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Algae control without EI: I'm lost

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by jonny_ftm, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I'm thinking to setup, maybe in 1-2 years, a tanganyka tank: African cichlids, hard water (GH above 15, very high KH), very low light, no plants.

    A setup like this will have no CO2, no plants, no dosing and a very high water flow breaking water surface for maximum oxigenation.

    Here, I learnt how to control algae with plants and EI. But, how should I do in such a tank to control algae?

    I imagine something like a fishless, no light cycling, using a filter with cycled media from my EI tank. But, once fish is added and light are on, how should I procede to avoid BBA, BGA and green thread algae?

    Really confused
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Stock lighting and good filtration should avoid BBA/BGA. It's the GSA that's the real problem in non-planted.

    One guy I talked to at a very respectable pet store in Vancouver, BC swore by zeolite to keep ammonia/nitrates bottomed out in his discus tanks. Phosban type products can help to.

    At the same time, it seems african's aren't completely mutually exclusive to planted tanks. There's some testing going on around here in the new club to find compatibilities. Africans are very popular here, so people want to make the two work together quite badly.
     
  3. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    So the key would be to have a nitrates and ammonia levels near 0 to avoid algae in such tanks?, it means waterchanges/syphonning are impossible to reduce in frequency?
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No/little light is the way, but you might want some algae, such as Pithophora for T moorii etc to munch on.
    Pithophora is relatively easy to grow and quite pretty.

    Few have issues with Tangys and algae.
    There's just not enough light to cause issues.
    GH booster can be used for GH, it's actually pretty specific for Tangys and Malawis,
    KH, you can use KHCO3 etc......

    You need not go all the way for most species, you can stick around 6-10 degrees for most, wild Cyprichromis/Xeno's etc, no...but others ashould be fine.
    A neat idea is using a plant filter and a wet/dry, sort of like a marine refugium with emergent plants under the stand.
    A small 15W FL light will provide enough light etc.

    You can reduce the water changes etc this way, as far as cycling, you already have a massive colony in the other planted tank.

    Some shell dwellers, Lamp calvus, T moori, Juli's eg regani or dickfieldi etc all should do fine. T irasacae are neat fish too.
    Some Syno cats, pericola or multi's make very nice additions as well.

    I'd look for some decent pretty dolomite with lots of holes/caves.
    We have some very nice stuff in the USA.
    Dolomite or aragonite make excellent sediments.
    I think if you scape it well, you'll be very pleased.
    The only nusiance algae is really GSA on glass perhaps, but the light can be used to control any of that, water changes, plant filters, Zeolite etc will cycle the tank just fine.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Many thanks Tom for these details
    About a "plant filter", you mean plants having their roots in water under the stand, so that the roots remove most NO3?

    My real concern would be having a really low maintenance tank, only feeding, very little WC
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Then a plant filter might be a good option.
    For algae turf, simply aerate the water well and blast this current over some large flat rocks right under the light.
    Rotate rocks and feed algae to fish.

    Or use the plant filter, use floating water sprite etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    I kept a tank with such africans for years. I had just a single T8 tube over the top and a simple internal power filter. For some reason, it was the one tank that I never had any algae issues with. It was really easy to look after.

    I guess it was the low light and water changes.

    Scott.
     
  8. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Many thanks for all these info.
    In my next moving from house, I'll suerely set-up such a tank
     
  9. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've had 60 gallon and 55 gallon Malawi tank. Now we have a 60 gallon Koi tank (16" fish taht is soon going to be donated to the Japanese Tea Garden in SF).

    The only real algae problems I've had with these non-planted tanks are Diatoms/brown algae. That being said, you only need enouch light to see the fish. Focus on keeping Nitrates down. have enough of a substrate base and good filtration. carbon or a purigen like filter media can be used to keep things in check once the tank is cycled.
     
  10. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Carbon filter won't deal much with nitrates.
     
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