Dual overflow into algae turf scrubber??

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by Nolan Shinn, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I’ve been considering how best to plumb the dual overflow/return on my center drilled 150gal build and I need some input from you knowledgeable reefers out there:

    Is there any reason I couldn’t pipe both of my overflow down tubes through two algae turf skimmers?

    In theory this would mean all of my tank water would filter through an ATS 10+ times and hour, which should help (once it matures) keep some of my parameters really stable with relatively little maintenance... right?

    This afternoon I quickly sketched up a concept and modeled it to show you what I have in mind. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!
    D056175B-04C5-485C-A04E-B4CC6D56FAFC.jpeg
    (Krug the betta is the best design partner)

    My overflows are on opposing ends of my tank. So I’m thinking a “weir” system with a three sided acrylic flume on either end of my sump.
    54C1A68D-5BE9-4E09-BC02-6F38268CBA94.jpeg
    Each ATS flume has a clear acrylic lid, with a grid of grow LEDs facing into the flume.
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    The flume body is made of black acrylic or abs. Water overflowing from the tank enters the top of the flume through a slotted pvc tube.
    0DEE92AD-0A12-495D-80F2-38A8A98F030C.jpeg
    If I leave a small lip at the bottom of the flume, a sheet of frosted acrylic (red arrow) could slide in under the spray bar, and rest against the bottom lip. Algae grows on the surface of the frosted acrylic sheet.
    6323FC3D-BC74-4F30-A6D0-DE64F53B616F.jpeg
    To clean, simply remove the flume lid, lift the frosted sheet off the bottom lip of the flume. Slide the sheet out of the box, scrape the algae off and reinsert.
    54C1A68D-5BE9-4E09-BC02-6F38268CBA94.jpeg

    Let me know what you think!
    If it helps I’ll upload a layout of my sump this evening.
     

  2. Flippers4pups

    Flippers4pups Fins up since 1993 R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    In theory it may work, but you might consider keeping the trays inside the sump, in case there's a blockage so as to keep water from flooding around the sump.
     
  3. Justfebreezeit

    Justfebreezeit Well-Known Member

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    +1 on keeping every over the sump.
     
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  4. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    interesting plans . I had issues getting the algae to stick to the slick plastic. will the water flow slowly with some depth or a thin sheet swift running water ?
    I hope You follow thru with this build !
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
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  5. Larry L

    Larry L Well-Known Member Partner Member 2019

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    I don't run a scrubber but from the threads I've read about it I'd think about:
    • Using a rougher surface for the algae to grow on, most scrubbers I've seen use e.g. roughed-up plastic embroidery mesh
    • Setting up something more like a manifold, so you have some level of control over the flow through each scrubber (seems like people have to put some effort into tuning the flow rate through a scrubber), and also so there's someplace for the water to go if things clog up
    • Keeping everything over the sump as other folks have mentioned
     
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  6. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Good point! In execution, I think the ATS box will have to be much closer to vertical than I’m showing here, because My overflows aren’t that far apart. Good point about the flooding.
     
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  7. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I was hoping frosted or sandblasted acrylic would be rough enough for growth while still being smooth enough to scrape. Do you think the algae will need it to be even rougher?

    Depends on flow rate, but I was thinking a thin sheet of water. Any advice?

    I’m planning on it!
     
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  8. cracker

    cracker Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Either blasted or frosted? You will have to experiment. I like the thinner higher flow but the algae will have to have some where to anchor .
    good luck with your plan !
     
  9. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I’m still learning a lot when it come to ATS mechanics but I’m fairly confident I can create a grow surface and flume that’s relatively clog proof.

    I guess what I’m curious about is would the benefits of having dual built in algae scrubbers would outweigh the additional setup and maintenance hassle. Thoughts?
     
  10. ReefHog

    ReefHog Member

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    interesting idea. 20 years ago I had 2 Penguin 350 bio wheel HOB filters on my 125. I siliconed rectangular pieces of the embroidering screen to the outlets to stop the splashing. Looked similar to your drawings only way smaller. Those screens would be covered in hair algae all the time. I had to scrape them weekly. And that was with T12HO lamps. While you wouldn't have lighting on both sides of the screen, you should have plenty of surface area for algae to grow.
     
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  11. laverda

    laverda Well-Known Member

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    It should work great if you light it properly. I find inexpensive ($25.00) red and blue LED grow lights from amazon work great. A cover is probably not needed unless your lights will be real close. I would use roughed up needle point mesh as it is easy to clean and gives the algae something to grip. The angle will work fine. Even horizontal will work, although not as well.
     
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  12. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Awesome! Thanks for the advice! I’ll keep an eye out for some
     
  13. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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  14. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    It’s been a minute since I last updated this thread, but in case you’re curious, I finally got the prototype up and running on my tank... I ran out of room under my stand so I only built one, but it’ll serve as a good proof of concept... so here’s how it’s gone so far:
    944B5D8F-47E8-411A-96F5-15EAB1FECE0A.jpeg
    First I mocked it up out of foam core (the white box hanging on the right of my sump)

    81846A21-2138-4329-B42C-7652D5344F88.jpeg
    Then I cut the acrylic to size rough overall dims are: 8.5” X 11” X 3”
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    Found some diffuser acrylic for the light panel...

    76824E71-0724-4B6E-9D5E-711DDFF5E149.jpeg
    Roughed up that removable sheet so algae can grow on it. If there’s anything I’ve learned from past tanks is that algae can grow just about anywhere...

    B793657F-5C65-44DB-A760-0272E6F75353.jpeg
    Glued up the box. Holes on the side are for the spray bar.

    F21C8C16-AB82-43AF-A62A-CD233A77BBF1.jpeg
    Here it is with the algae sheet inserted.

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    Get that dang hand outta the way

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    Light diffuser, meet your new home.

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    NSFW
    New spraybar for water

    EDE8934D-0A18-4921-B740-A838EF181993.jpeg
    Gate valve with 1/2 a union joint. The other half is attached to my overflow bulkhead.

    F6024B1D-0442-48CE-9E67-E38EE2886436.jpeg
    In place, but up crops problem one: noise. Lotta splashing since the box ends about 4 inches above the water. So I pulled it back off...

    B29A4C6C-960E-4FBA-8CA2-EB503C30E666.jpeg
    Picked up a shop vac head at lowes and cut it down to size to use as a funnel. Then I cut a piece of acrylic to seal the end. Silicone the whole apparatus to the exit end of the ATS...

    3154AEA5-4362-48C3-97E4-B9D6F63B73CF.jpeg
    Now all the water exits the ATS below the surface of the sump. Eliminating most of the ambient sound.

    A0CCF9AF-5558-439D-AF9D-1384F127E50E.jpeg
    I used “waterproof led grow strip” off amazon and soldered them into blocks and glued them to the lid of the ATS.

    4BD964FB-EFAF-496F-BA43-9D1EF3967EC2.jpeg
    Prototype is installed on the tank and chugging away!

    9D50DDE2-547F-444A-ADD2-029F809659F1.jpeg
    First bit of algae growth on the plate, and first positive proof of concept so far!
     
  15. Larry L

    Larry L Well-Known Member Partner Member 2019

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    I think the scrubber looks great! Still have some concerns about flow though... I assume the gate valve is there to dial down the flow through the scrubber, right? So between that being dialed down, and the spraybar starting to clog up (as it inevitably will), where does the excess water in the tank drain to? Right now since you only have one scrubber hooked up, your other drain will have to handle any excess flow, but how will things work if you have both scrubbers hooked up? Seems like you'd need a third emergency overflow drain to keep the tank from overflowing.
     
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  16. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    On this tank, because of stand space, I’ll mostlikely only ever have one ATS. But I think I already have at least a partial solution to the scenario you described:
    The return pump chamber in my sump is really small, and houses two return pumps both of which are always running for redundancy and pump water through separate return nozzles. Because of this, if flow into the sump is blocked or limited, my pumps can rapidly pump themselves dry without flooding the DT (I’ve tried. They break suction well before I get to the rim of the DT).
    To reduce the chance of the pumps running dry I’ve wired each pump to a float switch mounted at different levels in my return chamber. This means that if my water level drops more than my ATO can handle (4 gallon capacity) pump number one will automatically shut off, effectively reducing my turnover by half. This should accommodate most blockages until I can get home and unblock them. If it’s a really bad block, then the water in the return chamber will continue to drop until pump number 2 gets shut off and an alarm goes off...

    Not ideal to have no flow to my pump, but it won’t have catastrophic effects on the contents of the tank unless it isn’t dealt with for 24hrs+

    However, I’ve used a threaded plug at the end of the spray bar to make cleaning quick and easy, so I’m hoping that convenience will reduce the likelihood of any of this happening...
     
  17. laverda

    laverda Well-Known Member

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    You could eliminate the spray bar by making it more U shaped tilted on a slight angle so it overflows along the whole length of the bar. In other words cut a slot 1/4-1/2” wide the length of your tube. Heat the mesh a little and fold it over into the slot.
    Also a simpler way to quite it would have been to extend the length of your mesh to the water line. The extra length would give you more surface for algae to grow as well.
    I just remembered it looked like you used plastic sheet instead of mesh. Can I ask why? I think you will find the roughened up mesh works really well.
     
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  18. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Im not sure if I understand what you’re saying with the U shaped replacement for the spray bar. Mine is a straight piRce of pipe with 1/4” hole cut down the middle, with a flexible plastic gasket around it: 512F57D3-3341-4828-8715-3BA83DA14769.jpeg

    I’m curious to see how the plastic sheet compares to mesh for growth, because my theory is that the removable plastic sheet will be easier to maintain/clean. I also wanted to minimize the amount of algae growing of the bottom of the ATS itself since it would be harder to clean.

    Could just be junk tho haha we’ll see!

    AA7446CE-9AF6-4A67-94CF-E6A17DC88337.jpeg
     
  19. laverda

    laverda Well-Known Member

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    Since your spray bar is slotted just rotate it a bit so the water flowed over the edge on to your sheet of plastic like an overflow. That should make it much less likely to get clogged with algae.
     
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  20. Nolan Shinn

    Nolan Shinn Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Ah gotcha, I’ll try that!
     
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