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Please Help making my first ATS :)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Venomgrass, Nov 29, 2014.

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  1. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Hi guys.
    I'm planning on a diy scrubber. My tanks around 63 uk gallons with a 20 gallon sump. It has 2 clownfish which I intend I'm breeding (requiring high food intake) plus some other small fish and corals.

    For this reason I'm unsure on how many cubes per day , maybe 4?

    Screen dimension: #7 plastic canvas if using 4 cubes , 12" x 4" = 48sqr" ?
    Lighting: DIY LED illuminated both sides
    Flow: 35 gph per inch of screen width
    I might hang the screen/lights from the sump roof (tank stand) using washing line cord?

    1. Is it best to light both sides or double screen size and light one side.
    2. Would these LEDs be ok? http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=161498981304
    3. What size diameter pvc should I use?

    Thank you.
  2. Turbo

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

    It is always better to light both sides if at all possible, because the light penetrates deeper into the algae mat from both sides vs one, meaning longer times between cleaning because the lower layers stay alive longer

    That LED light is OK, but it's kind of a cheap chinese fixture. It will last for a while, but you might want to order an extra one just in case one fails. For a 12x4 screen you would probably need 2 of these, but do you really think you will be feeding 4 cubes/day to 2 clowns, even if breeding? I guess I don't know diddly about breeding so maybe that's the case.

    PVC diameter - 3/4" will be fine (25mm)
  3. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Okay thanks for that. I might do another diy led fixture. I've made plenty over the years. The only thing is how to protect them from the potentially wet environment of a sump...

    How many 1W 660nm LEDs per side? Are the glues recommended in a 4:1 ratio or best left out?

    Appreciate your valuable knowledge and time to help me out
  4. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Also does it matter if I Make the screen larger than it needs to be? (Ie I design it to feed 4 cubes/day and only feed say 2?) it just looks such a tiny screen to filter the huge tank :)
  5. Turbo

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

    I run an L2 (4x6) on a 120 and 125 and it does just fine. I just harvested one today that was mammoth growth. I run an L4 on a 200 and that has a skimmer and filter sock, it actually grows less than the L2s

    For 3W LEDs, my recommendation is a quantity based on area. One 660nm Deep Red running at 700mA on each side for every 4-8 sq in of screen. For 1W LEDs, I would go with the tighter coverage for sure (one per side per 4 sq in)

    Blues or hyper-violets should be used conservatively, and ran as a lower current than the reds. I use 2 half-power blues for every 6 deep reds, and that may actually be a bit much but it just works out good for the LED layout I use. You could go as few as one full-power equivalent blue/violet for every 10 or even 12 reds, IMO

    So for a 48 sq in screen (12x4, 6x8, etc) you would want 12 1W LEDs per side and maybe 2 blues.

    If you go with 3W deep reds and 1W blues, you can run them all at the same current (700mA)

    For protecting LEDs, if they are exposed, you can use LED Seal and that makes them pretty much waterproof, just spray it on after all your wiring is done.

    You can oversize the screen and then just light a portion of it. Many people do this for purposes of extending the screen into the sump for splash reduction. Just remember that your scrubber capacity is a function of area, light, and flow, and any of these being lower relative to another will become the limiting factor in terms of capacity
  6. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Hi change of plan, few questions:

    1. I'm going to be feeding approx 2 cubes a day, but is is better to build a scrubber for 3 cubes or would I have to feed the tank 3/day to make it work?

    2. What dimension screen would you recommend? Better to be longer or wider

    3. Is there a simple design to build which will run "silent" that's the most important thing to me as it's in my sitting room and the tank is silent.

    Thank you again
  7. Turbo

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

    You don't have to feed more just to support the screen, you can oversize and make certain adjustments such as flow, photoperiod, etc. If you decide to oversize a screen, my recommendation is to make it not more than 2x as much as you feed, but that's just a recommendation. If you go much more over that size-to-feeding ratio, you will probably thin out your growth and that makes it difficult to grow GHA, at least "theoretically"

    The whole "thinning out your growth" thing is one of those things that SM stated, so who knows if there really is a basis for it or not. But it does seem to fit a pattern, I'm just not sure exactly where the size-to-feeding break point actually is.


    Dimensionally, wider is usually better as you can turn over the system water faster with a wider screen. But you have to balance the screen dimensions with your available flow/pump and also match it to the lighting in a way that makes sense. With LEDs you have more flexibility as to how you light up the screen, with CFLs and T5HO you are locked in to more of a specific dimension that you have to design around.

    Silence: a couple things. If it's an open-hanging screen, just extend the screen vertically until it terminates about 1" below the water line. Rough up only the area that you want to actively grow algae on, so if you have a 6x6 growth area, but that would result in the screen ending 4"above the waterline, make it 12x6 but only rough up the 6x6 area.

    Then, you will want to keep the water on the screen, so the trick here is saran wrap. You can drape the entire screen in this, but it can be kind of a pain to work with.
  8. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Thanks again.

    Saran Wrap, is that what the British call cling-film for wrapping up sandwiches. How do I use this on the scrubber??
  9. Turbo

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

  10. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Hi turbo,

    Scrubbers been running since around 24th December now. Today I'm seeing some small growth green which has a very slight brown tint. Closely it does look like 'young' hair algae.

    I still haven't cleaned the screen.. Should I do this or will it stunt the growth? Also how do I do this? Salt or fresh water.

    The ranks currently under 13.5ml or vinegar (carbon dosing per day). The display tank has a good bit or hair algae growth which was reducing when my tank was being dosed 20ml vinegar but I reduced the dose to allow available nutrients for the scrubber to bed in.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks again
  11. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member


    Attached Files:

  12. Turbo

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

    I would think you should have a bit more growth at this point but sometimes it is tank dependent. As for the dosing, leave everything exactly the way you used to do it. Don't make any changes. The scrubber should be able to ramp up on it's own without you intervening. If you start trying to tweak things, you can cause some unintended instability in the system.

    How many hours/day are you running the lights?

    Post a pic of the LED array also, so I have an idea of what you ended up putting together.

    Do you know what your flow rate is across the scrubber screen? (in GPH or LPH)
  13. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    12 Hours / Day lighting
    LED Lighting: 8 660nm per side (16 in total @ 700ma)
    Flow: 100 US Gallon / Hour (roughly)
    Screen width: 16cm (6.3")
    Flow should be at least 220gph I guess?? In theory

    The flow is delivered via a flexible pipe which creases easily and restricts the flow, if I remove the crease the flow dramatically increases (I'm using a 1000 gph pump.) however the water trickles like crazy and bounces around my screen connectors. (Cut up pipe of a larger diameter than the slot pipe).

    Surely the flow is not the reason... I hope

    Today's growth (note the section exposed to air and the lower which dips into the sump water) not cleaned since starting up date.

    The scrubber from above: (space saver DIY)

    One of the led plates

    Thank you.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  14. Turbo

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


    It's possible that you are over-lighting the screen. It has to do with nutrients delivered compared to the light energy available, and that algae that starts to grow quickly goes into photosaturation. This is happening for a couple reasons:

    First, your photoperiod is way too long for a new screen. Set it to a maximum of 9 hours/day, and that doesn't have to be continuous - you can break it up into multiple sections (3 on, 1 off, etc)

    Second, yes your flow is probably too low. It might be OK once you get algae growing, but when you combine low flow with a new screen and high-intensity LED light, you end up with photosaturation.

    If you can, find a thicker wall pipe for your feed pipe (from pump to slot pipe) so that it doesn't crease like that. As for the spraying issue around the rotatable rings, you don't need them to be that wide. I make mine small enough so that you only have to cut out one connector on the screen, or about 1/4" wide. If you still get a lot of spray, sand off the sharp corner slightly and the water will wrap around it (such a little thing does actually make a difference).

    If you are getting water creeping out of the box via the U shaped cutouts for the slot pipe, then take a 2" long piece of airline tubing and shove it through, then wrap this around the pipe and cinch it down. Voila, water creep blocker.

    HTH (hope that helps)
  15. Venomgrass

    Venomgrass New Member

    Hi there Bud

    I've decreased the lighting period to 7 hours (00:00 to 07:00). I have the ability with my timer plug to have it come on/off multiple times throughout the day however was put off that in nature the lighting period is solid. Or would it be better to do this??

    I've slightly increased the flow by removing a bend from the feed tube, and will be ordering a new one with a flow valve restrict or for more precise flow.

    Should I be cleaning the screen?

    Your help is appreciated.
  16. Turbo

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

    At this point, the most cleaning I would do would be to take the screen out and use the palm of your hand to swipe each side to remove any loose growth, give it a very light rinse in room temp tap water or swish it in a shallow pan of tank water, and that's it.

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