- CW-300 External Algae Scrubber - Clear Water
Solve your nutrient & algae issues with an Algae Turf Scrubber from Clear Water Scrubbers. Algae scrubbers can save you money and time with the minimal maintenance and energy usage.
Dimensions - 19" L x 10.5" W x 14" H
- Easy to harvest
- Safe design
- Simple to plumb
- Quality acrylic construction
- Multi-directional input barb
Algae turf scrubbers use natural growing algae to combat nutrients and have been used for many years now with great results. Many reefers that have been using them do not use any type of protein skimmer or expensive phosphate removal media to combat nutrients because scrubbers work very efficiently and can be added to almost any saltwater or freshwater system. As algae grows it will "lock" up nutrients in its structure and harvesting the algae you are basically removing nutrients and other undesired chemicals from your tank
Clear Water Scrubbers are an external design that needs to be mounted higher than the sump of your tank for the drain to flow into. The feed for the scrubber can be done with a stand-alone feed pump, manifold, or through the drain of your aquarium and plumbed into the included 1/2" barb fitting. Water will then flow over the algae screen that is blasted with high power red/blue LED lights that encourage algae growth and then the water will flow into the main drain fitting and down into your sump. Clear Water's scrubber was designed with a 1/2" emergency drain fitting that will accept any excess flow if the 1" main drain ever gets clogged with algae.
Maintaining the scrubber only takes a few minutes every one to three weeks to harvest the algae that has grown on the screen. By removing the horizontal union and rinsing the screen under a faucet will help knock a majority of the algae off the screen to be disposed of. Removing all the algae from the screen will lead to a slow start of the next batch and by leaving a small amount of algae on the screen you will help seed the next batch allowing it to grow faster. You may need to use a soft bristle brush (toothbrushes work great) to clean the slot that the screen fits into every now and then also.
Max Recommended Tank Size - 400 gallon
Dimensions - 19" L x 10 1/2" W x 14" H
Screen Dimensions - 11 1/2 x 10 1/2
Recommended Flow Rate - 600 GPH
Input Barb Size - 1/2"
Main Drain Bulkhead - 1"
Emergency Drain Bulkhead - 1/2"
Power Consumption - 100W @ 120VAC
1x CW-300 External Algae Scrubber
How to Properly Size an Algae Scrubber
While we can provide tank sizing recommendations based on typical feeding habits, the best and most accurate way of sizing for an ATS is based on the amount of food fed each day, measured for ease here as cubes of food, regardless of the size of your aquarium. There should be 12 square inches of growing screen per cube or equivalent amount of food fed to the tank each day. Oversizing an algae scrubber does not necessarily mean that it will grow algae faster or be more efficient, and in some cases, we have found oversizing the scrubber too large, can lead to poor results.
|Model||Screen Size||Cubes Per Day|
|CW-50||6" x 6"||up to 3|
|CW-100||7" x 7"||2 to 4|
|CW-200||10" x 8"||4 to 7|
|CW-300||11.5" x 10.5"||7 to 10|
1. Find a suitable place for the scrubber to be placed that allows it to freely drain into your aquariums sump.
2. For best results remove the main and emergency drain bulkheads and install them in reverse (flange and gasket inside of the scrubber body).
3. Using 1" soft tubing or PVC plumb the drain into your sump.
4. Plumb the emergency drain with 1/2" PVC or soft tubing allowing it to drain into your sump. We prefer to keep the emergency drain a few inches over the water level making the water crash into the sump that produces an audible noise, letting you know when something is not correct with the main drain.
5. Attach 1/2" soft tubing to the included feed barb fitting. We really like using soft silicone tubing for this application.
6. Adjust the flow over the algae screen so that an even sheet of water flows down the screen. Flow adjustments can be made with either a ball valve on the feed line or with a DC style pump.
7. Plug the LED light power cord into a timer or aquarium controller and program it for a 12-hour daily photoperiod. We suggest illuminating the algae scrubber in an opposite lighting cycle than your display tank to help stabilize your aquarium pH.
8. Monitor the algae growth and after a few weeks, algae will be ready to harvest!
Note - For feeding the scrubber we prefer to use a stand-alone feed pump since they can be fine-tuned to the algae scrubbers needs. We really like to use DC pumps that let us control the flow rate through a controller or an AC pump with a ball valve.
CW-300 External Algae Scrubber By Robert on 5/31/2018Robert would recommend this product to a friendThursday May 31 2018: CW-300 External Algae Scrubber Review
I took a long time trying to decide on a scrubber. In the end the reason I chose this one was that it had the largest screen compared to others at a lot less of cost. I saw some scrubbers going for close to $599+ with only a 5"x7" scrubber screen. And so they say it takes both sides of a 12" square area to remove 1 cube a day. So this CW-300 at 11 1/2" x 10 1/2" = 120.75 square inches!! And, dividing that by 12 = 10 cubes a day. I can't imagine feeding more than 5 but this means I will most likely only half to run it half the time, running it at night, which will help balance ph fluctuations since the ph drops at night.
The hot pink lights makes the inside of the stand look beautiful in contrast to my blue lights at night glowing from the aquarium. I got the light covers but only cover one side, the back side, as I like one of the sides showing the "Clear Water Scrubber" logo facing forward with no light cover. I did put egg crate on top of my sumps to diffuse the pink light from possibly causing algae to grow in places I don't want it to grow since I have the light uncovered. But the way I did it, it looks beautiful and wish I could add a photo to show you.
I got excited to see a rust colored growth beginning to appear on the screen on day 4 and could not believe it. Glad I chose this one for my 400 gallon, rated up to 500 but really goes by how much you feed. I want to make a note that a few of the problems people posted on their reviews earlier have been resolved. The manufacturer suggested running it 24 hours a day initially then cut it back in 4 hour increments until you get the phosphates and nitrates at the level you want to maintain your aquarium at. I read on the forum about dosing iron when necessary. So far it's looking like this thing is doing an amazing job for me.
Note: I called to check on following things and after setting mine up I can tell you this scrubber does not leak, so as long as you plumb the water to drain from it, you won't have to worry about it leaking and it does come with the lid to prevent small drops of water from splashing out. Also the scrubber screen is pre sanded, just like they said, and so the algae will stick to it and help growth. Although the screen looks smooth, if you look closely enough, you can see its been roughed up enough.
Just for your plumbing information regarding..
The Emergency drain: for the CW-300 is 1/2" inch: So if you are wanting to put a pipe inside the bulkhead pipe you want 1/2" pvc pipe but if you are OCD and picky like me, I want to screw a pvc fitting onto the threads of the bulkheads, so you are going to need a 3/4" fitting of your choice to screw onto the bulkhead and use 3/4" pipe from there on.
Main Bulkhead Drain is 1" inch: However the same thing above, if you want to screw a fitting onto the threads of the drain like I did, you are going to need a 1 1/4" inch pvc fitting and the 1 1/4" pvc piping from there on out.
I know BRS carries black pvc piping but there's places online that sells black pvc fittings if you want to match the black of the scrubber.
Amazing product By Paul on 2/10/2018Paul would recommend this product to a friendMy Clearwater scrubber has completely fixed a tank I was considering breaking down, I fought algae for a year before I found this, my former algae farm is now spotless!
A great scrubber By Matt on 2/9/2018Matt would recommend this product to a friendI run a coral business and picked up one of these in an emergency when my DIY ATS broke. It was time for an upgrade anyways. I contacted CW about sizing and worked out getting the CW300 model for my 350 gallon system. It arrived safe and sound, was easy to put together (there is a card with a youtube video link to follow if needed), and I had it up and running in 15 minutes. I seeded the screen by rubbing some algae from my old ATS on it, which helps a lot. Within 2 weeks I had to clean the screen and removed several pounds of algae. The scrubber works great and I have nothing but good things to say about them.
A company that stands behind it’s product.... By Kris on 10/21/2017Kris would recommend this product to a friendI am revising my original review for a couple reasons.........
I originally gave this a 1 star out of pure frustration / disappointment. The first unit I received from BRS had some problems with the weld on the main box. I sent it back, and they sent another, that had even more problems than the first unit I had received. Thus the 1 star review.
HOWEVER...... I contacted not only BRS, but wrote directly to the company itself. I quickly received an email from Josh with Clearwater scrubbers, who seemed genuinely surprised to hear about the issue. I sent him a few video’s to show him what I was talking about. He quickly started researching the issue to see why the bond would fail like this. What I appreciate, is that he agreed to build me a new one, using a much stronger (read major overkill) welding agent, to insure that the third unit I received would NOT fail. He built it the next day, and shipped it directly to me. It came In one piece, and I had it on the tank in no time. This was before Josh really knew what the problem was. He has since reached out to let me know they figured it out, and it won’t be happening again. If you encounter this problem, make sure to let them know right away, so they can make it right.
I am admittedly an intense / impatient person when it comes to spending my money. I am a perfectionist myself and probably have a little OCD to go along with it (sound familiar to any of you aquarists?). So, I expect things to be right when I order them. With this said, nothing makes me happier, than when a company stands behind their product. Josh did the right thing, and made ME a happy customer. Thank you Josh.
As for the performance? This is very easy to set up. I am running a line off of my return pump to feed it. It takes some time and patience to get just the right flow, and to get the screen arm in just the right position. It has been running for 3 days now, and I am just now starting to see some algae on the screen. I am running it 24/7 until I get some base growth, then plan to decrease it to 12 hours, as to not shock my system. It doesn’t have much of a waterfall effect. Seems pretty quiet overall. Josh threw in a pair of light covers for me, because of the trouble I had. They are actually VERY NICE and I am very glad I got them. These lights are extremely bright, so it’s great to be able to cover them. BRS does not currently offer the covers, but I hope they change their minds, as they are really a must have in my opinion.
Another side note. This unit specifically (the 300 version) is very tall. 13”, a little more if you consider the union before the screen bar. I happen to have a very tall cabinet at 42”. I have 19” of space from the water line to the top. I have only 14” of space from the top of my sump. The only way I can make this work is to mount it just above the water line. This is not a problem for me, as I run the third chamber in my 160 gallon sump at only about 8” of water. So when I shut down my system, it fills the third chamber, but doesn’t affect the water line in the rest of the sump. However, if your sump fills when you shut off your pumps, you need to consider this. It was also difficult to fit the whole unit under the cabinet, as it is pretty large. You may need to remove the lights and put them back on, once the unit is in place. Just something to consider. Otherwise, I really like this unit. Looks nice, easy to run and hook up, and doesn’t make a lot of noise.
Oh, my system is a 300 gallon display. 160 gallon sump, 60 gallon attached frag tank, and skimmers, GFO / carbon / kalk / calcium reactors. I figure I run about 400 gallons total water (with displacement from rocks and sand, etc). The screen on this is very large, so I am sure it will be plenty for this tank. Time will tell. Hope this helps if you are looking into one.
Quality control issues.... By Kristopher on 9/30/2017Kristopher wouldn't recommend this product to a friendSo I just recieved this unit today. Took it out of the box, and was excited to hook it up. As I was looking at it, I realized that the side of the acrylic box that holds the plumbing, was not fully bonded together. Only the bottom half was bonded and the top was pulling away from the box due to the wieght of the plumbing. This is a $450 acrylic box..........can’t even put words to how dissapointed I am that it didn’t get bonded properly. Even a terrible bonding job would hold for an application like this, but this is just poor quality / craftsmanship. Very surprised to encounter this. It also had a broken nylon nut that holds the light to the base, but that really isn’t that big of a deal. I have contacted BRS, so we will see what the response is. I am guessing these will function fine once plugged in, but since I can’t even plug it in, I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Not happy at all.
Also has no instructions or introduction to who “clear water scrubbers” is. These are NOT complicated, and some google research will tell you anything you need to know on how these operate. Again......$450 shouldn’t have to do the leg work myself. There is also no light cover for this. I took a chance on buying a new product with no reviews, counting on BRS to only sell quality stuff. My bad I guess.
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Would this go against the Triton Method or do you think this would work along with it?
That's a great question! While algae turf scrubbers may not be specifically called out as part of the Triton method, they serve a more or less identical goal of controlling dissolved organic wastes through the use of algae to uptake these by-products. I can't see any reason running the Triton method would prevent you from using one of these. Of course, you wouldn't get the other benefits of a refugium such as a copepod sanctuary, but when it comes to keeping organics very low, these are a great solution! Proponents of the Triton method do offer macro-algae reactors as a suitable option, and I really can't see a meaningful difference between that and an ATS.