Consistent Algae Scrubbing (or other nutrient export methods)

Ecotech Marine
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
You don’t report monitoring nitrate and phosphate levels during algae scrubber operation. Did you monitor them? You also don’t mention how you managed the algae content of the scrubber. Did you harvest it very often? How did you determine the correct light level for the level of nitrate in the water? How did you determine the correct flow rate through the scrubber?

I would like to put in a plug for the idea that an algae issue is an indication of insufficient grazing.
Hm...you must not be familiar with this kind of situation. In a tank with no water changes and a nuisance algae problem, neither nitrate nor phosphate are detectable at any given time. As for the original algae scrubber, of course I harvested it fairly often when it was actually working. As for the light level and flow rate, maybe you should ask Santa Monica. Suffice it to say that more light and more flow are better, to a point. And the hog 3xx has both more flow and light than the drop 1.4. The environment in the scrubber has to out-compete the environment in the display for the algae to grow in the scrubber. According to my theory, the additional light I put on the display made the display out-compete the scrubber. That's where the HOG 3xx comes in! Not sure how else I can explain that.

As far as grazers, yeah...It's a 0 water change tank. Perhaps you aren't familiar with this level of nutrient problems. Trust me I've spent plenty of money on little inverts that are supposed to eat algae. And they probably do. But nothing eats THIS much algae! If an order of 9 urchins doesn't do it I don't think anything will!
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
I run triton without scheduled water changes, 2 years.
Skimmer and refugium with a stupid bright horticulture led.
You must have a volume of chaeto, softball or bigger, that can use your nutrients. A small amount can't do the job. My chaeto mat is a foot square and 3 inches deep, sitting on top of live rock, near the water surface to maximize par.
Your goals should be a large a mass of chaeto and bright light.
That is a refugium though. And it's a method that I actually tried first, and you know what happened? It just grew hair algae over it and became a mess. So since then I've switched to algae scrubbing.
 

Dan_P

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
1,916
Reaction score
1,789
Hm...you must not be familiar with this kind of situation. In a tank with no water changes and a nuisance algae problem, neither nitrate nor phosphate are detectable at any given time. As for the original algae scrubber, of course I harvested it fairly often when it was actually working. As for the light level and flow rate, maybe you should ask Santa Monica. Suffice it to say that more light and more flow are better, to a point. And the hog 3xx has both more flow and light than the drop 1.4. The environment in the scrubber has to out-compete the environment in the display for the algae to grow in the scrubber. According to my theory, the additional light I put on the display made the display out-compete the scrubber. That's where the HOG 3xx comes in! Not sure how else I can explain that.

As far as grazers, yeah...It's a 0 water change tank. Perhaps you aren't familiar with this level of nutrient problems. Trust me I've spent plenty of money on little inverts that are supposed to eat algae. And they probably do. But nothing eats THIS much algae! If an order of 9 urchins doesn't do it I don't think anything will!
Thank you for filling in the details on your system. I have several ideas, but first a question.

Why aren’t you concerned about dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria growing in a system with undetectable nitrate and phosphate? The popular narrative would have it that you are doomed :)
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
Thank you for filling in the details on your system. I have several ideas, but first a question.

Why aren’t you concerned about dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria growing in a system with undetectable nitrate and phosphate? The popular narrative would have it that you are doomed :)
Well if you're screwed with high nutrients, and screwed with low nutrients...aren't we all by that logic? I think the current nuisance algae kind of runs the show. It out-competes any other type of algae since it's able to take nutrients at a much faster rate than any other kind of algae. The trick is to get the growth into the scrubber.
 

fishhead1973

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 20, 2021
Messages
110
Reaction score
110
Location
winter haven
Short preface: I have a 40 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump. Trying to run a 0 water change system and what do you know, I run into nutrient buildup. Maybe something like 8 months ago I got a Santa Monica 1.4 Drop algae scrubber, if anybody is familiar with that. In fact, here's a link to it in case you don't know what I'm talking about: https://www.santa-monica.cc/DROP14-...-surfaces--14-cubes-feeding-per-day_p_71.html

At first it got quite a bit out of my system, once it established. And things were actually alright for a while. Then it stopped growing for some reason, and the nuisance algae got out of control. And once that happens, the nuisance algae makes it very hard for the scrubber to do its job again. The question is, why did it stop working? I have a few theories, but by all means feel free to weigh in on them:

A: Slime algae buildup happened instead of hair algae for some reason and prevented the desired growth of the hair algae in the scrubber.
B: The pods that have come to 'infest' the scrubber prevented the desirable hair algae growth and fostered slime, ultimately halting desirable growth.
C: The overall nutrient buildup in the tank coupled with my bright lights (on 8 hours, i get about 100 par. I did that for my zoas.) and good flow across the rocks from the gyre created ideal conditions for nuisance algae growth and the nuisance algae simply started out-competing the scrubber.

Or it could be a combination of all 3. Now that I actually type out C, it seems even more likely. But if C is true, it begs the question: Why didn't the 1.4 handle the nutrients? In theory it's supposed to handle 1.4 cubes of food a day. At the time I was feeding one cube every other day! Now I've reduced it again down to once every 3 days! Also nuking the tank with a double dose of vibrant, and turned the scrubber off for now. Trying to reset it.

So I guess part of this is asking you guys what happened with my tank and my scrubber. The other question is, what IS a more powerful and consistent way to scrub? Should I go waterfall? I've always kinda regretted not doing that. I feel it may be much better than this drop unit which only produces flow via an air pump. Would a waterfall scrubber be more consistent, more powerful, or both? If not, what IS the ultimate scrubber? Or do you think there's actually a better method altogether such as some kind of pellet reactor. Not super educated on that but I do know there are some media reactors out there that are meant to help with your nutrients. I think I like the idea of the algae scrubber the best but let me know if you think there is actually a much better way! I like that the algae scrubber is sustainable. Once you get one, that's it. You don't have to keep buying reactor media.

But yes, I'm desperate for a more powerful nutrient export method. Apparently that drop 1.4 doesn't really cut it. I need something so powerful that nutrients just can't build up in my display!
Water changes make of break your reef in a closed system. All this new tech is nice and all got to do water changes as far a the scrubber goes it takes time just let nature take its course. Good luck
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting

Dan_P

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
1,916
Reaction score
1,789
Short preface: I have a 40 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump. Trying to run a 0 water change system and what do you know, I run into nutrient buildup. Maybe something like 8 months ago I got a Santa Monica 1.4 Drop algae scrubber, if anybody is familiar with that. In fact, here's a link to it in case you don't know what I'm talking about: https://www.santa-monica.cc/DROP14-...-surfaces--14-cubes-feeding-per-day_p_71.html

At first it got quite a bit out of my system, once it established. And things were actually alright for a while. Then it stopped growing for some reason, and the nuisance algae got out of control. And once that happens, the nuisance algae makes it very hard for the scrubber to do its job again. The question is, why did it stop working? I have a few theories, but by all means feel free to weigh in on them:

A: Slime algae buildup happened instead of hair algae for some reason and prevented the desired growth of the hair algae in the scrubber.
B: The pods that have come to 'infest' the scrubber prevented the desirable hair algae growth and fostered slime, ultimately halting desirable growth.
C: The overall nutrient buildup in the tank coupled with my bright lights (on 8 hours, i get about 100 par. I did that for my zoas.) and good flow across the rocks from the gyre created ideal conditions for nuisance algae growth and the nuisance algae simply started out-competing the scrubber.

Or it could be a combination of all 3. Now that I actually type out C, it seems even more likely. But if C is true, it begs the question: Why didn't the 1.4 handle the nutrients? In theory it's supposed to handle 1.4 cubes of food a day. At the time I was feeding one cube every other day! Now I've reduced it again down to once every 3 days! Also nuking the tank with a double dose of vibrant, and turned the scrubber off for now. Trying to reset it.

So I guess part of this is asking you guys what happened with my tank and my scrubber. The other question is, what IS a more powerful and consistent way to scrub? Should I go waterfall? I've always kinda regretted not doing that. I feel it may be much better than this drop unit which only produces flow via an air pump. Would a waterfall scrubber be more consistent, more powerful, or both? If not, what IS the ultimate scrubber? Or do you think there's actually a better method altogether such as some kind of pellet reactor. Not super educated on that but I do know there are some media reactors out there that are meant to help with your nutrients. I think I like the idea of the algae scrubber the best but let me know if you think there is actually a much better way! I like that the algae scrubber is sustainable. Once you get one, that's it. You don't have to keep buying reactor media.

But yes, I'm desperate for a more powerful nutrient export method. Apparently that drop 1.4 doesn't really cut it. I need something so powerful that nutrients just can't build up in my display!
Hm...you must not be familiar with this kind of situation. In a tank with no water changes and a nuisance algae problem, neither nitrate nor phosphate are detectable at any given time. As for the original algae scrubber, of course I harvested it fairly often when it was actually working. As for the light level and flow rate, maybe you should ask Santa Monica. Suffice it to say that more light and more flow are better, to a point. And the hog 3xx has both more flow and light than the drop 1.4. The environment in the scrubber has to out-compete the environment in the display for the algae to grow in the scrubber. According to my theory, the additional light I put on the display made the display out-compete the scrubber. That's where the HOG 3xx comes in! Not sure how else I can explain that.

As far as grazers, yeah...It's a 0 water change tank. Perhaps you aren't familiar with this level of nutrient problems. Trust me I've spent plenty of money on little inverts that are supposed to eat algae. And they probably do. But nothing eats THIS much algae! If an order of 9 urchins doesn't do it I don't think anything will!
In your first post describing the issue, you talk about nutrient build up but above you say that your tests don’t detect nitrate or phosphate in your system. Can you clarify what you mean by “nutrient build up”?
 

Pistondog

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
2,480
Reaction score
4,933
That is a refugium though. And it's a method that I actually tried first, and you know what happened? It just grew hair algae over it and became a mess. So since then I've switched to algae scrubbing.
Yes mine grows some gha as well, removal is part of the bi weekly maintenance.
1. Remove 1/3 chaeto
2. Remove easily accessible gha.
3. Clean Output filters
4. Check nutrient level
5. Adjust refugium light schedule based on results from 4.
I'm not that concerned about gha in the refugium.
It might pop up in the dt until the tang or blennies see it.
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
In your first post describing the issue, you talk about nutrient build up but above you say that your tests don’t detect nitrate or phosphate in your system. Can you clarify what you mean by “nutrient build up”?
Ok dude what's going on here? Are you just trying to mess with me? This is about making algae scrubbing consistent in general but also in my situation. If you don't have anything to add then move on. If you think you have some way of logically calculating exactly what to do, then say it. Otherwise I'm not here to answer your questions or to be antagonized.
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
Yes mine grows some gha as well, removal is part of the bi weekly maintenance.
1. Remove 1/3 chaeto
2. Remove easily accessible gha.
3. Clean Output filters
4. Check nutrient level
5. Adjust refugium light schedule based on results from 4.
I'm not that concerned about gha in the refugium.
It might pop up in the dt until the tang or blennies see it.
But doesn't that mean that the nutrient level is so high that it can grow gha and chaeto at the same time? I reckon chaeto could work in systems that already have low nutrients. But I don't think it can handle as much as a scrubber can, so I don't see the point. To my understanding scrubbers are just better. They're less finicky and apply in more situations. Even in your situation, the GHA growing on your chaeto could be pulling out more nutrients than the chaeto itself. GHA grows way faster than chaeto, which is why it's able to uptake nutrients right next to it.
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
Fwiw: this is the BEST hang on algae scrubber out there , bar none ! I ordered one 2 months ago and I am VERY impressed...easy to hook up , just hang on the back of the tank and connect a canister filter or pump and fire it up. Well designed and silent operation...hope this company gets some exposure and the product takes off !!
Algae Clean Scrubber Base Hang On Tank Unit | eBay
It probably is but it's too late for me! Already bought the hog 3xx. Somebody else should check this out and do a video on it or something.
 
Fritz
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
So I’m trying to decide between the HOG and Rain... I’ve read some reviews saying the HOG membranes/interiors are harder to clean, whereas the rain is just a simple “scrape“ off the net.

What is your experience?
I dunno I think the hog is working for me. Slow start but it is growing now. I'm curious as to what the rain can do. I honestly have never tried a waterfall system. I don't like that it increases evaporation and I also don't like dealing with setting it up. But for all know waterfall is the way to go. So if you aren't afraid of setting it up and a bit more evaporation, I'd go for the rain.
 

Pistondog

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
2,480
Reaction score
4,933
I dunno I think the hog is working for me. Slow start but it is growing now. I'm curious as to what the rain can do. I honestly have never tried a waterfall system. I don't like that it increases evaporation and I also don't like dealing with setting it up. But for all know waterfall is the way to go. So if you aren't afraid of setting it up and a bit more evaporation, I'd go for the rain.
Had a HOG 1.3 on a waterbox 10. Grew all different algae. Liked the bubbler for the extra aeration in aio tank. Kept the nutrients in control. After a year, the leds went dim.
Let's us know your experience with your scrubber.
 

Dan_P

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
1,916
Reaction score
1,789
Ok dude what's going on here? Are you just trying to mess with me? This is about making algae scrubbing consistent in general but also in my situation. If you don't have anything to add then move on. If you think you have some way of logically calculating exactly what to do, then say it. Otherwise I'm not here to answer your questions or to be antagonized.
Since I have been studying algae cultures in the lab, I thought that I would provide you with what I learned about algae communities. To do that, I need a better understanding of your situation so that I can provide you with relevant information, hence the questions. Since this seems to perturb you, I apologize and will be moving on.
 

Ratherbeflyen

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Messages
515
Reaction score
728
Location
Houston
But doesn't that mean that the nutrient level is so high that it can grow gha and chaeto at the same time? I reckon chaeto could work in systems that already have low nutrients. But I don't think it can handle as much as a scrubber can, so I don't see the point. To my understanding scrubbers are just better. They're less finicky and apply in more situations. Even in your situation, the GHA growing on your chaeto could be pulling out more nutrients than the chaeto itself. GHA grows way faster than chaeto, which is why it's able to uptake nutrients right next to it.

I successfully ran both an ATS and cheato fuge for a long time.


IMG_20200325_195709.jpg


The only filtration I run is carbon, the skimmer, and algae.

IMG_20190218_224226.jpg


IMG_20190719_092930 (2).jpg


I can't explain the chemistry or science. I really only care about the results.

PXL_20210301_145623577.jpg


I can't really tell you exactly why your hair algae isn't doing well. I tried for a while to run my system with no water changes. In the end, I gave up on the no water change method. It's just cheaper to do an occasional water change than buy tons of testing equipment and gear for trace elements etc.

My suggestion would be do a couple of water changes and see what happens. It's a lot cheaper experiment than buying new scrubbers all the time.
 
Lazys Coral House
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
Mangrove bed
Best decision I’ve made on my 40b
Really? I have considered doing that. But it's something that takes up a bunch of space, costs money, takes setting up...so it's neither cheap nor easy. I don't know if I could even physically do it. I'd have to hire somebody.

You think it's a worthwhile nutrient export method? How big is your mangrove bed?
 
OP
K

KleineVampir

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
783
Reaction score
308
I successfully ran both an ATS and cheato fuge for a long time.


IMG_20200325_195709.jpg


The only filtration I run is carbon, the skimmer, and algae.

IMG_20190218_224226.jpg


IMG_20190719_092930 (2).jpg


I can't explain the chemistry or science. I really only care about the results.

PXL_20210301_145623577.jpg


I can't really tell you exactly why your hair algae isn't doing well. I tried for a while to run my system with no water changes. In the end, I gave up on the no water change method. It's just cheaper to do an occasional water change than buy tons of testing equipment and gear for trace elements etc.

My suggestion would be do a couple of water changes and see what happens. It's a lot cheaper experiment than buying new scrubbers all the time.
Although I greatly appreciate that you've struck a balance and your tank looks great, I don't think I'm gonna follow in your footsteps! I'm not somebody who just wants a nice display. I'm in this to prove something, and to learn along the way. There are undoubtedly methods that do work involving water changes but that would not be worth it to me.

The combination of scrubber and chaeto is interesting, and it probably does work. The scrubber can handle the big spikes but the chaeto can keep the nutrient level down in general.
 

40g Nano

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
1,697
Reaction score
868
Really? I have considered doing that. But it's something that takes up a bunch of space, costs money, takes setting up...so it's neither cheap nor easy. I don't know if I could even physically do it. I'd have to hire somebody.

You think it's a worthwhile nutrient export method? How big is your mangrove bed?
In my 20 long sump
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    225.7 KB · Views: 11
Zoanthids

Can you house your most favorite ocean creature in your home aquarium?

  • Yes and I do!

    Votes: 50 14.9%
  • Yes but I don't have one

    Votes: 64 19.0%
  • Yes but it would be illegal

    Votes: 18 5.4%
  • Yes but you would need a HUGE aquarium

    Votes: 57 17.0%
  • No but I wish

    Votes: 132 39.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 15 4.5%

Online statistics

Members online
2,406
Guests online
6,003
Total visitors
8,409
Coral-vault.com
Top