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Post-waterfall aerator

Discussion in 'Experimental Scrubber Concepts' started by Turbo, Dec 30, 2013.

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  1. Turbo

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

    So after reading this article & thread



    I had a few thoughts so share on the realm of public opinion. One focused-upon issue with the enclosed waterfall algae scrubber (like the ones I make) is bubble removal. The article in the above link mentions use of aeration when not using a skimmer. Of course the UAS does incorporate this, but the bubbles "needed" for a UAS are large and are purported to be for water motion, random algae movements, etc - not microbubbles similar to what is used for a skimmer, which is what should be "replaced" when one makes the decision to go skimmerless, for whatever reason.

    One method is to turn your skimmer way down so that you are really not skimming, but just spinning bubbles around. This means $ spent on power to do nothing as far as what the unit (skimmer) was designed for, but means you can use a joe blow skimmer if you wanted to.

    Another method is to place some kind of "catch" device under the scrubber drain to allow for the effluent to churn out bubbles naturally, but then allow them to diffuse out or be trapped out in similar fashion to how a skimmer does this. One could also force bubbles into the equation by adding an airstone, one of those wood-based ones that produces the super-fine microbubbles.

    This might be pushed even further by making a recirculating scrubber system, where a unit is driven by a dedicated pump and the water is pumped out of the drain reservoir back into the scrubber unit, and there is a controlled input and output of system (tank) water. Then, then only microbubble removal that would be needed would be on the final output, and if that was slow-motion water, if could be easily trapped out by up/downs.

  2. Garf

    Garf Member Trusted Member

    I would have thought a long tray, filled with rubble (or open matrix sponge) on the scrubber outlet would provide bubble removal as well as a substrate for bacteria, to start processing the algal exudate, and turn it into particulates. You could even make these, and sell them with your skills. I may be able to knock something together to replicate the effects if required, to test out the theory.

  3. Turbo

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

    The Siporax thing is interesting. I saw that stuff at MACNA '13, a rep was there, the stuff has been around forever and is making a comeback of sorts in eastern Europe from what I hear. One could even make use of bioballs if done right. Whatever substance / substrate is used, it should be easily removable. Bioballs, Siporax, Seachem Pond Matrix, rubble rock, etc.

    But the point of my OP was to provide a source of aeration to replace the aeration that a good skimmer performs. The bubble removal issue is separate to that. Possible secondary purposes for the bubble remover are certainly good.
  4. Garf

    Garf Member Trusted Member

    Ahh, sorry. I sort of assumed putting a bit of rigid airline onto the intake of the scrubber pump would be the easiest way.
  5. Turbo

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

    Yes, basically turning it into a skimmer type of pump. But refresh my memory, didn't you try this and weren't there other side effects, or was that just with CO2?

    Also I'm not sure that one could replace the amount of aeration that a skimmer provides with the hard air tubing idea. But, I haven't tried it. I'm thinking there hasn't been much for testing either (dissolved gas levels in skimmed, non-skimmed, and air stone-aerated tanks). Might be just fine.
  6. Garf

    Garf Member Trusted Member

    Only had "issues" with the direct CO2 additions. I ran the waterfall with bubbles (air) without problems (not taking into account the salt dust/powder ingress into the Grow LEDS) but that's easily taken care of with a bit of plexiglass/Perspex.
  7. Ricky

    Ricky Member Trusted Member Multiple Units! Customer

    I ran scrubber only for over a year. Nothing ever ran out of O2. Just saying.
  8. Ace25

    Ace25 Member Trusted Member

    Another quick and easy solution for the "L" series scrubbers to answer the question in the OP, add an air pump and one of these air stones into the filter sock. These are the stones I use for hydroponics and are rated the best. Even in freshwater the bubbles are micro sized and the stones last a long time, which is very hard to do apparently (tried dozens of various stones, most either make large bubbles or start small but clog in a matter of days in turn making large bubbles).

  9. Turbo

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

    I hear ya Ricky, it's just that there might be something to be said for the massive tower of bubbles providing a much better level of gas exchange. I've read in several places that this is an important function of the skimmer that is usually overlooked by the average reefkeeper, it just 'comes with' the skimmer, so they don't really think about it. When making the logical decision to do without a skimmer, or when someone is looking at some reasons why not to ditch it, eliminating the gas exchange can be a good reason to not take the skimmer offline.

    Ace thanks for the link to the airstone. The airstone in sock idea is a good one. I was trying to think of ways to not induce the need for an air pump, but I think that would be hard to come by really...
  10. Ace25

    Ace25 Member Trusted Member

    That is the reason I have pretty much always had my skimmer running on 1 tank. For a year I used it without the cup just to see if it made any difference, I didn't see any, so I put the cup back on.

    That said, my other tank went nearly 2 years with only a crudely made ATS, no other forms of filtration besides a small mesh bag of carbon tossed in every few months, and did as well, or even slightly better than my other tank.

    If you have a skimmer, use it. If you don't want it to collect anything, use it without the cup. If you have extra $ burning a hole in your pocket, buy one with a little quality, but if you are tight on funds and $200-$300 for an average skimmer is too much, I have yet to see a reason a tank can't do just as well without one as long as the fish stocking is good. If you have too many fish breathing in too small of a tank, O2 levels can become a serious issue. My tank that didn't use a skimmer only had 4 swimming fish (2 clowns, multicolor dwarf angel, and black leopard wrasse) and 2 small gobies in a 60G, what I would consider very lite stocking.
  11. jdstank

    jdstank New Member

    Hmm...this makes me rethink my other thread I posted regarding eventual removal of my HOB skimmer with the addition of an L2. Would a simple overflow where the L2 pump ingests the uptake water not be enough area for surface transfer of gases (O2) back into the water? I have an overflow in my other tank that I added using a simple piece of 4" PVC with part of the edge cut out with teeth routered into it and then siliconed into the tank which is where my Aquafuge pump sits - I still get the benefit of surface skimming without having a drilled tank. I was going to do the same on my 90 cube and use the overflow compartment as the "sump" area where the L2 pump would sit. I always thought the water spilling lightly into the overflow produced 2 benefits - surface skimming as well as gas exchange. Thoughts?
  12. Ace25

    Ace25 Member Trusted Member

    Yes, an overflow box does both of those things, but as far as gas exchange, I would guess it does 1-5% of what a skimmer can do. If you think of how many little bubbles a skimmer makes that are always popping compared to surface skimming it isn't even in the same ball park unless you have something like a coast to coast overflow, but even then I would guess the overflow would still only be about 25% as efficient as the skimmer in terms of O2 exchange.
  13. Turbo

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

    I'm not comparing surface skimming to mechanical skimming (foam fractionation). These are 2 completely separate things so don't confuse the terminology

    Surface skimming means peeling the top layer of water off the tank continuously. A coast-to-coast weir is obviously the best way to perform this. A notched overflow box is another way, but much less efficient.

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