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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. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    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. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    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. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    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. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    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. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    good deal, thanks Turbo. u can say I am getting hooked on scrubbing lol
  11. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    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...
  12. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    Hi Turbo, i am just reviving this thread, as i upsized the scrubber and i am facing streamers again

    Like this: Simple easy to make light shade.

    So the idea of having another pipe like this link. Which diameter pvc would you recommend? 1"? or more?

  13. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

  14. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    hello please help, still struggling with nitrates. my nitrates are 20-40 even with the upsized algae scrubber. all comments appreciated.
  15. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    hello, turbo? anybody? everyone is on the beach or what? lol
  16. Turbo

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

    Sorry I've spent the last 3+ weeks mothballing my engineering company, moving, selling furniture, and trying to keep on top of any customer needs while becoming a one-man shop. It wasn't as smooth as I had hoped, I've pretty much been offline for a month. Filled five 20-yard dumpsters with trash, paper, and metal. Threw my back out in the process and had to keep going as I'm the only one actually employed at the company.

    Meanwhile, I'm a month behind on building scrubbers on top of it all

    I'll try to get back to you this week
  17. Turbo

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

    generally I think you would just want pipe that is 2 or maybe 3 pipe sizes larger. So if you're using 3/4" pipe for your slot pipe, 1.25" pipe would be what you would need. essentially it would need to be large enough to slide over the end cap on your pipe, so I would grab one like what you use while at the hardware store and see which size pipe you can fit it through

    Or if you use 3/4" pipe you could get my light blocker

    Light Blockers
  18. Turbo

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

    What has changed in the last year, anything?

    Do you have a few current pics of your setup, and before harvest / after harvest growth pics?
  19. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    will try and get pics with the set up. So here are the updates:
    1. last year i was using the scrubber plus carbon dosing (vinegar). scrubber was 6" across and like 9" tall
    2. The tank had a mini crash and i lost almost all sps due to leaving carbon dosing on autopilot for a couple of months.
    3. i came back with the decision that i need to wean the tank off carbon dosing and go with an updated scrubber to eventually pull the plug on carbon dosing
    4. i started decreasing carbon dosing, but my nitrates shot up to like 30ppm
    5. i upsized the scrubber now consisting of 2 parallel screens each like 9.5" wide by 6.5" tall (dubbed the mother of all scrubbers lol). I know you are not a fan of big size scrubbers though :). One screen is the old mature one and the other is new and roughened up. Old one hit the ground running and cleaned it once, the other is getting good momentum given that this was put together like 4 weeks ago
    6. The twin screen scrubber is well lit on outer side of the screen, there is some light penetration and algae growth on the inside layers though. To make it more lit, i will get a grow bulb to point at the inner layers of the screen
    7. I am trying to reduce feeding (used to feed like 2 cubes a day) now until i get a grip on nitrates
    8. Phosphate is 0.15 by hanna
    9. algae growth has always been on the slimy end for me, nothing like the turf i see on other screen online. But it grows thick like 1/2" on each side of the screen or so.

    Hope this helps
  20. Turbo

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

    So are you running 2 screens that are side-by-side as in end-to-end or are they like 2 pieces of bread, parallel to each other? I think the latter is what you are describing. If that's the case, effectively that's the same as lighting one screen from both sides and doing just one screen would be more effective in that regard. Single-sided screens have a disadvantage.

    You really should not be having nitrate problems with a 6x9 screen and feeding 2 cubes/day on a 75 gallon tank, unless your "cube" is a larger cube, which might be the case. Something else seems like it's off here....

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