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The SURF2 Floating Surface Scrubber

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Floating Surface
Upflow Algae Scrubber®
with Green-Grabber

"It Floats Like A Boat!"



First five cleanings in saltwater:
Next eight cleanings in saltwater:
Unboxing and Installation:
Overview: part 1:
Overview: part 2:
First harvest at 13 days in saltwater:


Order at Santa-Monica.cc

The SURF2 is the world's first floating surface Upflow Algae Scrubber® (also called a UAS®). It is also the first Ribbon Scrubber®, which is what allows the algae to be removed from the scrubber with one hand without needing to disassemble anything or take anything to the sink. Simply lift up the lid and pull the algae out. And you can feed some of the algae to your fish and snails if you want to.

This SURF2 floating surface scrubber has over 24 square inches (150 square cm) of extremely rough Green-Grabber algal growth surface which can grow up to a 2" (5 cm) thick block of green hair algae. This is about two full handfuls, and is designed to absorb the nutrients from this much feeding per day:

2 Frozen cube, or
20 Pinches of flake, or
20 Square inches (125 square cm) of nori, or
5.6 grams of pellets

The physical size or number of gallons or liters of water in your tank or sump does not matter. If you feed more than the above amounts, you can get multiple SURF2 units; multiple units are preferred over one larger unit because you can clean one unit per week, and because you'll always have one unit filtering while the other one starts growing again after a cleaning. Multiple SURF2 units are also good for backup.

The SURF2 starts with two air bubble openings at the bottom, where upflowing air bubbles (from a strong air pump, sold separately) flow up into the growth compartment and bring aquarium water with it. As the bubbles and water enter the growth compartment they rub the algae-attachment ribbons and get blasted by the super-red 660nm LED light. The bubbles then circle round and round inside the growth compartment, rubbing against the ribbons and the Green-Grabber super-rough rock-hard attachment textures as the bubbles rise up to the water surface. This repeated rubbing of bubbles causes algae to start growing on the ribbons and textures; freshwater grows thin stringy algae, and saltwater grows thicker, denser algae. The air then goes out of the top of the unit, quietly and with no salt spray, and the water goes down and out two holes in the bottom, without any bubbles remaining.

A few features of the SURF2 provide real usefulness and are available on no other algae scrubber. First, the enclosed growth compartment increases the dwell time of the water and bubbles inside the unit so that they rub the algae many times before leaving the compartment. This actually reduces nutrients (nitrate, phosphate) to a level lower than the outside water, which allows greener growth to occur sooner (lower nutrients grows greener algae) inside the unit, especially in high-nutrient aquarium water. In other words, the SURF2 creates a lower-nutrient ecosystem inside itself which is different from the rest of the water in your aquarium. Also, the position of the air bubble inlets (below the growth) causes the bubbles to flow through the growth no matter how thick the growth gets. This is in contrast to waterfall scrubbers, which mostly flow water on the outside of the growth, leaving the inner layers of growth without flow.

Another feature which was highly requested was quiet operation. Since the SURF2 does not touch the aquarium or sump glass, and since it's made of heavy material surrounded by foam, it is by far the quietest algae scrubber ever made, Matter of fact it's almost silent (the air pump is usually louder). The thick and heavy gauge plastic growth container is coated internally by even thicker and heaver Green-Grabber textures, and is surrounded on the outside by 1" of closed cell polyethylene foam. This stops virtually all sound from going sideways. And the 1/2" thick LED lid is filled with super dense but flexible silicone, which absorbs more sound than a solid structure would, and much more than a non-sealed structure would. Lastly the path that air has to take to get out of the top requires the air to first go sideways towards the foam, and then upwards along the foam; this allows the foam to absorb any remaining sound exactly the way foam absorbs sound in a studio. So while you may hear very muffled bubbling if the filter were next to your bed at night, you will hear nothing if there is any other activity occurring in your house.

Another great feature is the elimination of salt spray (for saltwater). Since the air must come up through the narrow space between the LED lid and the foam, all the salt spray remains in the growth compartment where it is washed away by the water. There sometimes is the occasional bubble that comes out the top, but it's practically nothing compared to waterfall scrubbers. And if the unit does ever need to be "washed", you just push the unit under the water surface for a few seconds and let water flow over the top; no need to take it to the sink.

Bubble removal is probably the most-requested feature. Any and all algae scrubbers, whether they are upflow, waterfall or horizontal rivers, all have bubbles which must be removed. The internal growth compartment of the SURF2 keeps bubbles inside the almost 2" deep internal water level, only letting water out of the two small holes at the bottom after the bubbles have escaped out the top. Thus, no bubbles get into the aquarium or sump water; only a little red light, which gets less as growth gets thicker. And of course the quicker you can grow green algae inside the unit, the quicker you will remove nutrients and nuisance algae from your aquarium, and/or the quicker you can supply fresh green seaweed to your livestock.

The Green-Grabber algal growth attachment surface is so rough and prickly that is might be the roughest thing you've ever felt. A cactus might be sharper, but that's about it. Rough surfaces are critical for allowing algae to attach and grow and thus provide strong absorption of nutrients. The rock-hard protrusions stick straight out 1 to 3 mm. Previous algae scrubber screens were made from "slippery" plastic canvas that is used for sewing and knitting; algae take a long time to attach to it. Green-Grabber growth surfaces are not plastic at all; instead they are rock hard and have jagged rough edges and points (don't let children play with them). Green-Grabber surfaces are so good at grabbing algae and letting it grow that you may start seeing tiny growth spots within hours, instead of days. And the white color of the Green-Grabber surface reflects as much light as possible, allowing lots of light to reflect back to the algae.

The main advantage of the SURF2 or any algae scrubber is that if you size and operate it properly, it can be the only filter for your tank, even replacing waterchanges. It can, however, also be used with other filters. Some other filters such as carbon dosing (Zeo, pellets, etc) may slow down the scrubber, but nothing will really "hurt" the scrubber except possibly large amounts of algaecide or copper medications.

The SURF2 will run on both 120V and 240V, and comes with a 10 ft (300 cm) power cord with a U.S. plug. If you require a different plug you can get an adapter at any local hardware or travel store, or online, or you can cut off the U.S. plug and install your own plug from a hardware store. It is a simple 2-wire plug.

Comes with 3 ft (90 cm) of dual vinyl airline, but requires a 2-outlet air pump that can pump 5.0 total liters per minute (0.2 cfm), which small low-cost pumps cannot do. Pumps that say they can handle 10 or more airstones, or pumps with 2 tubing attachments instead of one, are best..You can have as much air as you like, however; 5.0 lpm pumps are no problem. One powerful pump which works exceptionally well for a low cost is the Fusion 700 from JW Pet, which we sell separately HERE. It is quiet and has two outputs which are adjustable by turning the control knob; the two outputs perfectly match the two air inlets on the SURF2 Another even more powerful and completely silent pump, although more expensive and without a control, is the Whisper 300 from Tetra. The Whisper 150 also works but you will need two of them. Make sure to put any pump above the aquarium so that it will not drain any water if it shuts off.

The LED lid contains 4 red (660 nm) 3-watt LEDs, which are attached to an aluminum heat sink which is painted black to reduce heat; it does get warm. The LEDs will give the aquarium or sump a slight red color at night when the aquarium lights are off, but this will occur less as the scrubber fills with growth. You will need to get a timer so you can run the LEDs for up to 22 hours per day (not 24!). The LEDs never needs replacing.

The SURF2 will need to be cleaned ("harvested") every 7 to 21 days. Just lift up the LED lid, grab a handful of algae, and pull it out. You can even feed some to your fish. You do not need to take anything apart, or take anything to your sink.

SURF2 size: 6" wide by 8" long by 3" thick (15 cm wide, 20 cm long, 7.5 cm thick). It requires at least 3" (7.5 cm) of water to operate in.



"My SURF2 is doing very very well [...]. the SURF2 fills up with algae every 5 days ish. very happy with it" -- Wesley on the UR site.
"The [sURF2] is great, works perfectly keeps nutrients low. I still have a bit of bubble algae but it's slowly disappearing. Works well and takes less space than the [waterfall] scrubbers" -- Millar on the UR site.
"Very happy with the SURF2 so far" -- Juls on the UR site.
"I used to have so much cheato, I would sell it on RC. Since adding the SURF2, the cheato is just vanishing as the SURF2 grows more and more. The entire middle section of the sump used to be cheato, and as you can see, there is not much left at all. Nobody else makes a all in one, low maintenance, scrubber like this. There's no drilling or plumbing modifications required, its nearly silent, and takes up no space in my cabinet which all were huge selling points for me. A great product; here's a pic of my growth" -- Dexters Reef...
Dlstn on the UR site:




SURF2 Instructions:
English (Word)
English (PDF)

SURF2 3D Model:

Replacement Light:

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This is a pretty awesome device, def different than any of the other ATS's that I have seen. :)

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Yea a new type of scrubber was needed for sumps, which would not require turning things off or taking things apart.

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Note to SURF2 owners: If your tank is new, or if your tank has low nutrients because of lots of nuisance algae, your scrubber compartment may stay "paper white" for several weeks because the scrubber light is too strong compared to how many nutrients are in the water. This is solved by placing a stocking, screen, colored cellophane, T-shirt, or some other partially-transparent material over the light for the first month. After growth covers the white textures and strings in the compartment, you can remove the material from the light and get back to full-power growth.

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"A great product; here's a pic of my growth" -- Dexters Reef...





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"My SURF2 is doing very very well [...]. the SURF2 fills up with algae every 5 days ish. very happy with it" -- Wesley on the UR site.

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The SURF2 is now also available with a higher-power light that has 6 LEDs instead of 4. It is called the SURF2x and is available by choosing the LED option on the shopping cart page:


If you already have a SURF2 and just want the higher power light, you can get it here also by choosing the 6-LED option:


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