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Getting to grips with scrubbing

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Abecedarian, Jan 27, 2018.

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  1. Abecedarian

    Abecedarian New Member

    I've been trying to get to grips with this ATS thing but I'm struggling, any advice would be appreciated....

    My reef has been set up for about 4 years, I came across scrubbers about 2 yrs ago and DIYd one with a couple CFLs and some baking sheet liner, success was limited.
    I scrapped the DIY and bought a seabreeze unit which I've never really set up properly, the screen wasn't roughed, flow never checked etc.

    I'm now trying to sort it properly because the nuisance algae is now problem algae!

    The tank is 300l including sump, it is fully stocked for fish (only 5 small corals in it at the minute) and I feed 1 cube of frozen per day. I have a Bubble Magus Curve 5 skimmer running which recently has stopped pulling much, if anything, out of the water - I don't know why, I found nothing wrong with it.

    Reading the new guideines which are geared towards feeding, I'm wondering if I should cut down the screen size on my scrubber (approx 10 x 4 inches) or increase feeding to the tank? Or something else?

    When I removed the Seabreeze to service it I noticed that a few of the reds are out on 1 side of the scrubber, is this a problem?

    When I refit the scrubber I intend to plumb it in from the return pump with a tee and 1/4 turn valve to get control of the flow.

    I'd really appreciate some advice.
    Thank you.
  2. Turbo

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

    Screen size is fine, a bit large but you can compensate for that - I would not recommend “feeding the scrubber”

    A few LEDs out is not the end of the world, in your case with the screen being large that offsets it. But, have you contacted the manufacturer about it?

    Hours/day the lights are on?
    Have you roughed up the screen?

    Make sure you don’t clean too aggressively the first 1-2 months - that’s the #1 mistake
  3. Turbo

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

    PS welcome to the forum!!
  4. Abecedarian

    Abecedarian New Member

    Thank you for the quick response!

    So if I continue feeding 1 cube a day on my too-large screen with a few LEDs out I should be ok?
    I can't complain to the manufacturer as it was a plumbing failure giving the lights a salt water shower that caused the problem!

    I've had the lights on (mostly 630nm reds with a few blues) for 10 hrs through the night so far in an attempt to keep pH balanced, what would you suggest I start off at?
    And as for flow???? I really don't know, I just connected it to the drain plumbing into the sump without giving the flow any thought.
    I intend setting it up properly by teeing off from the return pump to properly control the flow when I get back home early next week.

    Thanks again for the help, and the site. I feel confident that I can make a better attempt this time, and hopefully be algae free soon.
  5. Turbo

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

    yeah I would think you would be fine, but if you have problems getting growth to start up, you might break up the photoperiod into 2-3 hours on / 1 hour off, for a total of 9-10 hours. Or, find a way to diffuse the light a bit.

    630nm or 660nm? There is quite a difference in intensity between 630 and 660, 630 is higher in intensity for the same current
    To start out, all you really need/want is enough flow to cover a majority of the screen, without causing "arcing" (which is too much flow). Too much flow can sometimes prevent algae from getting a foothold

    You also might consider adding a mortar coating to your screen, this can help the screen start up faster, then the mortar will detach over time and allow the plastic canvas to mature in smaller section. The canvas takes longer to mature, so the mortar is a short-term sacrificial layer

  6. Abecedarian

    Abecedarian New Member

    Reds are advertised as 630nm, blues are 430 nm.
    What's your opinion on these, are they usable? Or just not ideal? I' m ok with a big of DIY if it's necessary.
    I've just watched the mortar on screen video, seems completely couner intuitive to put that in a tank but I've seen it mentioned before, so if it's tried and tested....

    Thanks again
  7. Turbo

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

    I don't know about in the UK, but over here people make their own rock using mortar plus a couple of other ingredients, then soaking for several weeks to leech out any bad stuff.

    In this case, the mortar is very thin, so a few days of soaking and it's good to go. The trick is to not actually let it "dry" but rather "cure". When you place it between 2 pieces of wax paper & then some damp towels for a few days, it will not dry but it will become fully adhered and remain flexible. You can actually bend the mortar-coated screen around a piece of 6" PVC pipe and it will not crack and flake off. Then you soak it, and it stays adhered during that process. You do have to wait the full 2 days for the cure time (I found this out experimentally)

    The mortar is microscopically very rough and full of pockets, so the algae spores adhere to it quickly. With bare plastic canvas, it takes weeks for this to happen sometimes.

    So the mortar is a solution to this problem. You get growth much faster. The mortar will start to come off as you harvest algae growth, exposing the plastic canvas a bit at a time. These areas of the canvas will then start to mature the old-fashioned way, the difference being A) now it's surrounded by algae, so it populates quicker and B) it's not the whole screen trying to do this all at once

    IMO, not ideal. But I've seen them used on occasion. If you have any way of dimming them, maybe by using a dimmable driver, I would do that. Also, you could replace the bad ones with 660nm Deep Red and then you'll have a mix.

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