1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

fit questions

Discussion in 'Pre-Sales Q&A' started by fit, Dec 11, 2012.

Welcome to Algae Scrubbing Join our community today
  1. Ok Bud. I can afford one of these now. But please help me choose which one is the most appropriate. I don't see where you've listed the cubes per day ranges for each scrubber version.

    I have a 55ga with a 15 ga sump/refugium. perhaps 75 lbs of live rock. Right now I have 10 fish that add up to about 20 inches in total. I would like to add much more fish. I haven't yet because I have no money, no protein skimmer yet and no ATS. I never do any water changes. Not for at least a year. I have cheato in my refugium that grows like crazy. It doubles say every month and I harvest say half every month or whenever I notice it completely overrunning my sump. Some other algae also grows in the sump. But mostly cheato. I have two yellowish cfls with integrated reflectors 10" above the cheato. They come on from abut 10 am till about 11 pm every day. Haven't changed those bulbs for at least a year and a half. They are 120W each equivalent.

    I have just hooked up my new used Eheim 1260 as my return, and its chocked down on the output so that my overflow can handle the inflow from the Eheim 1260. For years before this I was using a small aqueon pump, perhaps 400ga.hr? as my return. At my last service I noticed that my aqueon has a broken ceramic shaft. I may have broken it when I opened it up, but it still runs seemingly normally even with the broken shaft. Planning to tee my Eheim 1260 off to feed the ATF which I plan to place above my DT to feed copepodsto the the DT. Above my sump would be nicer because it would be hidden, but if there is benefit to have it above the DT then I want to do that.

    I feed about 2 and a half cubes a day. Probably overfeed a bit. I have some red algae on my rocks in a few places (I'm fine with that) and my rear wall I leave uncleaned and it's a solid wall of green fuzzy algae that is perhaps 1/16 to 1/8 thick, and under that is some coraline algae. One of my fish is a scooter blenny. He seems happy enough. I don't think its fat though. My rocks have a slight yellow/green tinge to them that I am ok with.

    One day I would love to change my tank to perhaps a 40 breeder or a 75. Something with more than 12 inches front to back. Perhaps a 100. I would like to get a scrubber model that could handle as big a variation as possible. I understand I can adapt a specific scrubber to my system by changing things like the cleaning schedule, scrubber light periods, scrubber water-flow rate, amount of feeding, etc to control the effectiveness of a particular scrubber. Would a L3 work on my system as it comprises today? Would an L4 work?

    I want to grow lots of SPS in the future also. Right now I have a few easy SPS and a medium amount of LPS. My SPS is growing, but slowly. Actually I added kalkwasser as my top off about 6 months ago. It did start to speed things up. Before I was only using my RODI water to top off. I am thinking about starting to dose a little strontium, iodine, molybdenum, perhaps some other trace elements.

    When I did check PO4, about 6 months ago, I think it was in the 0.25 to 0.5 ppm range with Salifert, but it was extremely difficult for me to tell using that test kit. So my PO4 I think is probably still very high. My pH is 8.2 to 8.4, Ca is 475, Mg is good, dKh is 10. Ammonia is undetectable down to at least 0.02ppm. Don't know about my nitrites or my nitrates, but 6 months ago when I checked the nitrites were undetectable and the nitrates ranged from undetectable to perhaps 5 or 10 ppm over short periods of time. I should probably visit my LFS with a sample and get them to test PO4 and the nitrates for me.

    If I had more time I would have made this question much shorter.
  2. Turbo

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

    Fit! Man, I had you on my "not ready" list for 6 months! Good to see ya and thanks for registering

    Just for clarity, the Lx number is the cubes/day, at least according to the feeding based sizing guideline. L2 = 24 sq in = 2 cubes/day. L3 = 36 sq in = 3 cubes/day. L4 = 48 sq in = 4 cubes/day. They're all actually a smidge larger than that.

    They are all illuminated such that they "conform" to the high-light guideline, meaning you only need to run the lights for 9 hours/day to get that capacity. You can run them longer as long as you don't burn the algae (turn it yellow - meaning is it starved for nutrients). I have yet to have someone attempt to "max it out", but in theory it could handle much more than x cubes/day, as many as double (at the most). But again this is all in theory. It can for sure handle it's rating.

    As for flow requirements, the L2 would need 210 GPH, L3 about 320, and L4 about 450. So with your Eheim 1260 you're talking about 600-650 GPH at zero head, which means much less than that at 3 or 4 feet. Probably would want to measure that - measure the return flow to the sump or something.

    For mounting location, if you are going for adding pods to the tank, top of tank is ideal. The Loc-Line "B" option is specifically designed for setting directly on top of the tank. You can also mount it above the tank, like on a shelf or something, and use the gate valve and hard-pipe a return line, and instead of the Uniseal on the side I would include a modified 1' ABS bulkhead and a modified false bottom (to account for the space inside the box taken up by the bulkhead flange). However, you can just make a refugium area in the sump and occasionally scoop out pods and 'feed' them to the display tank.

    I would add more but right now my mind it kind of shot. Hope that at least answers some questions, I'm sure you'll have a few more now!

    Well it sounds like your tank has plenty of bio-load. Going 6 months w/o testing N, it could be anywhere. However with the chaeto and GHA in the DT it's probably kept in check, and if not, the animals have adapted to it for sure.

    As far as versatility goes, the L4 is the most versatile I would say, because you can re-wire it to run as an L2, essentially. It comes wired with one driver per side, but you can swap a few wires and make each side half-and-half. Then you could seal off 1/2 of the pipe and you've got an L2 that's just really big. Then, if you need more capacity, you just wire up the second side and off you go. The problem then becomes: I have no L4s available - and my CNC shop is kind of stalled out.

    I do have plenty of parts for L3s, including one that is wrapped up and ready to ship as soon as someone pays for it, and it's at the promotional price. Technically you could reduce the screen size on an L3 and hotwire a few LED to make it cover a smaller area initially.
  3. Great answer Bud. However I now have a few more questions. I think I want the Loc-Line "B" option. However if I use a shelf and the gate valve and hard-pipe return, would that return to the DT (I assume) have to be a straight vertical shot, or could it have say two 90° ?

    Also, what is the advantage for me with a 1" ABS bulkhead instead of the uniseal? Is this tied in with "remote operation"? What is this "remote operation". And what has this to do with using the loc line option vs the gate valve option?

    BTW, according to my LFS, my phosphates are between 0 and 0.25, and my nitrates and nitrates are both undetectable.
  4. Turbo

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

    If you have the scrubber located directly about the tank then neither the gate valve drain or side Uniseal are an issue. The Uniseal may not completely seal 100%, there may be a slight drip now and then, and you may have some salt creep over time. So if that is above the tank or over a sump, no biggie.

    What I meant by "remote operation" is that you could run this unit sitting on a table or shelf away from the tank/sump. If you do that, then you want to make 100% sure that all holes are sealed via bulkhead and all plumbing is either threaded and teflon sealed (tape or paste) or glued, or both, so that you don't have leaks. This means that a 1" bulkhead would be needed for the side/secondary/emergency drain hole. So yes, the 1" bulkhead is tied to this "remote operation" option. It has nothing to do with loc-line vs gate valve, that's a separate but related issue.

    As for the double-90 question, with a 'tuned' pipe, you want to avoid long horizontal runs and 90s all together, because this tends to prevent the line from flushing all the air out and may impede the silent and bubble free operation, and may reduce the drain flow capacity. Instead, you would just use 45s. If I were to do this, I would do the plumbing in this order, from top to bottom (scrubber to tank):

    Threaded adapter (threaded to slip)
    pipe section
    Union (slip x slip)
    pipe section
    pipe section
    pipe section
    gate valve
    pipe section

    So you would solvent weld each pipe section on either side, then you have a union so you can easily remove the whole drain assembly via the union without having to remove the scrubber from the shelf. Having the union is going to help greatly with installation. But you really don't "need" it, you can assemble everything and then loosen the bulkhead nut and rotate the whole assembly to where you need it. I'm a big fan of unions though.

    Let me know if that doesn't make sense.
  5. Ok. I got my L3 hooked up and running "remotely". This is a really impressive machine. Thank you. Do you have a link I could use that can walk me through the light cycles and water flow? I am running this off my main return pump and have it dialed in to what I think is the right flow. Getting a nice sheet of water of the bottom of almost all of the screen. Bottom of the screen sitting in a bit of water.
  6. Turbo

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

    If you click on the Articles tab at the top of each page, I have the Algae Scrubber Basics article posted (quick cut & paste version, I need to clean it up) and the flow rate is discussed there, as well as the light cycles, in general.

    As far as for the L series, I have had people try many different light cycles to get their screen started, ranging from on for 20+ hours/day for the first 2 weeks, down to 4 hours/day, sometimes even splitting up the photo period into 2x 2 hour blocks. I think this was really only needed for the Rev 1 L2, which had a single full power blue in the middle. When I added the second blue and then made them 1/2 power, this seemed to have negated the need to split up the photo period.

    Sorry for the tangent - really meant for anyone reading this.

    But to answer your question, I would start with a 8 or 9 hours/day ON time, in one block of time, reverse from the tank lights. If you want to split up the photoperiod, you can, but the only reason for that would be if you wanted to maintain photosynthesis to increase O2 production and maintain pH while the display tank lights are off.

    If you seem to have trouble getting algae to start growing after 2 weeks, split up the photoperiod into 2 hour blocks with 1 hour in between.

    If you are getting algae growth but it is dark and gooey, increase the photoperiod to 10-12 hours/day. After a week of that, if it's still dark, go to 16 hours/day. You can keep increasing the photoperiod until you start to get yellowish growth. I would not exceed 22 hours per day of "ON" time though.
  7. Turbo

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

    As for the flow rate - initially, IMO, it really doesn't matter much. I would actually opt for a slightly lower flow rate initially. As long as the entire screen is getting water coverage, you're good. Once the screen has a slimy coating on it and you are getting any kind of stringy growth, start increasing the flow a little bit each week. Once you get good growth that you need to scrape off, crank the flow as much as the bottom drain can handle.

    By the way, I do have the modified false bottom and 1" bulkhead for you - I'll send that ASAP.
  8. Not finding the Articles tab at the top of each tab.

    I've pretty much had my L3 lights on 14 hours a day for the last 4 days and have a coloring of most of the screen. Its hard to say, but its brown/green. However, at the top, exiting from the slot, I see a few (perhaps 3), stands of green algae, almost a half inch long. I've had it on the same timer that runs my refugium, and I was hesitant to change the timing of that. Do you recommend I change the time to 9 hours? Shut down my refugium? Keep going till I get more data?

    When do you recommend I do my first fresh water rinse?
  9. Turbo

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

    Very top of the page below the main Turbo's Aquatics logo is the Nav Bar. The tabs on this page are Forums, Articles, Recent Posts, Products.

    Every 7 days, no matter what, I would take the screen out and clean the top edge with the black bristled brush, and clean the slot as well. You can do this with the brush or with a paper towel or rag. I like the microfiber cloths, you can fold it a couple times and push into the slot, then swipe back and forth and this will clean the algae that has stuck to the edge of the slot. This will keep the flow even. Algae may tend to grow in the slot at the junction, and this is fine, as long as it doesn't block or clog the slot.

    As far as a FW rinse, you can do that every 7 days as well, if you have little to no growth, I might skip it. But only during the curing period. If you have a low-growth week after several months, you need to rinse it to kill the baby copepods who eat the algae and cause detachment (when they area allowed to go out of control)
  10. Thank you Bud. FYI, in both IE and Chrome, I have to actually logout to see the Articles tab. If I try to see the articles when I am logged in by pasting the URL I get when I am loged out, I get a message from turbosaquatics saying I do not have permission to see that page. The other tabs, Forum, Recent Posts, and Products, are always visible and available.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  11. Turbo

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

    Wow, good catch - I figured out that it is tied to the special user group for customers that I created. I am checking into this - sorry for the confusion!!
  12. Turbo

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

    Fixed it. Sorry about that. I had created the usergroup but I didn't know that there was a separate permissions section for the CMS (content management system) which controls access and rights to articles.
  13. HI Bud. Do you know what effect, if any, carbon dosing has on the scrubber? I top off with vinegar enhanced kalkwasser. I think this may have been inhibiting algae growth. I've had almost no success so far growing algae on my screen. What I though was the beginning of growth never progressed. I was messing around with the photo-period. I kept having to clean my aquarium to see the critters and the rocks and the corals, so I couldn't figure out why the algae was being repulsed by my scrubber. I finally realized two days ago, that there was a steady growth of a film alright on the aquarium walls, but it wasn't necessarily algae because it wasn't green. Milky and translucent and brown. Bacteria! - duh. I indirectly reduced the vinegar, perhaps 5 fold, and I am seeing a huge ramp up of what I hope to be green algae on the screen. And I am seeing green on the aquarium walls.
  14. Turbo

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

    I would think excess carbon dosing during screen break-in would tend to prevent growth from starting. I believe this is the case with your system.

    The issue is that you are providing a food source to the bacteria, and they are doing the job right now. When you reduce their source, you will likely get a die-off and a release of nutrients. This would then be taken up by algae, both on your scrubber (which is not cured, not at capacity) and on the surfaces of the tank. Gradual changes are needed to make sure you don't 'shock' the system. But, as long as your scrubber growth has started to pick up, this means you are account for that.

    So do you dissolve your kalk powder in vineger first, or do you just add vinegar to your mixed kalkwasser?
  15. I add vinegar to the rodi, then the kalk powder. Is that a good way do you know?

    I still have my refugium growing cheato so shock might not be as bad. But the growth on the screen is accelerating. A lot along the borders of the screen. Very little in the middle. Starting to get splashing onto the glass inside the scrubber. High pressure. I will clean the slot if it gets worse and doesn't clear on its own.
  16. Turbo

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

    Dissolve the kalk powder in the vinegar first. There are a bunch of articles on this. The purpose of this is to release the calcium availability of the kalk powder. If you don't need additional calcium, then it really doesn't matter I don't think. There are other benefits too. Long thread somewhere on the scrubber site about it.

    Bare screen should fill in over time. Generally that indicates too long of a photoperiod compared to nutrients available, but you have lots of competition for nutrients.

    If you're getting spray, take the screen out and scrub the top edge only, and clean the slot. Using a bunched up paper towel or microfiber cloth to clean the slot helps.
  17. Thanks for the kalk help. Really appreciate it. I'll be using much less vinegar for a little bit. Dramatic response on algae on the screen. Starting to fill in from the sides towards the middle now. The algae is growing through the gooey bacterial film on the screen. Actual thick algae on the extreme bottom 1/4 " of the screen in part. That part normally sitting in the water on the false bottom.
  18. Having great difficulty in getting turf to grow on my screen. Please help if you can. I have been running without kalk or vinegar for the last 2 weeks. Dramatic improvement in algae growth in the tank and on the bottom edge of the screen. A little growth on the edges of the screen and on the top with increases in the corners. But nothing in the middle. The bottom 1/2" of the screen has thicker turf algae and this increases up the screen towards the edges in a curve so that at the edges there is 1 to 1.5" of thick turf algae I was running without the false bottom, and the algae had formed all the way to the bottom of the L3. I pulled those off yesterday. Definitely algae I think the LED's may be too bright. I can measure current through the LED's or put in some kind of neutral density filter or diffuser? A piece of paper perhaps? I am running at 9 hours per day. I am going to start up the kalk again unless you think this will prevent algae growing. i will not be adding any vinegar until I get this sorted out.
  19. Turbo

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

    Well I would not have stopped using Kalk, that has nothing to do with inhibiting growth. Only the vinegar, and I would have just cut it in half, then in half again if you were not getting results. So definitely add the kalk back in, without that I'm guessing your system will go out of whack, which you doing want.

    The screen will fill in. Remember it can take up to 6 weeks for full growth. You can't change the current, the drivers are fixed current. That is not the issue. You just need time. You've been running this 5 weeks now but the carbon dosing may have slowed that down for the first 3 weeks. Slow adjustments should be made, don't just stop doing something cold turkey.

    The filling in from the edges does indicate that the algae that is growing is adverse to intense light. This can be the case for a while, but things usually end up adapting over time. To help the center grow in, take black electrical tape and cut a square and place it on the diffuser right in front of each blue LED. This will knock down the intensity of the blue significantly and allow the screen to fill in while still getting a blue component.

    I would actually bring back the vinegar at about 1/4 of the level you were previously dosing, just to bring the system back a little closer to what you were doing prior to quitting that. Removing a food source for the bacteria may result in that colony no longer being supported at it's level it is used to, which means a die off and potentially a mini-cycle.

    You can run without the false bottom if you want to, but when the growth gets thicker and longer, you will risk clogging the drain. The false bottom also allows the water to 'back up' into the box when the algae growth gets thick enough, meaning the algae will be floating in a pool of water (which is actually rapidly moving, it just doesn't look like it) and that is the basis of 3D growth - so it does serve many functions and I recommend always using it.

    Hope that helps, just remember - small changes, and give it time. Each system is different, so don't get frustrated if one step doesn't work - just go to the next step. Eventually, it will ramp up.
  20. Thank you very much again bud. Two weeks ago I think I did have a mini die off when I cut the vinegar abruptly. Witin a very short amount of time I saw black "growth" on some of the rocks that I suspect was translucent, or rock colored, bacteria that suddenly died. I'll immediately implement the saturated kalkwasser solution as my top off and monitor Ca and alk and Ph for a day or three, then I'll start slowly ramping up the vinegar and commensurate saturation concentration level of CaOH, to about 1/4 what I was doing before. I'll put the tape over the blues right away.

Share This Page