Skimmer vs. ATS

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Treefer32

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I know this is controversial, anecdotal and wishful thinking. I purchased a turbo aquatics scrubber (L4) and realized after I got it that for my skimmer to operate safely (had a flood happen as a result of trying to fit both in my sump) that I can't have both the scrubber and the skimmer in / on my 75 gallon sump. Even if I repositioned the sump's location, the skimmer would have to go in the middle of the 75 which would put the bubbles too close to the return section and could cause issues. Plus, I'd have difficulty finding safe room for the heaters.

So, unless I get a completely different and larger sump (125 might work) I'm stuck with either using the Diablo DC skimmer or using the scrubber. The skimmer is rated for 500 gallons, but I've had issues keeping it well tuned. either it skims nothing or skims too much and floods. I'm told there's easy ways to shut it off if starts to cause a flood, but that's more effort than I'm willing to do now.

So, I've shut down the skimmer completely and just going to use the scrubber. It's approximately 4 days old. So, it will be a few weeks until it's up to snuff on removing nitrates.

It's a 340 gallon tank, with 75 gallon sump, 2-3 inch sand bed in the display. and right now around 10 fish. 4-5 corals to start with (LPS and some SPS just to test things out).

I've got a mature tang that is close to 7-8 inches and a Rabbit fish that's close to 6-7 inches, the rest are all smaller. Around 1-2 inches each.

So, my question is, for the next couple years, will a turf scrubber (double sided with red LEDs) be sufficient to keep up with nitrate removal and 2-3 30 gallon water changes a month?

Or do I need to find a remote sump that I cycle water into and just have the skimmer in that and have it gravity feed the sump. I could probably setup a 20 gallon rubbermaid bin and have either the skimmer in that or the scrubber flow into that and that flow into the sump, plumbed, but fed by gravity if I must have a skimmer. But, it'll take me a while to get up to 30 fish. my goal is to have around 30-40 fish, and tons of LPS and possibly NPS corals! Maybe a clam or two.

Tank has been operational for about 3 months. I'm open to best practice suggestions?
 
Maxout

Flippers4pups

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Though some reefers don't use a skimmer, a skimmer and a ATS are different animals.

Key points about both:

Skimmer removes proteins and DOC's. Adds O2 to the water.

ATS removes DOC's and excess nutrients through it's growing algae.

Could be possible to remote the ATS and still have the skimmer.

@Floyd R Turbo is your guy, he's the owner of turbo aquatics. He should be the best source of info on how to do this.

Good luck!
 
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Treefer32

Treefer32

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Thanks for the referral! One thing I was wondering is the O2. But, once algae is growing successfully on the screen, wouldn't the algae be adding a ton of O2 to the water that passes over it through photosynthesis or is it no where near the amount of what a skimmer does? I noticed my ph drops to 7.90 at night now and back up to around 8.1. Used to get up the 8.2...

I was thinking the art of growing algae would substitute the skimmer once it gets going. I prefer to believe science / facts, so if a skimmer puts in way more O2 than the scrubber ever could, it makes sense. I could pretty easily place the scrubber on a 10-15 gallon tub, put two 1" bulkheads in and run those down to the sump. I have a work bench that well, I was planning to use to organize supplies I need, but, it may contain the Scrubber water.. I've already got the scrubber plumbed off my return, so, it wouldn't take much to just put the rails on top of a tub, and plumb in some additional plumbing down to the sump. It's a good 2-3 foot drop from the work bench to the sump. Sucks that much room would be taken up, but, allows a skimmer and scrubber to be run at the same time....
 

Scrubber_steve

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Key points about both:

Skimmer removes proteins and DOC's. Adds O2 to the water.

ATS removes DOC's and excess nutrients through it's growing algae.

That's not quite correct.
a skimmer removes dissolved & particulate organic compounds (food - protein). An algae scrubber removes inorganic compounds such nitrogen (NH3/4, NO3) & PO4 through photosynthesis.

A skimmer does not produce O2, & add it too the water. A skimmer injects >>air molecules<< into the water, & that could potentially include air within the home that has co2 possibly as high as 2,000 ppm (this all depends on how you set up the air intake - outside fresh air, or co2 scrubber).

Only photosynthesis produces O2 from CO2, & this is how an algae scrubber works. A scrubber oxygenates the water.

So yes they certainly are different animals, performing different functions.

I would go the scrubber & use GAC to control DOC.
 
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Treefer32

Treefer32

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Yeah, I think I'm going to run with the scrubber. Nutrients may build up for a few weeks until the scrubber picks up the slack, but, the extra - unskimmed nutrients should fuel faster algae growth in the scrubber. I had slime algae as of today across much of the canvas, and that's with 3 days of lights... So, within 2 weeks I'm hoping that builds up and 3-4 weeks I have thick hair algae. With only 10 fish in 400 gallons of system water, I would think I'd be able to extract more nutrients than are put in eventually.
 
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