The SURF4 (TM) is the larger version of the SURF2, which was the world`s first floating surface Upflow Algae Scrubber® (also called a UAS®). It is also a 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!)
The SURF4 starts with four bubble openings at the bottom, where upflowing air bubbles (from strong air pumps, sold separately) flow up into the growth compartment and bring aquarium or pond 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; freshwater grows thin stringy algae, and saltwater grows thicker, denser algae. The air then goes out of the top of the unit, quietly and with practically no salt spray, and the water goes down and out four holes in the bottom, without any bubbles remaining. The SURF4 growth compartment is one full inch deeper than the SURF2 (3" compared to 2"), which further keeps all bubbles at the top, and bubble-free water at the bottom, where the water exits.
A few features of the SURF4 provide real usefulness and are available on no other algae scrubber except the SURF2. 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 grow greener algae) inside the unit, especially in high-nutrient aquarium or pond water. In other words, the SURF4 creates a lower-nutrient ecosystem inside itself which is different from the rest of the outside water. 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.
Another great feature is the elimination of salt spray (for saltwater). Since the air must come up through the narrow space between the LED lid and the foam, all the salt spray remains in the growth compartment where it is washed away by the water. And if the unit does ever need to be "washed", just push it under the water surface for a few seconds and let water flow over the top; no need to take it to the sink.
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 SURF4 keeps bubbles inside the almost 3" deep internal water level, only letting water out of the four small holes at the bottom after the air has escaped out the top. Thus, no bubbles get into the aquarium, sump or pond water; only a little red light, which gets less as growth gets thicker.
The SURF4 comes with dual power supplies, each one powering four LEDs (total of 8 LEDs). Not only does this provide backup, it allows you to start the scrubber with less light which sometimes helps growth start faster in low-nutrient water or new tanks.
Comes with 6 ft (180 cm) of quad vinyl airline, but requires a 4-outlet air pump, or two 2-outlet pumps, that can pump at least 10 total liters per minute (0.4 cfm), which small low-cost pumps cannot do. Pumps that say they can handle 20 or more airstones, or pumps with 4 tubing attachments instead of one, are best. You can have as much air as you like, however; 10 lpm per inlet (40 lpm total) is no problem, because the bubble rings which circle around the air inlets prevent large bubbles from escaping. It is the air bubbles which move water into the growth compartment and up the growth surfaces, and also supply carbon dioxide (CO2 in the air) to the surfaces, which allow algae to grow in the filter. The more bubbles, the thicker the algae can grow. Large bubbles even create openings in the algae for light to reach further down into the growth; thus reducing dark areas. The bubble rings also shield the bubbles from strong powerheads or flow that some sumps have, so that all the bubbles go up into the SURF4.
The LED lid contains 8 red (660 nm) 3-watt LEDs, which are attached to an aluminum heat sink which is painted black to reduce heat; it does get warm. The LEDs will give the pond, aquarium or sump a slight red color at night when the aquarium lights are off, but this will occur less as the SURF4 fills with growth. You will need to get a timer so you can run the LEDs for up to 22 hours per day (not 24). The LEDs never needs replacing.
The SURF4 will need to be cleaned ("harvested") every 7 to 21 days or when thick with growth. 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 usually do not need to take anything apart, or take anything to your sink, once the growth get thick.
|1 - 5 Gallons||5 - 10 Gallons||10 - 40 Gallons||55 - 120 Gallons||180 - 300 Gallons||450+ Gallons|
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