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    Thread: Algae scrubber for a pond?

    1. #1
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Algae scrubber for a pond?

      Another "thinking out of the box" idea (some may think I am mad as a box of frogs).
      I have built and used with success algae scrubbers for my fish tanks but I have not seen many applications of the concept to ponds, this is one of the few
      https://youtu.be/nsyX860SimI
      I am seriously considering giving it a go, not only would it export waste substances from the pond but hopefully to some extent "starve" hair algae from growing elsewhere.
      Any thoughts?
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    2. #2
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      Hey, Paul,

      Joey talks about these, so they can't be completely crazy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLnBvDkaO0&t=1s. I even use his internal sump design on my indoor tanks.

      On the other hand, the vertical ones are just, well, hideous to look at!

      On the third hand, while my anoxic/gravel filter keeps my pond water really clear, I do still get some string algae, and I've been thinking about solutions. What if you made a long, wide, nearly level trough, exposed to sunlight, with mesh inside, then pumped the pond water into it, and had it flow thence into your wetland filter? You'd be scooping the hair algae out of the trough by the handful! Seems like it would work, and you could discreetly position it so only the pond keeper would know it's there!

      It does seem like an unconventional solution, but then, we like those, don't we? And it sounds a lot better than dosing with hydrogen peroxide!

      Best,

      Bill

    3. #3
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      Not a great fan of the king but occasionally he does show some interesting stuff.
      Rather than building an uplift algae scrubber I built a much bigger one, over 5' long to fit over the bracing of a 6' mbuna tank, water from one of the two Jebao 304 filters went up one end to a purpose built tray, plastic mesh on the bottom and dedicated blue and red LEDs on top, then back down in the fish tank down the other end. This too was an original design of mine. Apologies for the poor photo but at the time I posted all the build photos on photobucket and we all know what they did... The photo was when it was recently started so algae were just starting to grow.
      Anyways I had another similar volume and number of mbuna tank without the algae scrubber. The algae scrubber consistently kept nitrates less than half compared to the one without. Ther should still be my posts about it on the African chiclid hub forum.
      Great thing about building an outdoor version is no need for fancy lighting, the big lightbulb in the sky is for free
      I still have the trough so....watch this channel
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 01-19-2022 at 05:37 PM.
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    4. #4
      Orlando is online now Senior Member
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      Would you consider the Plecostumos a great algae eater they would have to be big enough so they can't make it thru the bottom drains two of them should be enough

    5. #5
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      Plecos as they grow are not great algae eaters, particularly if there is other food available, bristlenoses and otocinclus are much better. Anyway not applicable to a pond (way too cold, but an Amur carp would do). In an mbuna tank there actually is no algae as they are avid algae eaters, here is a video of that tank
      https://youtu.be/h_0RiKvohPw
      the point was to provide a separate environment that would have ideal conditions for algae growth so you could regularly scrape most of them off and so remove nutrients from the water.
      Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 01-20-2022 at 08:08 AM.
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    6. #6
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      Plecos are also not good in the pond when it gets below 50 degrees, they will die from cold. Freeze to death. I had a few put in the pond, and they don't really help with the algae much.
      -=[Sunny]=-

      I have served, I have fought to defends the rights and freedom of all Americans. I am a proud Retired Veteran!

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      What is the floating green material in the first video?

      Some of the very first showers I'd seen used shallow trays filled with lava rock. A gap was between trays and exposed to full sun.
      A healthy amount of algae grew on the lava rock.

      Interesting concept with the glass wall algae units for aquariums. I see one using magnets on the outide cover.
      Last edited by batman; 01-21-2022 at 01:42 AM.
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    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      What is the floating green material in the first video?

      Some of the very first showers I'd seen used shallow trays filled with lava rock. A gap was between trays and exposed to full sun.
      A healthy amount of algae grew on the lava rock.

      Interesting concept with the glass wall algae units for aquariums. I see one using magnets on the outide cover.
      Looks to me like some kind of water lettuce
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      I wonder which is more effective. Water hyacinth, water lettuce or an algae scrubber panel?
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    10. #10
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      Great topic! I've been wondering about algae scrubbers for a long time. I think it's a great idea.
      I would love to see photos if you make one. Do it! and share.
      -Steve in Phx.
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    11. #11
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      Come spring I will surely give it a go
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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      Perhaps a algae wheel?

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      Last edited by batman; 01-22-2022 at 01:35 PM.
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    13. #13
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      Perhaps a algae wheel?

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      The water-mill looks more attractive but the other should be a lot more efficient!
      Thank you for your interest in the topic.
      I think that the concept could be adapted to be more of a decorative feature rather than an eyesore. I would definitely like to test it out once it gets warmer, I have some spare 8'x4' panels so maybe I could lean one from the edge of a sunny side of the pond to the fence, screw some sides on, put in some kind of grid and pump water to trickle down it and see what grows. That would be the first time I will be glad to see hair string algae anywhere near the pond
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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      For those in water restricted - high cost areas maybe an option to decrease water changes.
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      Quote Originally Posted by batman View Post
      For those in water restricted - high cost areas maybe an option to decrease water changes.
      That's what I was thinking as well! Even though my water is relatively inexpensive and I'm not under water restrictions, I do feel bad dumping water down the drain just for the sake of water changes.
      -Steve in Phx.
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    16. #16
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      May also come in handy for those who have very hard tap water and use R/O to soften it, the less water they have to change the less exponential waste
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

    17. #17
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      I have always thought that the idea of algae scrubbing held promise for Koi ponds. Some time ago, I used to conduct small experiments on my pond. One of the things I tried was algae scrubbing. While the green water I experienced gave my a pretty high level of confidence that all the required nutrients for algal growth was present, I could not seem to get the carpet algae to grow where I wanted it. I am not sure why, but I wonder if the 24-hour light source typically used in aquarium algal scrubbers shifted the equilibrium of competitive growth towards carpet algae that was attached to the (typical) scrubber.

      I will be interested in the outcome of these attempts.

      If anyone is interested, I can try to find some old photos of what I had tried back in the day.

    18. #18
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      Yes, post some photos please.
      -Steve in Phx.
      Novice Extraordinaire

    19. #19
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post
      I have always thought that the idea of algae scrubbing held promise for Koi ponds. Some time ago, I used to conduct small experiments on my pond. One of the things I tried was algae scrubbing. While the green water I experienced gave my a pretty high level of confidence that all the required nutrients for algal growth was present, I could not seem to get the carpet algae to grow where I wanted it. I am not sure why, but I wonder if the 24-hour light source typically used in aquarium algal scrubbers shifted the equilibrium of competitive growth towards carpet algae that was attached to the (typical) scrubber.

      I will be interested in the outcome of these attempts.

      If anyone is interested, I can try to find some old photos of what I had tried back in the day.
      I read somewhere (maybe on the Santamonica algae scrubber site?) it was best to give the algae a daily break from the light, I had the red and blue dedicated lights off 6 hours a day (during the "daytime" in the tank), seemed to work ok
      Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 02-01-2022 at 11:06 AM.
      46000 liters with only wetland filtration

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      I suspect the biggest struggle will be getting the algae to cooperate and grow where you tell it to, instead of inside the pond.
      -Steve in Phx.
      Novice Extraordinaire

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