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Re: Algae Scrubber filters

On 22/9/97 12:38 AM, IDMiamiBob at aol_com IDMiamiBob at aol_com wrote:

>    I am thinking of trying an algae scrubber filter in my 30 gallon tank.
> The advertisement promises an end to algae, phosphates, silicates, and
>nitrates.  The algae part particularly interests me.
>    My question is this:  will this "miracle filter" compete with the plants
>in my tank? Will it overpower the available supply of micronutrients?

Yes, the miracle filter will compete - plants and algae are both plants 
(sorry about how that sounds but you know what I mean).

You _can_ get the same results as an algae scrubber produces by keeping 
plants _in_ your tank - those green things you're trying to grow do the 
same things for water quality as algae, and look a lot prettier! Some 
plants are better than others at achieving the same "scrubbing" effect as 
the algae. The other issue is quantity and the standard recommendation 
for a "heavily planted tank" comes to mind.

While algae scrubbers can be very effective, so can plants. If I was 
going to run a scrubber, I'd steal a hint from Adey and Loveland's 
"Dynamic Aquaria" and try running it on a reverse light cycle (light the 
scrubber while the tank is unlit and vice-versa). Effectively this means 
that you always have some photosynthesis (hence oxygenation) going on.

I have no idea how effective this would be, and no real desire to try it 
- I'm finding the plants do a good enough filtration job on their own 
without the need for extra plumbing and equipment. Having thrown the idea 
out, however, I did get the idea of setting up a second plant tank - a 
"plant scrubber" - connected to the first tank but in a different room, 
and running it on a reverse lighting cycle. Just think - 24 hr plant tank 
viewing options (g)!!!

Basically, though, I think that an algae scrubber is unnecessary in a 
well planted tank and could cause nutrient shortages for the plants. I 
also wonder how you keep the algae from spreading from the scrubber to 
the tank. I think it would be much more appropriate, and more effective, 
on a fish only tank, or a very lightly planted tank where you don't have 
to worry about competition for nutrients.

The other place where it could be effective would be in (as, actually) a 
tank designed specifically for algae eaters - loricariid catfish or some 
rift lake cichlids. If you could get the right algae growing in 
sufficient quantity in the tank but not on the glass, you could turn an 
algae scrubber into a display tank. I've never really seen a tank 
deliberately designed to maximise algae in that way. It could prove quite 
an interesting planted tank in its own right.

David Aiken