DIY Algae Scrubber not growing

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by AngryOwl, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you have enough trace PO4 in the system to grow algae on the screen. Mine has measured zero, using salifert, for nearly the entire time I have used a scrubber
    and I've never had trouble growing algae, cleaning two screens weekly. Even started up a couple of new screens with zero PO4.

    In regards to the blue lights you're using, they won't be helping at all.
    People who use blue or violet use it in a ratio of 4 red to one blue/violet, & they run the blue/violet at half power.
    Its known by these people that a single blue or violet, at equal power of the reds, prevents algae growing on the screen directly opposite the blue/violet.

    Get more reds ;)
     

  2. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Well the sky is blue and so is the light in the ocean, plants grow in the Shade (that's 15-20k+) Green plants do use blue.
     
  3. AngryOwl

    AngryOwl Well-Known Member

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    Lets find out if you're right. I just ordered 4 more reds. Once I get them I'll throw them right on and see what happens. Any suggestions on photoperiod? FYI I've been running my the schedule opposite of DT lights
     
  4. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Lol.
     
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  5. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    I'm just quoting what people like Bud Turbo have found through trial & error. Too much blue or violet is not helpful when trying to grow algae on a screen.

    As I've stated, I only use 660s & have had no problems at all.
     
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  6. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Have you run a spectrometer on them. Eve a $1 one will work.

    And it's cool. I just grow plants and stuff too. And hair alge grows under any reef light pretty much.
     
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  7. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    It's not me who'll be right. These are standards that have been discovered by people like Bud Turbo & Santa Monica to work best when attempting to grow algae on a screen.

    The lighting used for a refugiums & chaeto might be different. I don't know? I've never looked into it.

    But using LEDs in a scrubber, these are the standards.

    Run the lights opposite to the tanks lights.
    Try starting at 9 hours with the reds at 500mA. You don't want the light too strong (intensity) when initiating the growth because this can inhibit growth (photo saturation).
    The screen should eventually get tufts of emerald green filamentous algae popping up here & there. Raise illumnination time to 12 hours.
    It will eventually spread completely over the screen. When emerald green filamentous algae has really started to take off, turn the power up to 600mA.
    700mA should be all you'll ever need, & the LEDs will last longer than running them at the quoted 1,000mA.
    Get a pump that will give the flow I stated. A variable output pump is the best because you can start out at the lower flow, then increase it when the algae has matured and attached strongly to the screen.
    When tufts of emerald green filamentous algae do appear, try not to scrape it off. Give it a chance to attach strongly & spread. But get rid off the dark green slime algae, or diatoms, every couple of days, if that stuff does grow.

    Hope this helps, be patient, & good luck. :)
     
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  8. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    Yeh, but angry owl is getting angrier because he can't get algae growing, so I'm just trying to give him the best advice I know. :)
     
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  9. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    That's cool. To each their own.
    Thus the simple $1 cfl test to see if it's spectrum or nutrients.
     
  10. AngryOwl

    AngryOwl Well-Known Member

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    Pump suggestions? and yes I am getting angrier I can't grow one of the simplest of lifeforms :mad:

    You suggestion is good but would require too many modifications for me to properly set up. If I can't get this thing going then I might have to give this a shot.
     
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  11. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    That's cool.
    Guess I can't se the set up. I figured it was just a light bulb and clip lamp.
     
  12. AngryOwl

    AngryOwl Well-Known Member

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    Nah I went all out and try hard on it. It's an enclosed box. It reality, I should have just purchased one... but as I've done since I started reef keeping I make mistakes and try to make it work before giving up on something I'm invested in. Living and learning the hard way.. always...
     
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  13. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    You and me both.

    Best fuge growth I had was under a comically large pair of cfls. One warm one daylight. Great growth.
    Then I went led to save a buck on watts. :rolleyes:

    Fwiw , I'm growing orchids under Phillips par 38 led from Home Depot. 4800k. Even spectral spread pretty much.
     
  14. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    Here is a light panel I made for a screen the same size as your's angry.
    My scrubber has the same. but its only six inch by 4 inch. same specs
    upload_2017-10-31_7-52-53.png

    The following is the progression of algae growth of one of my screens.
    The LEDs were run from the start at 700mA (weren't adjustable) & this is the reason for the growth pattern (photo saturation)
    There was never any other algae growth other than the green algae. The bare white screen was never scraped.

    upload_2017-10-31_7-56-33.png
    upload_2017-10-31_7-56-47.png
    upload_2017-10-31_7-57-3.png
     
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  15. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I can't suggest any brand of pump, just variable flow.
    The rated flow needed will depend on how you set it up, eg, in sump or overflow from display tank.

    I feed my scrubber from the overflow water from my display to the sump, via the scrubber.
    I used a variable DC pump 5,500 litres per hour. At a head height of about 1.3 metres i get a flow rate at the scrubber from 456 lph to 1300 lph.

    Obviously, if I fed the scrubber from a pump in the sump I could use a pump of a lower rated flow. this is why a variable flow pump makes it a lot easier.
     
  16. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    You also need to roughen up the screen's surface using the teeth of a hole saw, or similiar.
     
  17. Apotack

    Apotack Well-Known Member

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    Reef central has a thread - algae scrubber basics in the advanced topics section. It should have all the answers you need
     
  18. mcarroll

    mcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Thoughts
    If your nutrient levels in the are "low" then by definition you do not need something like an algae scrubber.

    Algae is not a bad thing to have in the first place and the alternatives are worse. Infinitely.

    Problem
    A tank only four months old has had no time to develop its microbial community yet. If you're doing anything to limit nutrients this early, that is the base/core of your problem.

    Have you done any GFO or carbon dosing so far, for example?

    Any of these things seem to hurt a new tank.

    Solutions
    Address nutrient deficiencies ASAP. Use liquid nutrients if possible and as necessary.

    Do not let the limitation continue without addressing it in some way. Feeding more is not a very good way in the short term, but if it's all you can do, then do it in moderation. Do not resort to over-feeding.

    Feeding more is probably a long term answer, so as always pay attention to feed quality, frequency and consistency. All are very important. An auto-feeder can help greatly on the consistency angle.
     
  19. mcarroll

    mcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I think this means you put a scrubber on a 2 month old tank? I don't know any way a tank this young could support an algae scrubber.

    If your startup was at all conventional (any combination of dry rock, phosphate removers, nitrate removers, carbon dosing, etc), then diatoms may simply be the phase your tank is in. You might even be slowing the tank's development.

    Unless running a scrubber is the goal of the tank, I would decom. it until your tank's nutrient load can actually support it.

    If it's part of the object, then you're going to have to feed it until the the tank is able to do the job. Seachem and Brightwell make popular nutrient options, but there are DIY options too if you're serious.

    Can you post some details about how the tank was started?
     
  20. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Toys For Kids 2016 Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    If you're dimmable, a good starting point is 50% for 9 hrs/day
    Violet and blue are supplementary, I always run these at 50% of the reds. You can do this on one series chain by placing a match pair of violets or blues in parallel within the series string, that way the blues/violets are always at 50% of the reds.
    Sounds like you definitely had a flow issue, but I doubt that this was/is the root cause of your issues
    If you are feeding only 1/2 to 1 cube/day and your screen is 4x9, it's a little big, but not overly big. What this does mean is that if you "drive" it like a 3 cube/day scrubber (that's the screen size) then you're going to get slime, yellow goo, thin GHA growth - because your input is much lower than the screen is rated for. The answer is to back off on the hours and intensity and allow the screen to fill in.

    The other answer is to not aggressively harvest. I didn't see anything in this thread describing hose often you clean or how vigorously you do so.

    1) remove all slime or gooey growth by rubbing and rinsing. Do not scrape or scrub. If there is growth that just doesn't want to come off, then use a soft toothbrush and "swipe" across the growth once, but again no scrubbing back and forth - you don't need a "clean" screen. You don't ever really want to "clean". You just want to get rid of the slime. You can do this a couple times a week, that type of growth inhbits GHA from anchoring to the screen, so you want to keep it at bay (gently)
    This is indeed possible - scrubbers do best on a mature tank. So your growth is not completely unexpected, but it's not "typical" either.
    This is a good skimmer, so it's likely that it is doing most of the nutrient removal at the moment. You might try dialing this back slightly
    That's true, but there are still many unknowns about what role green light plays.
    For a 9" wide screen, Rio 1400 or equivalent. For a 14" wide screen, Rio 1700 or 2100 or equivalent. That's assuming a 12" vertical lift and 3/4" ID hose and pipe
    I think you have done this, correct? I can see the roughness in one picture in this thread - if that's the screen you're using, that's not the problem
    So does this site
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/algae-scrubber-basics.63113/

    And it's here
    http://algaescrubber.zohosites.com/
    Low nutrient levels can be a mask, nutrients can still be sinking into sand and rocks

    I don't agree with the idea of "feeding the scrubber" - you should be able to adjust the scrubber to suit your tank needs (especially if you can dim the LEDs)

    All in all, I'd say you're not too far off the mark. You just need to take into account the size of the scrubber in relation to the job you are putting it to.

    IMO:

    1) it's a bit too big - so you will not want to push it. Meaning, no 24/7 full intensity lighting, not even close to that. Back up to 9 hrs/day @ 50%. You might even drop to 6 hrs/day until you start to get it filled in

    2) flow is not a major concern. One pic showed a nice sheet or water coming off the screen - that's plenty. you can get away with lower flow for quite a while, it's only when you are wanting more production that you will need to up the flow (and intensity and hours)

    2A) flow, photoperiod, and intensity are all related. Adjust these together, if possible.

    3) No need to feed more just for purposes of the scrubber, or resize the screen. You are set up for a nice filtration system once the tank matures

    4) Don't overclean, clean enough and correctly (rub & rinse is the name of the game for several months, light brush swiping only, scrub only localized areas, remove all slime/diatoms at least weekly)

    hope that helps, I'll be watching the thread for further developments!
     
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