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New Algae Scrubber newbie

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

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  1. Turbo

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

    I would say that it can, but that's not always the case. A lot of that depends on the dynamics of your individual system, there are many factors that come into play

    In most cases, getting Nitrate to zero is not difficult. Getting Phosphate to zero can be hit or miss. IMO with phosphate, what you really want to shoot for is stability, and also IMO the 0.01-0.04 "target" level is questionable.

    I think a lot of the time people focus on N and P when they see algae growing in the tank, thinking that is the one and only answer - getting these down. While that is one of the factors, it's not necessarily the only one.

    Also remember that your screen is only a few months old, and if I'm reading this thread correctly (from the beginning, scanned it quick) your tank is not that old either. Check out #15 here: Mything the Point, Part Three: Conclusion - Reefkeeping.com
  2. Hello again, I changed my algae scrubber position slightly and reduced its size (using same lights). However, its been like few weeks and algae is more on the brownish side with some green spots. Does that need a lighting tweak?
    nitrates 0
    phosphates 0
    scrubber on 12 hours a day

    thanks :)
  3. Turbo

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

    Looks like your phosphates came down pretty well!

    You might be starting to approach a point in your overall system where you are hitting the bottom end of the nutrients. When that happens, it can start to starve your scrubber and you might see what you are seeing....so now, you might have too much light & not enough nutrients.

    A lighting tweak might be needed. If you can't dim, you might diffuse it and/or reduce the photoperiod.

    The other option is the "feed more" method, which I don't prefer.
  4. oh thanks so brownish is lowering phosphates, no coincidence my hanna ULR checker has been reading ZERO
    and I keep trying and trying thinking it is busted.
    I will play with light or maybe even make it single sided for a while
    thx a million :)
  5. Turbo

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

    I'm not sure what you meant by this, I could take this to mean that you are thinking that the brown algae is lowering phosphates, or maybe you think that it's turning brown because of the lower phosphates?

    What I mean with my comment on phosphates was just that the scrubber appears to have lowered the phosphates well - I didn't mean to imply a connect between the brown growth and phosphates.

    What I was saying is that now that your nutrients are reduced in the system, the light level/intensity might be enough to start causing some regression in the growth that you were getting. So whereas the light was good, and the growth reduced the nutrients, now the light (which is the same as before) is now possibly a bit too much, and this is causing the growth to shift away from GHA and over to brown algae. I would generally consider that a regression in growth types.
  6. Sorry was unclear, yes I meant it is turning brown because of lower phosphates in the system.
    Somehow in my mind a good functioning ats yields green algae (maybe coz that is what I see from successful installation online). So for me to get brown I thought I am doing something wrong, that was my concern.
    So it seems green algae means there is still N & P in the water, when water is N&P starved algae starts to regress and I get the brown color with green spots.
  7. Turbo

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

    Basically, you should be able to match the feeding input to the algae growth output and get GHA in just about any situation, as long as you are still adding food to the tank (and have live inhabitants, etc). Phosphates don't necessarily have anything to do with it, not directly.

    The balance is between light, flow, and nutrients. If these are all balanced, you should get decent growth. If you have an excess of nutrients, but it's not extreme, you should still get good growth. If your nutrients fall, and your light and flow stay the same, sometimes you will still get good growth, but if growth changes, this is an indication of imbalance between the scrubber and the system.

    So, you could increase flow to try to deliver more nutrients (meaning, the same concentration of nutrients, just faster) but this will just deplete them better. So, not that.

    You could increase feeding, that would add more nutrients and thus raise the concentration, and you might get GHA again. But that's "feeding the scrubber"....

    So the other option is to adjust the lights for the new conditions and find a new balance point. It's not that the water is N&P starved - it's still there...when hobby-grade test kits read zero, it's not really zero. It's just below the range of accuracy. I'm kind of splitting hairs here (starved is an OK term to use)...lol
  8. lol thanks for explaining. One thing I forgot to mention is that I am also carbon dosing (vinegar) at about 6-7ml a day. so that takes away some N &P too. at one point I was running phosguard but I pulled that out over a month ago. only vingar dosing and scrubber for now...
    Was thinking of stocking with more fish into the tank and feeding a bit more (don't tell guys in the forums please , hehehe)
  9. Turbo

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

    That can also be a factor. I don't have any concrete evidence or a study behind this, but when it comes to carbon dosing, there seems to be 2 general types of strategies: media and liquid.

    Media-based carbon dosing, I feel, is more "gradual". If you do it right, it's more of a drawn out process. This seems to work OK in conjunction with a scrubber.

    Liquid-based carbon dosing (sugar, vodka, vinegar) tends to be more sudden, more of a "shock" to the system - even when it's added to ATO water. I'm not exactly sure why, but this seems to affect a scrubber negatively. It can result in browning of growth...at least, that's what I recall. Usually the story I hear is along the lines of "I can only get brown growth", so if you started getting GHA, P wasn't lowering, so you started vinegar and then you got brown, that could be connected.

    Whatever you do, don't make drastic changes. Keep dosing, but maybe back off to about 75% of what you are dosing and see what happens. You might slightly adjust the lights too, but not drastic. Normally I say change only one thing and then sit back and observe, that's the only way you can be sure of the effect of what you changed.

    I would back down the vinegar to 4.5 to 5ml/day, and leave the lighting where it's at for 1 or 2 weeks. Just see what happens. Your algae scrubber is not likely to completely die off, but I would be checking it every day.

    After a week or two, if you haven't seen an improvement in growth (without a rise in nutrients) then back off the lighting
  10. good deal, thanks Turbo. u can say I am getting hooked on scrubbing lol
  11. but what I do know (or thought I do) is that carbon dosing lowers N more than P, so the left over P should feed the scrubber and that is why I expected green growth (from leftover P not taken out by carbon dosing). just a thought...

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