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My name is Morgan Lidster. I have been designing, building and using (dump bucket-driven) true Algal Turf Scrubbers since 1992, when I partnered with Walter Adey of the Smithsonian Institution to utilize the technology for ornamental mariculture. The resulting retail business, Inland Aquatics, then introduced the tenets of Dynamic Aquaria, Adey’s book on microcosm modeling, including deep oolitic sand beds, refugia, non-traumatic pumping and algal turf scrubbing, to the aquarium hobby. Algal Turf Scrubbing has not yet gained the same degree of acceptance and understanding that the other Dynamic Aquaria tenets achieved many years ago. This is the case despite our having run hundreds of systems, comprising nearly 100,000 gallons with Algal Turf Scrubbing as the sole means of nutrient export, for over two decades. This is rather ironic when you consider that ATScrubbing is the foundation of the Dynamic Aquaria paradigm.
I intend to use this page to cover the history of the development of this amazing nutrient export tool, as I have lived it. For the time being, I will only be focusing on what is important for a hobbyist considering ATScrubbing as a way to manage nutrients in their aquariums. I have five tanks that I personally maintain with volumes ranging from 125 to 350 gallons. Algal Turf Scrubbing is, and always has been, the only nutrient cycling hardware used on these systems. GAC is run passively anytime I note a tint in the water... usually about every 2–3 years. 10% of the water is exchanged every 12–15 months. Automatic feeders feed the tanks 4–6 times daily. Each week I clean the glass, scrape the ATS screen and bucket, feed frozen and coral foods, and dose with BioTrace and Calcium and Alk supplements. The time required to do all this maintenance is less than an hour per week. These systems support heavy fish populations and the corals grow as fast as I would like them to. I don't know of any other paradigm that will provide similar results without costing significantly more money.
For more information or to contribute your experience to this site, please contact: Morgan