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Any scrubbing is good scrubbing. Even a small algae scrubber on a big tank will help your glass stay clearer, longer. But beyond that, the basic guidelines for algae scrubbers are based on how much you feed each day. These guidelines are to help you get the minimum size or number of scrubbers that will still do a good job of total filtration. You cannot "over scrub", so having a larger scrubber (or more of them) simply works more like the oceans and lakes do which have enormous amounts of algae to do all the filtering. And the scrubber can go anywhere in your system; it will filter the same.
Scrubbers are sized according to feeding. Nutrients "in" (feeding) must equal nutrients "out" (scrubber growth), no matter how many gallons or liters you have. So...
An example VERTICAL upflow or waterfall screen size is 3 X 4 inches = 12 square inches of screen (7.5 X 10 cm = 75 sq cm) with a total of 12 real florescent watts (not equivalent watts) of light, or half that for LEDs, for 18 hours a day. If all 12 watts (6 watts LED) are on one side, it is a 1-sided screen. If the watts are divided on each side of the screen, it is a 2-sided screen. This should be able to handle the following amounts of daily feeding:
1 frozen cube per day (2-sided screen), or
1/2 frozen cube per day (1-sided screen), or
10 pinches of flake food per day (2-sided screen), or
5 pinches of flake food per day (1-sided screen), or
10 square inches (60 sq cm) of nori per day (2-sided screen), or
5 square inches (30 sq cm) of nori per day (1-sided screen), or
0.1 dry ounce (2.8 grams) of pellet food per day (2-sided screen), or
0.05 dry ounce (1.4 grams) of pellet food per day (1-sided screen)
Problem rocks: Each 50 pounds (2.2 kg) of nuisance algae covered rocks you have adds 1 cube a day.
Flow or air bubbles is always 24 hours; water flow is at least 35 gph per inch of width of screen [60 lph per cm], EVEN IF one sided or horizontal.
Floating surface scrubbers with strings: Screen size is the size of the box (Length X Width), and is 2-sided because the strings grow in 3D.
Every 7 to 10 days, or
When it's black, or
When it fills up, or
When algae lets go, or
When nutrients start to rise
However these are just starting points; a lot of your tank filtering (especially in saltwater) is based on your rocks, so their condition plays a part too in what size scrubber to make, as well as what type of feeding you are doing, and what other filters you will be using. Here are some specific guidelines:
Since freshwater grows extremely thin, long algae, scrubbers without strings are recommended. This is because you will probably need to clean the scrubber in your sink with a toothbrush (instead of in-place harvesting while still in your aquarium), and it's easier to brush a flat wall than it is to brush strings. So flat-wall scrubbers such as wide-panel bubble upflows work well in freshwater. Also, since the thin stringy freshwater algae will flow out of holes in the scrubber, if you put the scrubber in your display (where the animals are), they will learn to eat out of the scrubber and you will therefore be able to feed less. If you intend to do a large part of your feeding this way, multiple scrubbers will allow the feeding (and filtering) to continue in one when you have cleaned the other. Waterfall types are not recommended for freshwater because the long thin growth flows out of the drain.
With saltwater, you can get thick dense growth in the scrubber, which is when strings are an advantage (to hold on to the growth). So adding strings to a scrubber is acceptable and the decision is based on size and on where you want to put it, and also on how you want to clean it. Saltwater tanks which use live rock (even if the rock is "dead") will need to take into consideration the history of the rock: If it came from a tank with algae problems, each 50 pounds (23 kg) of this rock will add 1 cube a day to your feeding. This is because the rock is really just coral skeletons which absorbed nutrients from the water when the nutrients in the previous (or current) tank were high, and these nutrients will then start coming out and flowing into the water when your scrubber starts working.
After looking at size, the main consideration is where you are going to put it. Since scrubbers filter the same in any location, it is just a matter of placement. Unlike freshwater, the thicker growth in saltwater usually does not flow out of the holes or drains as much, so you can't rely on it for automatic feeding (although you can manually take some growth out, and feed that). And similar to freshwater, multiple units are better than a single unit.
Reefs are the same considerations as saltwater, with the exception that some people like the reef to run as natural as possible, meaning filtered by algae alone. With that in mind, here are some more details and options:
1) If you are building a reef tank which is new, where the rocks are coming from the ocean or from a low-nutrient tank with no algae problems, and if you will just be feeding the fish sparingly, and if you DO want to have other filters and water changes, then you can just use the cube-feeding recommended sizes of the scrubbers.
2) If you are building a reef tank which is new as in #1 above, but you DON'T want any other filters or water changes, then double the recommended scrubbing amount in #1. This will supply the corals and small fish with the most amounts of food particles, and will allow filtering and feeding to continue in one scrubber after you have cleaned the other.
3) If you are building a reef tank which is new as in #1 or #2 above, but the rocks are coming a nutrient-problem tank which had measurable phosphate or hair algae problems, then the rocks will be soaked with phosphate and this will supply more phosphate to your new tank than your feeding will. So use the 50 pounds of rock = 1 cube of feeding guideline, to add to the recommend scrubbing amount.
4) If you are adding a scrubber to an existing reef tank, and the tank has no measurable phosphate and no nuisance algae, and if you have other filters and water changes and you DO want to keep them, then you can just use the cube-feeding sizes of the scrubbers.
5) If you are adding a scrubber to an existing reef tank as in #4 above but you DON'T want to continue using the other filters or water changes, then double the scrubber amount recommend in #4, preferably by having multiple scrubbers which are cleaned alternately. This will keep one scrubber filtering and feeding when you have cleaned the other.
6) If you are adding a scrubber to an existing reef tank that has measurable phosphate and green hair nuisance algae on the rocks, and you DO want to continue using other filters and water changes, then you can just use the recommended cube-feeding sizes of the scrubbers. Use extra light (more LEDs) if possible because the higher phosphate in the water needs brighter LED's to make the scrubber grow green sooner. And if you double the amount of scrubbing (two units instead of one), the problems will clear up twice as fast because there will be twice the amount of algae absorbing the nutrients out of the water, especially when you clean one of them.
7) If you are adding a scrubber to an existing reef tank that has measurable phosphate and green hair nuisance algae on the rocks as in #6 above, and you DON'T want to continue using other filters and water changes, then double the amount of scrubbing recommended in #6.
If you are adding a scrubber to an existing reef tank that has NO measurable phosphate, but has LOTS of green hair nuisance algae on the rocks, then you need the strongest LEDs possible because the rocks are already full of phosphate, and the algae on the rocks is absorbing this phosphate, meaning you need the strongest scrubbing possible in order to out-compete the algae on the rocks. This is the hardest situation to fix, so you should use as much scrubbing as possible with the strongest LEDs available, and use as many other filters and water changes as possible too, until the algae on the rocks turns yellow and lets go.
as the title says having sold up my marine stock I have moved back to the freshwater side, so though I had better start a diary
the DT and sump are as before with 500ltrs at my disposal and I will be using the same lighting, hopefully if it can grow coral it will grow plants as plants only need 6500k to grow and the blue in the blue and red in the spectrum really picks out blues and reds in the fish and the colours pop, current stock is 4 DISCUS , 2 pairs GERMAN RAMS, 6 PEPPERED CORY'S and 40 CARDINAL TETRA'S, oh and 1 DIAMOND TETRA which was a hitch hiker with the cory's, the tank has been hard scaped but I'm awaiting plants to finish it off and I have got silver sand with Carib sea Eco planting substrate underneath and I will be going for and IWAGUMI style set up with rocks and wood, will post up pics soon
Looking for help with lighting for a 2ft tank....my Razor 120w seems to have just died (power to the transformer, nothing to the light itself)!
Was looking at the Evergrow range, but confused as to which model. Also need to bracket mount it (SWMBO orders), but these don't seem to do that, or at least not advertise they do!
Tanks a reef tank, mainly LPS, zoas, mushrooms.....typical sort of stuff.
Wouldn't say limited budget, but I'm not spending silly money😝.
I'm new to reefing :( I've only ever kept freshwater but after a couple of hours with Big Dave and some time with Kraken Corals I've taken the plunge and I'm started a tank. The tank is a 65 gallon tank which took me ages to fully clean out after keeping an alligator snapping turtle in before this. Wish me luck please and I'm sure I'm going to be posting lots of questions as I learn and go along with the tank.
A big thanks to Dave and Kraken Corals for the helpful advice.
Here's a sneak peak of our Aussie delivery, landing on Thursday!
3) £210 (8 inches long, it's a monster!)
22) We'll post individual prices for these frag sized pieces once we've seen them in person!
We've got loads of frags in for this weekend, here's a few pics of some of them! Prices from £2, acans from £5, favias from £15 etc.
Just in - Salifert's Flatworm eXit, only £17.95. One pack treats up to 1200 litres, but it's ideal to have enough for a couple of doses to make sure you've got rid of all of the flatworm.
Obviously it's available in store, but you can order online at https://www.ultra-aquatics.co.uk/shop/additives-medications/pest-control/salifert-flatworm-exit/ (payment by debit or credit card, or Paypal), or to save yourself a couple of quid in P&P, PM us on the forum, and we'll do it for £18.95 including P&P, payment by Paypal.