Blog Archives

Green Hair Algae REMOVAL – Dolabella Sea Hare (Dolabella auricularia)

The Dolabella Sea Hare is the horse of the sea! I’ve had quite a few of them over the years and they do one heck of a job cleaning up the green hair algae in the tank. The only problem is that they will starve if you don’t continue to feed them or find friends with tanks full of food so keep that in mind.

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 71 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 26 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 71 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 26 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 65 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 20 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 65 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 20 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 62 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 17 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 62 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 17 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 58 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 13 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 58 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 13 weeks 

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 54 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 9 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 54 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 9 weeks
SURF2 & Turbo Aquatics L2 algae scrubber update.

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 49 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 4 weeks

Algae scrubber update video: SURF2 – 49 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 4 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 47 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 2 weeks

Algae scrubber update video : SURF2 – 47 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 2 weeks


Turbo HF/Rev 3 – L2 Algae Scrubber Build

Unable to get my SURF2 algae scrubber from Santa Monica Filtration to produce algae growth, I’ve decided to try an L2 algae scrubber from Turbo’s Aquatics. The purpose of an algae scrubber is to create an environment that out competes the rest of the system for growing algae. As algae is grown and harvested (removed for the system) phosphates and nitrates are also removed from the system as that’s what the algae is feeding on. In this thread I will show you how I installed the Turbo HF/Rev 3 – L2 (two cubes of food per day) algae scrubber on my system. I hope to have far better results with this scrubber than my SURF2.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Arrival

It’s always fun to get packages in the mail! Especially when it’s good stuff.

I hate peanuts...

I hate peanuts…

Well wrapped!

Well wrapped!

Turbo's Aquatics - Turbo HF/Rev 3 Algae Scrubber

Finally, the package inside of the package is an algae scrubber.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Accessories

Goodies and useful accessories.

Turbo's Aquatics L2 Rev 3 Algae Scrubber

Pop the top…

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Accessories

More goodies and useful accessories.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber with MakersLED Heatsink

It’s pretty evident at this point that this is a very well made unit. Lots of thought and energy put into this algae scrubber.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber MakersLED Heatsink

I really like the MakersLED heatsink. It’s the same one I used for my LED build.

Turbo's Aquatics LED Board Version 1.0

The LED board inside of the MakersLED heatsink.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Light Wiring

These wiring connector clips work really well. A good solid connection.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Bottom

Since the scrubber is made out of quality materials it’s kind of heavy. I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to incorporate the scrubber into my system. My first thought was to use a 2X6 piece of lumber over my sump and to place the scrubber on top of it. But, I didn’t think wood would hold up very long.

Aquarium Bracket - NDS Spee-D Chennel Drain

After a quick trip to Home Depot I found exactly what I needed. A piece of PVC that could span the Rubbermaid sump, be drilled, and still retain structural integrity. This NDS Spee-D PVC Channel Drain was exactly what I needed! 🙂

A few modifications to the PVC bracket via chop saw...

A few modifications to the PVC bracket via chop saw…

Turbo HF/Rev. 3 Algae Scrubber Installation

Drill a couple holes. Measure PVC drain length and whittle down.

Aquarium Sump PVC Plastic Bracket

Finely tune the bracket’s position.

Aquarium Bracket Drip Rail

In case of leaks I decided to use some silicone and a couple pieces of hose to add a drip rail. This way if the scrubber springs a leak it will run into the sump and not onto the floor.

Fish Tank Algae Scrubber Feed Line

I used the return line from my chiller/UV sterilizer to feed the algae scrubber.

Turbo's Waterfall Algae Scrubber

One last look before I plumb this baby in.

Waterfall Algae Scrubber Feel Side

While installing the feed side of the algae scrubber I ran into a little issue. The spray bar is held in place between the right and left supports. Unfortunately, the feed side support hole was tapped too wide which meant I had to bottom out the support’s threads. When the support was snug it left too much thread inside the box to allow the spray bar to fit in. So I cut the thread back a bit, maybe a little too much. Luckily the extra rubber o-ring included in the order doubled up on the spay bar’s feed end made a good seal.

Installing Waterfall Algae Scrubber

Fit the scrubber into place.

Installing Waterfall Algae Scrubber Plumbing

Firmly connect feed line. I also use electrical tape to cover each hose clamp. I find it doesn’t take long for those clamps to start rusting and looking bad.

Aquarium Sump Algae Scrubber Bracket

Time to twist in the drain pipes and zip tie the filter sock. Both drain pipes run to about 1 inch from the sump’s water level to ensure consistent flow.

Waterfall Algae Scrubber Build DIY

Making sure the spray bar was tight I crossed my fingers and turned to water on. After no leaks I increased that flow until the water almost ran down the overflow.

I must confess, this is the first time I had to look up the instructions. I just wanted to make sure I hooked up the LEDs correctly. I would have felt pretty stupid if I blew them up! Turns out they’re fool proof and I just needed to daisy chain them together. A quick text message to, and quick reply from, Bud Carlson (Owner @ Turbo Aquatic’s) confirmed I was headed in the right direction.

Turbo's Aquatics Waterfall Turbo HF Revision 3 Algae Scrubber

Add lights and you have a functioning algae scrubber. 🙂

Update – Week 2:

Update – Week 4:

Update – Week 9:

Update – Week 13:

Update – Week 17:

Update – Week 20:

Update – Week 26:

Update – Week 43:

I will post update videos below so if you are interested please check or visit my YouTube channel.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Review

In an effort to reduce green hair algae in my saltwater aquarium, and to help water quality, I’ve decided to add an algae scrubber to the system. After watching a few YouTube videos (at the bottom) I was sold. So, after looking at my feeding program I decide to purchase a SURF2 Algae Scrubber for Santa Monica Filtration. This small unit was not cheap at $299 + shipping but I think it will be a great long-term addition to the system.  After picking up the unit today from the post office I’m happy to see that the scrubber seems to be built for the long run. 🙂 The construction of the floating growth container is very solid and the lid is nice and heavy. Not sure why I assume quality with a product’s weight but I’ll go with it. After a few weeks of cycling we should see some green stuff! Here area  few photos I took of the SURF2:

Santa Monica SURF2 floating surface Ribbon Scrubber with Green Grabber surfaces - 2 cubes feeding per day

Unpacking my SURF2 algae scrubber from Santa Monica Filtration.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Super-Red 660nm LED lid

Here’s what the bottom of the SURF2 algae scrubber looks like. This side shines down on the algae in the floating growth container.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Super-Red 660nm LED lid

The LEDs that light this unit are really bright! As you can see there are four super-red 660nm LEDs to get the job done.

Santa Monica Surf2 Algae Scrubber Growth Box

Here’s where the magic happens! This evening I will “seed” the growth compartment by rubbing some green hair algae on the inside of the box. The idea is to get a good culture on the sides of the box and harvest the algae that grows on the strings. It should take about a week to cycle the box and another couple of weeks before it’s time to harvest the algae.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Growth Box with Green-Grabber Surface

The “Green-Grabber” side wall material of the SURF2 provides a lot of places where algae spores can populate. This surface seems to be very durable!

Santa Monica SURF2 Box Air Line Openings

The bottom of the SURF2 has a few openings to allow air to be pumped in. The air helps oxygenate the algae and move water in and out of the unit.

Santa Monica SURF2 floating surface Ribbon Scrubber

The LED lid sits nice and snug over the top of the growth box. I think I might float this unit right in my refugium.

Santa Monica SURF2 Algae Scrubber Instructions

I thought it was kind of interesting that the LEDs need to be turned off for at least 2 hours a day, make sense though. I will be using an open outlet on my APEX controller to program a light schedule. The instruction included with the unit provide some very useful insight on how to finely tune in the scrubber’s algae production via the trouble shooting section.

Fusion Air Pump - Model 700 - for SURF2 Algae Scrubber

The folks at Santa Monica Filtration recommended using a Fusion aquarium air pump (model 700) to supply the air to the unit. An air pump is not included so I picked up two (one for a backup).

My Video Updates:

Day 1:


Day 8:


Day 16:


Day 21:


Day 32:


Day 42:


Day 54:


Day 70:


Day 77:


Day 84 (12 weeks):


Week 13:



Week 14:


Week 15:


Week 16:


Week 23:

Week 27:


Week 30:


Week 36:


Week 43:



Week 47:



Week 49:



Week 54:



Week 58:



Week 62:



Week 65:



Week 71:

New Dolabella Sea Hare

Dolabella Sea Hare

To help combat my green hair algae problem I decided to pick up another dolabella sea hare. I haven’t seen the last one for a couple weeks now. I’m also not sure how long they live as I’ve had him for quite some time.

Green Hair Algae, It’s That Time Again…

Over the past couple weeks I’ve noticed a few crops of green hair algae popping up in the tank. My first reaction to algae is to check my water quality. After seeing my water quality seemed normal I was a bit stumped. So, I changed my RO filters (sediment and carbon) when I first noticed the issue, then changed my DI filter resin (even though my TDS was 0) here last week. Then I tossed out all my top-off water to start out with the “new” stuff. So here’s a picture of one spot where it’s kind of bad. It’s a little over-exposed but it highlights the algae. Hopefully after a week or two I will see a noticeable difference.

Green Hair Algae


Feeding a Dolabella Sea Hare

This guy is pretty entertaining. After slowly moving around the tank he made his way up the overflow and found the honey hole of green hair algae.

Time for a haircut

The Astrea Snails in the refugium tend to grow their “hair” pretty long. They are the hippies in the system 🙂

90 Gallon Refugium Tiny Brittle Starfish

This past weekend I took a few pictures of the refuge.  I have these little brittle starfish all over.

Tiny Brittle Starfish in Refugium

Our Astrea Snail needs a haircut:

Astrea Snail in the Refugium

Dolabella Sea Hare (Dolabella auricularia)

A couple of new additions to the tank.  I’ve had Dolabella Sea Hares in the past and they did a great job of consuming green hair algae.  They tend to bury themselves during the evening or put their heads in a hole while they sleep.  Up close they kind of look like a horse, lol.

Closeup (notice his little eye)

Acclimating the two sea

1-27-12 UPDATE Photos: After a day or so of hiding, both sea hares are out and exploring for algae 🙂

A little bagpipe action!

Wintertime Green Hair Algae Bloom

Over this winter I’ve had a bit of green hair algae show up with one spot of cyanobacteria.  Since then I’ve continued the use of Phosphate Pads (backed off using them over the summer) and turned my skimmer up a little (wetter skim) in hopes to better my water quality. Picking out all the hair algae I could grab with tweezers and every other tool I’ve got has helped. I’ve also started to open the windows for 20 minutes a day to get some fresh air in, possibly lowering the CO2 levels in the house. I’ve always wondered if having the doors & windows closed during the winter has increased the CO2 levels in the house, which then enter the tank and promote algae growth… Lots of tanks I’ve seen over the past few months have had an algae bloom of some sort. Or, maybe it’s just a yearly cycle that we can do nothing about. Recently I’ve see where some folks are drawing their skimmer’s air from outside with indoor CO2 levels in mind.

Dolabella Sea Hares are good at eating hair algae!

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