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Thread: Chaeto Reactors compared to Algae Scrubbers

  1. #1
    Senior Member SantaMonica's Avatar
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    Chaeto Reactors compared to Algae Scrubbers

    With more people wanting to use natural filtration for their tanks, we are going to look at the two main types of units that you can put on your system: Chaeto reactors (or "algae reactors") and algae turf scrubbers (ATS). We won’t be looking at refugiums however, since those have mostly a different purpose. This will be a multi-part post; the next post will start with the basics, so if you’d like anything in particular to be covered, let us know.
    Add algal filtration to your system with DROP, SURF or HOG Scrubbers® from http://www.Santa-Monica.cc
    http://algaescrubber.net/SURF2-1.gif

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    Do algae scrubbers compete with macro algae growth rates? Growth rate comparison?
    What are the differences in nutrient removal between macro algae and green hair algae? Specifically regarding rates and/or types of nutrient uptake.
    Based on a single algae scrubber unit with no macro algae, is there a potential swing in parameter stability when one cleans their algae scrubber?
    -When the scrubber is cleaned there may be a delay in nutrient uptake?
    Further explanation in regards to reading the green hair algae color? Pictures?
    Does green hair algae help to scrub Co2 levels in the tank?
    Would it be advisable to run an undersized scrubber in conjunction with chaeto and other methods of nutrient export?

    Personally I run GFO, Carbon, and a Chaeta sandwich. I have never had very good growth with my chaeto likely due to my GFO and good parameters. None the less I have still battled green hair algae and cyano until recently. The problem actually came from an RODI issue. None the less I have looked into running an algae reactor seeing as it seems to grow much better then my chaeto.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SantaMonica's Avatar
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    Do algae scrubbers compete with macro algae growth rates?

    Not sure I understand this. Scrubbers are already macro aglae.


    What are the differences in nutrient removal between macro algae and green hair algae?

    Same question.


    Based on a single algae scrubber unit with no macro algae, is there a potential swing in parameter stability when one cleans their algae scrubber?

    Sounds like you are thinking that a chaeto reactor is the only thing that is macro algae. But, a scrubber is macro too.


    When the scrubber is cleaned there may be a delay in nutrient uptake?

    Good point.


    reading the green hair algae color? Pictures?

    Another good point. I know the colors and what they mean, but it might take some time to get it all together in one post.


    Does green hair algae help to scrub Co2 levels in the tank?

    Yes, that's what algae consume. More details coming up in Part 1.


    Would it be advisable to run an undersized scrubber in conjunction with chaeto and other methods of nutrient export?

    Interesting.


    Chaeta sandwich. I have never had very good growth with my chaeto likely due to my GFO and good parameters. None the less I have still battled green hair algae

    This hits on a major factor of reactors, which I'll cover.
    Add algal filtration to your system with DROP, SURF or HOG Scrubbers® from http://www.Santa-Monica.cc
    http://algaescrubber.net/SURF2-1.gif

  4. #4
    Senior Member SantaMonica's Avatar
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    Chaeto Reactors compared to Algae Scrubbers, part 1


    All macroalgae operate basically the same, chemically. They all use light, photosynthetically, to absorb nutrients from the water (i.e., filtering) and to grow biomass. Just like trees. The differences between types of macroalgae are in the physical structure of the macroalgae growth and the way the structure affects nutrient absorption speed, which means filtering. Here are the main differences as far as aquarists are concerned:


    Chaeto: Pronounced KAY-toe. Chaeto is the nickname for Chaetomorpha, and it looks like a green dishwasher cleaning pad. It has no "roots" and thus does not attach to solid surfaces. It grows in saltwater only, and is not eaten by many fish.


    Green Hair Algae: Includes Cladophora "angel hair" and Ulva "Easter basket" types. It has "roots" which attach to solid surfaces. It grows in freshwater and saltwater, and is eaten by almost all herbivores.


    Slime: A solid algal growth, bright green to brown to black in color, that attaches to solid surfaces but not very securely.


    Chaeto Reactor: A device that has water running through it, with chaeto growing in it. Also known as an "algae reactor". A chaeto reactor does not allow air to enter; only water, and these reactors usually have a lid attached with screws to keep water in and air out.


    Algae Scrubber: Also called a Turf Scrubber, or Algal Turf Scrubber (ATS). A device that allows air and water to interact to create a turbulent air/water interface like waves on a beach; it grows green hair algae or slime that attaches to solid surfaces.


    Reactors and scrubbers are different from refugiums; a refugium (“fuge”) is a space in a sump where macroalgae is placed, and a light is put over it. Refugiums have very slow flow, and very low light penetration, compared to reactors or scrubbers. You could modify a refugium to be a reactor, and with more mods you could make it a scrubber. But then it would no longer be a refugium.


    All oceans, reefs, lakes and rivers are naturally filtered by photosynthesis. This means that algae does all the filtering of these waters. This is why algae is at the base of the entire aquatic food chain, and why algae biomass dwarfs the biomass of all aquatic animals combined. But for algae to absorb nutrients out of the water, the algae must grow. And to absorb nutrients faster, the algae must grow faster.


    Next we will look at what makes different types of macroalgae absorb nutrients differently.
    Add algal filtration to your system with DROP, SURF or HOG Scrubbers® from http://www.Santa-Monica.cc
    http://algaescrubber.net/SURF2-1.gif

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