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My turf scrubber


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Work begins, I'll start with a picture of parts and add some details as I go:

Mix of 3/4" and 1" pvc, some great waterproof external light sockets, and c clamps


$7 dry box from academy


The plug I'll use for the lighting


Closeup of the weatherproof sockets


8x11" screen from hobby lobby, 89 cents


Screen cut in half with a paper cutter for my two screens


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Construction starts:

holes drilled for water intake


Piece together water intake (not glued yet)


Water intake and how it will fit with the algae screens


Holes drilled for lighting


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Progress continues:

decided I'd need a 3rd light:





drain hole:




screen assembly:




attached (use slip connections to lid for easy removal and cleaning)





all finished but the wiring:


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I ended up modifying and swapping some of the pieces used for installation, I'll post a final parts list, cost, and picture of the unit with a plug on it. Hope this gives some of you ideas....

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  • 6 months later...

I've been running a really simple one in my sump since August, and my nitrates and phosphates have been at 0 for a long time now. They're fairly easy to maintain, I take the screen off and run it under tap water once a week or so. Sometimes, the algae will grow up into the screen and you'll get a little spraying, but it's really easy to hear when that's happening. That's the only real PITA I've noticed with them. I set this up on day 1 with a new tank and never really had any algae outbreaks with it.

Any updates on this, Mike? Is it in use? Effective at nutrient export? How is it for maintenance (ie how often do you scrape the screens)? Etc...

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Sure. The CFLs make the light look a lot more yellow in the pics than they look to the eye. I believe they're 2700k lamps, and I replace them every 3 months. This is a very basic DIY job, just a simple PVC frame, with the top slit about 1/8 of an inch that I cut with a Dremel. Screen is plastic canvas that you can get at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc. roughed up a bit with some sand paper. It's held in place with plastic shower curtain rings. I didn't need to use these until the screen started growing thicker algae, which got kind of heavy. For my next scrubber build, I want to make it easier to remove for cleanings and to put the scrubber inside of a clear acrylic box so that if it does spray anything, it doesn't really do any damage.



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  • 4 years later...

Nice write up Mike.

Here is my ATS.


I have 2 daylight cfl bulbs on it although I've been meaning to go to a lower spectrum. This is just a scuffed up knit pad with 2 pvc pipes laid over the refugium section. This was recently cleaned so I'll update it when I get more. This design allows me to easily clean it by rolling it in half and pulling it out.

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