New Algae Scrubbers

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by SantaMonica, 15 Sep 2010.

  1. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica

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    Low-light Scrubbers

    Here is something new, different, and untested. I have not built one yet, but it should work for either SW or FW if the size and flow are correct. It is a vertical scrubber that you hang on the wall, and it requires NO electricity. It is a "low-light" scrubber:

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    I got the idea when reading a study about algae growth in freshwater streams:

    "Algal Response to Nutrient Enrichment In Forested Oligotrophic Streams". Journal of Phycology, June 2008. ALGAL RESPONSE TO NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT IN FORESTED OLIGOTROPHIC STREAM1 - Veraart - 2008 - Journal of Phycology - Wiley Online Library

    "Algae inhabiting forested streams have the capacity to acclimate to low light intensity. These light conditions affect their photosynthetic efficiency, but do not impair growth rates, in particular, in the case of thin diatom-dominated communities."

    In other words, they don't filter as much per square inch (or per square cm) of area, but they do operate on very low light. Apparently it is mostly diatoms that grow in these low-light conditions.

    The advantage of a scrubber like this should be obvious: It requires no electricity to power the screen. It still requires a pump, however, since the top of the scrubber would (probably) be high above the top of the tank. The scrubber is designed to operate on the light already available in the room, which would vary greatly depending on how strong the light bulbs are in the room, and how much sunlight comes in through the windows. The more average light the room has, the smaller the scrubber can be. The less light, the bigger it needs to be. Basically, the scrubber uses more area to make up for less light. And since the light is so low, the type of algae that is able to survive is (apparently) mostly diatoms.

    Just as with regular scrubbers, the wider the unit it, the more flow is required. So in the spirit of keeping it from consuming too much electricty, a smaller pump could be used if the unit were narrow and tall. But the bottom of the unit will need to drain into either the tank or the sump, so there will be a limit to how low the bottom can be. And the limit to the top will be the ceiling. A tradeoff will need to be made, maybe so that it looks like a vertical picture on the wall. Fortunately the flow does not need to be as much as a regular scrubber, since it is one-sided only.

    It will have to be experimented with to see if a clear cover is needed to stop any water dropletts from splashing out. Many people have decorative waterfalls of the same size as these, and they have no cover on them, so maybe water dropletts getting on the floor will not happen. Evaporation would be high though, and this might be reason enough to consider a clear cover.

    Cleaning could (apparently) be done by having a removeable screen or porous sheet, just like a regular scrubber has. It would be big though, and would drip as you took it out. Also it probably would not fit into a sink, and so would need a bathtub or shower (or outside) for cleaning. A possible fix for this might be a very flexibe woven plastic mesh, which you could fold up like a towell and easily clean in a sink. A material like this might not lay down flat when it's in the scrubber, however.

    This type of scrubber would be easiest to try for somebody with a cement floor, lots of wall space, open widows or skylights, a low sump, high ceilings, and a big sink or patio for cleaning. I have no idea of the size required for the unit.
     
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Interesting idea. Thinking of the algae in my Koi pond. Then yes, this could work.

    Just how to keep children away from pointing a finger into the waterstream... They will enjoy it.
     
  4. danimal

    danimal

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    think you could convince the wife that it's abstract art and will add to the decor of the living room?
     
  5. maj

    maj

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    Will really only work if u have a engine room or remote sump.
    coz where our systems are,our other half will kill us if we have a Algae scrubber in the dining room,LOL
     
  6. brentv

    brentv

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    What about doing a screen like this on a wall in a lounge as a piece of art? You can always leave a 2-3cm gap then sillicone on a piece of glass in the front, then no greasy little fingers???:whistling:
     
  7. wukkie

    wukkie

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  8. Adee

    Adee

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    similar to my glass waterfall design. The problem i had was when power to the feed pup was disrupted. The one/off action left water being spewed outside the catchment area feeding the drain piping. Its that initial pulse of water you need to control somehow.
     
  9. vatso

    vatso

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    Adee do you want to sell / give your glass water fall design away? I could use it in my sump no need for me to worry about some splashing
     
  10. Adee

    Adee

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    It's physically plumbed into my cabinet....need to still get around to taking it out. Thing is very heavy. I want to plonk it in my outside frag tank and see what sunlight will do to it and use it temporarily while i get the other one sorted out.

    I still need to build the sloped water way scrubber...once that is done then this one is all yours.

    It's very high by the way.
     
  11. vatso

    vatso

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    Thanks Mr Adee

    I have around 80cm to play with.

    I will look at making one me thinks the weekend
     
  12. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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  13. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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    Yea I can see this could be a problem with any scrubber, if the pressure is high and the slot is small. But as long as the screen goes into the slot, it tends to wick the water onto the screen before the water gets away. Or, if holes are used instead of a slot (althout not as good because not as much flow), the holes can be angled back towards the screen and away from the room. This is how I am doing it with the nano scrubber, and the pressure of the water actually is the only thing that is holding the screen in place.
     
  14. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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    New Feeding Guideline:

    Each cube of frozen food you feed per day needs 12 square inches of screen, with a light on both sides totalling 12 watts. Thus a nano that is fed one cube a day would need a screen 3 X 4 inches with a 6 watt bulb on each side. A larger tank that is fed 10 cubes a day would need a screen 10 X 12 inches with 60 watts of light on each side.
     
  15. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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    Although almost no aquarist knows this (athough every marine biologist does), algae produces all the vitamins and amino acids in the ocean that corals need to grow. Yes these are the same vitamins and amino acids that reefers buy and dose to their tanks. How do you think the vitamins and amino acids got in the ocean in the first place? Algae also produces a carbon source to feed the nitrate-and-phosphate-reducing bacteria (in addition to the algae consuming nitrate and phosphate itself). Yes this is the same carbon that many aquarists buy and add to their tanks. In particular, algae produce:

    Vitamins:

    Vitamin A
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin B6
    Beta Carotene
    Riboflavin
    Thiamine
    Biotin
    Ascorbate (breaks chloramines into chlorine+ammonia)
    N5-Methyltetrahydrofolate
    Other tetrahydrofolate polyglutamates
    Oxidized folate monoglutamates
    Nicotinate
    Pantothenate


    Amino Acids:

    Alanine
    Aspartic acid
    Leucine
    Valine
    Tyrosine
    Phenylalanine
    Methionine
    Aspartate
    Glutamate
    Serine
    Proline


    Carbohydrates (sugars):

    Galactose
    Glucose
    Maltose
    Xylose



    Misc:

    Glycolic Acid
    Citric Acid (breaks chloramines into chlorine+ammonia)
    Nucleic Acid derivatives
    Polypeptides
    Proteins
    Enzymes
    Lipids


    Studies:

    Production of Vitamin B-12, Thiamin, and Biotin by Phytoplankton. Journal of Phycology, Dec 1970:
    PRODUCTION OF VITAMIN B12, THIAMINE, AND BIOTIN BY PHYTOPLANKTON1 - Carlucci - 2008 - Journal of Phycology - Wiley Online Library

    Secretion Of Vitamins and Amino Acids Into The Environment By Ochromanas Danica. Journal of Phycology, Sept 1971 (Phycology is the study of algae):
    SECRETION OF VITAMINS AND AMINO ACIDS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT BY OCHROMONAS DANICA1,2 - Aaronson - 2008 - Journal of Phycology - Wiley Online Library

    Qualitative Assay of Dissolved Amino Acids and Sugars Excreted by Chlamydomanas Reinhardtii (chlorophyceae) and Euglena Gracilis (Euglenophyceae), Jounrnal of Phycology, Dec 1978:
    QUALITATIVE ASSAY OF DISSOLVED AMINO ACIDS AND SUGARS EXCRETED BY CHLAMYDOMONAS REINHARDTII (CHLOROPHYCEAE) AND EUGLENA GRACILIS (EUGLENOPHYCEAE)1 - Vogel - 2006 - Journal of Phycology - Wiley Online Library
     
  16. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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  17. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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    Well it took a while to get time to take more pics, but here are the updated ones of my 100 gallon tank. The main thing to mention is that this tank is not for showing... it is for experimenting. Details are at the end of this post. There have been no waterchanges since August 2008. The only dosings are Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime in the top-off (for Cal and Alk), Seachem Reef Advantage mag, and Seachem Reef Advantage strontium. Feeding is 48 ml of skimmate... I mean... blended oysters, per day, 20 square inches of nori per day, and one silverside per week (for the eel). There are no mechanical filters, no chemical filters, and no sand. The only filters are the live rock (now 5 years old), and the algae in the scrubbers. The lighting is 2 X 150 watt halides, and one 96 watt actinic. The tank is 30 inches tall. Tests are Nitrate and Phosphate = 0 (Salifert), pH = 8.3 to 8.6, and the water is contantly filled with food particles:



    High-Res: Click here
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    continued...
     
  18. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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  19. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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  20. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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  21. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Thread Starter

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