[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Algae scrubbers

Agree w/Tom Barr's comments on higher plants vs.algae.  I've played with
a lot of "nutrient extractor" techniques also, but never in connection
w/planted tanks.  My toys are usually connected to tanks housing
plant-incompatable fish (too big, too herbivorous, diggers and gravel
movers, etc).

The majority of the setups have been sump variants, some with true
aquatics, some with emersed plants treated hydroponically.  Small HOB
variations include fiberglass wallpaper trays, plastic raingutter, and
the like- as Tom stated, Spathiphyllum is excellent for lower-light use
here.  As my subject tanks tend not to be planted heavily if at all,
tank-top W/D housings (Aquarium Systems makes two designs, the larger
one modular) converted to plant trays have been the least effort to
assemble and operate, usually with lava rock, some with long-grain
spahagnum moss layered over gravel.  I also agree that high water flow
through these sustems is not needed.  Pothos is useful in lower light as
well,  needs more trimming and harvest, but is much lower growing where
the Peace Lily can grow quite tall (flowers are a bonus).  Dwarf
creeping fig (the white-edged variant is most dramatic) can serve from
low to high light situations and wallpaper cork tiles or scramble over
driftwood.  With stronger light, Crotons are spectacular in such

The sump-like systems are most often same-footprint tanks with
aquatics.  Lowest-effort setups use anacharis or hornwort, reversed
light cycles, and a bit higher water flows than the tank-top or HOB
systems.  All the usual redundancies associated with sumps for avoiding
floods are appropriate here.

Those sumps using substrate-based plants are commonly potted, usually
because the plants are divisions or babies that are in the "veggie
filter" for grow-out, to be later used in planted tanks or traded in to
the LFS.  These setups tend to include bristlenose cats  (breeders or
fry for grow-out),  Amano shrimp, ramshorn snails and/or MTS, etc as
algae cleanup crews (hair algae has been an historic problem in these
tanks-high nutrient water, good aeration, good current, but the Amanos
have done a nice job on reducing that to a memory- thank goodness).

Algae is always a nuisance to harvest, the higher plants are much easier
and more pleasant to work on, and look a lot better.