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Santa Monica HOB2 Turf Scrubber.


Some might think algae filters are relatively new in this hobby when in fact they have been around for many years in one form or another. The growing of Cheato in a sump or other compartment seems to be the most popular on many forums. However gaining in popularity are algae filters referred too as "turf scrubbers" These are compact algae filter systems that utilise hair algae (GHA, Green Hair Algae) to filter the water of excess nutrients. One company marketing algae turf scrubbers is Santa Monica Turf Scrubbers in the USA but they are not imported to the UK. SM market a number of different types of algae filters and there is one for just about every situation.

A couple of months ago one of SMs turf scrubbers came up for sale on another forum at a reasonable price and as I have been interested in the for sometime I did the deal and bought it. The model I have is called the HOB2 which is a compact unit made up of 2 separate parts a inner to cultivate the GHA in and an outer providing then light. A this point I need to add you need to supply an air pump to power it and a powerhead or pump wont do. In the lighting compartment are 4 red LED's. which are very efficient at growing GHA.

The inner and outer compartments are held onto the glass by strong magnets and the air pump supplies not only air but water flow over the scrubber. You need a pump capable of delivering at least 2ltrs min. I used a Terta APS 300 which delivers 3ltrs min
Both the inner and outer boxes measure just 6.1/2" X 8.1/2" x 1.1/2" The inner box needs at ;least 8" of water depth so it does not need to be fully submerged.

Rather strangely but understandably the scrubbers are not sized to the size of the tank or number of fish etc but by the amount of food you feed each day. My HOB2 is rated at a feeding of 2 frozen cubes of food per day or equivalent. I guess that way of sizing the filter makes sense given food = waste = nutrients which is what the GHA feeds on and removes from the tank water.

My truf scrubber has been on for 4 weeks now and at first you can expect slime algae either yellow or a black colour depending on the lighting period of the scrubber. I have my light unit on a timer to light it for 18 hours a day. After cleaning the slime algae off the filter once or twice GHA starts to grow and you harvest it approximately every 10 to 14 days when in full flow. I have my HOB2 situated on the end return pump chamber as its a convenient place to put it, I could just as easily have put it on the central compartment housing my skimmer as I did at first.

There is lots of information on the Santa Monica site on their scrubbers and turf scrubbers in genera. SM have no problem giving advice should you wish to build your own rather than buy one of theirs which is a credit to them, not sure many companies would be happy to do that.

What about the results. Well it's still a bit early to judge yet on my own tank just yet but judging by the results I have seen on the net posted by others it will do what it says on the tin.

Here are a coupe of pic's of my HOB2 the first one it it on my sump.


This pic shows the GHA starting to grow and I would expect to start harvesting it in the next week.



Good review Les,
Ive looked into these before and set one up in my last but 1 tank but never got it right. It's a pity you can buy them over here.


Yeah and they are bloody expensive for what they are but not difficult to make and there are a few YouTube vids showing you how too.


I'm working on a design that will fit into my rear chambers as I'm not running a sump. Hopefully get good results too!


First cultivation of my turf scrubber. I think it will need a few more harvest's before I begging to see any real improvements esp with my dam Caulerpa problem.