Santa Monica Algae Scrubber

Interesting idea,

After watching part three, Amazing results! WOW

N. S. Sherlock! Nitrates and phosphates got to go somewhere or just stay there and cause trouble. That’s why i like plenum sand beds and fuges.

I’ve used algae scrubbers for years.Most misunderstood and underrrated piece of equipment in this hobby…They got a bad rap after Julian Sprung wrote some negative comments back in the late 80’s…
Terry Siegel of aquarium frontiers later toured the facility at Inland Aquatics and corrected some of Julian’s wrong conclusions about scrubbers,but they’ve never really taken off…Aquaricare -the only commercially available scrubber mfgr during the 80’s & 90’s went out of business due to poor sales…Then santa monica basically revitalized the vertical algae scrubber design and after alot of negative comments on R/C got banned from that forum…The santa monica design lives on (who needs R/C anyway?)…and he’s got his own unit he’s selling now…
And even though plenums and sandbeds are good as a nutrient sinks the scrubber has the added benefit of adding O2 to the water in the opposite daylight cycle…for a nice stable PH.
Santa monica’s units are not cheap-but if you are handy -you can make a decent DIY version yourself…
I currently run an old aquaricare unit I purchased before they went under-and it continues to perform well…

Yes, algae scrubbers work much like a good fuge. just different plant form and havesting routine. actually a a plenum is not a nutrient sink, its a nutrient processor. it decomposes nitrates. at a faster rate than anerobic fine deep sand beds. and doesnt go anerobic to produce hydrogen sulfides. which is why i like them.

Thing is microalgae is WAY more efficient at consuming waste/excess nutrients than macro algae…you would need a giant fuge loaded with macro algaes to accomplish the same thing as a small scrubber could do.
I used plenums for years back in the late 80’s…great system…but the plenum in the display tank allways leads to problems in the long run…it gets loaded with detritus & such…I used to run a remote tank with a separate plenum and pass the water through a 25 micron filter-into the plenum tank and gravity fed back into the display…with only a thin layer of sand in the DT for asthetics…
as for deep sand beds in the DT -I only did that when there was a scrubber hooked up to the tank-anything else was an algae/phosphate nightmare…

thats odd. I use a remote macro algae fuge to starve out the hair algae in the DT. works every time. I use prolifera. seems to grow and comsume nutrients faster than the hair in the tank. when ever i get some.

Oh well, if its green and grows fast, and you harvest it, it will reduce nutrients.

[quote=“kaptken, post:6, topic:4417”]
works every time. [/quote]

Every time?

Ken, “my lower tank?fuge? in one frag system is full of mats of HA recently”. Every time? :wink: Just keeping things in check Ken. Nothing works every time, especially in this hobby. :wink:

Pick it faster! you have a nutrient problem. I just believe that higher forms of plant life are better at scavenging than the lower forms. Macro is better than cyano and hair, lets say, and sea grass is better than macro. there has to be a hiarchy in nature for competition in environments. i think it goes something like that. Is that wrong?

Turf algae is much more efficient than any macro…Read : DYNAMIC AQUARIA by DR Walter Adey.

I have alway thought about a sea grass fuge, very low flow rate and gravity drain back to tank or sump, very little harvesting as it would be vertical growth, using the grass that grows on the edges of back bays.
If done right may very well add to the appearance of the tank.
Could have them in almost any kind of planter as long as you can direct the outlets to a drip pan.
Kind of just like mangroves only much faster growers.

I too have nebulous plans for Sea Grass fuge someday. But they need good flow, a mature deep, sand bed and really high light. and they do take up nitrates by the pound. A former club member and Marine Biology grad from UD gave us a fine presentation at one meeting on the nature of sea grasses. She had experimental tanks and had to dose them heavily each day with nitrates and phosphate fertilizer to keep them healthy. she measured the uptake with calibrated solutions. they are very efficient.

Sarah was published. Here’s one of her articles.

It was a very informative presentation. SO someday, i would still like to have a sea grass auxiliary fuge for my system. Turtle Grass, Manatee Grass and Shoal Grass are the most readily available grasses. Others can be found or traded for from sea grass aquarists. this place has some in the summer collection period.

good luck if you try some. Grasses are dificult to keep.

Thanks for the info guys!

I was thinking of more salt marsh grass growing out of the container something like short cordgrass
in a window box type planter with a mud base feed by a aqualifter pump and draining back to the sump

Scroll down to the table of contents…
I believe chapter 14 of the book talks about sea grasses…Dr Adey used to run “lagoons” hooked up to his main tank on some displays…these lagoons contained lots of seagrasses…when you see the size of the tanks used for this purpose and the amount of lighting involved-you’d think twice before wanting to employ this method on a home aquarium…
chapter 22 talks a little about estuaries and the related marsh grasses…