Algae scrubber as bio filter.

markstrimaran

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Can it be done, with enough capacity?
It would be great to hear the pros and cons.
I am thinking if sized right. They can remove nitrate, seams they might be equally suited at removing ammonia before the bacteria get to it.
This is my top tank 75 gallon, internal filter, + 55 gallon chiller drum in basement.
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Ihsnshaik

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Pothos would do a way better job with proper lighting. You need the pothos to grow fast in order for it to do maximum work.

Algae on the other hand I don't even get and if I grew it just for reducing nitrates it wouldn't be worth the effort since pothos is known to do a better job.

I think in theory yes it will reduce nitrates but you need to be growing tons of algae
 
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markstrimaran

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I am thinking about the long strand algae. Modern Led lighting has some huge potential in watts, per sqin, and in the right spectrum.
Pothos will drive my cat mad, he is a jumper. And the stuff even at ceiling height would be problematic.
 

convict360

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I am thinking about the long strand algae. Modern Led lighting has some huge potential in watts, per sqin, and in the right spectrum.
Pothos will drive my cat mad, he is a jumper. And the stuff even at ceiling height would be problematic.
Pothos will also kill your cat if he eats it...it is however, superb; as pointed out
 

carbene

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Oct 28, 2013
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i dont know where you heard it from but pothos does not do a better job of removing overall nitrate. pothos at most would remove 20ppm of nitrate but algae scrubber would reduce nitrate by atleast half. a properly setup double sided scrubber with 12x12" screen should produce atleast a handful of algae.
i have pothos on all my tanks: 10g to 500g and scrubber on multiple tanks and even pond. i used both scrubber and pothos on the same tank for best of both world since scrubber eat ammonia first and pothos eats nitrate.
 
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Woefulrelic

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Power outages would still be a concern. I'd be worried about algae chowing all your o2 on a power loss but maybe without any light it wouldn't be an issue? Same principle as plant only filtration, different execution. I would feel less comfortable relying on that than traditional bio, but could be an efficient alternative especially for more manageable tanks.
 

carbene

Jack Dempsey
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i wouldnt use one thing for everything. i'd add scrubber in addition to traditional filtration and pothos too.
 

markstrimaran

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5 days of algae on a brand new screen. On 16 watts of LED lights.
 

markstrimaran

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Power outages, are not much of a concern, as the battery back up would run an air pump and Led lights for a long time.
I am going for simplistic, as few parts as possible.
 
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Woefulrelic

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I think it would take some testing, as I am just not sure how well algae eats nitrates. Is it more or less effective as it builds up on the screen? Does it require flow through it? I just don't know enough to offer any advise. I'd be curious if an opaque container would function better, and if you could use reflective material to distribute light more effectively. Clearly you know more about it than I, but I'm throwing out some ideas. I'm also considering this for larger tanks, but you can certainly get an understanding here and work up especially since you seem to have a much more scientific understanding than I. Either way best of luck, and reading up on the plant only filtration thread might be of help. JK47 JK47 might be able to offer some thoughts.
 
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