Adee's Algae scrubber v2

Discussion in 'Anything DIY Related' started by Adee, 6 Aug 2009.

  1. Adee

    Adee

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    So here is my improved model which uses glass as the medium onto which the algae will grow. I'm 80% convinced it will work better than the previous model.

    So being my second take, I wanted something that would use up all the empty space I had availble in my tank cupboard. And let me say this unit fits in with a few millimetres to spare.

    The main problem I had in building this, was to get a 750mm high by 570mm wide 10mm slab of glass to stand at a perfect 90 degrees. Enter my ever faithfull use of silver duct tape and voila...sorted. Mounted bracing on the sides as well for added support. Once the silcone dried no more fear of the whole thing toppling over.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I drilled two 50mm drainage holes on either side of the base glass and both joined underneath to a single outflow pipe that end up draining into my DT overflow box. The pump that drives this unit is also housed there (4000 LPH, Sicce pump).

    Spray Bar
    So the top part which forms the business end, that will create the waterfall, I put in some 8mm holes. I was not sure what sort of pressure my pump would deliver as the more holes/or bigger...would cause the less spray pressure onto the glass. Also not the piece of glass positioned below the water spout areas.....that there to prevent your globes from getting wet at startup or stoping of the pumps. If I had to redo I would get the lower bit more close to the centre glass and have a 5mm gap. Also would suggest covering up that "spray bar drip protector" with tape so that light does not punch thru...I ended up getting hair algae growing out of the spouts!

    [​IMG]

    It's important to test the water pressure of the unit so that u don't get have too much pressure or too little for that matter. The Sicce pump has a variable intake setting, I actually had to restrict the water intake as it ended up splashing too much pressure on the glass.

    So once the spray bar hole size it corrected and u have the pump doing it's thing at the right head pressure you have that waterfall feature effect going should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The only other thing left, was to now "rough up" the glass to create a scratched surface for the the algae to take hold on. So using my trusty Dremmel I scored both sides properly that ended up with a frosty looking slab of glass.
     
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  3. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    results

    So after 2 weeks the first signs of the light brown, slimy diatomous stuff as expected, appeared.

    [​IMG]

    After 3 weeks, some proper hair algae growing or rather bubbling under that waterfall.

    [​IMG]

    And now after 4 weeks ready for its first harvest:

    [​IMG]

    My only concern at this stage is the hair algae growing heavy and then under its own weight, then detaching and falling off the glass and re-entering my system. So rather prune a bit early. I found with my previous scrubber the algae got tougher to remove as I harvested and reharvested over again.

    Lighting
    For lighting I'm using 8 x T5, 24w Sylvania GrowLux lamps. I'm currently running the lights on 24/7....once the tough stuff starts growing will change to 18 hours in the "off cycle"

    [​IMG]

    Excuse the "wooden rack" holding my DIY reflectors, simply functional and not for asthetics.

    I have the globes quite far back to ensure the glass is fully illuminated. It's my opinion that the globes don't really need to by very close to the waterfall, having it close only aids in the speed it takes for the algae to start growing. Once it takes hold it does not matter thereafter.

    What is more important for me is the flow of the water coming down, the faster, the better. You will notice the area which has the best (quickest) growth was the area where the water spouts actuall hit the glass at its first point of contact. This is where the algae grows quickest...matter of fact this area of glass I had left un-scored and is the smoothest.

    As it stands inside my cupboard located on the left of my display tank and above my frag tank.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jaak

    Jaak

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    AWESOME Adee!! How long has this unit been running now?
     
  5. Loki

    Loki cable tie ninja

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    Awesome boet... :thumbup:
     
  6. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    wow awesome...:thumbup:
     
  7. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    1st cleaning

    So gave it, its first cleaning after 4 weeks in operation. Switched the pump off and allow to dry out a bit (otherwise gets a bit too sloppy when handling).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The stuff reminds me of a thin pastry and was barely holding on. If I had left it too long I reckon the whole lot would have falled down like a curtain under its own weight. Also technically I don't think this is true algae, the harder stuff will come hopefully in another 2-3 months of running.

    and this was just the one half.
    [​IMG]

    I placed a filtersock stuffed with filterwool over the drain pipe and let the pump run for a few minutes to wash itself out. I should have actually plumbed in a bypass tap/valve that also drains outside into the garden...

    and the final motherload...
    [​IMG]

    You are supposed to actually clean the one side and alternate, now that i know what to expect ito my setup I have to harvest in 2 week intervals in order to ensure i don't risk re-contamination of algae dropping back into my system....or at least until the harder stuff starts to grow...which I'm 80% sure...is going to happen. :whistling:

    After the second or third harvest I will switch to an 18 hour on photoperiod running in a reverse cycle from my display lights....up till now running for 24 hours on.

    While I am a great supporter of an algae scrubber I will still keep my TS3 skimming, albeit on the dry side...as a failsafe for sudden nasties/spikes that could occur un-noticed. A scrubber in this scenario will be too slow to react in removing any sudden event that results in an increase in DOC's.

    The idea of a scrubber is actually quiet a paradox...u spend $$$ trying to get rid of hair algae in your display tank, with phospgate removal media, manually scrubbing LR, etc....and yet the scrubber's sole aim is to create a near perfect climate to grow algae, albeit outside of your display area.


    There are many designs on the net, they all have the same underlying principles in setting them up:
    • Waterflow...strong/steady/shallow/constant
    • Lighting...although IMO I don't think having it millimeters away vs centimeters away makes much of a difference, only the time it will take to start seeding and harvest intervals will be affected/reduced. Eventually you will/should reach a desired state of no Phosphates.
    So enjoy, give it a go. :biggrin:
     
  8. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    thanks, this week will be it's 5th week of operation.
     
  9. Jaak

    Jaak

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    That first cleaning was not bad at all Adee. What made you decide to go with the glass? Is it easier to clean?
     
  10. Tony

    Tony

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    I Adee. It works like a bomb but why not give the glass a light sanding with some water paper so it becomes a bit rough for the algae to stick onto?
     
  11. trad

    trad Fish, thats the word!

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    I wish i had space for something like this, but theres just no room left under my tank.
     
  12. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    I used a dremmel tool with a tip that scratched the glass deeper than what sandpaper could achieve. Algae will stick to any smooth surface as long as its fast flowing. Your return pipe nozzle from your sump, if it's halfway in the water like mine...has algae growing on the inside. Also the area right in front of the spray bay where the water spurts out and lands on the glass...I did not scratch that area I left it smooth....that was the 1st area where signs of algae appeard (and it not even in the direct lighting)
     
  13. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    so plumb a line to your balcony/ceiling/rooftop/bathroom/garage....and set the scrubber somewhere we it can do its thing.
     
  14. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    For the first cleaning...i must say its doing its job...
     
  15. Dohn

    Dohn MASA Contributor

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    what would you say are the total dimesnions height, breadth and length. These dimensions include lights, plumbing, splash protector etc.
     
  16. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    The actual specs for this one?

    I will have to mearsure...the glass was cut to my exact specs.
     
  17. Prodigy

    Prodigy

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    That is one impressive algae scrubber you should be proud
    Well done
     
  18. Dohn

    Dohn MASA Contributor

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    Could one use 4 t5 lights in the vertical position as appose to the horizontal position.

    Im wondering if the growth around the spot where the water hits the screen doesnt have something to do with gaseous exchange. Would it be better to have multiple spray bars, say between each light, so a total of 8 spray bars.

    If you concerned about the weight of the algae causing the algae to peel off, perhaps you could take a piece of shade netting cloth 1500mm long by 570mm wide and drape it over the waterfall pane of glass and secure it on top using pegs. This is so that the one sides weight doesnt pull it over after you've cleaned the reverse side.

    If you had to redo it what would you change?
     
  19. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    otherwise i'm happy for now.
     
  20. Rory

    Rory Admin MASA Contributor

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    Looks awesome Adee and I'm sure will work extremely well. Why don't you glue 2 black strips of ABS plastic to the "V" strips of glass to cut out the light there. You could try extending it a bit as well to get it closer, just fiddle and make sure it doesn't "catch" the water and drip backwards towards the lights first.
     
  21. Dohn

    Dohn MASA Contributor

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    How would sand blasted glass fair.
     
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