Damon on the IM site: "I have been completely skimmer less for over a month now, and my ats has brought my nitrates from off the chart above 50ppm and with yesterday's test it has come down to 5 on the high end with color choosing(can't wait for a Hanna to make a nitrate). I am extremely happy with my ats as it is now, but I do believe I'm going to build a second one next to it. I built this size for a small (75-90g heavy bioload), but I'm going to add a second one that will be a more professional build quality now that I have figured out how I want it to run. I still love the fact that I have dropped $25 a month in electricity, haven't done a water change in a month while still dropping nitrates and getting amazing coral growth. The best part is I am making these to utilize my overflow drains, so in essence I adding a more efficient form of filtration without adding any heat or extra electricity. I can't report on long term results as I've only been running an ats since last fall. But from where my tank was to where it is now is enough for me to jump ship, lol."
Kerry on the scrubber site: "I was hard for me to believe that this device worked. It took about a year before I built one and now I wish I knew about this years ago. Who would have thought algae would provide so much success? I even have one on my 150G FW Jack Dempsey tank as well. And yes, its so nice not to have a skimmer anymore!!!!"
Reefkeeper2 on the RC site: "I run a skimmer, biopellets and an ATS. The skimmer and the pellets worked well keeping nitrates at 0, but there was room for improvement with phosphate control. I tried GFO, and lanthanum. My sps do not like the GFO. I got STN often when I changed it out. The lanthanum worked, but was very labor intensive and so unpractical. The ATS did the trick nicely. I have been a reefer for a very long time. I think I have tried every method of nutrient control thought up by anyone. I really enjoy trying out new ideas and trying to improve on old ones. I have to say that this combination has worked the best of all I have tried over the years."
N728NY on the RC site: "Just chiming in to say I really hope this thread keeps going! Lots of good info. I'm still pretty new to keeping a reef tank. I have been running a scrubber with my skimmer for the past three months. Before then I could never get my nitrates below 15, and since I added my scrubber I never been able to detect any nitrates, even after feeding twice as much. I know with my 75 gallon set up, I made my scrubber slightly over sized (sized for 100 gallons) and I dump huge amounts of pellets and frozen shrimp in my tank on top of spot feeding my corals on a regular basis and I still have yet to register any nitrates on my test kit. Being that I'm still new I still haven't built up the courage to unplug the skimmer yet. I may try it once I know for sure my scrubber is fully matured, got plenty of ro water made up and salt ready just in case I need to do an emergency water change lol. I still have a clump of cheato left that I suppose would be good back up if the scrubber couldn't keep up. The cheato doesn't really grow very much right now because of the scrubber. I love these scrubbers, I'm so glad I took the time to read "both sides" of the arguments on them to find out the facts about them."
Kentth on the scrubber site: "overall the tank is much healthier, a lot of feather dusters, coming out of the rocks, yellow sponges, other opaque sponges. big thing is no water changes for over 8 months, almost no silt, it has really cut my maintenance"
Langtudatinh01 on the RC site: "i completely redo my 40B with the ATS from beginning, i barely see much algae on my display tank but i now have a mature ATS. i relocated all my fish and add another one without any issue. the dead rocks i use bleach quite a lot of phosphate back into the water, but the ATS has handle the issue like a cham. i do not see much algae on my display. everything is green like grass down at the ATS. i am very happy so far.'
Bicolour on the MFUK site: "quick update, so my ats has been running since [6 weeks ago] and i gotta say all the algea in my tank and on the sand has gone, wow. gotta say it was well worth doing. i dont monitor growth at the moment but this is something i will be doing in the future, my set up was basic costing very little as i wanted to try this before i really looked into the idea. very impressed and can only say if you got space look into it"
Rysher on the RC site: "i have a 6x9 screen, 1 inch is submerged so only 6x8 is really used, i also have a 40b. it has been my only form of filtration ever since i started the tank [months ago], i feed almost 2 cubes a day, only have 2 fishes but u cant see any algae on my DT, almost non existent film algae too, i clean my DT glass maybe once a week."
Packman90 on the RC site: "I have a 72 Gallon bow front and until a couple of months ago I was going to throw my tank away and give up on saltwater tanks all together. I was brand new, took a lot of advice, started my system and watched as it became more and more green, until i found out about scrubbers. I lost all of the coral frags I bought, about $400.00 worth, and just felt that I would never get it. I have it now, and just bought my first new frags in over 8 months. Thanks to all of you scrubbers out there who showed me the way. Here is the tank after the scrubber did it's magic. this took a total of 1 month for it to clear up, and I did not remove any of the algae, it just melted a way. Only problem I have is that i have some sea grass that is melting away as well and cheto in my sump is also slowly dieing."
I would just send it to ya. I ship every day M-F for the orders I receive through my website anyway. I hope to clean my screens this Sunday. I will freeze a baggy if I do and let you know. You can then PM me the address. I am sure you could keep it frozen and thaw it in FW for the little algae eating fish. I dont think the trip to you would hurt it any as it would start out frozen.
Use plastic canvas as the algae screen. Remember to roughen it up properly using a wood saw or hole saw. You can get plastic canvas at craft store (under sewing section) or sewing store or online at places like Everything Plastic Canvas Home Page or ebay. Screen should look like this:
The lighting needs to be 1 watt per square inch (6.25 square cm) of screen material. A 3 by 4 inch screen is 12 square inches not 24. Make sure you have enough wattage and use a reflector if the light doesnot focus on screen. For fluorescent bulbs, it needs to have a spectrum of 2700k-3000k. For LEDs, it needs to be red 660nm. You can cut the wattage in half if you are using LED lights. In order for algae to grow, make sure that the light is on for 18 hours a day. Here are some bulbs and reflector type:
The bubbles need to be rapid and large and distributed through out the screen evenly for algae to grow. The best way to do this is by slicing the air tubing. Make sure the air pump is good so that the bubbles can constantly flow across the screen for 24 hours a day. This is why you need bubbles:
Some success stories of people who built upflow algae scrubbers...
ReeferMat on the MASC site: "So I decided to build one of these [UAS scrubbers] today. It's huge because all I had was a 12 inch airstone, but I'm hoping that won't matter too much. It cost me less than $20 to build, so if it works that is the best bang for the buck I have ever seen in the war on algae! It has been up and running for 3 months now and I have to say my tank looks a lot better. Every time I clean it it grows a new type of algae, slime, turf, etc... and it grows fast. I would say I have seen a decline in nuisance algae in my tank, but to be honest that would be an understatement.... It has all but eradicated it. Every time I look at the scrubber I can't help but think that all that junk would be growing in my DT"
Owenreefin on the PNWMAS site: "The first two months of running this UAS scrubber thing I was convinced I was going to rip it out for the algae growth was dismal, and I figured that my system just couldn't make it work. (I also have algae in my fuge) WELL I WAS WRONG. The thing started to really kick in. So much so that I just conducted my only water change in 2 months and I hardly think it was even necessary. I usually do a change of 30% every 2 weeks. My sand bed has cleared up big time too. With the water change I pulled out a good baseball sized amount of algae off the scrubber, couldn't be happier! I will always be running one of these. I will post pics of its growth next time I change water. Many months from now. "
Bobba on the scrubber site: "Well, it's been almost 3 weeks with the HOG.5, and 2 with my lone Turbo snail. I am happy to report that I have no Hair Algae left in the tank. No signs of any regrowth of what the snail has eaten either."
Clavius on the scrubber site:
"I've been running a 500 liter tank now for 5 years. It is very well stocked with SPS, LPS, softies, filter feeders and a modest amount of fish. The nutrients were being kept very low by a combination of a giant skimmer and the ZEOvit method. Off course, this results in very lightly coloured corals, which was my goal. Generally I'm very pleased with the colouring and growth of my corals, and please with my tank in general. But one battle I've always lost: brown algae covering my sandbed. I could not, for the life of me, find what was causing those algae. Not to mention solve it. I've tried many many things to solve it, but up untill recently, without luck.
Almost three weeks ago though, I installed a HOG.5 unit. It was a little experiment that I wanted to do ever since I learned about algae scrubbers. I was never creative enough to build one myself, as the space in my 100 ltr sump is very limited. The HOG.5 was affordable and tiny enough to enable my experiment. I could even fit 6 of those units in there with ease. Off course, with the ZEO-method, my nutrients already were really very low. I couldn't measure any NO3 or PO4 with my Salifert test kits. And I never bothered with more expensive kits; unmeasurable should be good enough. I wanted to see if the vitamins and amino acids that the algae scrubber produces would add anything to my reef. And, more importantly, if the algae would consume "something" that the brown algae on my sandbed require.
The result in my sandbed is staggering. After only 3 weeks, not a trace of the pesky brown algae is left! An extra benefit, that I didn't expect, is that my lightly coloured corals now all have noticably much more colour. Without getting darker. They seem to glow! I don't know if it is from the vitamins that are released in the water [from the algae scrubber]. Or maybe the ugly brown algae [on the sand] were also covering my corals and that I now finally seeing my uncovered corals! Strangely enough, the algae in my HOG.5 aren't light green, as you would expect with nutrient-poor tanks. But they're a mix of dark brown with red tints here and there. So, I have no idea why that is or how that works. But at this stage I'm just so happy that I really don't care."