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Thread: Mega Powerful Nitrate and Phosphate Remover - DIY!

  1. #61
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    Question:

    The DIY bucket or sump scrubber is basically a level 1 project. Simple, free, easy DIY, and works great. Yes they are a bit large and ugly, but who cares. Level 2 are the acrylics. Self contained, small (only six inches or so thick), powerful, and nice looking. But they are so hard to make that only two people besides me have made them (and one of them I had to get made for him). I thought that since so many people made DIY sumps and tanks, many more would have made nice looking acrylics. Guess not. And only one person is on the builder list.

    Well now I'm working on level 3. Ultra small (one inch thick), high light power, unbreakable, etc. Basically the same scrubbing power as a level 1 in a sump, but the size of a book. Problem is, they are impossible to DIY. So my question is, would anybody want to discuss the building of something that they can't build themselves?

  2. #62
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    Results Of The Day:

    Johnt on the UR site: "corals are doing extremely well, the water is clear, and the rocks are starting to look like new. the scrubber is improving things; I'm getting better growth and the rocks are clearing, N & P are up and down a bit, as I keep cleaning the screen too well, but are remaining low even though I've not had the skimmer, rowaphos reactor or carbon running for 2 months."

    Sinful_Waters on the RS site: "Ok I couldnt resist! After reading and reading forum after forum, I had to know what all the excitement was about with the ats. End result, miracles happen! Ive spent the last year and a half battling the green stuff, with excessive waterchanges, phosphate reactor, etss skimmer, limited lighting period, pulling by hand, constant dusting with turkey baster, Lawnmower blen, blue leg hermit, lettice nudis, astrea snails, super clean sand, remote dsb, etc, etc, etc. The algae covered every inch of LR and was seriously suffocating my corals. What do we do when the tough gets going, we build an ats! I did as was advised and built the 5 gal [bucket] with a doulble sided screen, two 21 watt, 6500k compact flourecent bulbs, and the flow is supplied from my overflow and returned into sump. I do a light scrubb on the screen about every 4 days, and thats all. It actually took a few weeks to get the green going, but when it did the [nuisance] algae in the tank started to melt away. It went away so fast I was literally worried that my fish, crabs, snails would all be deprived of the green feast. Long story short, overfeeding is not in my vocab, and my sps, lps, corals have beautiful color and growth, with perfect tank conditions and stability. Being on a limited budget I couldnt be more pleased at the ease of the build and its amazinig effectiveness (excuse the spelling)."

    Keifer1122 on the RS site: "update: the ats on 75 gallon, almost 2 months, been put on with only about 20lbs live rock, [...] also 8 fish, 1 1/2" of sand. N & P undetectable, all params good, havent done a water change in 2 months. had to do about 20 gallon wc every week before the install. $$$$$$$. 12 gallon aquapod with ats been about 17 days. N is about 10, was 15 before the install, with pair of percs feeding 3 times a day pellets in the morning and afternoon, with a pinky nail cube of rods, also piece of silverside every week for the Bta. the numbers arent falling fast, but its steady (with a 2gal water change i could boost the process or just cut feedings). coral growth: everythings growing like a weed including my yellow m.digitata that i got along with my screen from inland aquatics. all in all, tanks look sweet. life made easy."

    Arab_NA on the MASA site: "My scrubber after 3 weeks, cleaning 1 side each 7 days: My PO4 went from 1.0 to below 0.1, and NO3 from 50ppm to 0ppm. I am feeding 3 times a day now and have no problems at all! Thanks SantaMonica for saving my tank and giving me back the love for this stunning hobby."

    mudshark on the Masa site: "WOW things are starting to happen now. The algea is getting really thick on the screens after 20 days. I measured phosphate, which has always been low, as it was being used by algea in the display. It read a big fat 0. In fact it seems to be at a crossover point where the algea on the screens is growing faster, and regressing in the display. I've taken some pics of SPS colours now, altough they have already improved since the introduction of the screens. I'm hoping to post some further improved colours at a later stage."

    Sly on the SWF site: I've had my scrubber running since September. When I started, my phosphates were 8-10 ppm or maybe higher. The test water turned a very dark blue, indicating high phosphates. Today I did a test and can verify that my phosphates are now between 2 and 4 ppm. I am still getting massive growth in the scrubber.. So far the nitrates have reduced some, but not much... maybe by 5 ppm. I am seeing the greatest reduction in phosphate so far. Maybe the nitrate will start going down some more as the phosphate gets consumed completely. Some background: Tank has been running for 7 years. Using RO/DI water, ozone, refugium with macros, UV sterilization, skimmer and [now] scrubber. I don't really do water changes. The last one I did was sometime in 2007. I have had high phosphates for quite a while, and nitrates have been higher than I wanted, but still manageable. My fish and corals are still growing and thriving. I have never seen anything that would reduce the phosphate in my tank. Even water changes only lowered them momentarily. They would go back up in just a few days. This is the first time I've ever seen a reduction in phosphates. I suspect that in another month they may well be at 0ppm. Nitrate reduction still remains to be seen. Overall though, I think the scrubber was a positive addition to my tank. I'm finally starting to get some more corraline growth like I used to have. The growth is slow but I do see a definite increase in the vibrance and quantity of corraline in my tank."

  3. #63
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    Update Of The Day: Overflow GPH and Screen Width


    If you are doing an overflow feed like this:






    ...then the overflow gallon per hour (U.S. gph) will determine how much flow you have to work with. You have to start from there, and size your screen accordingly. The maximum flow you'll get to the screen will be what's going through your overflow now. This is easy to figure out by counting how many seconds it takes your overflow to fill a one-gallon jug:

    60 seconds = 60 gph
    30 seconds = 120 gph
    15 seconds = 240 gph
    10 seconds = 360 gph
    8 seconds = 450 gph
    5 seconds = 720 gph
    4 seconds = 900 gph
    3 seconds = 1200 gph

    Take this gph number that you end up with, and divide by 35, to get the number of inches wide the screen should be. For example, if your overflow was 240 gph, then divide this by 35 to get 6.8 (or just say 7) inches. So your screen should be 7 inches wide. Or you can use this chart:

    Screen Width-----Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

    1" 35
    2" 70
    3" 105
    4" 140
    5" 175
    6" 210
    7" 245
    8" 280
    9" 315
    10" 350
    11" 385
    12" 420
    13" 455
    14" 490
    15" 525
    16" 560
    17" 595
    18" 630
    19" 665
    20" 700
    21" 735
    22" 770
    23" 805
    24" 840
    25" 875
    26" 910
    27" 945
    28" 980
    29" 1015
    30" 1050

    How tall should the screen it be? That is determined by how much screen area you need, which is determined by how many gallons you have. Try to get one square inch of screen (lit both sides) for every gallon. If lit on only one side, double the screen area.

    When finished, this is how you want your flow to look:


  4. #64
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    Quotes Of The Day:

    Eric Borneman: "What turfs are, essentially, are excellent nitrogen and phosphorus uptake species, with a number of benefits over many other species: faster growing, less invasive, more efficient and less toxic than macroalgae, much more efficient by fast growth than Xenia, and far more effective in most tanks than seagrasses (which require so much more light, sediments, symbiotic microbes, benthic nutrients, and space) or mangroves. The big benefit of turfs as nutrient uptake and export, if needed or desired (by removal of the turfs as they grow), is that they grow faster than macroalgae in biomass, are generally not producers of prolific secondary metabolites (their defense and competition is fast growth), and they are confined to a specific area and are thus not invasive. Even if some get released into the tank, they are very palatable and are a treat for herbivorous fishes and invertebrates. In fact, turfs are havens for copepods, amphipods, ostracods, and polychaetes, favoring their reproduction."

    Tom Barr: "You might also suggest this to folks, you can prep this [scrubber] filter very easily by using a bucket and the pump and getting a good film of growth outside (if possible , near a window with direct sun light) on the screen prior to use in the aquarium; no waiting for it to get all furry. This is pre cycling for an algae scrubber. There is a little sloughing and adaptation once you place in the tank, but this will accelerate the process. Use a bucket to prep things instead of the aquarium, this way you can get on top of things and cycle the tank much faster, essentially bypassing the cycle altogether, a so called "silent cycle". Algae remove NH4 [ammonium] directly, so there's no NO2 or NO3 build up. No need for bacteria (they will form later anyway, but will have a less prominent role). For folks that do FC ["fish cycling" in FW tanks], they should prep their algae filters in a bucket, not bomb the whole tank with NH3 [ammonia]. That's foolish to do that."

  5. #65
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    Update Of The Day:

    "Christophe" on the MD site has an idea which could greatly improve a screen's performance after cleaning. As you know, after cleaning there is very little algae remaining to do any filtering. One way around this has been to clean half the screen each week, and another is to use two screens, cleaning only one screen per week. Yet another way is to pancake two screens together which makes extra deep holes for the algae to grab on to. (By the way, "rug canvas" holds on to algae much better than "plastic canvas", it's just more flimsy and hard to work with.)

    Christophe's idea was to use Lego Base Plates (the ones you played with as a kid):





    They are available all over the web, and at almost every toy store and discount store. The beauty of these plates is that no matter how hard you clean/scrape, algae will still remain in-between the pegs (except the first week or so, where it will all come off anyways). Of course, you'll still want to sand/scratch all the areas in-between the pegs, but overall this looks very promising, if someone else would like to try it.

    One disadvantage is that the plates are not (at least that I could find) available in clear, so a light on one side does not benefit the other side like it does with a screen. But since these plates are only formed one-sided anyways, it might not be such a bad thing, and indeed would be perfect for a twin-screen one-bulb setup.

  6. #66
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    Well there are three folks now on the scrubber builder directory who can build your scrubber for you: 2 in the U.S., 1 in the U.K. So there is no excuse to not have your own scrubber

    http://www.algaescrubber.net/forums/...c.php?f=9&t=25
    .
    .

  7. #67
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    Reminder Of The Day: Feeding

    Here is a diagram by Eric Borneman that shows what feeds on what:



    It was taken from Eric's two building block articles that cover what happens when you feed your tank. This information is what you need to know to really understand what scrubbers do:

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-01/eb/index.php
    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/eb/index.php
    .
    .

  8. #68
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    Text Version: Nutrients, part 5

    When Food Decomposes

    Food ==> Bacteria ==> Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate ==>

    ==> Algae growth on your rocks and glass eats most of the
    Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate.

    ==> The remaining Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate
    stays in your water, which is what you read when you test.




    Previous Versions:

    http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Nutrients1.jpg
    http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Nutrients2.jpg
    http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Nutrients3.jpg
    http://www.radio-media.com/fish/Nutrients4.jpg
    .
    .
    .

  9. #69
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    LEDs for Scrubbers

    Many folks want to try an LED scrubber. We do to, which is why we are trying to figure them out on the scrubber site. However, they are a ways down the road; nothing to report yet. If anyone wants to try themselves, here is a starting point:

    Low-Power LED panel, to experiement with:
    http://shop.sunshine-systems.com/product.sc?productId=1

    Higher-Power LED panel, not sure if enough for good growth:
    http://shop.sunshine-systems.com/pro...c?productId=10

    The deal with LEDs is that you need lots of light power to have good growth. How much is still unknown. But the above panels are cheap enough that some folks should be able to give them a try. It's just for experimenting, though. If you need results you can count on, get a 23W CFL full spectrum or bigger, or a T5HO, or halide

  10. #70
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    Successes of the Day:

    brianhellno on the MFK site: "Just wanted to share my success with a turf scrubber with my freshwater tank. Currently I have a 125 with (5) 6-inch piranha, (6) 4-inch giant danios, about (20) 1-inch baby black cons, (2) 2-inch green terrors, (2) 2-inch jack dempseys, and (1) 2.5 inch blue malawi cichlid. The smaller fish were all supposed to be feeders, but the piranha ignore them. Anyways I've had the scrubber up and running for almost three weeks now and I finally tested the water parameters: Ammonia 0 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 5 ppm. Not too bad! Usually the Nitrate sits around 40 to 80 ppm right before a water change, so this is definitely an improvement. All I can say is thanks for the great idea!

    worley on the scrubber site: "Well just got my phosphate test kit and did a test... *drumroll* .... 0ppm. It's the API phosphate test kit, and it was the very lightest green on the salt water card (0ppm). That's a great result, especially as I'm now feeding tonnes into the tank, 1 block of brine shrimp and 1 of mysis, plus some live brine (fed with live phyto a an hour before feeding to the fish) and some pellet foods. [...] I still can't get over the phosphate test, and how low the nitrates are considering there's not been a water change in 2 months and so much food has gone in.

    jan on the RPhil site: "Today is my 24th day of cycling, I measured my water my parameters and here are the result: Nitrate 0ppm. Turf algae is almost all over my screen Razz !!!! thanks for this great Idea!

  11. #71
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    Builds/Designs Of The Week:



    Aqualityplace on the UR site:






    Nickq on the UR site:









    Dave3441 on the UR site:












    RentalDeceptionist on the UR site:









    Workers99 on the UR site:





  12. #72
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    Bluespotjawfish on the RS site:


  13. #73
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    Reefski on the MD site:






    Christophe on the MD site:












    Sharkey18 on the MD site:









    Loveaneighbor on the MD site:











  14. #74
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    Dohn on the MASA site; not DIY-able, but good idea for manufacturing:























  15. #75
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    Riaanp on the MASA site; this is on the back of a nano. The light is actually inside of the compartment, and he says it does not get wet at all:


















    Franske on the MASA site:








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    Enatiello on the RS site:


















    GlaringToast on the MFT site:






    Jan on the RP site:






    IamFood on the SG site:






    Johntanjm on the SG site:





  17. #77
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    Juzzmarine on the SG site:












    Nitschke on the SWF site:











  18. #78
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    Todj2002 on the SWF site:











    Worley on the AS site; this is for a high-power, very thin unit for HOB:









    NoOne on the AS site:














  19. #79
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  20. #80
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    Feeding update: I've begun increased feeding, because my clown tang is getting skinny, and also because I want to try to keep a variety of non-photo NPS corals. So in my 90g with scrubber-only filtration, I'm currently feeding 4 cubes mysis, 5 ml Reed's Shelfish Diet (phyto), 5 ml Reed's Rotifeast, and 5 ml Reed's Arctipods (copepods), and 2 krill (for white eel) daily. Also one whole silverside weekly (for blue eel). For reference, 1 ml is about 2 pumps from a typical phyto pump bottle.

    Since I increased to this amount, I'm now getting my first detectable readings in several months (Salifert). Nitrate is a slight pink... varies between .1 and 1. Phosphate is a barely visible blue; sometimes I'm not sure if it's really blue or not, but it's definitely not the crystal clear it used to be.

    Pink coralline is continuing to take over, and the last two square inches of nuisance film algae disappeared last week. Some spots of cyano are still trying to hold on, but the coralline is overtaking them.

    So the goal now is to see how much I can actually feed while still keeping N an P low. I don't think they need to be undetectable; I think my goal is to keep nuisance algae from forming, while at the same time being able to sustain non-photo NPS corals. BTW I added a few SPS frags on my new frag tray, and they seem to be doing well.

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