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Sizing a scrubber based on feeding (guideline review)

Discussion in 'Basic Principles' started by Allen Repashy, Dec 12, 2012.

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  1. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    That kind of measure can be both a measure of capacity and benchmarking unit to compare two different designs... For example upflow vs waterfall...

    Having that ee can start gathering more information on what the real capacity is for any design of scrubber or algae filter available... And let that collective data based on a standard unit be the base in which people decide to do or plan their diy projects...

    Having a blind sizing guideline based on design factors and with very little background information on where did it came from just keeps diy'ers and product developers trying to hut a target in the dark...
  2. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    VERY interested on knowing you point of view on this Bud an Garf, I guess we can define that measure based on a precise set of defined rules or experiments and have that measure be something scientifically meaningful... Then start spreading it all over the internet trying to repair all the misinformation and arbitrary rules and guidelines the internet is plagued with on the algae scrubber area...
  3. Turbo

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

    The guidelines are pretty far from a random dart throw though. Remember Adey is the first one that developed any sort of sizing determination. That's what SM originally based his guideline on.

    I've been wanting to do benchmark testing for a while but I've been too busy
  4. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Agree that the guidelines are based on something but my point is that efficiency varies alot on many factors not considered on those guidelines, leds, spectrum, differences in substrate, upflow or waterfall etc...

    We now may have the ways to determine something much more precise than what adey did years ago.

    Anybody can put a poor design scrubber and say it is 4 cubes/day efficient just based on size of the surface and light power, disregarding the other very important aspects ee know affect their performance
  5. Turbo

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

    So far, the only thing that we have that is an indicator of efficiency is weight of growth harvests. Analyzing those harvests (professionally) would be the best indicator.

    Testing water samples has a few problems. Water samples can change chemistry very quickly. Bottling up and sending to AWT, the water sample can change chemistry en route and who knows how long it sits there before getting tested. Testing at home, we are at the mercy of our hobby-grade test kits, but since that's what everyone uses, we're all on a level playing field (for what we can test). Also, your water column is dynamic and reactive, so your algae may grow X amount but that doesn't mean that your nutrients will decrease by X amount.

    Setting up a test environment where you have 50ppm water and run the scrubber until it stops growing is problematic. Scrubbers grow differently at different levels of nutrients present. There is a possibility that the water from an algae scrubber tank will be quite different than one from a non-scrubber tank, and that the scrubber may alter the chemistry of the tank to suit it's needs (and grow better). Or something like that. So these types of factors make it difficult to think of how to set up a "benchmark" testing scenario. To me, the best method would be to take a tank that is established and maintained with consistent husbandry practices, and has had an algae scrubber on it long-term, then cure up the test units in the tank, and when ready to test one, you take the others off line and keep the screens alive in another system while you run tests. Then put all units back on to let everything come back, then test the next one similarly

    I do agree with you that there are a lot of factors that can influence efficiency, the Bryan has always said that the guidelines have a pretty good fudge factor built in. This may not be as large with the feeding-based guideline vs the volume-based guideline.
  6. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    I would not take that as a reliable indicator since the water in it can vary greatly on how you press or rinse the water off, and supposing that you can get all the moisture out of it then I am sure that different types of lgae contain different amounts of nutrients. Agree that it has been the best we have but I guess we can define something better.

    We could use elemental analysis like the triton testing, on that testing it doesn't matter if some chemistry changes due to bacterial activity, die off or something, the same elements remain on the water sample and they will show on the results.

    We can as you said use test kits available to us... perhaps not hobby grade, perhaps we can have the 3 Hanna colorimeters (High, Low and Ultra low range) for P and the Hanna Nitrate Colorimeter for N... and many others like organic P from Hach and many other elements from Hanna like K...

    What about setting up a common ground on the setup... comes to my mind something like:
    -Brute container
    -Certain amount of cermedia bioballs or any other dry bio substrate for bacteria
    -RODI with an specific salt mix and ATO
    -Chiller and/or heater to keep temp constant
    -Dosing pump feeding some kind of food or fertilizer, perhaps a mix of hydroponics nutrients that can provide detailed content analysis in terms of NPK at least.

    On that setup I can place any scrubber on top and start dripping a certain amount of nutrients to mature the screen, having a mature screen letting it take nutrients to zero and then ramp up the nutrient dripping to the max level where the testing remains at zero.

    Then the capacity of that scrubber based on this test would be something like 10 ml of "nutrient mix" per day, and then because we have NPK contents of the nutrient mix we can start developing equivalencies to many common aquarium foods, or perhaps do a complete trial using for example blended spectrum pellets diluted to X%... nd we could be able to say with much more certainty the capacity of a scrubber and benchmark using that unit...

    I am determined to do something like this but I don't want this to be an individual thing, I am sure it would be a much stronger argument if the experiment or method to measure this is agreed by as many of us "Algae Scrubber Proponents" as we can sum on this effort... I am not looking for a 100% accurate method but something we can have consensus on meanwhile we develop something better...
  7. Turbo

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

    I wonder if AWT is the same, good point

    Yes, definitely Hanna for P and ULP, AFAIK they only have Nitrite tester, not Nitrate, Ammonia but it's freshwater...

    Potassium (K) is a tough one, Salifert makes the more reliable and easiest to use one, IMO.

    Milwaukee digital salinity meter is a must

    That all sounds pretty good. A good starting point would be to have a sample of food that is provided to a personal tank analyzed for nutrient content so that one could have a rough idea of the NPK ratios that would be needed for the drip. I have a DIY food that is used on 3 tanks that are scrubber only, I would like to get that analyzed...
  8. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

  9. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    I have read in many posts that they use scrubbers to produce algae using fertilizer and salt mix, wondering what fertilizer they use, I read about Kelp plant food from home depot, got one already but I was wondering if I need to put something else because that one doesnt have any phosphate, at least they don't name it on the bottle... Any idea on what fertilizer mix we could use? or you would go directly to the blended pellets? or use actual forzen food cubes? I was thinking first on the fertilizer products because you can drip them without the worry of them go bad out of the fridge....
  10. Turbo

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

    AWT = Aquarium Water Testing

    Ah. You have to be careful with Hanna though, unless it explicitly states that it is for saltwater and/or aquarium use, you have to call them and verify. This one says it's for water and wastewater. They make a lot of lab testing equipment and some of their stuff is for specific purposes. for example, their "color of water" meter doesn't tell you how clear your tank water is, that one is specifically for river water turbidity and has no aquarium application whatsoever.
  11. Turbo

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

    Look at Florida Aqua Farms for a start. They make fertilizer specifically to grow algae
  12. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Already asked, waiting for response...

    Hiw about this other? Not the same resolution but could work justvto take out the subjective color analysis...

  13. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Confirmed, the hanna nitrate photometer has interference by chlorides higher than 100 ppm... So it's useless on seawater...
  14. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Browsed the Florida Aquafarms but they only have fertilizers without N or P cause they assume you are putting it in established ponds with continuous feeding...

    Seaweed has the following NPK ratios:
    Seaweed, fresh: 1.68 - 0.75 - 5.00
    Seaweed (dried): 1.1-1.5 - 0.75 - 4.9

    I think we must aim to have a nutrient source that cover those ratios so I see these options for nutrient dripping:

    A) Go with Alaska line of products, use Pure Kelp Plant Food that contains everything algae needs (according to various websites I found) except for P, then for adding P we could complement with Alaska Fish Fertilizer that includes P

    B) Go with a mix of Seachem Flourish line of products (Flourish Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Excel and Trace)

    I am feeling a little bit inclined to use Seachem line since they manufacture products specifically for aquariums and it will be easier to buy them worldwide...

    I am doing a little bit of math based on the specs of those products to know what mix ratio we should use...
  15. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    About the other factors besides dripping nutrients...

    - Gray Brute Container 32 galons?
    - What bio media or substrate you think we should use? I thought about cermedia since they provide spheres that we can have a specific count for.
    - What salt mix? any preference? IO?
    - 78 F ?
  16. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Light on the brute? do you think it is relevant?
  17. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

  18. Turbo

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

    The only economical way to do it is to find a powdered source. Otherwise we're all paying for shipping water, which I despise.

    Remember we can use things like Brightwell Potassion-P for the K source and I have a few friends in the chemical industry that I can probably tap to see what they can get cheap
  19. acorral

    acorral Member Customer

    Agree to do it as cheap as possible...

    I am no chemistry expert but I have heard that for macro nutrients we could use Potasium Phosphate Dihydrate and potassium nitrate.

    For micro nutrients I would not know how if not using a commercial fertilizer, either for aquarium, hydroponics or garden.


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