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Experiment: Scrubber Benchmark Testing

Discussion in 'Experimental Scrubber Concepts' started by Turbo, Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    It started about 2 years ago with this thread:


    But it's more than just testing the light source. Now, it's about testing the effectiveness of many different aspects of scrubbing:

    Nutrient uptake rates
    Growth types
    Growth rates
    Simulation of limitation
    Light sources
    Light spectra
    Flow rates across screen (waterfall)
    Upflow scrubbers
    Horizontal scrubbers (why not)
    Screen aeration
    pH manipulation
    Whatever else I can think of

    Anyways, the crux of the issue for me has always been the source of nutrients. Trying to create a concoction that simulates the conditions that an Algae Scrubber is normally under seems very complex and seemed to be missing certain aspects that, to me, always seemed to throw a wrench in the process.

    Last night, in a fraction of a second between movements of a toothbrush, going one direction and then shifting to another, I realized how this could be done.

    Start with a large tank, heavily fed, with lots of rock, fish, softies, LPS, etc, and cure up a bank of Algae Scrubber screens. After that, this large tank becomes the source of test water. We will call it the Source Tank (ST).

    Now take the scrubbers off and place them over small testing tanks. These could even be buckets for all that matters. These will be called the Test Tanks(TTs). Drain water from the ST and fill the TTs, replace the ST water with freshly mixed SW (like a PWC). Run the scrubbers on the TTs for a designated length of time and monitor the results.

    Right now I'm focusing on the basic setup that will apply to all test cases. Here are a couple of possible setups.

    1. Have a single event water transfer from ST to TT at the start, and just let the scrubbers run on that for a period of time.
    2. Use a doser to pull (strained/filtered) water from the ST to TT periodically. Must be a good doser. TTs would have some water drained out prior to refilling.
    3. Set up relay and float system that will drain a certain amount of water out and then fill it back up periodically.

    Just a few thoughts on the methodology. I think #2 or #3 would be better than #1, because as nutrients drop, growth could change. It might take some time to find a 'sweet spot' in which infusing the TTs with ST water does not cause a radical shift in growth type. This also may be a reason why #1 would not work well. Running the scrubber in a 5g bucket until the water was "clean" and then dripping in 'dirty' water would in essence dilute it to the point where it would be at a perfect concentration for growth.

    I have been hanging on to several L2 boxes that have minor errors in the acrylic in hopes that I would eventually figure this out. I have about 6 such units set aside.

    I have a basement storage/furnace room which I have recently converted into a fish room. I now need to keep it that way bwhahaha.

    I have over 600 lb of rock, 400 of which is dry base rock, about 200 that was just pulled from a dirty tank, and another 100lb coming in that is cured.

    I have a 120g tank that I have been running the UAS on, and it keeps nutrients N>20 and P>0.20 generally, so that might be my ST. However, most of the stock in this tank it not mine, and I hope to be giving it back soon. That tank also has a weak seam due to initial set of the tank, and I'm acquiring a 75g soon which will take it's place as my personal tank. So this 120 can be moved to the basement and set up as my ST. This room also has RODI and a 100g storage tank.

    So it seems that at least on paper, this experiment might be coming to reality relatively soon.
  2. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    What happened to this? Did you carried out the experiment? What about using fertilizer instead of a heavily feed aquarium?
  3. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    No I never really got anywhere with this. Mainly due to work demands (real job) and family commitments. This year has been especially bad for that.
  4. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    I was on a similar quest that got interrupted

    I was thinking on having a baseline tank but not with fish but fertilized with measurable and specific nutrients...

    Placed the tank in place aling with one of my scrubbers and started dosing phosphoric acid and potassium nitrate... Nothing happened...

    Tried with plant fertilizer but I guess I used too little of it... Then my second baby arrived, between that and real work needed to tear down the experiment.

    My idea was to control nutrient input and make observations on the output and levels on tank but found out in firsta plce that there are many other unmeasurable things that trigger algae growth that this approach would be a dead end.

    After this macna at denver I came back with a new method based on measuring a baseline and comparing to the same water after a week or two...

    Having a heavily fed fish tank is out of question right now so I will try again with plant fertilizer but will add organic and inorganic fetilizers along with some live rock rubble and seed some bacteria...

    Again this is only plans in my head for now, I'll keep you posted...

    After that I will need to get one of your scrubbers and the santamonica ones to make the Ultimate Algae Scrubber Showdown !!! Haha...

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