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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1418

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 05:34:10 EST
>From: EFPav at aol_com
>Subject: Algae Scrubber
>Hello all,
>    I have toying with the idea of building an algae scrubber to replace my 
>UGF in my 55g aquarium.  All the literature I have found so far almost 
>unanimously suggests plants instead of algae because they easier to manage.  
>In that case, two planted tanks would certainly be better than one. 
>    Does anyone have experience in cycling water between tanks to supplement 
>filtration?  This seems like a logical approach if light cycles are 
>alternated between tanks.  Would it not stabilize daily pH fluctuations, and 
>effectively double (depending on the size aquarium) the amount of biological 

Why do you need supplemental filteration? High fish load?
Plants do a great job by themselves. Adding a "plant tank filter" would take
away from the main tank(assumption -if it's a plant tank) unless you are
interested in supplementing more trace elements and perhaps more macro
elements depending on your conditions/growth rates. Things will be sucked
out of the water column much faster as a result of adding this set up. This
is good and bad. Some things you do want and some things you don't want out
of the water. Adding this speeds this process up and it can be very hard to
find the balance that keeps all the levels in the right range for you and
your maintenance routine. You have to *feed* this filter basically.
Moving water between tanks can look bad/be complicated also unless you have
a good plan to hide things and make it look nice. Why not just have two
independent tanks I guess is a point to consider?
That being said:
    The cycling does even out things and suck NH3/NO3 out fast. No algae at
all. A very good point to think about. There's also nothing left in the
water for the algae to grow with. Again good and bad depending on which side
of the fence your on.
I used this on some fish only tanks with very little plants in the main
tank. I had a reverse cycle also. I did batch processing every 15 minutes,
then a new batch of water came in (I used a large sump under the tank for
the filter)  and the filtered water was dumped back in the tank.
Plants seemed to like this batch processing better than a continuos flow.
The levels (NH3/NO3) were lower(about 20%) doing this. The tank was a 100
gallon and the sump filter part was 1/2 of a 55 gallon tank with 2x20watt
lights and a cheesy timer. I used the algae scrubber first before I did
this, being a saltwater person/AF cichlid fan at the time(great for algae
eating fish though--they clean the filter mat with all the algae when I
removed it for cleaning and place it in the fish's tank). My Tropheus loved
that feeding cleaning day!
     I progressed into hydroponics and using a wet/dry filter approach 
rather than a submersed tank/sump. A small wet/dry is nice with a plant
growing out of the top of the wet/dry. These immersed plants don't suck out
CO2, need far less tending than the submersed plants(far less maintenance)
and less lighting also(use a peace lily for example) for good growth and
removal of waste. These can be used in batch method also by using a small
powerhead connected to a timer for adding water to the filter. This is
adding more to the system but you can add/delete it easily. I still use this
method today but with no timer. I'll have some pic's soon for folks to view.
This filter is about 6 years old now.
Your ph question leveling out between the tanks depends on how much CO2
demand there is in the water/growth rates and types of plants etc between
the tanks. *Generally* yes it will.

It's a fun project that I completely enjoyed for some time. Still do every
once in awhile<g>! 
I hope this gets some of your questions answered?
Tom Barr