MPIV's algae scrubber tank

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MPIV's algae scrubber tank

Postby Mpiv on Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:51 am

Since starting in this Hobby 5 years ago there have been numerous improvements and advances and changes with regards to filtration, feeding, flow and lighting for reef tanks.
I am going to do a small write up of my current methods of filtration. When I first got started I had a nice, oversized skimmer located in a sump that was very small. I ran my tank this way pretty successfully for about a year. I emptied my skimmer cup every other day and preformed weekly 20% water changes on my 75 Gallon Tank, but the tank still had hair algae. Now in hindsight I know it was all part of the cycle that tanks go through for the first year and a half or so, but at the time I was frustrated.

One day I happened to randomly start talking to a co-worker about my tank, he had a 300 gallon system. When I asked how big his protein skimmer was he said he did not use one and explained his Algae Scrubber to me. He directed me to the Algae website for further reading.

I read all I could and one morning when I woke up to a skimmer cup overflowing onto my floor, I decided I would give it a try.

My first scrubber was very simple. It consisted of a piece of PVC that I cut a slot in with a circular saw the PVC had a cap on one end and a 90 degree elbow fitted with a nipple fitting to attach a flexible hose to. I rigged the pvc across my sump and hooked up a maxi jet 1200 to feed the scrubber. I clamped the lights to my sump.
Here's a picImage

I disconnected the skimmer and awaited results.

The tank did really well, coral growth exploded and within 4 months all algae was gone. I had more pods and other foodstuffs in my tank than I could believe.

I was concerned about the safety of the system I was using, it had accident written all over it. I decided to build a bigger sump with an algae scrubber designed to fit over the top.
I built this back in 2012 and it was my first experiment with Acrylic Welding.

This scrubber is lit with a clamp on cfl light on both sides of the screen and is fed directly from the overflow of my tank. Feeding a screen this way is not recommended, but in 4 years I have not had an issue, plus it is very quiet.

In January 2013 I upgraded tanks to a 110 gallon, I still use the same sump and scrubber. The only other piece of mechanical equipment I use is knoppC calcium reactor.

Since building this scrubber several other designs have come out, but a "waterfall" style scrubber is still the best in my opinion. A small company named Turbo's Aquatics makes a really nice LED lit waterfall scrubber that is very easy to add to any system if you are not inclined to attempt to build yourself.

Here is a picture from my tank upgrade in January 2013, incidentally it is also the last time I preformed a water change.

February 2014

January 2016

And here is my scrubber, as it sits today.


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