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Old 04-17-2014, 02:34 AM   #1
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Algae scrubbers

Hi all, I am trying to do the pros and cons of an algae scrubber. I am looking at doing one that goes down the inside of my tank. I was told that they stink, does anyone know if that's the case? If you have one, how do you find it, is it as good as what they seem? Thanks Anita
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:00 AM   #2
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Hi back! I made my UAS late last year. Not because I had an algae problem, but because I had the parts and love DIY projects. That said, I yanked that sucker right out a few months ago. My waters were perfect before, and I just had to go tinker with it.
I had no algae before, after running it for a while, I started to see green hair on my plants. The scrubber worked, grew tons of algae within the square but it was green/brown sludgy hair and STINK? To high heaven! It doesn't just grow in the scrubber, but on the glass too (scrubber suctioned inside/light suctioned outside). That was a nightmare and no matter what it spread through the tank scooping it out. I had to scrape and scrub out the area too.
I let it go on way too long, after all who likes to toss out their DIY project. But I finally did, some 3 months ago and plants have cleared, NO algae of any kind in my tank as yet. Strange. I do not know the proper situation where one would be needed. Obviously, like I learned, if you have NO algae, you don't need one! I see now how it could help if you had an algae outbreak.
On a side note, I killed 2 tetras in the thing. I modified it 3 times, but the little buggers could find their way in but not out. So all I accomplished was murdering 2 fish.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:49 PM   #3
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I have run waterfall algae scrubbers for years and have not really had any of the problems described above. They can smell when you remove to clean them but that's about the only time, and not worse than a skimmer cup (actually no where near as bad, those can have a sewer smell). If you grow a more slimy algae, which can happen at different phases, it can have a rather bad smell but once that is swiped off the GHA growth has no smell.

Incidentally the roughed-up plastic canvas down not work well for submerged/floating scrubbers, not at all. Quartz sand/rock works better but can take a while to get seeded.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies, I do have a bit of algae in my tank but it isn't a real problem at the moment. When i was reading up on the scrubbers, they seemed really good. Always good to get some feed back from peeps who have them.....thanks
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:42 AM   #5
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Algae scrubber is misnomer - Their purpose is to remove nitrates

The purpose of an algae scrubber is to reduce nitrates to safe levels for the safe long term health of your fish.

If your water parameters for nitrates are fine ... like always under 20 ppm, then you have no need for an algae scrubber. Algae scrubbers are for aquariums with high nitrates such as:

1) tap water comes out of the faucet with high nitrates (well water is notorious for this) and/or
2) weekly partial water changes of sufficient quantity to reduce nitrates to optimal levels are cost prohibitive .. or time prohibitive .... and/or
3) extreme bio load

High nitrates can lead to increased algae, so to the extent an algae scrubber reduces nitrates there, they can be useful.

The only commercial one available seems to be the overpriced one:

HOG.5 Hang-On-Glass UAS Upflow Algae Scrubber - 1/2 Cube feeding per day - MAGNET VERSION

Here's the DIY together with explanation::

HOW TO: DIY algae scrubber - No more nitrates - YouTube

for more on this go here:

Algae Scrubbers
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:54 AM   #6
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I personally have never run a scrubber on a freshwater aquarium, just saltwater, and saltwater grows a completely different type of algae. But as far as being only for tank with a nitrate problem, I do not concur. They can be used on any type of aquarium and while the primary purpose is usually nitrate control, they can also be used for phosphate control in saltwater particularly, and they also contribute to the food web in a saltwater tank - meaning that if you don't have a planted/macro refugium, an algae scrubber can "fill" that gap and provide a breeding ground for pods and mysid, etc.

The UAS is one method, which is particularly useful for nano tanks and sumpless systems, which makes them attractive for freshwater hobbyists. For larger systems with sumps, waterfall scrubbers are more effective because, well, waterfall scrubbers are just more effective IMO.

SantaMonica makes the only "commercial" version of a UAS, but he isn't the only person/company in the US that makes algae scrubbers.

Also I am of the opinion that the uarujoey video is severely lacking in detail and misses some major design points, such as "rough up the screen with sandpaper" (not good enough). Anyone who watches that video and thinks that is all that you need to do will end up with a poor quality scrubber, and then they will think they don't work. It's tough enough to make a UAS work right, let alone make a quick and dirty DIY version work at all.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for your responses, my nitrates are around 5 - 10, so I dont think that i need one, especially if they stink!! That DIY one, is the one that i came across, pretty easy to make, but if it's not going to be effective there's no point. Appreciated your thoughts, thankyou
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:59 PM   #8
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If by stink you mean you expect it to make your house wreak, no. Imagine cleaning a canister filter weekly, and his much that can stink, and cut that in half. It's all a matter of perspective. Algae scrubbers should not stink, especially when growing right (GHA doesn't smell bad)
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:56 AM   #9
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I wouldn't mind having one, a bought one is pretty expensive $100us, so it would be about $120 here. Do you have a bought one or did you make it yourself?
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post

Also I am of the opinion that the uarujoey video is severely lacking in detail and misses some major design points, such as "rough up the screen with sandpaper" (not good enough). Anyone who watches that video and thinks that is all that you need to do will end up with a poor quality scrubber, and then they will think they don't work. It's tough enough to make a UAS work right, let alone make a quick and dirty DIY version work at all.
That is interesting. IIRC, that is what I followed to build mine (only built one to try it). Although I remember using a hole saw to rough up the screen. Now when you say hard to make it work right, isn't 'working right' growing algae? A continual cycle of 'grow and clean" so to speak. I had placed mine in my AC tank, with the least plants. It grew algae for sure, completely filling the scrubber before cleanings. But what I found happening was the algae was spreading outside of the scrubber to plants, decor and such. (I think due to the spreading that was happening as I cleaned it up maybe?).
Once I took it all out, no more algae anywhere, even thought I read nitrates very low. Perhaps the few plants I have are just enough to keep the nitrates in check. One thing I remember is there is not alot of info on this type of thing. I do remember seeing alot of pictures in sumps, which is probably what you are indicating works so good. I guess in the end, no more for my freshwater tanks, I don't have any algae in any of them.
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