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My LED scrubber! :D

Discussion in 'Algae Scrubber DIY' started by RickCranium, Oct 3, 2014.

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  1. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    Out with the old SM100 clone I built awhile back.

    And in with a new pile of plastic! :D The website I used cuts things to spec so that was some hassle saved.


    Bought a table saw just for the occasion! I drilled out 1/8" grooves in the plastic so the sides would stay straight and I used mirrored plexiglass on the ends to make the light bounce around a bit. Here's the finished product.


    Here it is in the sump.

    And all lit up with water flowing down the sides

    It's not the build quality of Bud's for sure but for $40 bucks in plastic and 80 bucks in LEDs I think it'll do alright!

    A big thank you to Bud and everyone on here for your help and ideas!

    Attached Files:

  2. Matt Berry

    Matt Berry Active Member Trusted Member

    Looks pretty sweet
  3. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    Update! After a month of false starts related to re-doing my plumbing three times I've got green stuff! And lots of brown... And slime. The ATS has been in place for 10 days and it's starting to take off.

    First check with the Hanna 736 phosphorous checker after doing the little math conversion was .13ppm (42ppb phosphorous). My scrubber only had been up for 2 days when I tested and I freaked a bit so I tossed some phosguard into my carbon canister. A day later it was at .006ppm and a 2nd immediate test resulted in .012ppm. So 2ppb and 4ppb on my phosphorous test kit. I'm guessing that's within some margin of error so it's somewhere around there. At that point the growth on the screen looked like Diatoms. No algae yet.

    I let my ATS mature until today and it's growing algae despite the low PO4 readings. At some point I'll remove the PhosGuard and just let the ATS take over. I expect it to really take off (and green up) then along with getting a proper timer for my LEDs. Right now turning it on before bed and turning it off when I wake up which I know isn't conducive to good GHA growth.

    I ended up running the ATS off my return pump, a Jebao DC-9000, which is soon to be a 12000 when I get the nerve to do more plumbing:confused:. I use a gate valve to control the flow to the ATS. Here are some horrible pictures

    I think I'm going to need a light blocker...
    photo 2.JPG

    First Harvest
    photo 1-sm.jpg

    A full screen!
    photo 3.JPG
  4. Turbo

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

    Got an update?

    If that's a 3/4" pipe I can send you light blockers for it. They won't work on a 1" pipe though.
  5. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    It's still growing! The algae is getting greener now. It's getting lighter and "hairier" with each cleaning. I get the slime in small splotches but it's no longer the single sheet. I turned up the light interval so now it goes from 6pm to 12pm. Still don't think the time interval is optimal but it's picked up a bit since I did that.

    I also think I need to rough up the screen a little bit more, it's not very rough at all but the algae seems to attach ok despite that. It seemed like there was a layer of less green/more grey algae in the middle. I'm guessing that's dead algae. Guess I need to pick up my cleanings... The algae isn't growing as horizontal as I'd like. Seems to stick very close to the mesh.

    I just did a Phosphate test to update this thread and it came out at 0 twice. I used my Hannah 736. So either it's broken or the scrubber is doing it's job. I run a little BRS mini canister full of ROX but no other artificial filtration.

    More importantly, my tank seems to be running well. My coral are all sprouting new little buds and starting to branch out. I have a GSP, a paly and a mix of Zoas.

    Thanks for the offer about the light blocker, I actually cut a 1" pipe down to size and am going to add it this weekend on my next cleaning.

    Attached pics from Jan 6th (last cleaning)

    Attached Files:

  6. Turbo

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

    It might be OK on the roughness, the screen sure looks like it is close to being mature now.
  7. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    So I scrubbed again today. Lots of yellow in roughly the same pattern as the light coverage. Are my lights on too long? Not enough flow? Is everything perfectly normal and I'm worrying about nothing? My camera takes ridiculously huge pictures. Going to try this from imgur...
  8. Turbo

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

    Haha Chia Astria

    How many days growth is that? With good LEDs, that light drives pretty deep down into the growth and keeps it alive a lot longer. I would have let that screen keep growing for another 7 days. But I think you're at 14 days with those pics?
  9. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    Yeah that poor little guy... Wish I could give him a shave.

    Yeah 14 days exactly. The LED bars I have on there are 1 watt LEDs with 8 660nms and 1 460nm on them. They seem to be pretty bright! They're about .5 inches away from the acrylic and 2" away from the screen. I'll let it go to 3 weeks and see what the next grow looks like.
  10. Turbo

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

    Ah - I didn't know that. I know your unit is built, but you could more these closer. The 1W LEDs look really bright but if you put these right next to a 3W LED at full current you will be able to tell the intensity difference.

    What photoperiod are you running?

    How much flow over the screen?

    Your screen looks good & mature, you can probably either extend the photoperiod or even add more LED strips. But like you said - water looks good, tank is clear, corals growing, so it's doing the job...
  11. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    I already feel like this room is a grow op! LOL. You have a good point about doubling up the lights though. The guy who sells these LEDs sells them as Algae turf scrubber LEDs and on his youtube he said he doubled up per side at some point so I may end up doing the same. I can always close up the box with more plastic so my neighbors don't think I'm sellin'.

    My lights are on continuous from 6pm to 12pm. So 18 hours of on time.

    As for the flow I can't be sure. I have a 1" sch 80 bulkhead on my ATS drain and I tuned the gate valve back so that there's always ~1/4" of water over the hole. Leaves about that much of the bottom of my screen submerged at all times. Quick google says 1" drain is 300-350gph. So I'm probably about there? Which on a 10" pipe is bare minimum flow gph :(

    I am getting some of this real light algae on my rocks in the DT. img_0210.jpg img_0211.jpg My params are N=0, P=0 though and when I started they definately weren't. Zoas *are* absolutely blowing up. GSP is sprouting little baby GSPs everytime I turn around. So idk. Maybe the famous leeching rocks. Maybe it's time for a tang! :D
  12. Turbo

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

    Those are the expressions ltd strips, correct? I figured they were 1W but wasn't sure and he didn't reply to my email form submittal. In that case I would say you could definitely add another one to each side. And if you need another DIY excuse, trim the area if the box that the lights anchor to so that you can move the lights closer. I would make it so the LEDs are max 2" from the screen. Probably could get closer even, like 1.5"
  13. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    Yep. Expression ltd strips. I went back to the page the other day and it'd been updated to include the wattage on the web page or I wouldn't know it either. Well that's certainly an excuse to whip out the Dremmel! :D Flush with the plastic is 1.5" so that's as close as I could get it. I'd be worried about the light spread not being wide enough but I guess if I added one more bars on each side that wouldn't be an issue. Then I could swap out that drain bulkhead for something bigger to increase the flow. Sounds like it's project time...
  14. Turbo

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

    I'd leave them standing off a little bit, maybe 1/4". I don't think 1W LED will cause any damage to the acrylic, and IIRC that fixture has a splash guard on it, correct? So the LEDs are not right at the front of the fixture - should be OK if that is the case at 1/8", there is heat generated radially forward from LEDs. I know this because I had a Rev 1 come back on exchange and they had the LEDs really close to the acrylic panel (rev 1 had bare LEDs in front of the window) and this actually cause a tiny bit of crazing of the acrylic right in front of the blue LED. Blues are more intense, no damage in front of the reds.
  15. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    Time for the 'it's April already?!' update! So I've been doing changes about once a month. Had some pretty gnarly orange stuff last month [​IMG] Not sure what that stuff was but it's since given way to some nice light green growth [​IMG].

    Still haven't added more LEDs although I definitely see the need for more. Always one more thing to buy for the tank first... Phosphates tested at 2 and 3 on my Hanna ULR so .006 to .009 which is decent considering I don't really do anything else to the tank outside of dosing. Fish and Coral seem happy!
  16. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    So I added more LEDs... In the form of an L2! After seeing my little underpowered ATS keep my params reasonably in check I decided to go for the big daddy and buy an L2 from Bud. MAN these things are nice! I moved my homegrown over to my QT and I guess it's been a few months now with the L2 on my 90 so I decided it's time for some pics.

    I'd post a pic of my tank but I picked up Bryopsis from a frag that's starting to take over the tank. I'm in the process of getting some Kent Tech Magnesium to restore my tank to glory. Should an ATS work for bubble algae? I picked some of that up too. I got a green emerald crab working that out but I think he may need a friend or two...

    Attached Files:

  17. Turbo

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

    Nice growth! What do you have the dimmer knob set to (clock position)? How many days growth is that?

    Bryopsis is a nightmare. Tech M may or may not do it. Depends on the strain. I have a buddy who had it so thick it blocked light to his sand bed. He took all the rocks out and carefully pulled each strand with a tweezers to get all the roots out (some where several feet long), but apparently that worked.

    Bubble algae it a tough one too, but you have a good start against these. Best to remove as much as possible for the short term, scrubber for the long term. I had bubble algae in my tank too but it's been gone for a long time
  18. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    I cleaned it right before I went camping. So 7/30 and the pictures are from 8/8. So 9 days growth about. Dimmer knob for these pics were at the 7 or 8 o clock position (I think my knob would be considered upside down). Basically an 1/8th of a turn off max (which is 6 o'clock for me) so like 80-90% or so. After this cleaning I turned it up to 100%

    It was so nice to look at at first! There was a period when my parameters went south between pulling out the old scrubber and putting in the new one. I just figured it was due to that and it'd die off when my ATS caught back up but I've since read you can basically black it out and it'll still grow. It sucks too because the only place it grows is on my zoa/paly frags so they're basically covered up. I'm hopeful the Tech M will do it as my rock work would suck to pull it all out. Good to know the bubble algae will go away at least.
  19. Turbo

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

    What do you mean by this? The orientation of the fixture matters. The board is offset downward so you do not want to flip the fixtures over, the dimmer knob needs to be at the top.

    Dimmer knob works opposite from what you would logically expect. There's a reason...kind of technical. Anyways. Fully rotated left is 100% (counter-clockwise) this is the 12 o'clock position, so if you pop off the knob and put it back on with the arrow pointing up, then rotating it clockwise/right from there will dim it down.
  20. RickCranium

    RickCranium New Member Customer

    LOL. Ooopsie! I took a picture. IMG_0007.JPG I thought I'd have trouble reaching the dial the other way around. Is it backwards?

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