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Internal, bubble-less, oddly-lit scrubby scrub

Discussion in 'Experimental Scrubber Concepts' started by jedimasterben, Aug 23, 2014.

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  1. Hey guys. So my scrubber is definitely atypical.

    A bit of background first. My first scrubber was a waterfall version. The screen was large, 12"x8", and powered by a Maxijet 1200, lit on one side by a custom LED array (also an odd combination, more on that later) and the other by a cool white 23w CFL. The LED choice was not 'recommended', but were simply things I had leftover from my various builds and tests. It consisted of four generic 660nm deep red, four generic 450nm royal blue, four generic 405nm violet, and two 5000K Rebel ES whites. Growth could only be called 'immense'.



    CFL side

    LED side

    Very puffy.

    So anyway, time goes on, and a few months later, I got scared by some information that I did not understand at a time and reinstated skimming as my sole nutrient export. After that time, despite my best efforts, I was wholly unable to get algae to grow on a screen. I changed the sump from a 40 breeder to a 29g, and got a new Reef Octopus NWB150 skimmer. I attempted several times to grow a scrubber, both in the 40 and 29 sumps. I left the skimmer off for weeks, fed like a madman (which I already was doing), but no growth at all. So I let it go for a while.

    A few months back, I purchase a Trigger Systems Ruby 30S sump, which replaced the 29g tank I'd been using up to that point. I now had three chambers, and was determined to get a scrubber going. I didn't want a waterfall scrubber, as I could never get it to be as quiet as I wanted, so I took a sheet of cross-stitch, cut it to fit the center chamber, and have it suspended off of the side using suction cups for super easy removal. I have no aeration, simply a Koralia 4 powerhead in that chamber, both to give more flow to the scrubber and to keep detritus in suspension, which is always a problem for those running no mechanical filtration. The light is simply sitting on the floor of the stand, giving about 8" between the acrylic and the LEDs, like so. They are at a 45° angle to the acrylic both to reduce light hitting the screen while growing in and to keep algae growth on everything else to a minimum until I can figure out a solution.


    The light is roughly the same as my original, though there are no 'generic' LEDs to be found - all LEDs are Philips Rebel and Rebel ES, along with LEDgroupbuy 430nm hyper violet. PAR from the light is ~60% more than the original one using the knockoff LEDs (let this be a testament to those trying to decide to buy eBay chips or pay literally the $10-20 more and go with better chips).

    The sump was installed May 29th, and the scrubber screen was roughed up and put in that weekend.

    Finally in July, I started to see some sludge growing. This was taken July 13th.

    After that cleaning, the scrubber stayed pretty clean. I had one spot that was growing true turf algae (you can see it above, not normal hair algae), but the rest just had diatoms. Until now :)


    That was taken yesterday. Growth was thick and heavy, just like I remembered it being! There was also some growth on the unlit side of the screen, but I left it and some patches of algae so that it can regrow faster. Here's hoping that the next batch of algae doesn't take a month and a half to show up!

    Anyhoo, I'm pretty stoked now that I can finally grow algae on a screen again, and felt I should share! :)

    If anyone has any questions on the scrubber, my system, or LEDs in general, I'm happy to help out.
  2. Turbo

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

    Great to see you here @jedimasterben!

    I would say your main issue with the first waterfall scrubber was flow, an MJ1200 has horrible flow characteristics. I would have put a Mag5 or Rio 2100 on the screen, it would have exploded.

    But it's hard to argue with the growth you are getting, good build!
  3. No, the first and second iterations of the scrubber used the Maxijet, and you can see the results in pictures 3-5.

    At some point I am going to change the LED array. I am going to remove the warm white Rebel ES and instead use two Rebel ES lime. I may remove one each of royal blue and violet for lime, as well.
  4. Turbo

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

    That's what I'm saying, after you were "scared off" and put the skimmer on and then put the scrubber back on and couldn't get growth - that is likely due to inadequate flow. My thought process here is that you reduced the nutrients by running the skimmer so this was not leaving much for the scrubber, then combine that with a very low flow rate and you might have been photosaturating anything that was trying to grow. You had the right amount of light and flow compared to nutrients in the first iteration, but the second one you cut out a lot of the nutrients. Unless I didn't understand something....
  5. I did try and alleviate any nutrient issues by turning off the skimmer, doubling feeding, etc, but I couldn't get anything other than sludge. Everything was the same as before, I had kept the old scrubber screen/PVC contraption. I did forget to mention that later on I put a Mag5 pump on it with the same results (and trying the same thing as before, turning the skimmer off, increasing feeding, etc).

    Also, FWIW, I was using the Cobalt MJ1200, not the crappy Marineland clone. :)

    At any rate, have you looked into the Rebel ES lime? I know that algae reflects a lot of green light, but there are accessory pigments that absorb in green, it's also possible that they could help in other ways than just purely growth. Something interesting to test out, anyway. They peak at around 567nm and have a spectral half-width of ~100nm. Really badass LEDs, Philips knocked it out of the park. Now to just get to come up with a phosphor-converted, wide-spectrum blue :)
  6. Turbo

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

    Original Maxijet (pre-buyout) and cobalt version both are good only for a 5" wide screen, and only at first. Once you get growth and there is back pressure the head loss goes in the toilet

    I have not tried/seen the limes you are talking about. I'd be interested to see what you find out. I get tons of growth on a consistent basis with just reds and blues.
  7. I guess my 'saving grace' is that pressure was constant since I was not using a cut slot. Water sprayed down from holes drilled in the PVC, and algae never made it up to their due to masking the top couple of inches. The clear plastic also helped distribute the water from there across the algae.

    Here's a thread of my review of lime: http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/346477-luxeon-rebel-es-lime-pics-and-par/ A very interesting LED. Extremely high flux and efficiency (almost 200lm/w) and extremely bright to the eye without being overbearing like green LEDs.
  8. Turbo

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

    200 lumens/watt? Wow.
  9. Yep, those are real-world numbers, too. Roughly 200lm/w at 350mA, 185lm/w at 700mA. Nearing 500lm total at 1A.
  10. This is about three weeks of growth, with a twist.


    The twist is that almost all of that growth came in about four days before the pics. I had a, uh, miscalculation, on potassium dosing. I originally thought I had dosed 34ppm on Saturday, 20ppm on Monday, and then on Wednesday I was dosing around 108ppm as a test to see what happens with a massive potassium chloride/sulfate dose, if there are any negatives to it. Well, I didn't calculate it correctly. Saturday's dose was 108ppm, Monday's 65ppm, and Wednesday's 325ppm. My original potassium level should have been around 400ppm, so assuming that, my current level is around 900ppm, a little over twice NSW levels.

    There was a bit of fallout from the major dose - immediately amphipods died by the hundreds, my fish were having a field day! The next day, however, I noticed that I had lost the majority of my astrea, cerith, nassarius, and stomatella snails, in addition to a brittle star, a serpent star, my two year old hawkwing conch, a chromis, and two springeri damsels. No coral or anemone death occured. If anything, my maxi mini anemones actually look better.

    I'm not sure if the scrubber growth was due to the significant increase in potassium or if it was due to the dieoff that occurred. I pulled out the larger snails on Saturday, but nothing else. No water changes or anything, and my protein skimmer didn't have an overly large amount of skimmate collected.
  11. Turbo

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

    Ugh, oops!!
  12. Yeah lol. Wasn't too horrible, though.
  13. Turbo

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

    What were you dosing with? Was it Brightwell Potassion-P?
  14. Yes, that's what I was using.
  15. Turbo

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

    You can thank Chris Brightwell. I pointed out a label error to him years ago and they still haven't fixed that. It results in triple-strength solutions. I'll see if I can dig up the info.

    I thought I had posted that on here or RC but either way I need to dig it up.
  16. That would be awesome. So maybe I increased potassium by 900ppm. Huzzah!

    For what it's worth, the miscalculations were because of me and math not being great friends lol
  17. Ok, I found your post on RC. I dosed by weight and used that as my calculation (1g giving 129ppm to 1 gallon water), so the numbers above would be correct, just their stock solution stuff is off.
  18. Turbo

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

    Yes, the quick version is that this (label)

    is wrong. 1 teaspoon equals 7.5, not 5 g. So mixing 2 teaspoons is 15g, resulting in a stock solution in which 1 mL raises 1 US Gallon of water by 5.1ppm. The reference of 1g raising 1 gal by 129 ppm is actually correct.
  19. Hmm. I measure one tablespoon (which should be three teaspoons) as being exactly 15.1 grams in weight according to a calibrated scale.
  20. Turbo

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

    I used a digital scale as well and I recall getting 15g for 2 tsp, if you get 15g for 3 tsp that's still double strength.

    Al I remember for sure is that it was 3x strength. I'll have to check it again as well.

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