Algae Turf Scrubber

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An algae turf scrubber is essentially any surface with a light in which turf algae can grow on. It requires light and a strong, shallow, preferably surging, flow of water over it. Commercial units are available. It works on similar principles to the macro algae refugium, however is considered far more efficient.

The principles are explained in detail in the book Dynamic aquaria: building living ecosystems.

General Guidelines

  • Require 6.45 square centimetres (1 square inches) per 3.7 litres (1 gallon) of tank volume.
  • Minimum of 0.14 watts of lighting per litre of system volume, 0.27 watts per litre for good scrubbing.
  • 3-4mm slot is the most effective for 1mm screens of plastic webbing.
  • Flowrate of 130 litres per hour (35 gallons per hour) per 2.54 centimetres (1 inch) of screen length.
  • Vertical hanging screens are much more effective then horizontal.
  • Screens need to be rough to hold the algae.
  • Screens need to be cleaned every 7-10 days no matter what, more when first starting due to the types of algae that grows.
  • Lighting colour temperature under 5,000K works, with 2,700K found to work best.