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Is It Worth The Risk...?
May 5, 2009
6:18 pm
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dunc
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The JD tank I have in the conservatory is endlessly problematic. Because there's so much light, it's impossible to keep the tank free from algae. Three days or so from a "complete cleanout" and there's algae in the gravel again.

I was wondering if it'd be worth trying a planted tank in there instead. Would that be a better counter for the algae, or would the natural light be a hindrance to the plants?

I have zero knowledge of plants or planted tanks so any advice is appreciated.

May 5, 2009
10:46 pm
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Byron Hosking
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QUOTE (dunc @ May 5 2009, 11:01 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The JD tank I have in the conservatory is endlessly problematic. Because there's so much light, it's impossible to keep the tank free from algae. Three days or so from a "complete cleanout" and there's algae in the gravel again.

I was wondering if it'd be worth trying a planted tank in there instead. Would that be a better counter for the algae, or would the natural light be a hindrance to the plants?

I have zero knowledge of plants or planted tanks so any advice is appreciated.

To live and multiply, algae needs light and nutrients. In a tank with fish but without live plants, there will be abundant nutrients and probably more than enough light for algae to thrive. Having live plants would provide competition for the algae, but there must be a balance between light, nutrients and CO2 (technically CO2 is a nutrient but for ease of discussion I'll separate it) in a planted aquarium to keep algae from becoming rampant. Too little light and plants will fail to thrive and grow; too much light and the plants will use all the available CO2 and algae will flourish because it is better able than plants to get carbon from bicarbonate. Natural light would not be a hindrance, it would be a blessing to the plants in any aquarium. But from your description, there may be too much light to balance the nutrients and CO2.

Adding CO2 would help balance the available light, but bear in mind that there is a limit that would be reached when the plants were simply not numerous enough to utilize all the light in balance and algae would grab it. Light should always be the limiting factor in the equation; when it is, algae simply cannot outpace the plants. But I doubt you could safely add the large amount of CO2 and nutrients to balance the light.

With or without CO2 addition, some means of reducing the available light will be required if you want to keep the algae in check. Plants would help in either case, as they would use the nutrients before the algae could, making it harder for the algae to multiply. But the light has to be the limiting factor.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
May 6, 2009
1:27 pm
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Bluedave
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Great post Kermit,

agree with you - just to add - Photoperiod tends to be more important than light intensity as long as there is enough nutrients and CO2 in the tank. I have experimented with my little tank (which has about 9 WPG) and intensity doesn't make much diffference over about 5 WPG. Photoperiod at this level of lighting is important though. Not a lot of light for a very long time is better for algae than a lot of light for a short time.

The answer to your question Dunc, is yes a planted aquarium would help but you would need to inject CO2 to have any affect and it would need to be heavily planted (over 75% of substrate covered) - you may still have a problem if the tank is sat in direct daylight all day in the summer. Can you not shade the front of the tank in some way?

May 6, 2009
7:42 pm
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dunc
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Well it's a conservatory so it's kinda difficult. I can close the blinds on the big windows but there's always light coming in from the top, smaller windows.

If I do that it's not so bad - little direct lighting but the conservatory is obviously still pretty bright.

I'm perfectly happy to give a CO2 setup a go, too.

May 7, 2009
3:15 pm
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Bluedave
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Cutting the light down in the summer will help mate where you have 14 hours of day light, not so bad in the winter as it's only for 8 hours or so.

I'd give it a go but you will deffo need CO2.

I'm sure Diana Walstad mentions natural aqauriums using sunlight and soil in her book 'Ecology of the planted Aqaurium' (she may even do it without CO2?). Could be wrong and it may be some one else. Unfortunately I can't check as all me fish books are packed!

May 7, 2009
10:10 pm
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dunc
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Cheers mate I'll check that one out /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

May 10, 2009
6:10 pm
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Destructore
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I also have a prob with algae and i have been told adding a uv sterilizer would help.

August 20, 2009
6:30 am
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Bluedave
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Hows the tank going Dunc - did you have a look at the Walstad method (my memory wasn't that bad, books unpacked and it is Walstad, lol)?

August 20, 2009
7:50 pm
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Matt
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Lol that bugger's been over here all week so you might not get an answer until tomorrow Dave.

Cake or death?
September 7, 2009
10:36 am
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dunc
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Sorry Dave, I've been back ages now, just completely forgot that this was my thread.. /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />

Unfortunately it looks like I'm gonna be getting shot of the JD tank. I just can't deal with its requirement of full tank clean every three days and our electricity bill is ridiculous, especially in winter when the heater is nearly permanently on in the conservatory.

I'll probably set up one of my smaller tanks as a planted effort with dwarf cichlids at some point in the near future, but it won't be in the conservatory. I just don't think natural light is gonna do me any favours!

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