Algal Filtration In Reef Aquariums

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pelphrey

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There is a picture of my scrubber and sump in the article. This is my tank shot. 10 fish total in my tank.

3BEA8F4A-44C2-4720-BC19-DC16D15872C5.jpeg
 

Scrubber_steve

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For every scrubber pic (or pic of any filtration method), there should also be a picture of the tank it is working on and a description of the stocking. Without the context, there is no way of telling how effective something is. I don't buy a scrubber to grow algae - I buy a scrubber to filter a reef tank by growing algae.
Then what you would really want is info on the inorganic levels of said aquarium - nh3,4 no3 po4, because this is what a scrubber removes. These nutrients are assimilated by algae, then synthesised to creat more algae.
There's nothing magic about it, some methods of algae filtration are just more effective than others.
 

bubblemytip

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Then what you would really want is info on the inorganic levels of said aquarium - nh3,4 no3 po4, because this is what a scrubber removes. These nutrients are assimilated by algae, then synthesised to creat more algae.
There's nothing magic about it, some methods of algae filtration are just more effective than others.

Yeah, I am not debating that they work. I appreciate that they do. I’m just trying to step into the shoes of someone new to them/the hobby, and from reading the article, the practical results for the display are unclear. So providing context - whether stocking levels, feeding amount, nutrient levels or goals, display results (before/after etc) - makes a much more compelling case than simply showing algae growing. Same goes for photos of skimmate. Without the practical context, the photos are pretty meaningless.
 

Scrubber_steve

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Yeah, I am not debating that they work. I appreciate that they do. I’m just trying to step into the shoes of someone new to them/the hobby, and from reading the article, the practical results for the display are unclear. So providing context - whether stocking levels, feeding amount, nutrient levels or goals, display results (before/after etc) - makes a much more compelling case than simply showing algae growing. Same goes for photos of skimmate. Without the practical context, the photos are pretty meaningless.
Yes, Iunderstand what you are saying.
But scrubbers - reactors - fuges, are nothing more than natural ways to control inorganic nutrient levels, & very good at it.
Before & after photos are useless, if for example, your lighting is causing a problem, or you major elements are fluxuating all over the place.
In my case, I had real issues with no3 & po4, & display algae problems. Had trouble keeping fish & corals alive. A scrubber fixed the problem.
 

Mark SF

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When doing research about ATS/Turf Scrubbers, I was never able to find an amazing SPS dominated aquarium that was supported by this filtration method. I certainly believe they are out there, but it just doesn't seem to be the preferred method for SPS.

Does anyone have a setup to prove me wrong?
 

Scrubber_steve

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When doing research about ATS/Turf Scrubbers, I was never able to find an amazing SPS dominated aquarium that was supported by this filtration method. I certainly believe they are out there, but it just doesn't seem to be the preferred method for SPS.

Does anyone have a setup to prove me wrong?

I'll ask for all those who have failed at keeping sps, that didn't use algae filtration, to chime in.

Algae filtration is just one part of keeping aquaria, and I cannot see any reason why a method of maintaining inorganic nutrients would cause someone to fail?
 

Mark SF

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I'll ask for all those who have failed at keeping sps, that didn't use algae filtration, to chime in."

Algae filtration is just one part of keeping aquaria, and I cannot see any reason why a method of maintaining inorganic nutrients would cause someone to fail?

I didn't say people were failing at keeping SPS with ATS. My point is - if using an ATS comes with all of the benefits listed above, why don't we see more of the "pros" with the world class systems running an ATS.

Also, this isn't relevant but I can think of MANY reasons why "a method of maintaining inorganic nutrients would cause someone to fail." In fact, I believe that this is the single biggest challenge in reef keeping...

-Mark
 

Scrubber_steve

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I didn't say people were failing at keeping SPS with ATS. My point is - if using an ATS comes with all of the benefits listed above, why don't we see more of the "pros" with the world class systems running an ATS.

Also, this isn't relevant but I can think of MANY reasons why "a method of maintaining inorganic nutrients would cause someone to fail." In fact, I believe that this is the single biggest challenge in reef keeping...

-Mark
Who are these "pros" you speak of?

And why focus on an ATS in particular? Seems the ATS bashing persists while reactors & fuges are ok.

Lasse is very successful, as is Melev, for example, & they both use algae filtration.

And how is maintaining inorganic nutrients a challenge? Keeping above zero seems to be the challenge for some.
 

SantaMonica

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there should also be a picture of the tank

People don't send them in as much as they do the scrubber photos, because it's known that if it grows, it filters. Kind of like car engines; if you know the power, etc, there's no need to see how the car looks, because you know how fast it will go.

Also, most scrubber or reactor growth, many times, is in the beginning of fixing a problem when the tank is the worst. As nutrients are pulled out of the water, the algae grows less but the tank gets better.

But if the algae grows, it must pull out nutrients. So by seeing how much, what type, and over how long a period the growth is, you can see how fast nutrients are being removed.

I was never able to find an amazing SPS dominated aquarium

If you mean algal filter + other filters, there are thousands scattered across the web. If you mean soley an algal filter, there are many but you have to look and ask. This is because algal filters are brand new to almost everyone, and most people have already invested in the corals and other filters; so it's usually just added on.
 

Scrubber_steve

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why don't we see more of the "pros" with the world class systems running an ATS.

-Mark
This is what Dana Riddle https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/aquarium-lighting-by-dana-riddle.956/ (a pro) has to say about ATS.
And keep in mind, Dana use the old original horizontal set up, not the far more efficient LED illuminated down flow set up.

"I ran multiple frag grow-out systems in the late 90's (literally thousands of SPS.) 20 coral genera (hundreds of frags, perhaps a 100 species) we had in this system.
"This 1,500 gallon system was filtered by 3 algal turf scrubbers (totaling about 3 m2 surface area) plus protein skimming, so we were in constant danger of nutrient deficiency (ala Adey.)
"I'm a proponent of algae scrubbers if they use the right algae and are maintained correctly."
 

SantaMonica

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Yes collecting the links and photos of those types of tanks/situations is basically a separate project. I collect as much as I can but subsets like sps, nps, discus, guppy, no maint, high feeding, solar, pond, nano, etc, is a bit too much time.
 

Rich Klein

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I’m a little disappointed with the above article.
  • Refugiums: A traditional method of cultivating/growing algae. It usually grows GHA slowly, in a large space, and with a small light. It does not use an air/water turbulent interface.”
I don’t know anyone who slowly grows GHA as a refugium method. Everyone seems to grow Chaeto or other macro algae which is very efficient. This article seems focused on selling reactors and scrubbers. There is not a single picture of a healthy refugium just scrubbers and reactors. I wish more time was given to refugiums
Thanks for the reply.

Yes fuge's do grow, but the amount of time to double in size is usually a few days. And, the insides of the growth are shaded, and dying. So the amount of new, living growth added each day is relatively small.

Dedicated algal growth devices, by contrast, can double new living growth in a day. And sometimes, in a few hours. And the higher rate of new living growth is what pulls nutrients out of the water faster.

This is the reason that if a dedicated algal growth device is placed on a system with a fuge/macro, the macro will eventually die off and those nutrients will be absorbed by the device.

I have a 165 gal reef tank. I added a refugium running Chaeto with a powerful LED light designed for plant growth. It grows Chaeto like crazy. I actually have to dose Nitrogen and Phosphorous just to keep my NO3 and PO4 readable (Hanna low range Phosphorous, and ReadSea low range Nitrate). There is the added benefit that the refugium is the perfect place to raise Copods and other critters - live food for my fish. I was prepared to run a scrubber or reactor, but the Chaeto does the trick. And its easier to maintain than a scrubber or reactor IMO.
 

Brew12

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I have a 165 gal reef tank. I added a refugium running Chaeto with a powerful LED light designed for plant growth. It grows Chaeto like crazy. I actually have to dose Nitrogen and Phosphorous just to keep my NO3 and PO4 readable (Hanna low range Phosphorous, and ReadSea low range Nitrate). There is the added benefit that the refugium is the perfect place to raise Copods and other critters - live food for my fish. I was prepared to run a scrubber or reactor, but the Chaeto does the trick. And its easier to maintain than a scrubber or reactor IMO.
I follow this method, also, since I have the space in my sump.

Have you tried to stop harvesting your chaeto for awhile and let it grow in thick? It will start to self shade and reduce the net nutrient removal. I used to try and keep nutrients up by harvesting more but that just encouraged faster growth. Let it pack in and you may get your nutrients to rise. Then you can practice just how much to harvest at any given time to keep it locked in. Might save you money in additives.
 

vetteguy53081

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Fantastic reading !!
 

HomeSlizzice

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So I'm newer to the idea of running an Algae Scrubber. I've always used other methods for my tanks, but the idea of an algae scrubber interests me. I've read a lot about them recently and see that the waterfall style is the most popular currently, followed by the UAS (Upflow Algae Scrubber), and then in the past the horizontal trough or dump bucket style.

My understanding is the surface area, water flow, air flow for gas exchange, and lighting is best on the waterfall style. The UAS style is another good option if you don't have the space for a waterfall style, or if you don't want anything outside of the sump.


My question is.... for a really simply UAS / horizontal style Algae Scrubber, why not just put the roughed up screen material mounted horizontally on say an egg crate platform about 1-3" inches below the water surface of your sump, with an air pump underneath the screen pumping air under the mesh screen? I've read that a horizontal screen underwater alone won't do much, but with an air pump under it, why wouldn't it work?

Lastly, I was reading about a design this from this guy, Garf on Algaescrubbing.com, which he called his B.A.D.*****. (Benthic All Dimensional Algae Surge Scrubber) which is functionally similar to my idea, but with a normal powerhead aimed at the surface of the water creating waves.

Any thoughts, or ideas? I want to make my own ATS, and was basically going to do a DIY SMF floating SURF UAS, but am wanting to look into the best/easiest options.

Thanks!

P.S. I made a thread about it, but I figured I'd ask the same thing here....
 

Brew12

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So I'm newer to the idea of running an Algae Scrubber. I've always used other methods for my tanks, but the idea of an algae scrubber interests me. I've read a lot about them recently and see that the waterfall style is the most popular currently, followed by the UAS (Upflow Algae Scrubber), and then in the past the horizontal trough or dump bucket style.

My understanding is the surface area, water flow, air flow for gas exchange, and lighting is best on the waterfall style. The UAS style is another good option if you don't have the space for a waterfall style, or if you don't want anything outside of the sump.


My question is.... for a really simply UAS / horizontal style Algae Scrubber, why not just put the roughed up screen material mounted horizontally on say an egg crate platform about 1-3" inches below the water surface of your sump, with an air pump underneath the screen pumping air under the mesh screen? I've read that a horizontal screen underwater alone won't do much, but with an air pump under it, why wouldn't it work?

Lastly, I was reading about a design this from this guy, Garf on Algaescrubbing.com, which he called his B.A.D.*****. (Benthic All Dimensional Algae Surge Scrubber) which is functionally similar to my idea, but with a normal powerhead aimed at the surface of the water creating waves.

Any thoughts, or ideas? I want to make my own ATS, and was basically going to do a DIY SMF floating SURF UAS, but am wanting to look into the best/easiest options.

Thanks!

P.S. I made a thread about it, but I figured I'd ask the same thing here....
I'm curious why you wouldn't run a traditional fuge if you already have that much area and proper lighting available. To me, the main benefits of a scrubber are that it takes up less space and uses much less intense lighting due to the light being very close to the algae growing surface.
 

peterj66

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Yes the self-shading starts at 1/2" thickness, and is almost dark at 1". So all growth below 1" is dying.
What light are you using. My experience is that chaeto thrives even in a 4” thick mat. I use a combo om white , blue and red leds. Maybe the green from the warm white is what penetrates deeper as Lasse and others discussed in a another thread.
 

HomeSlizzice

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I'm curious why you wouldn't run a traditional fuge if you already have that much area and proper lighting available. To me, the main benefits of a scrubber are that it takes up less space and uses much less intense lighting due to the light being very close to the algae growing surface.


Mainly because I tried to section off an area of my sump, with egg crate, and I didn't like the flow it had and the amount of space it took up for the chaeto ball. Plus when bits break off of the chaeto, its annoying. I could place it in a section over some other equipment and a carbon bag and it wouldn't take up extra space.
 

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