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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

    Hi turbo, just tested nitrates and still like 35ppm. Latest thing i got the jebao pump in my previuos post. dont know what the problem is here really. i got another CF grow light that i put on top (in between the screens) i will try to take another shot. What else can i do here? My green monti is starting to grow back after being dead fwiw. options:
    1. i will raise photo period to 16 hours or so
    2. increase tube from pump to 0.75" instead of .5" to raise flow
    3. keep tube at 0.5" and close once of the slots. some ppl say i can close it with serene wrap or something, is this doable? i dont want to go through another design

    tell me what you think
  2. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    just an update i am in the process of doing water changes, done one 15% last week and will do like 3 more over the coming 2 weeks. that way i would replace like 50% of water volume. Hoping this will lower nitrates. I think scrubber is handling nutrients in the sense that nitrates are not going up.

    thanks again
    Turbo likes this.
  3. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member


    Question; I am having a flow discrepancy, the channel on the left always gets more flow than the right, any way i can get around this turbo? problem is first channel (left) water goes through one elbow, second one water faces another elbow, so it always gets lower flow. So left has stronger flow, right has less there is water flowing but more like trickling covering the whole screen. And of course algae is growing more on the left channel.

    By the way i have now four of these strong LED i told you about

    two on the out side of the screen and too sideways, i will try to send you a photo to help illustrate the setup though, but overall algae is growing thicker and much harder to remove when i clean the screens.
    another update, after dfoing three water change 15% each, nitrates last weekend were down to like 10-15ppm :)

    thanks for helping
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  4. Turbo

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

    From the pic, if you are referring to the "T" as the "left channel" and the elbow as the "right channel", and water input is on the left side of the T, I would think the right channel would get more flow. The dynamics of water flow in that setup would be like this: the water comes into one end of the T, and then it has 2 paths: one (left) takes a sharp 90 degree turn through a tap outlet (the tee) on the side of the flow path, the other (right) goes straight through the other end of the T and then into a 90 elbow, which is more of a "sweep" turn. While it's true that the elbow induces a form of head-loss, I would expect that path to be the one of least resistance actually.

    But that's just the on-paper engineer in me. If I built and tested it, that could be wrong.
  5. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    oh, i get your point, and your logic makes a lot of sense. However, how is it possible i am getting 2x the flow on the left and not the right? !!!!! only logical reason is that there is big chunks of algae on the path of the right channel that is severely reducing the flow. But again there is no way to see it or flush it out, any ideas? thanks turbo
  6. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    Latest from my scrubber , red patches. This is after a month of growth. Tell me what you think pls

    Attached Files:

  7. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    thoughts please?
  8. Turbo

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

    Red growth like that does occur as the scrubber matures, nothing "wrong" with it, if it's turf-like you can scrape it off and it will come back, but slower than GHA.

    If it's more slimy, this happens also from time to time depending on your tank dynamics, usually that just rinses away and will come and go, usually just a phase of growth.

    I wouldn't let it grow that long (length of time) without some kind of harvesting. 18 days is typically my limit. You'll get a shading effect and the underlying layers of algae will not be growing. Think of it like an old tree vs new tree. An old tree doesn't uptake nearly as much CO2 as a new tree.

    Also allowing it to go that long give the red algae time to grow in. Again, that's not the worst thing but GHA seems to grow faster.

    Still don't know what to tell you on the flow, I think I need some kind of drawing to figure out what might be going on. I doubt there is a blockage but I suppose that's a possibility.

    The bottom line always remains: how is your tank doing? If it's doing well, then it's less of a concern
  9. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    thanks Turbo - tank is doing better, after heavy water changes nitrates are like 5ppm. Last water change was a month ago, i have also got two more lights to make sure i get good growth will try and take a pic and send here. Only problem now is that i get streamers after 10 days or so even though i have light blockers on the top of the screen!!!!! dont know what to do to avoid that.....was thinking of putting a piece of saran wrap and stuff it under the top of the screen (junction between screen and pvc) without affecting flow.
    Turbo likes this.
  10. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    help help tables are turning. things have flipped from trying to lower nitrates for weeks, to very lower nitrates (zero on API). I am feeding equivalent of 4 -5 cubes a day and still not nitrates. No water changes for 7 weeks. My acros are going out in STN one after the other.
    I have tweaked the light on the scrubber to 12 hours down from 15-16. Dont know what else to do. I feed like 3 frozen and half a large nori sheet and few pinches of dry food....blah blah blah.
    anything else recommended?

  11. Turbo

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

    I missed this last message!!

    Has anything changed/improved in the last few weeks?
  12. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    Hi Turbo took you too long to reply, not like you at all :) actually things are deteriorating a bit since i posted, i must have had over confidence in the scrubber, i upped feeding to like 3-4 cubes equivalent. And for the first time i am starting to get patches of green hair algae in the display tank. Last test nitrates were 5ish, but haven't tested phosphate for over 6 weeks, will test phosphates and revert back. I bet that phosphates is through the roof :( for the time being i increased photo period on scrubber to 18 hours/day to compete with algae in display and lowered feeding coz tangs are feeding on display algae for the first time!
  13. Turbo

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

    Do you run any activate carbon? If not, you might add a small amount. There might be some chemical interactions going on that could be causing STN
  14. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    no dont run ANY media in the tank. Will add a bag of carbon in the sump in a high flow area under the drains (no reactor) and see what happens. Any other ideas? keep scrubber at 18 hours?

  15. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    forgot to tell you that i got 2 Chinese black box lights to try them out (i think algae increased after them), but will not be using them dont like their color blend and their white is soo warm i think it raised algae. Thinking of going with reefbreeder photon V2+ 50"
  16. Turbo

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

    As long as your algae growth is good and nutrients are under control, I would leave it

    Lighting becomes more and more important as you start to house more complex and sensitive corals. You can get away with black box fixtures on softie tanks and maybe some LPS, but some corals don't like cheap lights. At least that's what I've seen/read...
  17. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    But it is not under control :), i took hours down to 12 or 14 and then hell broke loose, so i took it back up to 16.

    here is the thing, my goal/dream is to go sps and acropora, these are the corals that keep dying everything else like lps is perfectly fine, i even have a derasa small clam now that is doing fine, only SPS is dying. So given that goal i think lighting is an important factor. Those black boxes are not that good, every one has a different configuration with leds and totally diff spectrum, know what i mean?
  18. Turbo

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

    I can't claim to be an expert on coral, and especially not SPS. Water chemistry, system biotype, coral chemical warefare (between other SPS and between SPS and soft/LPS, etc), placement (light intensity, water flow, etc)...many many things come into play with SPS and it's not usually "just one thing".

    What I do know, based on anecdotal gathering of the experience of others, is that SPS on a tank with a scrubber seem to do better when you have some level of skimming (even undersized) and/or use of carbon.

    The rest of the details on placement, lighting, water chemistry, etc...I'll leave those to others.
  19. lovefish77

    lovefish77 Member Trusted Member

    You mean Carbon dosing? or activated carbon?
    I have few corals in the tank only thing alarming is the 2 RBTA anemones these stung a couple of SPS in the pas few months. Dont know if that is enough to cause that much trouble.
  20. Turbo

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

    Activated carbon

    physical proximity of other corals is absolutely important. But so is chemical interaction.

    Bob Fenner spoke at one of our fests a couple years ago, one of his topics was chemical warfare. One of the things he talked about was the "chemical soup" that forms in systems. Over time corals will adapt to each other chemically, usually after some warfare and interaction. One of the ways that he recommended to acclimate corals to each other was something that you don't hear much about. He recommended a sort of quarantine method (not a full QT like you do for fish) that involved holding the new corals in a separate tank, and then performing water exchanges between the 2 tanks so that each coral was exposed to the other coral(s) in a passive manner. The idea being that if you place water from tank A into tank B, the corals in tank B will get chemically exposed to the corals in tank A without causing a full-blown cascading war of chemicals. Corals in tank A will react to the chemical presence of the tank B corals, but there will be no counter-reaction by the tank B corals because they're not in the same system. After a period of time, you can connect the 2 systems as a sort of second-stage (constant exposure) or increase the exchange frequency, and then finally put them in the tank together. By that time, both "parties" have cooled their jets. Something along those lines. This is probably more important in systems with low amounts of PWCs (which is more prominent in tanks running scrubbers).

    The same applies to fish, but to a lesser extent (chemically at least) I believe.

    When it comes to physical proximity, during the day it might not seem like corals are too close to each other. But at night, some corals will extend sweeper tentacles or extend out more than during the day, and this is when the damage can occur - both physically and chemically. That's why knowing your corals and knowing the correct placement and distance is so important. If you've seen evidence of stinging, that's a big sign that your coral placement needs to be adjusted.

    That's largely the extent of my rather basic understanding on thees couple items...activated carbon can take the edge off the chemical warfare. Usually, the inter-coral chemical warfare will fade over time.

    The other reason to use activated carbon in a scrubber-SPS tank is due to the chemical allelopathy effects of algae. Similar to chemical warfare between corals, algae will also engage in chemical warfare against other algaes. It's not just out-competition for nutrients that causes tank algae to die off and scrubber algae to thrive. Largely, the "ideal conditions" situation is what leads to algae preferentially populating the scrubber versus the display tank, but there is (in my opinion) still a chemical aspect at play also. Activated carbon can also mute this effect in the same manner as it does with coral chemical warfare.

    I don't think anyone has solid answers on the exact mechanisms, that's probably largely in part to the diversity from one tank to the other. It's difficult to apply blanket advice and give blanket answers so many things. It also makes diagnosing issues very difficult at times

    Hope this all helps...kind of a "brain dump"

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