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New DIY ATS build for 120g

Discussion in 'Algae Scrubber DIY' started by JDCpuwiz, Jan 14, 2016.

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  1. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    I am new to this forum and I have been reading quite a few of the threads from other members and I have decided to move forward with a DIY ATS build. I am hoping to get some advise from those of you that have been doing this for a while now.

    First some background: I currently have a 120g built into the wall of my living room. My fish room is the adjacent room behind the same wall that holds the tank. I have a custom built sump from synergy which is ~50g. Pretty standard sump stuff, 2 filter socks, Reef Octopus Skimmer, external Iwaki return pump. I have another external pump, a pan world, that I was using to drive an activated carbon reactor and a GFO reactor. The entire system is controlled with an Apex. In the tank I have various LPS corals, a RTBA, a fox face, coral beauty, 6 line wrasse, 4 blue green chromis, a yellow eye kole tang, a cleaner shrimp, and several snails. I have ~100 lbs of live rock and the bottom is covered with ~2" of sand.

    I have had this tank up and running for 2 years now. In the first year or so I had a nice growth of beautiful coralline algae that covered most of the live rock. As the 2nd year progressed I started seeing less and less coralline algae and more and more green algae. The green mat of algae now covers most of the rocks but i can still see a bit of purple in a few spots. I typically do a 30% water change once a month. Phospate reads about .03 with a Hanna checker, I need to check nitrates again but if i recall in December when I checked it last it was about 10ppm. My water source is a BRS 5 stage RODI unit. I feed once per day with a about a cube maybe less some days because I have been trying to limit the amount. I dose BRS 2 part as well.

    I have been reading a bit about the great "sand or no sand debate" and I am wondering at this point if the sand is becoming a nutrient sink. At any rate I am planning to do a DIY build of an ATS here soon. I am trying to figure out what size screen I need and how many LEDS I should use. There is so much information out there and so many opinions it gets a bit overwhelming. That is what led me to your forum. You all seem to be very successful with ATSs and I think sticking with this forum will give me the best chance of success.
  2. Turbo

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

    Welcome to the forum!

    Post any questions you might have. I keep the Algae Scrubber Basics up to date in the resource section whenever anything new is available, not much lately except for LEDs and screen material.

    Algae Scrubber Basics | Algae Scrubbing
  3. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    So I ordered some parts for my LED fixtures last night. I figure I will try to put those together before I finalize plans for the scrubber box. I ordered the LEDs and drivers from LED Group Buy; Exotic deep red 660nm and Exotic hyper violet 430nm LEDs. Ordered 2 Meanwell LPC-35-700 drivers from Rapid LED. I plan on putting something together closer to the L4 size.
  4. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    I have most if not all the parts I need to start building my new ATS. I thought I would post a pic of the quick diy version I made that has been running for 2 weeks now. It is actually growing some nasty brownish hairy algae. I was pretty pumped to see it actually working so I am real anxious to get going on my build.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
  5. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    So here is my lighting plan; looking for feedback...
    I ordered 2 Makers heat sinks (1 for each side) both 12" long. I now have 12 Cree 660nm LEDs and 2 Exotic 430nm LEDs for each side. I am wondering if I should have ordered 4 430s for each side but I can always add more if needed right? I plan to wire the 660s in series and the 430s in parallel. I have 1 driver for each fixture however I plan to only use 1 of the drivers to start with and split the circuit between both sides to only run the 660s at half power. I saw in one of Turbo's videos he had done that by adding a splitter to the driver connections. I just have to figure out how to do that.
  6. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    Got a good start building the new scrubber today so I thought I would share. Be kind, this is the first time I have built anything with acrylic.

    So I started this project because I am a firm believer that you can save money if you diy. I think that is true for the most part, and in this case I decided to make my diy ATS as close to Turbo's as I could. By the time I bought materials, new table saw blade, acrylic glue, etc I think it's a wash. If you're asking yourself build or buy... Buy is the answer. I would like to thank Bud for putting this forum together and sharing all the knowledge, it's really great.

    All that said, here is what I have so far.
    This is the ATS box that I finished today, complete with removable lid and false bottom. One of the pictures has a heat sink in place so you can see what that looks like.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg

    This is how I plan to lay the LEDs out on the heat sink. I hope to get at least one of the fixtures done tomorrow.

    Turbo and RickCranium like this.
  7. Turbo

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

    Looking good!
  8. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    So I got both fixtures put together today but I cannot get the blues to work. I don't understand what's wrong with my wiring. The Reds all work fine now that I figured out how to wire them in series. When I plug the fixture in I get all reds but no blues. Help!

  9. Turbo

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

    Definitely wired wrong



    Go into the (+) on the #1 blue. Then from that, wire another (+) on #1 to a (+) on #2, then one of the (-) on #1 to a (-) on #2, then from another (-) on #2 go back to the normal series (or the (-) on the driver)
  10. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    I think I fried the blues on one of my miss wired attempts. When I wire it that way I still get no blues and the Reds look like they are half on. If I take the blues out the Reds are fine.
  11. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    Made some progress tonight. Posted a couple videos

    Started up for the first time to check flow and for leaks

    Added light fixtures (no blues yet, waiting for new ones from LED groupbuy

    I haven't figured out what to do with all the wires hanging above the open sump. That makes me nervous. Any suggestions?
  12. Turbo

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

    you can eliminate a lot of the bubbles by placing a valve on the drain, the microbubbles are caused by air getting sucked under the false bottom and getting pulverized. Choking off the flow just the right amount will help. I'm working on the drain valve for my scrubbers and if it goes as planned, it's going to be very easy to DIY. Like one of those head-slapping things you wish you would have thought of. Testing it out soon, I've tried a few iterations and I think I've got the idea that will work right. And it has other applications as well, such as a Bean Animal drain valve for the tuned siphon
  13. Chema

    Chema New Member

    I'm eager to learn about that valve. ┬┐Is not a regular ball valve?
  14. Turbo

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

    Nope, ball valves are bulky and don't work well for top-of-tank scrubbers. I can't claim the idea myself, my 3D CAD model designer @danmgray is the mad scientist behind this one...I showed his initial idea to a few club members and it was like...mind blown

    I hate to string you along but I'm trying out a few different ideas that go down this road before I say that I've "come up with the answer"...as I thought i had an answer several times, but they fell through
  15. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    Anxious to see how it works!
  16. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

    So I got the new ulta violet LEDs from LED GroupBuy and tried to wire them in again last night. I am still struggling and I think I fried them again. After looking at @Turbo 's images that show the wiring for a parallel run I thought I understood what I was doing wrong. I wired them in but at first only the new UV LEDs lit up. I changed a couple wires and then nothing lit up. Changed something again and now back to only the reds light up. I am not sure what is going on but I have having a real tough time with the UV lights. They are Exotic LEDs rather than Cree like the reds and I know the reds have a lower forward voltage, could that have anything to do with it? I thought maybe when I soldered the LEDs in that I grounded one of them but that wouldnt explain why both UVs are not working. Sorry for the rambling here but I am struggling to figure out what is going on.
  17. vereecjw

    vereecjw New Member

    Hey jdc,

    I realize this will slow you down, but before you do any more wiring I would suggest sharing your parts list.

    Specifically I would share the links to your current leds (both red and uv), the driver you are using and the power supply.

    Let us take a quick gander at that. Then we can help you layout your wiring by checking pictures before you solder.

    To me I think, but don't know for sure, that you may be sending too much power to the uv leds. But we would need to see the detailed specs before it is anything more than a hypothesis/conjecture.
  18. Turbo

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

    Current is what matters, voltage drop just has to add up to less than the driver is supplying

    I'm with @vereecjw let's see your parts list and your diagram for wiring
  19. JDCpuwiz

    JDCpuwiz New Member

  20. Turbo

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

    Yeah that's the right layout and everything...plus, really snazzy graphics

    This could be due to soldering technique.

    1) always pre-tin pads
    2) never pre-tin pad when PCBs are mounted to a heat sink - you will have to hold the tip on longer to get the solder to wick, and this heats up the LED
    3) use a relatively hot iron, but not too hot. Too cold and you are holding it for too long = LED heating.
    4) when making the connection after mounting, pre-tin the wire just a bit then put on top of solder bubble and place iron on top until it pushes in

    Lemme see if I can pull up a few old YouTube Vids

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