Algae scrubber? pros and cons

Discussion in 'General Reef Discussion' started by Jake, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    I am debating utilizing one of the Clearwater algae scrubbers in my new tank build. I don't mind having a refuguim but it takes up a lot of space that I would rather use for other equipment. Is a algae scrubber a good alternative to a refugium full of cheato?
     
  2. spsick

    spsick Acro-poor-a
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    Yes and no. You have to be in the ball with maintenance more so than a fuge where you can let it go a few weeks with no detriment. Other part is they are more efficient so they can strip nutrients.
     
  3. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    I am assuming you can adjust the timer for when it is on if it gets too efficient right? I have read that they can replace a refugium as well as the need to run GFO? currently I don't run GFO anyways but have a very efficient refugium that puts out quite a bit of chaeto growth. I have never had an issue with nitrates or phosphates but am a little wary of trying something new when what I do now works. Thanks for the input.
     
  4. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Algae scrubbers are much more effective than a refugium; like spsick stated, "they can strip nutrients."

    As far as dialing in a scrubber to the appropriate "efficiency", that will take some work to get it figured out. I was tweaking the photoperiod to try and manage my ATS, but my unit had already stripped the system of nutrients and I wasn't able to tell if anything I was doing was working. I was only running one light for 12 hours each day (alternating between the right and left) and my levels would still not rise. Until I get elevated nutrient levels, I have taken my ATS unit offline. Sizing the unit to your system's bioload is important. My unit was oversized and with my tank being new and my bioload very low, I wasn't ready for the scrubber.
    Maintenance is key. Although, depending on the scrubber design and your placement of it, maintenance on a scrubber is very quick and easy. Harvesting the algae should be done every ten to fourteen days and it usually takes just a few minutes. Also keeping the spray bar clean will ensure that your scrubber will run at its full potential.

    I like scrubbers. ;)
     
  5. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    Thanks for the info. Would you recommend one brand I’ve another. I was looking at the ones from Santa Monica filtration but the are quite a bit more expensive than the ones from Clearwater that I think I’m leaning towards.
     
  6. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    I just bought a Clearwater 200 for my 650 peninsula. Will be hooking it up in the next day or two. I ditched zeovit after a year of issues with cyano and dinos.
     
  7. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I haven't used any of the other brand scrubbers, but I do have "experiences" with all of them on a personal level.

    For your size of tank, I would recommend a Turbo's Aquatics or a Clear Water scrubber; not a Santa Monica. That's definitely my biased opinion based on interactions that I've had with each of those guys. Bud (Turbo's Aquatics) and Josh (Clear Water Scrubbers) are great guys that have a lot of knowledge and are willing to help anyone in this hobby.

    Now if you were setting up a large tank, I might suggest an additional scrubber. ;)
     
  8. notsocivil_engineer

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    I spent about 10 hours reading about scrubbers yesterday and stumbled upon an old post of yours on R2R that sealed the deal for me. I've got a CW on the way now!

    We've been battling high nutrients and have been fighting gha for a bit now. We realized we didn't want to slow down our feeding. Hopefully we can get it dialed in and find some balance!
     
  9. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    Thanks again for all the input, you guys are great. I see a Clearwater scrubber in my future. I’ll post updates when tank upgrade is up and running
     
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  10. notsocivil_engineer

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    Definitely curious to see how you set it up. I don't have a manifold anf am hesitant to tap into my return this late in the setup. So thinking about teeing off from my mj1200 reactor pump. Flow will be lower than optimal, but that may be ok so I dont go too hard too fast and strip the tank. It's going to take a bit of tinkering to dial it in!
     
  11. NotJacques

    NotJacques Senior Member
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    Jake,
    I've been running the Clearwater 50 for six months or so in a 40. Thought about a manifold but went with a separate pump.

    My display is algae free, but interestingly my PO4 are still running pretty high, could be because I'm running without a skimmer though.

    As Jason mentioned, just harvest the crops every 10-14 days. It took a month or so for it to start growing, then BOOM!
     
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  12. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    The flow rate through a scrubber is important for making sure the screen gets complete coverage. Water flow that is too low may not get water to the end of the spray bar resulting in an uneven coverage that would impact algae growth. Having stated that, if there's less coverage on the screen, there may be less production from the scrubber.

    I prefer using a dedicated feed pump. A feed pump will ensure that the flow rate through the scrubber remains more stable than if run from a drain line or manifold. At the end of the day, we're talking about growing algae with water, a screen and lighting; simple science. Where that water comes from isn't too critical if you're able to provide enough water for the algae to grow.
     
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  13. notsocivil_engineer

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    Everything you touched on makes perfect sense. Would there be a scenario where I'd want less flow/less production so as to not strip too many nutrients? Or is that better managed by the photoperiod?
     
  14. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    I plan on utilizing its own dedicated pump and from what I have read so far you can adjust the timer to have it only run at certain times. I am impressed with what I have read but only time will tell. I guess worst case scenario I would have to build a refugium for the new tank but am sure hoping this will take the place of a cheato farm and leave me room for other equipment as needed. I would love to have a sump that is not jammed packed and have room just for additional live rock, skimmer upgrades, etc. Thanks again for all of the input everyone.
     
  15. infinityends

    infinityends Senior Member
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    You need water flowing constantly. But you can adjust the timing and intensity of the lighting to adjust how fast algae grows. Both to keep from over stripping nutrients too quickly, as well as not burning the algae and killing it off.

     
    #15 infinityends, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  16. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    Just installed my Clearwater 200 today. Will keep you in the loop as it starts growing algae.
     
  17. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    Perfect, I wish you luck.
     
  18. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    Installed and up and running as of last night. Running the light from 10pm to 10am and using an Eheim Compaction 1000 pump. Waterflow seems to be really good across all of the plastic grid and I actually have algae growing already :)
     
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  19. OP
    Jake

    Jake Junior Member
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    Wow in one day? That’s crazy. Hopefully it works out for you. I just got all my plumbing parts today so should have the new 110 rimless all plumbed by the weekend.
     
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  20. mbauma

    mbauma I contributed!
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    Yeah, it's not much, but it's definitely growing something. I'll post a picture tonight.
     
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