In this article I will introduce and talk about ATS and in the next articles I will deepen this topic. But what is it an ATS and what is useful for?
This abbreviation stands for “Algae Turf Scrubber” but for convenience in this article I will use the short term ATS. This unknown is nothing but a water filtration system, just recenlty tested in Italy, which is used for about a decade in the United States with excellent results.
Its operation is very simple. The water of our aquarium is made to slide on a surface, usually a plastic grid, intensely illuminated with special lights that stimulate the growth of algae on such support. These algae are concerned with the filtering water, just as in nature, so this method can be applied not only to marine aquariums, but also sweet and even our garden ponds!
In particular, the algae are grown in a solid and accelerated manner thanks to artificial light and then are used to absorb the pollutants present in the water, until it reaches a saturation of the system that must be followed by complete removal of the Algae. I want to clarify that the algae which is discussed above are only those within the ATS and not weeds algae. So do not risk to have an explosion of algae in the tank, but on the contrary, as the filtering system will begin to operate you will notice the progressive decrease until their complete disappearance, because the ATS algae will compete with those weeds, such as cyanobacteria (Blue-green algae),Green algae, brown and red, etc .. by opposing to destruction. But beware, before you rush to try this filtering system, you have to know that this competition will also be with macroalgae such as Caulerpa or Chaetomorpha, that if present in your sump or refugium will have its days numbered. The ATS will destroy them.
Using an ATS by night, in addition to removing pollutants, such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and phosphates, it has other benefits. It has in fact a good production of oxygen even in the absence of electric current which in some cases can be useful when it is suddenly released, which as many of us know, causes a severe deficiency of oxygen and death of the inhabitants of our tank.
Finally it helps to stabilize the pH (if used with reserse photoperiod) opposing the typical reduction of ph in the night.
In future articles I will show how I realized a homemade ATS and the results!