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RE:Algae vs plant scrubbers

>Regarding the use of this filter in planted aquaria:
>It is NOT generally true that the algae in an ATS system will 
>compete with your plants for nutrients.  

Uh, then were do the nutrients come from to grow the algae? If the algae are
using these  to grow then the plants are using.........something else?
Perhaps in the substrate....were the algae can't get at them but foliar
feeding of plants and algae compete for the same nutrients most of the time.
When conditions are right for plants, they will prevail and when they are
not they won't and the algae will. The trick is to make an environment that
is great for algae and bad for plants AND the tank should be bad for algae
and great for plants........ all in one system. A special scrubber that
removes CO2 and adds lots of light to a chamber seems to be a good way. I
made several with all kinds of set ups. The nature of these separate two
systems in one tank that run counter productive to one another seems a bit
illogical. It does work but if you try the same thing with a plant scrubber
the plant will grow yield far more bio mass on the same tank. The effluent
from the scrubber comes out poor in CO2 causing more demand for the filtered
water but CO2 is cheap.   

 NO3 is extremely soluble as are several other nutrients. Algae does use
these for growth. A NO3 level of 5-10ppm is desirable for plants in a high
light tank. Algae would and will use this source even if you used a
substrate fertilizer such as Jobes with NO3. Not as bad as say adding KNO3
but Algae will use the nutrients given the chance. This competition is not
as bad as it seems though...................it's like adding more plants
basically............................not a bad thing nor a problem really
but just a more hungry tank is all. Competition is not always a bad thing.
The reverse is somewhat 
>more accurate. 

 If you want a pristine, sterile-looking tank then ATS 
>is not the way to go, but for a natural system it is, to me, the filter 
>of choice.  The ability of this filter to enhance water quality is 
>simply amazing. 

    The plant scrubbers are better at waste removal and easier to harvest
the bio mass and use less lighting and water flow and are often times easier
and much more aesthetic to behold than algae scrubbers. They work but they
are far outclassed by plants in FW systems. 
    In a well run plant tank it would/should be hard to grow most algae. 
Have you tried both methods? I have. I was reef freak for a time and tried
to apply reef theory to planted tanks. Most of the theory does not apply to
FW planted tank IMO. They work (ATS) but plants are far, far better to the
point of "Why would anyone use ATS?". Perhaps there is a "Aquatic Algae
Digest" out there somewhere -:) 
    I don't mean to flame here but I am quite pro plant in the FW area and
have done enough DIY/test in this area to actually know Jack personally.  
    What might happen if your tank gets out of balance with all that nice
algae growing in the scrubber? Seems like that would add to an already bad
problem with algae as it's mass would be at a much higher level. Many plant
tank keepers like to keep the algae mass at an absolute minimum in case
conditions favor algae(like when you crash a tank). The spores are already
floating all around in mass just waiting for the CO2 to be turned off etc. I
don't like that feeling of a big sump full of algae. Salt water Macro algae
can be a pain but it's more controllable than the FW kinds. 
 The much touted Leng reef system works very well but is a glorified algae
turf scrubber. The algae don't go sexual due to the 24/7 lighting so the
algae stays asexual and contained within the scrubber. This prevents the
algae from getting to the tank. 
I would use such a system on a reef tank for sure but not a plant tank.
Plant scrubbers have proven themselves in FW tanks (all types not just
planted tanks) and for waste water treatment.  
I will now get down from my soap box<g>.
Tom Barr