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24th December 2018
So, after 6 years and promising myself to get a scrubber again, I have finally done something about it. I have seen one other review of this unit from a couple of years ago, the seller has added extra lights each side now. For about £120 GBP, I don't think it is too bad and much better than I could make:
27th December 2018
So, I managed to get the unit into my sump yesterday. It wasn't quite long enough to sit on the brace bars, so had to make a basic support for it. Headroom for easy maintenance could be an issue, but I expect it to improve once nutrients lower and I can remove the skimmer. It is also difficult to remove the light covers as they fit in a groove and slide in from the top, so difficult to assess the flow across the screen.
There is only one drain on this unit, no emergency overflow, but the hole is quite large and fitted with a tank connector. Once running, as I thought, it was quite noisy draining out of the unit with the water splashing. A quick trip to the LFS and a purchase of some 38mm flexi tube and it now drains under the surface, now silent running
My thoughts of using the original screen went out of the window as it is about 2" short of the slot. I have had to fit it as a temporary measure as the supplied new screen hadn't been roughed up. I am hoping that the green which grows this week on the old screen, I can harvest and rub into the new screen to help seed that a bit quicker. Nutrient levels have been allowed to get out of hand, so am looking forward to seeing how this goes. Once new screen is fitted and running, I shall take some parameters and post, then follow the experience.
5th January 2019
So, it has been going for 7 days and the screen is filling with an oily algae on both sides which is good, shows some of the excessive nutrients are being reduced. I am also dosing vodka at 5ml per day whilst bringing the levels down. I am still vodka dosing alongside in an attempt to get levels lower, before removing the skimmer. When first tested No3 was a shocking 50ppm, today it has come down to 25ppm, still excessive, but better. Po4 is showing as 0.5, both tests are Salifert. 10g of algae came off the screens today, so I have used it to seed the new screen.
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New screen, seeded with older algae and filling the complete slot.
10th January 2019
I have been somewhat disappointed with the performance of the scrubber this week, although it has only been 5 days growth. The screen is streaky, indicating there is either not enough flow, or the slot is clogging. Growth on this screen today didn't even register above 0g today! Vodka dosing is still continuing at 5ml per day, nitrates have remained at 25ppm and Phosphate at 0.5.
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I am not 100% sure what the flow rate of the fitted pump was, but I know it was less than the Maxijet 1200 I am having to use to mix my salt now. I have taken the opportunity of swapping pumps over today, hopefully that will help to increase the amount of flow across all of the screen.
18th January 2019
The spraybar seemed to be splashing outwards and upon removal seemed a bit blocked. Cleaning off the screen, I am not sure if the slot is wide enough, something to check on. So I got a whole 6g of oily algae off today. No3 has dropped to 10ppm, Po4 is still 0.5.
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24th February 2019
More than a little disappointed with the scrubber at the moment, it doesn't seem to be producing any better results. I have increased the lighting period by 2 hours this week, result? Algae removal decreased by 2g!! I have taken the whole unit out today for a clean (something I never had to do with my DIY unit) and algae had built up inside quite a bit. I didn't believe the leds were particularly good at the outset, and seeing how they have(n't) lasted over only a couple of months proves I was possibly correct.
7th April 2019
I have all the bits together now to upgrade my scrubber. 2x 12v 10w 660nm lights, 2x12v female connectors and waterproof joints. Leaving the scrubber running in its current configuration is yielding less than 20g per fortnight of oily algae, so totally inefficient. I would not recommend the purchase of this scrubber to readers, unless you can purchase it for sub £100 without the incapable lighting. While it is out of action, I will also widen the slot as it seems to clog very quickly. My aim is to fit it all over the Easter weekend, touch wood.
19th April 2019
Ok, so I have finally found the time to add the new lights. These are 10w, 660nm 12 volt lights, for safety. The removed led strips were almost falling off and not very efficient. Because the slot was so small, it blocked easily. as you can see, almost as much algae growth on the window as there is on the screen!
I bought myself some waterproof connectors and connected my new lights up and tested them. Mounting the lights on the scrubber was not an option as the light would be too low. Some bargain window board was cut to the width of the scrubber, fitted in the slots and lights attached Just for safety's sake, I taped the board on the outside as well, "just in case". A tip I saw on another forum was to cut some filter tubing an cover the 12v connector fittings and (hopefully), prevent corrosion.
And there it is, running with the new lights. Hopefully it will be better than what was there previously and I will now get some good growth. I am thinking I may need 2 more, s there are 2 on each side and giving full screen cover.
22nd April 2019
So, unfortunately as expected, the 10w led is far too powerful and focussed.The result of this is a big white patch in the centre of the screen where it has burned away the growth. I have reduced the time the light is on from 18 hours to 15 hours and I have also tried to diffuse the light while I work out how I am going to solve this new problem. I have ended up with this now.
27th April 2019
Some more modifications made today. I have found a way to hang the lights away from the screen. As you can see from the following pictures, the led really did burn the algae!! That said, 18g harvested today in a week, wasn't getting that before with the old lighting set up, so onwards and upwards to increased growth.
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Both lights are now about 10cm from the screen allowing for the spread of the light, hopefully it will spread enough. On a previous home made version, 3w leds were enough to produce great growth without burning, so 3 times the power could prove to be a bit troublesome.
6th May 2019
Here we go, now the results are starting to be achieved. With the light timings lowered from 18 hours per day to 13, in a week the screens have produced 30g, that's a just over 50% increase on last week. The big white burn is filling in nicely, so hopefully that will produce some good growth now. Once the screens are filling with a decent amount, I shall increase the lighting again gradually until up to 18 hours. Still got a way to go to top my 200+g per week, but now moving in the right direction!
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14th July 2019
I have become a little disillusioned with the process of the screen, still only around 20g per week after 7 months. I recall my previous scrubber also struggled to begin good, strong growth and had to put 2x 45w cfl bulbs on both sides for a while. Luckily I have kept the bulbs and the clip on holders, so today they have been fitted along with some home made reflectors. I am hoping now that the next few weeks of intensive light will bring the nutrients out, get rid of the slime algae and allow the good stuff to grow.
23rd July 2019
One week of cfl has brought double the amount of growth seen previously. However, I believe the water flow is still not quite right which is causing the brown growth. To help reflect the light which would be otherwise lost, I have also covered some cardboard with white paper to fit behind.
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25th August 2019
One month down the road of using cfls again, slimy, black, oily growth is coming through. I am now dosing vodka again to try and bring phosphates down to a level where the scrubber can produce green. It has been suggested by Santa Monica that this oily growth is better at filtering out nutrients than the green. I keep bumbling on about increasing flow but have yet to do anything about it. I will be ordering a new pump so that I can use a wider bore tubing to hopefully broaden the flow.
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It has been a while since the last update. Taking advice from Santa Monica, I have looked to try and reduce my nutrients in other ways, to allow the ats to take hold. I have been vodka dosing again and have placed Phosguard in system. This kind of defeats the object of using a scrubber, as it should be able to outcompete the main system to grow on the screen. I have only been using the Phosguard for a week,, but something very strange has happened to the growth, it has become clear!! As you can see from the pictures below, clear slime and a smaller (26g) amount of growth. My journey this time with a algae scrubber has been a lot more difficult and challenging than my previous usage.My last use was just a case of screen and light, this time, screen and light doesn't cut the mustard. That said however, I believe i am now on the road to gaining some turf algae in the next few weeks (fingers crossed)
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24th November 2019
The new 3000lph pump has been running for about 3 weeks now. This is the second harvest since fitment. I have had to make a slot cover out of tin foil and have moulded it to fit. The slot would block after a couple of days and squirt onto the acrylic front pane, the cover directs the water back on to the screen. I will be leaving this screen for a little longer, maybe 10 days to see if once the growth starts it starts growing denser. Onwards and upwards (hopefully)
18th January 2020
I have finally decided that the scrubber in its current form is not working. I'm not sure if the cfl's needed replacing due to age and low output, but growth was still not forthcoming. I have now purchased some 12v, 20w warm white LED lights to replace the 10w 660nm red lights. I have fitted one today and will probably do the other next weekend. Will be interesting to see the difference in growth on the two sides when compared together. I shall try these for another couple of months, then if that doesn't improve, I will have to make the screen smaller as recommended by Santa Monica and avoided by me like the plague.
26th April 2020
So, after many months of the screen underperforming, I have had to cut the screen down to see if that makes a difference. Unfortunately, it didn't go as easily as planned. I cut the screen in half and gave it a quick clean. I tried to fill the slot with Milliput, but it was old stuff and was a bit too crumbly. I had now cut the screen so was committed to the change and found out a roll of sellotape. I bound the slot several times, not sure how long it will last as it isn't known for being waterproof! I then had to swap out the 3000lph pump that was feeding it and go back to the Maxijet 1200. A few more tweaks to make as I had to slot a smaller bore pipe into the bigger bore and cable tie it so it doesn't leak. The supply pipework is also a bit long and needs cutting down so I can position the screen, the feed pipe is currently pushing the spray bar off centre. It is running, but I think I will have to find something a bit more permanent in the future, once the DIY shops open up again.