I've been really busy lately and haven't had a chance to post about my experience with the Santa Monica HOG Upflow Algae Scrubber that I won at the frag swap!
So, first of all, if you're not familiar, the HOG1 is a Hang On Glass Upflow Algae Scrubber. It's a two piece device that has a rough algae growing surface on one piece and two Red LEDs on the other. It's held on the glass by some pretty strong magnets. It's idea is to purposely grow algae inside to consume excess nutrients in the tank (approximately one frozen cube worth of food) (and apparently create free tang food).
Here is a stock picture of the device from Santa Monica:
I set this device up on May 17th. It's been 45 days, or about 6 weeks. Implementing the device was really easy. This product does require a separate air pump that is NOT included. I purchased a fairly inexpensive pump from Premium Aquatics to fulfill this purpose (ViaAqua Million Air Pump - single outlet 1666cc/m). To complete the installation, I placed the growth material into the water of my sump and the lighted side on the outside of the sump, and attached the air line to my pump. The device can be positioned with the vent holes below or above the water. According to the manufacturer, placing the vent underwater provides 'better' filtration, with the downside of a bubbling sound. I have my vent positioned slightly above the water. The device must be placed on a timer outlet allowing up to 12 hours of daylight per day.
The first few weeks had little growth, and I noticed a large 'bald' spot in the middle of the growing material. According to the directions, this indicates there is too many daylight hours per day. I reduced the 'on' time to about 8 hours, however I still saw little growth. I knew going into this that I have a relatively low nutrient system, so I have disabled my skimmer for a few weeks to see if there would be any growth improvement with additional nutrients in the water. Below are the results after 6 weeks in the tank (about 2 weeks with the skimmer off).
I would say that it's currently at about 70% growth. I plan to remove the contents and measure their volume after it reaches maximum growth. Interestingly, my water parameters have not changed since turning the skimmer off. I'm still at 0 Nitrates and .00 phosphate, and I'm still feeding twice a day approximately 2 frozen cubes worth of LRS reef frenzy. I may also remove my GFO reactor for a few weeks and see if there is any change in phosphate levels.
This is by no means a 'scientific experiment', rather just my experience with the product.
It's a neat concept, but I will need to spend more time using it to determine if it's worth the current retail price of $149.99.
Let me know if you have any questions!