Introducing the new Turbo Algae Scrubber! (Rev 4)

Discussion in 'Turbo's Aquatics' started by Floyd R Turbo, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    The "audio taper" is a specific type of potentiometer used in audio equipment. It has a much more linear resistance chart (others are not). But what matters here is that this potentiometer works opposite of logic - turning it clockwise actually decreases the intensity.

    When I put a unit together, the 12 o'clock position is always 100%, and that is with the knob turned all the way counter-clockwise. At least, it should be. Unless I was really off my game that day, but I'm pretty adament about that knob position :)

    So if you turn it all the way left/counterclockwise, it should be maximum intensity. Turn all the way right/clockwise and you should be at 11 o'clock and that would be about 10% intensity. It's rare that you would ever need to run the LEDs at anything less than about 40-50%, which is the 6 o'clock position. In some cases, it's appropriate. I plan on going into depth about this eventually.

    So for anyone running the scrubber at the initial 6 o'clock position for 9 hours/day, if that's working for you, great! But after you get initial growth, you typically want to bump up the intensity to 4 or 5 o'clock as soon as you have growth that covers most of the screen (usually this is a couple of weeks but it depends on the individual system)

    Then after you are at 4 o'clock for at least one "harvest" you can add hours, go to 10-12. After that, it's dependent on your system. I recommend alternating increasing intensity and duration; so you might do something like:

    Start at 6 o'clock for 9 hrs/day
    After 1-2 weeks (and growth covering screen) go to 4 o'clock
    +1 week, duration to 12 hours
    +1 week, intensity to 3 o'clock
    +2 harvest cycles, duration to 14-16 hours (harvest cycle is as needed, 7-14 days, 2 cycles just to be sure that the growth does not revert)
    +1 harvest cycle, intensity to 2 o'clock (only if nutrients are available - this means a large tank with measurable nutrients or a small tank with elevated, or any tank with an algae issue)

    At this point you have to start watching the growth to make sure the intensity isn't too much. You can generally increase duration pretty long at a given intensity level. It's all about balance. Intensity relies on continuous (instantaneous) nutrient delivery to be able to sustain that level of photosynthetic production, so rapidly increasing it might mean you shoot past the balance point. If you're at a stable point and you increase the duration, that's not going to shoot you past that instantaneous balance point - but it might mean that your nutrients could decrease over time in general and the balance point could shift such that the scrubber is operating past that balance point, but that takes time to occur.

    Hope that makes sense. So @b4tn what you're looking at it that you are likely operating the scrubber well below the set-point for your system, and have been for a while. But, you have a mature scrubber, so you don't have to worry as much about creeping up on that set point. You can jump to the 4 o'clock position and 12 hrs/day, no problem, IMO. Then give it about 4-5 days and verify that your growth is coming along well (i.e. no new bare spots on the screen, no white spots where algae has died off right in front of one of the LEDs, etc). If everything looks good, then bump the intensity up to 3 o'clock and the hours to 16. Give it an additional 6-7 days to grow (so 10-11 days total).

    Then do a partial cleaning. Only remove about 50% of the growth, you can use the scraper, but "drag" it, instead of "chiseling" with it. Then put it back in at the same 3 o'clock / 16 hrs. Give it 3-5 days to grow, verify it's growing OK still. If it is, then (this is specific to your tank) jump to 2 o'clock and 20 hours. Now leave it here for another 10 days (14 days of total growth period)

    Hopefully by this point, your tank algae will have taken a beating. You can potentially get more aggressive with the ramp-up, but just pay attention to the growth to make sure you don't skyrocket past the balance point.
     

  2. b4tn

    b4tn Well-Known Member

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    Makes perfect sense now. Thanks guys!
     
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  3. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Hi guys, I plan on using a CaRx for my system fed by a Watson Marlow peristaltic pump for precise effluent control.

    I’ve seen high end chaeto reactors like Pax Bellum offer an attachment for a CaRx to feed into the algae reactor. The purpose being to increase algae growth and increasing pH by feeding CO2 saturated effluent into the algae chamber.

    So I was thinking about plumbing my L2 in such a way that the CaRx effluent line feeds my ATS. I plan on using a 3/4” tee with a 3/4” to 1/4” reducing bushing to a 1/4” John Guest quick connect fitting. This will be plumbed after the pump as to avoid calcium buildup in the pump.

    I figure the high CO2 in the effluent may help the algae growth and the pH of the effluent would be increased due to the exposure to air and photosynthesis in the growth chamber.

    Anybody have any thoughts on this... good or bad?
     
  4. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    That’s fine, as long as you can get enough flow to the scrubber, around 150-200 GPH generally. This might be difficult with a 1/4” restriction. Actually it’s probably not feasible

    The issue is you’re fixing the flow to one or the other device. Alternatively you can out the scrubber pump right next to the calcium reactor effluent.
     
  5. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    The scrubber will be fed by a Rio 1100 dialed to the proper 200 ish gph as required by the L2. Then from the plumbing from to pump to the spray bar, I will have the 3/4” pvc tee where the effluent line will feed into the tee. So it really wouldn’t be a restriction from the pump to the spraybar. Rather the restriction is to plumb the 1/4” effluent line into the plumbing of the feed pump to spraybar.
     
  6. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Oh I get you now - you're feeding the output of the CaRx into the feed line for the scrubber, not feeding the scrubber from the CaRx effluent exclusively. I think that will work except you would have to overcome the backpressure from the Rio 1100 feeding the scrubber, which will to a small extent want to push flow backwards through the CaRx. I say to a small extent because the path of least resistance at that point (if the T is on the level with the slot pipe) is to the screen via the 3/4" pipe, not through the 1/4" tube back to the CaRx. But there will be some backpressure I would think, hard to say how much
     
  7. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Cool! If I plan to use the Watson Marlow to pull from the reactor (not push into it), do you think I could minimize back pressure by minimizing the length of RO tubing from the Watson Marlow to the L2? Essentially the peri pump will be pushing effluent into the ATS using a very short run of tubing.

    I have a Watson Marlow 505s, an industrial grade variable speed continuous duty peri pump. One of the reasons I’m pulling as opposed to pushing from the CaRx is because of the great pressure these peri pumps can exert on a CaRx potentially compromising seals causing leaks.

    Sorry for all the questions... I’m doing some serious mental gymnastics on this new set up! :D
     
  8. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Length of tubing has little to do with static/head pressure compared to diameter. But the difference here is the pump type, a mag driven pump vs pertistatic (is that what “peri” means?)...the latter would have no problem maintaining flow in this situation
     
  9. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Awesome... Thanks! Yes, I’ll be using an industrial use peristaltic pump.
     
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  10. Maacc

    Maacc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Here's two weeks of growth. I think it's going well. IMG_20180120_084229.jpg
     
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  11. b4tn

    b4tn Well-Known Member

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    I am treating my display right now with Fluconazole. I took my scrubber offline and started running GFO instead. I didnt want to have to restart my screen so I put it in a holding tank that I am ghost feeding daily. Should this survive for a month or two?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Maacc

    Maacc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I would think that it would be fine as long as as it had nutrients to grow.
     
  13. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Should be fine, if you are dialing the scrubber back to "survival" mode, you will want to run lower intensity, like 6-8 o'clock, and probably for about 9 hours or so. Ideally you want to be feeding a fish in there so that more diverse waste is created, but for the short term, it's not likely to die off completely.
     
  14. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    How do you recondition a screen after complete die off? My screen has been stored wet in a ziplock bag, but it’s been months with no lights. Do I have to treat it in any particular way when I start it up again?
     
  15. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    That depends a bit on the type of die-off you had.

    If you just took it offline & bagged the screen, soak in tap water for a day (which has some chlorine in it) and then RODI for a day and you should be good to go

    If you baked the algae on the screen (pump failure with lights on) then you need to vinegar soak and scrub it down to get rid of any caked-on white crusty stuff. You can do this for the case above also.

    If you have any mortar left on the screen (some will usually stay embedded in the plastic) then that will usually all get removed when scrubbing. The mortar is pretty easy to apply

    Skip t0 6:37
     
  16. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Another random question... I have read that dosing iron can be beneficial for growing chaeto in refugiums and algae reactors. Is iron dosing beneficial for GHA growth in algae scrubbers as well?
     
  17. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Yes, you can dose iron in a reef tank relatively heavily, from what I understand. Do a bit of your own research but from what I recall, Iron is highly reactive and gets used up almost immediately as it hits the water column. @jason2459 has a thread you might find interesting https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/diy-the-diy-fe-ferrous-citrate-supplement.307168/

    I know that Bryan / Santa Monica did some experimentation way back in the day where he was dumping progressively higher and higher amounts of iron into his tank (I think a 90g) and IIRC it was a crazy amount, like a full gallon of liquid iron supplement (might have been Kent Iron & Manganese, can't recall exactly) and the scrubber just took it all up. Either that or it might have been the 1 gallon dose that crashed the system.

    But the point is that yes, you can dose iron and it does help algae growth. My experience was that was sort of akin to "feeding the scrubber". I tried it for a bit, growth got nice and thick green, and when I stopped, it slowed a bit but the net result on the tank was the same - the scrubber did great either way.

    IMO it's a possible short-term solution to kick-starting your scrubber growth - IF you are having difficulty getting growth to start. Sort of a troubleshooting tool, the thought being that if you can't grow algae with iron supplementation, something else is wrong. But you ideally should not need to constantly feed iron just to keep algae growing because 1) you shouldn't judge the success of your scrubber by how much it grows, but rather by whether or not it's doing it's job and your tank looks good / N&P are in control and 2) it can be expensive or complicated
     
  18. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Thanks for the info and link, much appreciated! Any timeframe on the availability or f your extruded PVC mounting bars? :D
     
  19. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Super Duper Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor Article Contributor

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    Replied to your support ticket
     
  20. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Sweet! :D
     
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