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Bio-wheel to isolate algae growth?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by freshgoby, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    Would the addition of a bio-wheel reduce the growth of algae in the show tank?

    I've read that keeping an isolated patch of algae in the tank prevents algae from spreading and scrubbing it off and trying to keep everything clean and spotless only seems to promote or create areas for algae to grow. From what I've tried, this does seem true. I have a couple spots in my tank where algae resides, mostly on the wood and I leave it there. As far as I understand it, algae is an unavoidable part of keeping an aquarium.

    I was only wondering if adding a bio-wheel as an "algae home" would reduce or eliminate the need for algae to grow in my tank. I guess I'm thinking of it in terms of a refugium for a saltwater tank, where you have one place for the necessary algae to grow but it doesn't affect the beatiful show tank.

    50 gallon freshwater tank, HOT Magnum filter (used for Mechanical Filtration only), 2 T5 bulbs equalling 17500K @78W. No CO2 injection. No Chemical Filtration.
    Livestock> 1 brushnose pleco, 6 Peacock Gudgeons, 4 Green Flame Tetras, 6 Serpae Tetras, 2 Kuhli Loaches, 2-3 Amano Shrimp
    Plants> Red & Green Tiger Lotus, Amazon Sword, Water Sprite, Broad Leafed Red Ludwigia, and Frogbit
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    There are a lot of things written about algae and its causes and corrections. Unfortunately, most of those are not good advice. Logic tells me that a growing patch of any algae in a tank will be a reservoir for spreading of that algae. Why would that not be so?
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think the notion is that the algae itself becomes a sink for excess nutrients.
    But if you have plants, there's no point.

    The less algae, the better.
    Never been a fan of the Biowheel, either in wastewater nor in aquariums.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    That's what I thought too, but because I'm concerned about screwing up my tank I guess I try not to mess with it too much. Like I said before, I don't notice it spreading from where it already resides.

    I do agree with the theory that plants are higher life-forms than algae and if given the right conditions should be able to outcompete the algae for nutrients. Therefore starving-out the algae and causing it to "dissappear".

    Because of this I figure my tank will take care of itself as long as I provide the plants with what they need. So I leave the algae alone. But maybe I really should scrub those tiny spots of algae off the wood... The hard part is if algae gets on the substrate. What do you do to control that?
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Easy: bury the algae covered grains by turning the gravel layer over, then following with a water change.

    Plants do not starve the algae, rather they remove things like CO2 and light and NH4 to virtually non detect levels in the water column.

    Algae can sense that someone else is "there" by gene expression using NH4 as a signal or CO2 variation etc(which also can cause changes in the NH4 levels due to slowed or increased levels of NH4 uptake).

    NH4 is rapidly removed in most aquatic systems and tends to be the main component to induce algae spores to germinate. If the spores are no longer germinating, then you have the algae beat.

    Even at very high levels of NO3, PO4, and K+, traces etc.

    The terrestrial ferts have lots of NH4, which is why they cause algae and should not be used.

    The NH4 cation plays a large role in our tanks and explains why we cannot keep adding more and more fish to supply all the N for a higher light CO2 tank without getting algae.

    CO2 demand and processing regulates NH4 uptake as well.
    So it's a compounded interaction most likely.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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