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Success at Last

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mike185, Sep 15, 2015.

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  1. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    I bought an L2 in 11/14. (A day that will live in infamy in Bud Carlson's life, given the pest I made of myself over the ensuing months trying to determine ways to improve the ATS efficiency.) At first, the ATS did not stem the tide of an explosive growth of brownish algae in my 180. I was trying to do so many things at once to combat the algae that I now recognize I impeded the ATS from working. Finally, at my wit's end, I removed the ATS and did a full-bore Algae Fix Marine dose. It actually worked and did not affect any of my tank full of SPS and LPS coral.

    After a few major water changes, I reinstalled the L2 ATS. At that time, I had some green algae issues and some weird pink film algae. But with weekly water changes (siphoning out the problem algae) and increasing growth of good stuff on L2 screen, the algae is almost all gone. I have now discontinued vinegar dosing, cut GFO filtration in half, and the tank is looking better and better. With the next water change, I am discontinuing GFO (but still running a very efficient protein skimmer (SRO3000INT) and GAC reactor, which I believe are complementary to ATS).

    With $ saved on GFO (that stuff is expensive), ATS should pay for itself within no later than 2 years. And tank has never looked better.)

    Turbo likes this.
  2. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    ATS still maintaining PO4 at below .05 ppm (measured with Hach kit) and undetectable N03 (with API kit.) without GFO or vinegar. Interesting, skimmer started working overtime when the GFO and vinegar were discontinued. The tank has never looked better and algae in DT is gone.

    But I'm kinda concerned about the type of growth I'm now getting in scrubber, 10 days after I last scraped the screen. Here are photos of front and back of screen -- each has a yellow patch near the middle. The yellow growth is slimey, and I brush it off with a brush. Here are some photos:



    Also, there is a weird yellowish growth on the bottom sides of the box itself:



    Here is a photo of the yellow stuff after scraping it from the box:


    So how do I replace the yellow slime on the screen with green algae? And should I be concerned by the yellow stuff growing at bottom of chamber? If so, how do I get rid of it?

    FYI, I'm running RIO 1400 at full throttle and have light on for 11 hours a night.



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  3. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    Oh, and here is a photo looking down the box before I removed he yellow crud at the bottom sides of the box:

    As you can see, the "false bottom" is coated with dark green algae.

    I'm wondering if the mess of the bottom of the ATS box may be caused by keeping water level in sump high enough to put back pressure on the main drain, which in turn may be causing the water level at the bottom of the box to back up? I noticed when checking water level in sump tonight that the main drain of the ATS was slightly submerged and that water was surging out the bottom of the drain. I lowered water level in sump until ATS stopped surging. I'll see if this does the trick.

  4. Turbo

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

    The white growth at the bottom - is that something you've been getting consistently or just with this last growth cycle? I wouldn't worry much about that area, usually you will get growth in that area eventually, I get that on all my scrubbers, in various forms.

    As for the streak on the screen, I'm guessing those pics are of the same side, and the flow is coming from the right side? If so, the rotatable ring might be "parting" the flow a bit, so the light growth area is getting lower flow. Not a huge deal.
  5. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    Just noticed the white growth the last 2 cycles. I think that once I stop ATS from surging, that will take care of it.

    Re streak on screen, it's definitely on both sides of screen at around same spot -- with one side's streak a little bigger than the t'other.

    Just did my weekly PO4 test with the only PO4 kit that actually and consistently works for me (Hach!), and PO4 in tank has decreased from .05 to .04! With no GFO or vinegar and slightly increased daily feeding (an extra square of Nori) and a pinch of Blue Zoo mix to supplement baby brine shrimp at beginning and end of baby brine shrimp growing cycle.

    But Puh-lease get me one of your new L2s for my 75 ASAP, which is being eaten alive with weird green film/encrusting algae and is not responding to any treatments.

  6. Turbo

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

    I will put you on the list Mike

    I don't know that the surging is a bad thing functionally, probably more annoying sound-wise than anything else. I don't think that's the problem...doesn't seem like it would be. You should be able to adjust the drain valve to get rid of that
  7. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer


    Noise is a non-issue for me. So if growth of weird yellow thrush on bottom sides of ATS body is not an issue, that's fine with me.

    And if yellow growth on both sides of screen is not an issue, that's cool too.

    I do wonder, however, why I'm not getting triumphant growth of thick turf algae on screens, as I have seen on videos/pics on this forum and U-Tube. One video I saw reported incredible growth of thick turf algae on L2 within a few weeks and luxuriant growth each week after weekly scraping.

    Any tips on improving quality/mass of algae growth on screen?


  8. Turbo

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

    Depending on the system, there might be an upper limit to the effective flow. So, it might need low flow at first to get started, then high flow after the screen matures, but then once you reach a point in the system where the nutrients are "sucked out" for lack of a better term, you might need to start backing the flow down.

    Where are you at, flow wise? i.e. what pump and how high is it turned up?

    The thing that might confirm this is Jason's tank thread on RC, it's a good one, he was monitoring ORP and watching how it was matching up with the scruber light cycle, then something interesting happened as his water chemistry changed, it seems that he hit that point of diminishing returns and the growth slowed down (and his ORP showed it)

    Check out his thread

    Rebuild and recovery of a dead tank - Reef Central Online Community

    Start on post 1069, then about post 1282 is where he starts in on the ORP results
  9. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    Hi Bud,

    I am running Rio 1400 at full throttle.

    I'll check out Jason's thread on RC.


  10. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    So here's what I take away from Jason's thread. I will try covering blue LED lights with cellophane tape and increasing photo-period to 12 hours and make my own decisions
    as whether either improves growth.

    No offense to you or Jason, but I won't be spending $ to measure ORP, which RHF has basically dismissed as a test parameter that does not bear chasing.

    Re my pending question on flow rate, I will make my own determination based on trial and error.

  11. Turbo

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

    I wasn't suggesting that you buy a probe and monitor ORP, I was just wanting to show you what he found and more importantly, what he saw recently regarding his ORP rise being less and the growth also being a bit less - his conclusion was that he might have hit a point where his flow was too much. Not sure if that was the case, but it was just an interesting observation.

    Adding the cellophane tape was my suggestion to him when he had an area of low growth in the middle when he was starting up the screen. If you don't have that, generally you don't need the tape. but adding it won't really hurt anything, it's just a cheap and easy way of diffusing the blues a bit.
  12. Mike185

    Mike185 Member Customer

    So now for something completely different.

    Third pump has died on ATS, causing algae on screen to once again be cooked overnight. Obviously, this is not an ATS problem -- something must be wrong with my electricals. I have two GFCI outlets behind tank, each rated at 40 amps. After first pump (Rio 1400) died (along with MaxiJet 600 on TLF reactor), I followed advice on RC and added humongous surge protectors between reef keeper light controller outlets and GFCI outlets -- so 2 x RKL 4-outlet panels plugged into separate surge protectors, each of which in turn is plugged into separate GFCI outlets. But for ATS and GFO reactor I plugged pumps directly into surge protectors (bypassing RKL outlets), and I suspect this may be the problem. I now have GFO pump plugged into RKL reactor, and when I get my new pump for ATS reactor (Eheim 1262, which IME is one of the most rugged and endurable pumps in existence), I will plug that pump into RKL controller which in turn will be plugged into surge protectors.

    So my question is this. Should I order a new screen, or will soaking it in vinegar be sufficient? If new screen is best route, can you provide me with ordering info?

  13. Turbo

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

    You can just scrape it and give it a light scrub. There will still be done residual to grow from, or calcification that will help it start up faster
  14. Turbo

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

    BTW that's really strange that you had 2 pumps die simultaneously like that. What was the rationale behind the suggestion to put surge protectors in? What surge protectors did you use, just standard power strips, or a stand-alone kind?

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