The SURF2xx (TM) is the highest-powered version of the original SURF2, which was the world`s first floating surface Upflow Algae Scrubber® (also called a UAS®). It is also the first Ribbon Scrubber®, which is what allows the algae to be removed from the scrubber with one hand without needing to disassemble anything or take anything to the sink. Simply lift up the lid and pull the algae out. And you can feed some of the algae to your fish and snails if you want to; fresh is best!
This SURF2xx floating surface scrubber has over 24 square inches (150 square cm) of extremely rough Green-Grabber® algal growth surface which can grow up to a 2" (5 cm) thick block of green hair algae.
The SURF2xx starts with two air bubble openings at the bottom, where upflowing air bubbles (from a strong air pump, sold separately) flow up into the growth compartment and bring aquarium water with it. As the bubbles and water enter the growth compartment they rub the algae-attachment ribbons and get blasted by the super-red 660nm LED light. The bubbles then circle around and around inside the growth compartment, rubbing against the ribbons and the Green-Grabber® super-rough rock-hard attachment textures as the bubbles rise up to the water surface. This repeated rubbing of bubbles causes algae to start growing on the ribbons and textures; saltwater grows thick, dense algae. The air then goes out of the top of the unit, quietly and with very little salt spray, and the water goes down and out two holes in the bottom, without hardly any bubbles remaining.
A few features of the SURF2xx provide real usefulness and are available on no other algae scrubber (except the larger SURF units). First, the enclosed growth compartment increases the dwell time of the water and bubbles inside the unit so that they rub the algae many times before leaving the compartment. This actually reduces nutrients (nitrate, phosphate) to a level lower than the outside water, which allows greener growth to occur sooner (lower nutrients grows greener algae) inside the unit, especially in high-nutrient aquarium water. In other words, the SURF2xx creates a lower-nutrient ecosystem inside itself which is different from the rest of the water in your aquarium. Also, the position of the air bubble inlets (below the growth) causes the bubbles to flow through the growth no matter how thick the growth gets. This is in contrast to waterfall scrubbers, which mostly flow water on the outside of the growth, leaving the inner layers of growth without flow.
Bubble removal is probably the most-requested feature. Any and all algae scrubbers, whether they are upflow, waterfall or horizontal rivers, all have bubbles which must be removed. The internal growth compartment of the SURF2xx keeps bubbles inside the almost 2" deep internal water level, only letting water out of the two small holes at the bottom after the air has escaped out the top. Thus, almost no bubbles at all get into the aquarium or sump water; only a little red light, which gets less as growth gets thicker. And of course the quicker you can grow green algae inside the unit, the quicker you will remove nutrients and nuisance algae from your aquarium, and/or the quicker you can supply fresh green seaweed to your livestock.
The main advantage of the SURF2xx or any algae scrubber is that if you size and operate it properly, it can be the only filter for your tank, even replacing waterchanges. It can, however, also be used with other filters. Some other filters such as carbon dosing (Zeo, pellets, etc) may slow down the scrubber, but nothing will really "hurt" the scrubber except possibly large amounts of algaecide or copper medications. The SURF2xx cannot even dry out, since it`s always under water.
Comes with 3 ft (90 cm) of dual vinyl airline, but requires a 2-outlet air pump that can pump at least 5.0 total liters per minute (0.2 cfm), which small low-cost pumps cannot do. Pumps that say they can handle 10 or more airstones, or pumps with 2 tubing attachments instead of one, are best..You can have as much air as you like, however, 10 lpm pumps are no problem.
The SURF2xx lid contains 8 red (660 nm) 3-watt LEDs, which are attached to an aluminum heat sink which is coated with black epoxy; it does get warm. The LEDs will give the aquarium or sump a slight red color at night when the aquarium lights are off, but this will occur less as the SURF2xx fills with growth. You will probably need to get a timer so you can run the LEDs for up to 22 hours per day, although you can try 24 hours if you want to. The LEDs never needs replacing.
The SURF2xx will need to be cleaned ("harvested") every 7 to 14 days. Just lift up the LED lid, grab a handful of algae, and pull it out. You can even feed some of the algae to your fish. You do not need to take anything apart, or take anything to your sink, unless it is growing dark slime like it usually does when new.
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