a timer for a total expense of less than $40. The results didn’t come overnight. I ran my skimmer in parallel for a couple of weeks simply because I feared a tank crash. The water flow and the lighting periods needed tweaking. For an impatient person it’s difficult to watch algae grow. Besides, there is nothing to clean as with a skimmer. After 4 weeks of this experiment I started to notice less algae in my overflows and on my pumps. 8-10 weeks and I could see the rocks again. My corals looked healthier, polyps were opening larger every week. There are many additional benefits from this approach: Less maintenance, as the algae screen is only cleaned every 7-10 days. I have even taken a 3-week vacation with only feeding and glass cleaning performed, and the tank was as beautiful as ever; There is also a significant cooling effect in the summer as the water runs over the screen. More energy efficient, as I traded a 50+W skimmer pump running 24 hours per day for 2 13W energy-efficient bulbs running 18 hours per day; The system is silent! One less pump injecting air into the water - nearly every visitor has commented on the quiet system - my office desk is 5 feet away from the glass; The algae growth is directly proportional to the load of the system and the amount of feeding. Once set up, there is nothing to adjust! My tank has been algae free for nearly 9 months. I perform weekly filter cleaning about every 10 days, with general tank cleaning / coraline scraping once a month. Water changes are back to 15 percent every month. All corals and inhabitants are very healthy. The anemone has split multiple times and the largest one is now over a foot wide. The hammer coral that started from a handful of heads is now over 10 inches in diameter and boasts over 100 heads. I now supply many local reefers with ample frags and my enjoyment of the hobby has finally returned!"

Vannpytt on the scrubber site: "since my scrubber started growing green, the polyps on the sps has been INSANE. During light off period (when light is on the scrubber) the polyps extend 5mm looking amazing. Later update: the tank is clean, the SPS are more than happy, a few of my Acros extend polyps all over the place, especially the milleporas, and the fish are fat. The Salifert nitrate test show <0.1 and the same with the Merck Phosphate test. Life is good. Skimmer is offline. Running carbon and doing a small waterchange every month to reduce the sulfate buildup when doing 2 part Randy's recipe. Going to take the carbon out also, just not yet. Had some startup problems with Acro's stressing out and RTN'ing each other. Seems fine now."

Donj on the scrubber site: "I would just like to add a little something about scrubbers, even though im not getting the green hair algae [on the screen] yet, the benefits so far have been incredible, the life in my system is thriving, the amount of little critters from having an ats is unbelievable, with lights out I can take a flashlight and see what seems to be millions of little critters. I have a 125 gal. tank with a fairly heavy bioload, with fish and mostly sps and lps coral, all are doing very, very well compared to when they were in my ninety gal with no ATS. About 4 weeks ago, I added a pair of mandarins (male n female), the male had a shrunken belly at my LFS, since then he has put some weight on, I would never have attempted this in a system thats been up for only a couple of months, its hard enough to keep 1 mandarin alive, much less 2, but there not only alive, there getting fat :D , this is pleasing to me as this is one of my favorite species of fish. The coral growth is mind blowing as well, just gotta say thanks for your site, as I would have just kept on blowing more $$ on equipment I dont really need, had I not stumbled upon this site."

Craig1 on the scrubber site: "Thought I'd post an update. After over two months of use, so far, so good! Algae is growing nicely on the screen, more than enough to clean off each week. But for the results: Feeding at least a cube of food a day; 0/0/0 in the big three; Plenty of pods all over the place; No other filtration except for the rock; Almost zero algae in the DT (Few bubbles remain); Zero water changes in over two months; Have to dose Ca & Alk now, since not being replaced by the water changes; Coraline is growing like crazy now. For all the skeptics out there, the science works. Truly a revolutionary idea on the home tank, if done properly.

Chip on the scrubber site: [pic of "before", nitrate = 100], [pic of "after", nitrate = zero].

RumpyPumpy on the scrubber site: "My 55 gal reef system has been running for 7 months (I'd been keeping freshwater fish for 20 odd years previously) using only my home made (and probably not very efficient) scrubber (ok, for the first 2 or 3 months there was a bit of Purigen in the sump too but I don't think it did much). I have made no water changes at all over that time (obviously I have topped up with RODI water to replace evaporation), and other than food, I've only added Alk, calcium and occasionally some Seachem Reef Plus (still on my first bottle). The tank is not heavily stocked with fish, (a Yellow tang, pair of clowns, a coral beauty and five chromis) but I feed quite heavily (I think), everything is growing, the water is clear and I have only lost one fish since the start (a small clown which I believe was attacked by one or more of the other fish when introduced them). All the corals have grown and the hermits and other inverts appear to be thriving (although I did lose a shrimp too)."

New2scrub on the scrubber site: "my reef aquarium has never looked so good! I have built a scrubber that looks much like the sm-100 for my 45 gallon reef tank and the results are out-standing! the only thing that i do differently is i change a little water once a month, but not much. I have crystal clear water, pods everywhere, and have raised baby shrimp in my sump without any intervention! to me that is proof that scrubbers work well and provide much more food for the critters we keep!"
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post #398 of 435 Old 02-19-2011, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Several updates:

1. Does anyone know of a diver, or can you post on a site with divers, who can take some pics and videos of reef water? What is needed is this: The diver takes a camera and a piece of black cloth/plastic/etc to a reef location; he holds the black sheet about 24 inches from the camera, and takes hi-res pics and video of the plankton floating between the camera and the sheet. Hi-res would be important because of the small particle sizes. Being near corals would be important because that's where the corals feed. And doing it at night would be a great plus, since that's when more plankton is out. Daytime will suffice, however. The purpose of this is to show that reefs really are packed with food particles, and are not "polished" the way reefers "think" they are.

2. Replace bulbs every 3 months, even when they look fine.

3. Clean pump in vinegar every 6 months, even if you think it runs fine.

4. "Turf" is not the goal; Green hair is the goal. It filters the best, because it lets light get to the roots, and it lets water flow throughout the strands. If you start getting real turf, remove it with a hacksaw blade:

5. Since the current scrubber recommendations are different from the original recommendations at the start of this thread, here is a new scrubber introduction which could replace post number one:

6. The two most important quotes I've found so far:

"Where deep lagoons are formed, coral growth, especially of Acropora, can be prolific"

"Contrary to popular belief, species diversity is not at its highest on the scenically attractive reefs found in clear oceanic water. It reaches a peak for any given region on fringing reefs protected from strong wave action, where the water is slightly turbid."

-- Corals of the World, Vol 1 page 27

Why? Because it shows that there is more coral growth in lagoon areas than on reefs. How is this? Since lagoons have more algae, they have less nutrients, and more organics (food), than reef fronts (data easily found in reference studies). And that's what corals, especialy SPS, need to grow. Reef fronts (where mostly Acro's grow) actually have higher nutrients and lower organics (food) than lagoons. Why then are there mostly Acro's on reef fronts? Because Acro's don't break under wave action like other corals, and therefore Acro's have less competition (also taken from Corals of the World, Vol 1 page 27).

7. Do you like to research reefs and corals and nutrients etc? Start here:
ReefBase :: Main Publications
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post #399 of 435 Old 03-27-2011, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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After over a year of testing, here is the first functional prototype of the Santa Monica 25 Nano scrubber, made pretty much from the plans that were posted here last year.

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post #400 of 435 Old 04-22-2011, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a video of what Dr. Walter Adey (inventor of the scrubber) was doing 20 years ago, in addition to working on scrubbers:

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