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Old 08-09-2010, 10:35 PM   #11
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I just wanted to make a comment (even though this thread is old) that there was a lawsuit involving the rights to the dump-style turf algae filter that was just settled this year, and Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, IN is now beginning to sell their version again. If anyone REALLY REALLY wants the answers to DIY scrubber, that Santa Monica guys that "blasted" his information everywhere has a 1200 post thread on the Reef Sanctuary site that has literally hundreds of DIY examples from the actual people who tried them.

Also, as a side note, Inland Aquatics has 40,000 gallons of saltwater tanks and they have not done a single water change in 15 years.

Fifteen years.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post
I just wanted to make a comment (even though this thread is old) that there was a lawsuit involving the rights to the dump-style turf algae filter that was just settled this year, and Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, IN is now beginning to sell their version again. If anyone REALLY REALLY wants the answers to DIY scrubber, that Santa Monica guys that "blasted" his information everywhere has a 1200 post thread on the Reef Sanctuary site that has literally hundreds of DIY examples from the actual people who tried them.

Also, as a side note, Inland Aquatics has 40,000 gallons of saltwater tanks and they have not done a single water change in 15 years.

Fifteen years.
I'm going to have to check that out. 15 years just makes me go .
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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I'm going to have to check that out. 15 years just makes me go .
It's not as simple as it seems unless everything is a FO tank.

If its a reef tank, you would have to dose back trace elements to make up for the lack of water changes. IMO the several dosing pumps, calc reactor, controllers and monitors aren't worth the 10% weekly.

I prefer a big ol' ball of cheato that is "pruned" at every water change.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:25 PM   #14
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I read through all 1200 posts on the thread on Reef Sanctuary and while I agree that you would have to dose back the trace chemicals, and occasionally would need to do some kind of cleaning, there appear to many major advantages to an algae scrubber. The algae scrubber, properly designed and maintained, will remove all phosphate, nitrate, ammonia, nitrite, heavy metals, etc from the water, which is something that I haven't read that any other filtration system can do. Sure, you have to scrape off half of the algae once a week (or more, depending on the growth) and it looks like there is a learning curve and some tweaks would have to be made along the way, but removing one pump (skimmer) from the system reduces the heat output, plus without the skimmer, you wouldn't have to feed your corals nearly as much, which saves money too. The other added benefit, which I intend to put directly to the test, is the fact that since all the algae (green hair/red turf) grows in the filter, none grows in the display tank.

Plus, I guess I don't really see the need myself for needing extra equipment for dosing or dripping, you just determine the rate of evaporation and mix your top-off water accordingly, and stick to a regular top-off schedule, and I would think it would be rather easy to maintain your necessary levels within a given range. So it's not really an added step, since you have to top off anyways.

Supposedly, it is on the order of several magnitudes better for a reef tank, in fact it is designed specifically for a reef system in mind, given all the benefits. If you have a lot of doubt about that, I suggest you read through that thread here

Mega-Powerful Nitrate and Phosphate Remover Replaces Skimmer, Refugium, Everything - Reef Sanctuary

but I would warn you to take some of Santa Monica's comments with a grain of salt. I can see why his threads got closed on several forums or removed (like on this one), he's got a pretty bad attitude about answering questions. Responses like "shows what you know" when someone says "there's no way that can work the way you say" just are uncalled for, but his point is that comments like that are made with no basis in thought, they're just a nay-sayer to him and he shuts the door. I looked past that and from what I see, there's not much bad about a properly designed and maintained algae filter system.

There's a lot of other benefits I have forgotten since it took me so long to get through that thread...I suggest you read through it when you have time...it's very informative.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:00 PM   #15
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Back when Santa Monica first hit the scene and was on this forum i was also considering ATS and read through his posts and did some pretty extensive research on my own. I started a thread where i tried to debate the pro's and con's with him.

Debating the pros and cons of turf algea scrubbers

It also has links to some other pages with more information on them as well. Keep in mind i am pretty neutral on the subject and tried to play the devil's advocate. I would one day like to try one for my self as they do seem to have to potential to really reduce a lot of nutrients in your system.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:41 AM   #16
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Reef Sanctuary is blocked here at work, so unfortunately I cannot read through it right now, but I plan on it. I'm not debating that an algae scrubber will work, I have seen them on beautiful systems and their owners swear by them.

I am however questioning how you can maintain a long term stable reef without the use of dosing equipment and water changes. I'm sure you can, but from everything I have ever read about the large beautiful tanks, the one factor through them is consistent parameters. If you top off once a week, the more the tank grows and uses elements to larger the swing is going to be when you top off. It may not be a big deal when your tank is only using 20-30ppm of calcium a week but a year later when its using 150+ a week, thats a huge swing to dump back in at once. Plus there are more then just the mainstream parameters that we always hear about (Ca, Mg, Alk..etc) in natural seawater. While most other concentrations are much lower in comparison, its hard to know exactly what each piece of coral, or invert uses. Inverts need Iodine to harden their shells after a molt, while you could dose it back, I think we all know how risky that is given how many iodine overdose stories around.

Could you also comment on how algae removes heavy metals? I can see how it could absorb some, but I have never really heard of that.

I realize this is a small niche, most tanks aren't SPS and coral dominated, its just my particular interest and goal, so its my particular question/observations. For any average FO tank or low stocked reef, its an amazing option given you keep up on the maintenance, and constantly test levels and adjust your dosing.

I'm not trying to say your wrong or be confrontational about this, but seeing as how I have not yet read the article, I would appreciate your point of view on these matters until my home computer is fixed and I can catch up.
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:03 PM   #17
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You don't have to worry about me taking anything as confrontational, unless it's a direct insult, and then I'd be the one calming the situation down (most of the time!!)

You have very well thought out questions.

As for the heavy metal reduction, that is what I was told by Inland as one of the major benefits that no other filtration system does, but I didn't question the "how" so I can't answer that one. If I had to venture a guess, I would say it is something that happens very slowly but consistently over time, so if any HM sneaks into the system it will get removed eventually. Probably only an issue for someone using tap water since RO would remove any of that...but it could come in on LR I suppose.

Good point on the CA issue. Right now the only reef tank I work on drops about 10ppm/wk. However, let's say you have a 100g system and the CA drops from 400 to 250 in one week, and then you mix up a fresh batch of Reef Crystals at salinity 35 which contains roughly 420 ppm CA (I know this, because I just mixed up a batch and tested it) and use that to replace 10% of the water, you will only boost the CA from 250 to about 270, so you're already dripping Kalk unless you top off daily with an extra 20ppm/gallon of system water.

As for the natural trace elements, yeah you could dose with some product, one point that SM made was that the ATS eliminates the need for PWCs, if your only reason for the PWC was to reduce phosphates and nitrates. I will give it to him that it doesn't account for replacing trace minerals, and there still may be a reason for PWCs but they can be much smaller in scale.

In a non-reef system, they can potentially be completely eliminated. In the reef system, a 10% PWC every week or every other week, or 20% a month would probably still be needed unless you invested a lot of time and money in equipment, testing and tweaking to get it 'perfect'.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:29 PM   #18
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In a non-reef system, they can potentially be completely eliminated. In the reef system, a 10% PWC every week or every other week, or 20% a month would probably still be needed unless you invested a lot of time and money in equipment, testing and tweaking to get it 'perfect'.
Agreed, for the average system, as long as you keep on the maintenance they sound like a great thing. For a larger stocked reef, I'm sure they are just as effective as long as you can account for the consumption of elements in the water. This can be anything from the crazy expensive controllers and reactors, to a simple 2-3 part solution added daily-weekly.

Interesting stuff, If I didn't leave my tank up to a non-tank person for several months of the year, I would consider it.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:14 PM   #19
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What about these guys
Aquaripure Nitrate Filter
you dose vodka into the filter to feed the algae. I have heard of vodka dosing before but these system sounds really good.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #20
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Yeah, I looked into that system, and it seems like a great idea, and it looks like about the most efficient system out there of it's type. It will remove Nitrate but it's very slow since it works on a drip system, so the larger your system and the more bio-load, the larger and more expensive system you need. And they are expensive. In contrast, the one that SM shows toward the end of his thread tops out at $600 and removes more nitrate, plus phosphate, ammonia, nitrite, heavy metals, etc. If you make your own, which I am going to do (my Dad works with Acrylic) you can do it for really cheap.

I've got my design down and will post a sketch to show you how I'm going to implement it, and I expect it will cost less than $200.
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