1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

New to the forum and ATS’s

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kilgoretrout, Jun 17, 2020.

Welcome to Algae Scrubbing Join our community today
  1. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    This forum has been helpful so thank you all in advance.

    I recently installed an DIY ATS on my 80g system. It’s been up and running for ~4 weeks with very limited growth.

    6”x10-12” screen(the length is a logistical choice based on keeping noise down and having it end just under the surface into the refugium(rock rubble)) I just figured the more screen the better even if the lights cannot cover the whole surface.

    the lights are 10w violet spectrum amazon jobs.

    They’re suspended over the top of the screen via an egg crate connection and I balance them on the slot pipe(not ideal but works well for my very tight space) they’re about 2” from the surface of the screen.

    do these seem sufficient? Do I need more wattage? Less? Further or closer to the screen?

    It’s a simple u PVC bend off of my manifold. I was following the old threads and cleaning it completely with fresh water spray in my sink every 7 days. I get what I would call superficial growth but not anything like the hair traps I’m seeing here. (Funny that I’m now encouraging GHA after all the struggles I’ve had with it in the past)

    today I did a lot of reading here and made a few adjustments. Saran Wrap over the waterfall so I can increase flow without spray. I only have a green tinted Saran Wrap, is this ok? Regardless I’ll get clear as soon as possible.

    I put a square of tape over the hot spot on each of my lights because I noticed a slight “growth ring” (IE lighter or less growth in the center)

    reduced my lighting from 18 hours to 12 (is this right for an immature screen?)

    my main question is about flow, how does one calculate flow levels? As mine is running off of the manifold and not a GPH rated pump I have no idea where I’m at.
    There’s a ball valve that I can use to adjust it but if it’s at full blast the water just sprays everywhere. Thus the Saran Wrap, but it’s still enough flow to

    I tried placing a small tub under it and timing it’s time to fill measure the amount and multiplying but the problem is it’s a very rough estimate. The only thing that would fit is a very small tub. Maybe 16-25oz total?

    Im now On day 11 of growth and not much has changed since maybe day 4. It looks like hair algae but it stays very short/superficial with a few spots of brown or even reddish growth(pea sized) possibly cyano?

    I “seeded” it with a few grams of GHA from my tank via balling it up and skewering it to the screen with a tooth pick. And the gha is still there after 4 days and removing the toothpick just now because of the Saran Wrap.

    80g total system size
    Nitrates at 10ppm
    Phosphates .01
    Semi-weekly 15 gallon water changes

    so give me some constructive input. What am I doing wrong?
  2. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

  3. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    Also I feed ~ 1 cube a day, generally I feed my euphyllia rods food and the fish eat the run of.

    2 firefish
    2 percent clowns
    1 lawn mower
    1 dragonette
  4. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    Ok, I just put a 36oz container below the ATS. it filled in approximately 10 seconds when I turned the ball valve full open(which I would say I’m running it at ~85% to avoid spray everywhere and the water now lifting the Saran Wrap off the screen)

    so 85% of 36 is 30.6oz x 6(fill time was 1/6th of a min) x 60min= 11,016 oz a min /128oz to a gallon = ~86 gallons an hour.

    but guidelines say 32 gallons per 1” and my screen is ~6” so I should have approximately (More than)double the flow? 192 gallons per hour? I’m not even close. What’s more is I can’t imagine much more water coming out of the slot.

    do I need to speed up or upgrade my return pump? Lower my screen size? Increase the width of the pipe slot? I originally cut it with a dremel and did it 6-7 times and choose the best one for the end product. It’s good for eyeballing it and then carefully filing/sanding to get it straight but nowhere near perfect.
  5. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

  6. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    Seems he doesn’t, answered my own question.

    I also realized I should have said, the picture with the growth on it is about 11 days and hasn’t changed much since day 4.
  7. Turbo

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

    welcome to the forum!

    I'll try to answer your questions best I can

    Lights seem decent - you will want to protect them from spray, as you have done. Clear saran wrap is better, but it probably doesn't make a huge difference. Be careful about adding the tape on the light itself, the glass/plastic can get rather hot in that location. It's better to have the screen in an enclosure, or hang a plastic panel between the light and the screen and then put the tape on that panel. That gives you the spray protection as well.

    The spray usually only comes from the top edge of the screen, where the slot/screen junction is, because algae grows into that junction when exposed to light. You can mitigate this by using a section of a black plastic garbage bag that hang over the top inch of the screen below the slot pipe.

    Whenever you are using saran or a garbage bag to cover the screen, you should try to fix it in place so it doesn't slide off and get sucked into your pump or block a baffle, causing a potential overflow or clog (bad)

    As for flow, the old rule of thumb was 35 GPH per inch of screen width. I've since changed my advice and that is now the maximum flow you would want - when you start out, you only need enough flow to provide full coverage. So dial back the ball valve until there's not enough flow to reach the far end of the screen, then slowly open it until you get coverage all the way across. This typically is in the range of 20-25 GPH/in.

    You don't need high flow to get growth - you only need adequate flow. High flow on a new screen can actually deter growth initially. Also you may never need higher flow - in your case, probably not, as you have ~90g and a screen that is larger than you need (which is ok as long as it's not super huge). Also the effective filtration is not only affected by screen area, but also by flow, light, and nutrients. So if you have smaller lights on a larger screen, the lights are the limiting factor (so I think you're OK here)

    Next: cleaning. Don't scrub or spray with a sink sprayer. You want to encourage GHA to anchor, so the only thing you should be doing for quite a while is rubbing the screen with your fingertips and rinsing off with luke warm/room temp tap water at low pressure, and scrubbing the top edge (clearing the slot/screen junction of any growth). You only need to do a more "aggressive" harvest/cleaning every 10-14 days, even longer when starting out.

    You can do interim cleaning a couple times a week to get rid of any "slime" type growth, as this tends to inhibit GHA from attaching - but again, only a rub/rinse, or even just a swipe of the palm and rinse. Don't remove any GHA that doesn't come off just by a gentle rub/rinse.

    If you get localize large clumps of GHA, you will want to pick away at those a bit, removing 50% or so of the mass to ensure that the base underneath that growth doesn't lose it's anchor and fall off (creating a bald spot)

    Progress slowly to more aggressive cleanings after you get growth that requires you to rake your fingernails across it to get it off (or the corner of a plastic scraper or credit card) but even then, you shouldn't really remove everything - leave 25% or so behind for re-growth.

    Always scrub the top edge, and clean the slot itself.

    You may want to verify that your slot has a relatively even width every month or so. Cutting the slot in the pipe will cause it to "relax" and close up on itself over time (even after the initial cut, it will "pinch" in the center) as cutting it relieves the pressure, if that makes sense.

    Light time is OK - I recommend starting out with 9-12 hrs/day. Start low, you can't force growth. The first goal is getting growth to be consistent from one harvest to the next, and this can take time and is dependent on your system (age, maturity, bioload, diversity, etc). You have to let it happen

    Hope that helps!
  8. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    It helps a lot, thank you. I’ll implement your suggestions immediately. I’m hoping this scrubber is just temporary and sort of my quarantine project, when I get back to work I’ll buy one of your products. I’ve been watching your videos the past 24 hours and they honestly seem better than any of the other commercial products I’ve seen. I wish I had found ATS, and especially your product a year ago. I could have saved myself literally thousands in coral loss due to a horrendous Dino outbreak.
    It’s amazing you spend so much time giving such detailed responses to everyone and not just customers. I’m sure that will pay dividends for you in the end. Are you the only active member along with a few beggars like me.

    thanx again.
    Turbo likes this.
  9. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    Oh last question: do you think it would be beneficial to me to start a new screen using your mortar method? What kind of mortar do you use and is there a small pre mixed product available you would recommend? I dont know if I can justify a whole 20#+ bag to use just a few ounces of it.
  10. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    I guess one or two more: is it beneficial to turn off your skimmer and provide the ATS with more nutrients? In order to encourage growth?

    also why do you want to kill pods on the screen? Is it simply so they don’t eat and detach algae? Or do screens tend to grow too many pods? Is that a thing? Too many pods?
  11. Turbo

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

    Not at this point - you've got the screen started, the mortar screen is meant to shorten the time from zero to green from 4-6 weeks down to more like 1-2 weeks, generally. Doing it now would mean taking 4-5 days to make a new screen, by that time your screen will get rolling

    Quikrete Mortar Mix. The smallest bag is like $2

    Don't mess with any other filtration until you have the screen established and have regular growth. Then, if you want, you can start dialing back other filtration - but do this gradually over a long period of time.

    They can eat away at the algae and cause detachment if left unchecked - this is one factor in the "don't go longer than 18 days" figure. Pods will populate to the level of millions (most are microscopic), so rinsing the screen in freshwater won't kill all of them. Plus, you scrape most of them away with the algae
  12. kilgoretrout

    kilgoretrout New Member

    Thanx again. Great info
    Turbo likes this.
  13. trivodi

    trivodi Member

    How's your scrubber doing?

Share This Page