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New Algae Scrubber newbie

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by lovefish77, Apr 17, 2017.

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  1. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

  2. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    One more question about the pump - does it have a 1/2" ID outlet for my flex tubing? was just researching the pump and i just feel it could be too powerful to blow algae off the screen. I trust your expert opinion though :)
  3. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    One thing i have noticed that is affecting the flow is that the mesh screen is kind of warping (curved) so that flow on one side is more than the other. Any idea how this can be fixed? it could have warped from the slight heat of the led's?

    Any thoughts?

  4. Turbo

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

    Unlikely that heat has caused the screen to bend. More likely, your slot is not pointing straight down or the slot is not straight and/or even width
  5. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    just an update with the diffuser and 12 hour photoperiod, green algae is starting to grow on the screen :)
    only thing bothering me is screen squirting water from one side, so next time when i clean it i have to get the dremel to level the slot opening i guess (hope that is the reason)

    thx Turbo :)
  6. Turbo

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

    the streamers are not a result of an improper width slot, unless your slot is narrower than 1/8" to begin with. Streamers result when you have light shining directly on the slot/screen junction, causing algae to grow there. This is why I came up with the light blockers.

    Increasing the width of the slot will likely just result in uneven flow since you will increase the "capacity" of flow needed to get even sheeting across the entire screen, and that will only be temporary (until algae fills in again and causes streamers)....so that answer is to block the light from getting to the slot/screen junction

    There are several ways to do this, my light blockers are just one of them. You can easily DIY something
  7. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    thanks turbo, i have light blockers, but algae was starting to grow there. Now still growing to a lesser degree just frustrated from the tweaks i have to do daily with the screen to stop that squirting ..
  8. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    Had a specific question to you, sorry forgot, once you clean the screen, should i start using more phosphate removal media until it starts growing back? my fear is that during that time there will be no algae to take any nutrients. let me know pls

  9. Turbo

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

    I would say no. One scrubber enthusiast posted (on this site I believe) that he tested levels before and after cleaning, and went to an extreme and tested every few hours or something over the course of several days, and was able to show that the "spike" in nutrients post-harvest only lasted about 24-48 hours or so.

    If you don't vigorously clean, it's possible to have no spike. "cleaning" should be replaced with "harvesting". You don't ever really want to "clean" your screen. You just want to thin it out. Always leave some behind. Sometimes, I leave enough on the screen that other would consider it ready for cleaning. I'll have to post a pic or two from my phone.
  10. Turbo

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

    So this screen is on its last days. Actually it's been on it's last days for about 4 months. As you can see, even a beat up ratty screen can work great. Anyways, before harvest


    After harvest

  11. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    Cool, thanks a lot for your feedback, judging by the pic you have, it seems i was over concerned that as soon as scrubber is covered i would need to clean asap or algae would die and leach back nutrients. but seems that was a wrong assumption, i will let it grow even beyond the point of being fully covered. All what i read led me to think you need to clean every 3-4 weeks max whether screen is full or not. but it seems dont go with everything you read, play it by ear
  12. Turbo

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

    You probably shouldn't go over 21 days between cleanings, 16-18 is my max and at that point (with the growth this thick) the algae will all fully detach from the screen, meaning a bit of a slower recovery.

    If you don't have a 3D growth chamber, usually you will want to shorten the time between cleanings, but it all depends on your specific scrubber and how much is produced, and what type of algae also. If it's GHA and light is getting to the base, you can let it grow longer. If it's slimy or gooey yellow (which tends to block like more easily) then more frequent cleanings are better, but you still don't want to "clean". Partial removal is one way of removing growth without going back to square one, like an X pattern on one side and # pattern on the other (lets light from one side to the other)
  13. Turbo

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

    Like this


  14. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    ok thank you, but it has been a month and i am still not getting even 40-50% of the screen covered, so i think i will wait
    , right?
  15. Turbo

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

    If that's ~30 days from a bare/new screen, you will want to at least give it a rub & rinse to loosen up any poorly attached growth. Usually you won't have growth that is sufficient enough to mandate actually scraping the screen for about 2 months. Most of the time, within the first 6 months, you can remove enough growth just by "dragging" a scraping tool (versus "chiseling")
  16. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    So you mean light cleaning without scrubbing with a credit card. Will also clean the top to see the squirting of the water. Some ppl recommend adding a siren wrap strip at the top to prevent algae from growing at the slot, what do you think of that idea please?
  17. Turbo

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

    Saran wrap will not prevent growth from filling in the slot/screen junction, it just prevents streamers from jetting water away from your scrubber. You need something opaque to actually block light. This can be as simple as a section of a black plastic garbage bag, but I don't trust that, my thought is it can get loose and get into your pump or your pump strainer...that would be bad

    If you have an open-ended slot pipe, you can take a larger diameter pipe and cut it so that there is a 1/2" or so gap along the entire length, then just slid that over.

    Like this: Simple easy to make light shade.
  18. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    thanks for the idea. I took the screen out yesterday to clean it and here are the observations :

    1. the squirting / streamers coming out from one side ended up blowing a few LED's on the array (even though i have a splash guard in between, dont ask me how lol).
    2. After cleaning the junction (slot) from algae, i noticed an important thing: the distribution of water flow on both sides is far from even. on the side where the squirting is there is more algae growth (mind you that is the weaker light), it turned out this is the side of the screen has a lot more flow than the other side. Not really sure how that can happen, but it seems the screen i have is not the thick one some people have, it is a mesh # 7 with a soft feel to it, so it ends up bending to one side more than the other.
    3. my fix: i ended up putting tooth picks on the weak flow side of the screen to make the screen bend in a way that makes it flow almost evenly in both directions. i know this is a band-aid and nothing smart, but just telling you what i did for the moment. When i take the screen out from the zip ties i will probably get a dremel and even out the slot in case it has any unleveled part causing to that uneven flow. I am a bit frustrated though to tell you the truth, but we will get there.

    thanks again Turbo
  19. Turbo

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

    #7 is the correct size mesh.

    When you say "bend" what do you mean exactly? Is the part of the screen you insert into the slot slightly longer than the slot itself, such that is causes the screen to bend lengthwise? There should be about 1/8" "wiggle" room for the screen to slide back and forth.

    If one side of the screen gets slightly more flow, then the slot might not be pointing straight down. Not a big deal, as long as the growth you are getting is enough to filter for your needs (that is the key to remember)

    If you are using zip-ties to hold the screen into the slot/pipe, one thing to be careful of is to not pull them too tightly. You don't need these tight at all really, they only need to keep the screen inserted into the slot. Pulling them too tight can cause the slot to pinch closed, and can result in the problems you describe (excess flow on one end, uneven flow from side to side)

    If you are describing flow that is more at one end of the screen compared to the other end, which might present itself as "arcing", that could be uneven slot width, or it could be too much flow. You can have too much flow. The 35 GPH/in guideline is pretty solid from what I have found - there is very little reason to go much past that. Going to 40 or 50 GPH/in can get you a bit more production, but you have to have very good production to begin with in order to crank up the flow. i.e. you have a need to put it into "overdrive" = high production, but still high nutrients. Even going to 25 GPH/in for a new screen is OK as long as the light intensity and flow are somewhat balanced.

    Hope that helps, I think you have more than one thing going on here
  20. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    thanks, no curvature as the screen fits into the slot exactly but somehow bending, like if you think of it closer to one edge of the slot than the other. I think there are several factors at play here. I think the slot is pointing down but i may have tightened the zip ties more than i should, so next time when i take it out i will try to give it more wiggle room, maybe that is why it is tight and skewing to one side more than the other. I will also try to level the slot when i take the screen out next time.

    When u said growth enough to filter my needs, not really the case. I started carbon dosing (and nitrates went down) and also running phosguard as my phosphate are @ 0.27 (hanna ulr). So to your point i dont think it is doing its job really :(
    My question is; should a well designed screen bring a tank to undetectable nitrates and phosphates? i was never able to answer this one really!

    thanks a lot :)

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