Introduction: Algae Scrubber DIY

Keeping fish alive in the household environment is not an easy thing to do. The most frustrating part of this hobby, in fact, is the algae problem. If we do not change water on time(as the experts always recommend us to do), the algae will be everywhere! From the bottom of the tank to the side, from leaves of the water plants to the decorations in the tank, they are like ghosts flowing around growing on anything they can attach itself to! It affects the appearance of the tank, and it also indicates the unhealthy water condition the fish are living in. Basically, it is bad. I have been fighting with this problem since the second week I went into this hobby. After a long time spent researching for the solution of this problem, I came across the idea of algae scrubber. The idea is simple: if algae loves to grow, and grow in such a rapid speed, we just need to create the perfect environment for them to grow. However, let them grow out of our tank where we can clean them easily. Therefore, build a plastic container with better lighting than the tank, cycling the water on a piece of plastic net, which creates a waterfall effect to grow the algae. Every week we clean the algae on the net off, and we never have to worry about changing the water anymore. For more information about the algae scrubber, please visit That is where I learned so much about this project! Sounds exciting, right? Lets get started!

Step 1: Heat Sink for Led Lights

Old CPU heat sink * 4 pieces of binder clips * 4 pieces I connected them in such way(shown in the pictures), since I have no professional tools.

Step 2: Connecting Heat Sink by Bander Clips

Step 3: Preparing LED Lights Installation

Proxy glue was used for gluing the LED lights to the heat sink.

Step 4: About the Lights

Glue the lights on the heat sink. I brought the lights from eBay It is 3w 660nm grow led light. I used 10 of them , 5 for each side. I also brought the driver from the same dealer on line. It was cheap enough, but it took about a month to receive them.

Step 5: Soldering the Wires

I connected the lights by series.

Step 6: Lights and Heat Sink With the Driver

Step 7: Fixing the Light Unit to a Piece of Plastic Penal to Secure Their Position

I also used the LED light covers to protect and magnify the LED lights, and they are also from the same dealer online. Due to the lack of professional tools, the wholes in the panel were bigger than it needed to be. I used some play modeling crayon to fill the difference. I highly recommend anyone who wants to build this part to use professional tools, since the modeling crayon is conductive for electricity

Step 8: Building the Plastic Box and Pluming

Most of this step are made in Lowes I brought the plastic panel at the store then let them cut it to the shape I needed. The dimensions are following: 12"*8.5" *2 4"*8.5" *2 4"*12"*2 It should be in 6 pieces of panel, but the big panel was not big enough for all I wanted. I left the top open, which means I only got 5 pieces back. I used 100% silicon glue to put them them together. Three 1" wholes were drilled, one on the bottom, two on each of the sides. (Shown in the pictures) 3/4 PVC connected the drains and top part of plumbing.

Step 9: Connect the Cup Fan and the Light Unit to the Box.

CPU fans were attached to the light unit, then I attached the whole thing to the box by plastic screws.

Step 10: Prepare the Scrubber

Plastic net was found in Hobby Lobby store. I cut the net into 7"*10" dimensions, then used a steak knife to scratch the surface. A piece of black tube and zip tie was used to fix the net in position.

Step 11: Prepare the Waterfall Pipe and Operation

A pice of 12" PVC pipe was cut. I cut the middle of the pipe so the water can flow down. I inserted the plastic net into the pipe then got ready for test. For the pluming part, I used soft clear tubing, since it's much cheaper than PVC connections. I also used the pump maxjet 1200 and a 3/4 water valve on the system.

Step 12: On the Tank!

Epilog Challenge V

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Epilog Challenge V

Instructables Green Design Contest

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Instructables Green Design Contest