Airing On Sunday
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On Sunday July 12th at 8pm est, 7pm cst, and 5pm pst, Albert and Joe will be taking Algae Scrubbers with a special guest Brian (Santamonica)from Santa Monica Filtration. Nutrient reduction is a major concern for all types of aquarium keepers. Installing devices like these can make a big difference in keeping nitrate and phosphate under control.
SantaMonica is in Santa Monica, California USA (Los Angeles area), and started his first reef aquarium in January 2006 when an intern at his office suggested an aquarium to fill an open space in the hallway. He hired an aquarium service person (“fish guy”) to set up and maintain the aquarium, and with six months everything was dead. Then he hired a second fish guy to fix it, and within another year everything was dead again. So he started reading up on filtration in the discussion forums, and since he needed a username for them, just chose the name of his town because it was not fancy. This was in 2007.
After realizing the filtration mistakes that the two fish guys made (one of them made many big, basic mistakes), and also after deciding to keep seahorses which need lots of live food in the water, he discovered the Algal Turf Scrubbers from Walter Adey, which of course do the filtering but add lots of pods to the water. However, no scrubbers could be found for purchase anywhere. So after looking at how difficult it would be to build a Walter Adey dumping-bucket style scrubber, SantaMonica decided there must be an easier way to make water flow across a screen, and decided to just use a waterfall.
An initial waterfall-in-a-bucket design worked great, and brought the nitrate and phosphate down to zero in his 90 gallon reef (now restocked by him). By summer of 2008, enough had been learned of the waterfall to make a low-profile design (the SM100), which is still the design copied by other waterfall makers to this day. He ran this scrubber for over a year, and then started building and selling them in January 2010. However they were made of fragile acrylic, and thus were hard to ship. Also they often overflowed. And since they were a waterfall, they needed to be above the water in order to flow downwards, and thus took up a lot of overhead space.
In early 2011 he came up with a design that is the exact opposite: an Upflow scrubber, using bubbles. This design solved almost every problem of the waterfall, and is now the only version he sells, with a floating one, a sinking one, and one that attaches to the glass, in various sizes. He is also expanding the use of them into seaweed cultivators for food, fertilizer, and skin care.