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Mega Powerful Nitrate and Phosphate Remover - DIY!
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2009.10.18(Sun)22:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Success Updates:

RainerFeyer on the RC site: "My tank is 75g, 230W T5 lighting, about 8-9 years old now (was FOWLER for 2 years before that). I started a little more than 2 months ago with a vertical ATS. Very happy with it: 3 lights, 20W each, 350GPH flow. I added a horizontal scrubber purely because, by fault of my design, cleaning screens was cumbersome, plus, the size of the scrubber was not preferred. So, been running a verical now for less than one week (aside the horizontal) and all is well so far. Once the Horizontal is well established, I will remove the Vertical. Have been without PS for 6 weeks now! The change in the tank is just amazing! No more algae or cyano, and, the sps which [previously] started dying (probably from nitrates / phosphates/ lack of food) is starting to come back! Thanks for the idea, all of you and especially SM and Worley!"

Jauld on the RC site: "N and P have been 0 since installation. This is the only filtration I have on my aquarium and I do a 20% water change monthly. this [scrubber] one has been running for nearly 3 months now with 0 problems. When I first set this model up, I accidentally used a metal nozzle that released some bad metals into the aquarium and I lost a frogspawn. After that, I changed out the nozzle and did an 80% water change. been fine ever since. Before I installed this [scrubber], my tank was COMPLETELY filled with algae (almost no rock visible). I let this thing run and after about 6 weeks, the algae started to thin and die in the DT. Then, at 8 weeks, I took the rock out piece by piece and scrubbed all the remaining algae off. 0 algae growth since that in the DT, but the screen grows a TON. I have before and afters pics if you really want to see. I found that the DT [water] will start getting cloudy after about 2-3 weeks IF I don't scrub the algae off the screen every 7-10 days. This is because so much algae is growing on the screen that when it starts to get thick, the algae underneath doesn't get any light and starts to die, releasing the stuff that makes the water quality suffer. However, as long as I clean the screen 3 times a month (takes 3-5 min), the water stays clear as day. This thing is such low maint. and is the sole reason I'm still in this hobby. I was planning to quit since I couldnt get the algae growth under control."

Gowingsgo on the RC site: "I just added a ATS to my system and have found that it did reduce my nitrates down to 0. from about 5 ppm. I still use my skimmer but have found that I do not have to clean it as much, and that the skim-mate is much darker in color. I have attached a few photos of my new sump. I built my sump the way I did with 5 separate chambers. (1 intake from main tank) (2 ATS) (3 skimmer) (4 fuge with live rock and sand so if I need to I can also put stuff in my sump) (5 return to main tank). I set up the ATS not to remove nitrates but to remove algae from my display tank (and that is exactly what it is doing). I now clean my glass about every 4 days and I used to do it every day. This is not for everyone but I wanted to give it a try and have found that I am very happy with my results. BTW I over feed my fish and corals a lot so I was very happy with the nitrates dropping down to zero. I will most likely keep my skimmer on line. even if it stops skimming. I like knowing that if I get something in my tank that skimmer is there to remove it."

Av8BlueWater on the MD site: "In 2 weeks all my cyano was gone. I didn't have a huge problem , but it was there. In 3 weeks, nitrates were 20-30 (down from 40-60), 4 weeks nitrates = 15, then the first week I notice nitrates = 0 was about 9 weeks total. I started June 24, and Nitrate zero on Sept 2. It was a happy day. My PO4 here lately is .02-.03 (tested with photometer) but I also still run rowaphos. I had an area of GHA about the size of my fist a few months ago, and now it's the size of a pea, but it is still there. I'm also an overfeeder."

MyFishEatYourFish on the MFK site: "update on my tank. no waterchanges since completion of ats over six months ago with multiple thriving sps, polyps, and a softies. [DT] algae growth is slowed, though what algae does grow is much harder than normal because it is corraline and that crappy tough brown stuff. my plants, chaeto and small grape calerpa show almost no growth, unfortunately xenia grows much slower than I would like too. one thing that everyone skimping on waterchanges must know is to keep up on additives, coral vite, calcium, magnesium, stonium, molebdenum essential elements etc. the best part is my nitrates and phosphates are still undetectable!!! thanks santa monica for starting this great thread!
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2009.10.26(Mon)22:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quote from Eric Borneman on feeding SPS corals, from
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-11/eb/index.php

"Corals with small polyps do not necessarily require more or less light than those with larger polyps. The only real difference between corals with small polyps and corals with large polyps is the size of the prey they can consume. Many small polyped corals, such as Pocillopora damicornis and Stylophora pistillata, are highly photoadaptive and can be found in very deep water. The genus Acropora has more species than any other coral and, as might be expected, can be found in similarly varied locations. Species of Acropora are found in deep water and shallow water, high water flow and low water flow. Furthermore, corals with small polyps have been found in many studies to consume more prey than corals with large polyps (see Borneman's article on feeding corals in Reefkeeping 2002 for pertinent references). The belief that large polyped corals need to be fed more than small polyped corals is just wrong."

[skimmers remove coral food; scrubbers add coral food]
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2009.11.07(Sat)16:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excerpts from "Our Coral Reef Aquaria - Our Own Personal Experiments in the effects of Trace Element Toxicity" by Ron Shimek
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-08/rs/feature/index.php

"Trace elements in heightened concentrations are considered to be poisons, nothing more, nothing less, by every researcher examining them."

"With regard to arsenic (when found), copper, nickel, tin, and zinc, the average tank water must be considered as being polluted with heavy metals."

"The water from the average reef tank is clearly dangerous to the organisms put into it [because of too many trace elements]."

"What causes these excessively high trace metal concentrations? Initially, the problem occurs with artificial seawater mixes that have abnormally high concentrations of these materials [...] Also, there is inadequate export of the materials due to any number of causes, but including such factors as poor skimming, inadequate water changes, and inadequate biomass export. Finally, in some cases well-meaning, but ill-advised aquarists often add supplements containing unknown quantities of some trace elements."

"There are NO data that any trace element additions are beneficial, and for any trace element for which there are data, excess amounts are detrimental. No adequate test kits exist for the vast majority of these materials, and few supplements list their ingredients in a trustworthy manner. Consequently, it is prudent not to add any at all to a system."

[Scrubbers remove metals]
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2009.11.22(Sun)2:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Success Updates:

Coolhandgoose on the scrubber site: "Since I installed the new light two weeks ago my nitrates have gone from 20 to 0. The cyano in my display is now starting to disappear."

Desert_Fishy on the SWF site: "I started my 75g reef 5 months ago (2nd venture w/SW) and decided to start up with a scrubber and no skimmer due to this thread. All I have are powerheads, lights, scrubber and a heater. My water readings are perfect, corals are really flourishing, fish are happy and I spend 10 minutes a week cleaning the algae off the scrubber - although that is becoming a bigger and bigger job. My only problem now is that copepods, feather dusters and some other small pink bug-like creatures that live on the glass are multiplying out of control. I have feather dusters everywhere!"

Toddo on the MFK site: "This is my 125 freshwater tank with medium bio load. I have an XP3 with Biomax/mech pads, and this scrubber as the only filtration now. Its been 12 days with just the scrubber for nitrate control. Nitrates and ammonia are still at zero. No water changes. This is significant, as my well water is 35-40ppm Nitrates. It grows enough algae to need weekly cleaning now. I had a specific freshwater requirement for low to no nitrates, and I have met that, using my scrubber. It was properly designed and built using info provided, and is now functioning as expected."

DeathWish302 on the RC site: "The turf scrubber slowly drove out the cyano, and has been amazingly processing EVERYTHING I have thrown at the tank in regards to food."

AlgaeNator on the scrubber site: "I have been running a version of ATS for about 2 months, and have been skimmerless for 4 weeks now, and am very happy with the ATS concept and performance so for. I have been running my prototype Victory Scrump for about 3 weeks now, to prove the concept and it's working VERY well. My corals are healthier than EVER, Two of MY RIC's that were dying going clear, are now SPLITTING after removing the skimmer. I'm amazed actually at how well my other softies are doing too. In my case, I might not be typical though, as I think I was OVERSKIMMING my tank with my larger skimmers I build and sell, removing the good stuff with the bad"

Manuelink on the scrubber site [from spanish]: "with algal over 4 months without water changes, no skimmer, no additives anything, just food and my corals growing like additives. the coralline algae and is infested by all sides, that speaks of good levels of alk and calcium. is a wonder this invention"
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2009.11.22(Sun)19:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now have a system to make double-layered, cactus-rough, plastic canvas screens:
http://www.algaescrubber.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=319


Also, since there are no replies here, I'll stop posting for now. Let me know if you want otherwise.
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iansmith
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Location: Conneticut

PostPosted: 2010.01.25(Mon)17:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would this setup work for freshwater tanks as well?

What about using fast growing plants?
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2010.01.25(Mon)18:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. More info in the FAQ:

http://www.algaescrubber.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=68
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ibm450
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Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Location: Australia, Perth - Kwinana

PostPosted: 2010.02.02(Tue)5:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

great idea, but I'm confused as there seems to be a lot of people still using bio-balls, bio noodles, fine pads etc??? I thought this screening was to eliminate all those media items?

I want to apply the horizontal version in a nano 21G all in one tank - fresh water as there is a lighted hood built in:

my tank
http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=56818&start=0

is there successful stories to using this on fresh water tanks? would this cut down water changes, but I gather you will still need to change water now and then for fresh water tanks???
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SantaMonica
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

PostPosted: 2010.02.02(Tue)11:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bio Balls and noodles are for fish-only tanks with a lot of fish; they convert ammonia to nitrate, but at least keep the fish safe. But the nitrate builds up and causes algae.

Scrubbers remove ammonia and nitrate, and thus the nuisance algae too. You can still use balls and filter pads if you like. Fish-only tanks have no need for small food particles floating around, and scrubbers don't make pods for FW anyway, so filter pads don't interfere unless you never clean them.

The tank you posted is easier if you put the scrubber in the back compartment vertically, and have the water flow down it. Light it from the outside of the glass. There are several examples of this in the link below.

Yes there are many successes; FW is the same is SW when it comes to removing nuisance algae. You won't need to do any more waterchanges at all, if the purpose of the change is to reduce nitrate, phosphate, ammonia, or nuisance algae. If the water change is for anything else, you still need to do them.
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ibm450
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Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Location: Australia, Perth - Kwinana

PostPosted: 2010.02.07(Sun)7:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheers for the info. is it possible to provide links to FW scrubber success stories and more FW ATS examples please.

I seriously want to dig deeper into this.

Very Happy
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