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New waterfall AS....slow growth

Discussion in 'Algae Scrubber DIY' started by steve-uk, Dec 14, 2015.

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  1. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    First post on here looking for some advice. I recently built a scrubber from black acrylic, 6 x 4 screen lit by a diy led unit on each side, these have 6 x cree xp-e photo red, 1 xp-e2 blue and 1 x semiled uv 415nm.
    It's been running about 4 weeks now but I'm getting very little growth especially in the central area where the blue and uvs are, the lights are abiut 2.5 inches from the screen and lit for 12 hours on/off.
    I'm wondering if i should lose the blues and uvs or leave it a while longer....i have gently scraped the screen a couple of times and there is a bit of green growth around the edges

    Tank is 50 gallons 1 cube per day and i do have a bit of green nuisance algae on some of the rocks....not hair algae more like the fuzzy green stuff and wiry stuff....any advice welcome...pics will follow.

    Regards from U.K.
     
  2. Turbo

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

    I would run the blue/Violets at half current max, never more. They are very intense, esp the blue. You can run violets full, but only after the screen is mature. Blues photosaturate (too much light), even at half power until maturity.

    The crees, are those the 660s or the 630s?

    Also try breaking up the photo period into shorter times with 15-30m between. Also 12 hrs/day on a new screen can be too much. Go to 9 at first
     
  3. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Thanks for the reply Turbo, not sure how to run at half power these are wired to a driver then to mains at 240 volts...could I not put some sort of shroud or tape over them for now until the screen matures?

    The reds are 660s

    Regards
     
  4. Turbo

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

    Hard to do with a mismatch of blue / violet on each, otherwise if they were the same LED you can wire a pair in parallel then put that in the series string and they act like a current divider. That's what I did starting with my Rev 2. So if you swap out the blues for violets, you could do that

    Otherwise, placing a small square of diffuser on a panel in front of the LED will help, as will cellophane (Scotch) tape. Don't use dark tape, that will absorb energy and heat up. And make sure whatever you use is not too close to the chip
     
  5. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Looking at the screen there is a large bare area in the centre where the blue and violet lights are but seems slightly better on the blue side less so on the violet side. I've cut the lighting time down to 10 hours with 2 x 30 minute breaks. I'm thinking of getting some diffuser material to place in front of the clear acrylic windows until the screen
    Matures, would you recommend doing that?
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  6. Turbo

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

    Yes, at least in front of the blue/violet. You only really need it directly in front of the LEDs, even just a 1-2cm square would do.

    The diffuser to use is the same stuff that goes in a 2x4 fluorescent light fixture in an office (grid ceiling). Find it in the home improvement store, near the ceiling tiles. Cut it carefully, it shatters easily. I use a box cutter and make multiple passes with light pressure.
     
  7. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Ah good thanks Turbo, I'll give that a try for a few weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.
    Cheers
     
  8. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

  9. Turbo

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

    That looks like the stuff
     
  10. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Hi, I'm still having issues with slow growth, I'm struggling to upload a pic....I don't have a URL for my image it's stored on my desktop...?? Also when I upload from the "upload a file" option it says the file is too large.

    Any help?

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  11. Turbo

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

    There is a 2MB limit for uploading pics. Try resizing with Irfanview or another photo program. Most allow you to physically resize the picture like from 3000x2000 down to 500x250 or whatever (scale it down) and then it will be smaller and will upload
     
  12. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Trying again...


    20160122_205519_resized-2.jpg


    Success....the pic shows 12 days growth, I've been using the diffuser on one side only to see if it made a difference. There doesn't seem to be any discernible difference between the diffuser and the other side of the screen.

    I cut the lighting period down to 9 hours split into 3 x 3 hour periods with 30 minutes between each. Thanks for the input so far and would welcome any further help.
    cheers
    Steve
     
  13. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    Anyone got a thought on this.?
     
  14. Chema

    Chema New Member

    17
    2
    Spain
    I don't think that splitting the photoperiod is a good idea. Photoperiods are continuous in nature, either long days and short nights or the other way around, but they don't go is smaller fractions of day/night.
     
  15. Turbo

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

    I understand the though process, but when it comes to algae growth, it is such a basic mechanism that it really doesn't seem to matter if you try to match a natural system or not. I've run a photoperiod of 1 on / 1 off continuously and got the same results as if I ran a 12 hour photoperiod. If you were talking about higher life forms like corals and house plants, then I would absolutely agree with you.

    In the same respect, the standpoint that we should turn the lights off for a few hours/day, because that is what happens in nature, does not hold water when it comes to growing algae, IMO. I run my scrubber lights 24/7 and get explosive growth. There is no need for a long dark period. It's just that not every system will have enough bioload to support a 24/7 photoperiod of full-strength light; the growth stops, or recedes, leaving one to conclude that they "need a dark period".

    One of the things that I incorporated into my scrubbers since June 2015 is dimming. This has resulted in the ability to find a "sweet spot" of intensity for your specific system where you can run 24/7 and not see this growth reversal (which is technically called photosaturation)
    I have one customer who is experiencing this exact same issue. He can't grow GHA right in the center no matter what he tries. We tried photoperiod adjustments, intensity adjustments, etc...I wonder if there is a common thread
     
  16. Turbo

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

    @steve-uk what are your water parameters?
    Alk?
    Cal?
    Mag?
    Phosphate?
    Nitrate
    Potassium?
     
  17. steve-uk

    steve-uk New Member

    I'll do a full set of tests and post the results. Can't do potassium though.
    cheers for the responses.
     
  18. Chema

    Chema New Member

    17
    2
    Spain
    I agree that dimming is a good idea. Actually I'm finishing my scrubber and I have incorporated a controller to dim two channels, deep red LEDs and violet-royal blue LEDs. I'm eager to try it but first I have to optimize the screen. It's 20 x 15 cm and the problem is that the waterfall is not balanced. There is much more water falling from the distal end of the pipe than from the start. The slit is homogeneous, even a little broader at the start, so I guess the problem is that most of the water is running to the end than just falling in a homogeneous way from the beginning of the slit. I'm not sure how to solve it
     
  19. Turbo

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

    This is typical for a new screen, the flow coverage will even out over time
     
  20. Chema

    Chema New Member

    17
    2
    Spain
    I'm glad to hear that. Also, I did the trials with tap water. Hope that once it runs with salt water it evens out and also quiets down a little. I'm uploading some picts of the scrubber

    IMG_2063.jpg

    IMG_2066.jpg

    IMG_2067.jpg
     

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