Using macro algae to improve water quality ?

Buddro96

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I have a peacock mantis shrimp who eats like a fiend and makes ammonia etc spike due to its messy feeding nature. I stay on top of my water changes and vacuum the sand bed regularly. Would adding macro algae to his tank help improve the water quality ? If so what Algae and what quantity ? It is a 20g aquarium
 
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Goodair

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How long has this tank been up for?

Algae would help absorbing nitrates and phosphates, which come from bacteria processing the ammonia into it. I've read that some ammonia could be utilized but not sure if its true of not.
Anything that would be able to clean up the scraps would end up being dinner for the shrimp too, so your prob going to continue cleaning up excess.

If your ammonia seems to be unstable, try adding more surface area like rocks so bacteria can populate it and help with the nitrogen cycle.
 

lapin

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The macro is not going to do a whole lot unless you have a lot of it. You have leftover food thats going to rot and you do clean that up. Exporting that waste into filter socks will help if you can do it. A very large fuge could help but it would need to be a bigger than the tank. You could try a oversized algae turf scrubber. Since algae can take up ammonia it also might help.This would help with N and P also.
Let us know what worked
 

Mr Fishface

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While a small bit of algae isn't going to solve your problems, it certainly won't hurt though. I like caulerpa myself; the different types and colors can make a very aesthetically pleasing tank. live-plants carries algae for pretty cheap. I bought mine from there and it arrived in great condition and a decent amount to boot.
 

beaslbob

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I have a peacock mantis shrimp who eats like a fiend and makes ammonia etc spike due to its messy feeding nature. I stay on top of my water changes and vacuum the sand bed regularly. Would adding macro algae to his tank help improve the water quality ? If so what Algae and what quantity ? It is a 20g aquarium
With sufficient macro algae (or other plant life for that matter) ammonia and co2 will be consumed by the algae and it in turn will return fish food and oxygen. It is possible you can get some nitrate spikes when the algae is consuming ammonia instead. But better nitrates then ammonia.

So the algae also stabilizes the system by breaking up any ammonia spike should something go bump in the night.

my .02
 
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AlgaeBarn

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Most macroalgaes prefer to consume ammonia over nitrate (but they aren't very picky, they take what they can get). This is why we don't recommend adding macroalgae to tanks while they are cycling. FYI, most macroalgaes will actually convert nitrate to ammonia within their cells (through the utilization of nitrate reductase).

With regards to the ammonia spikes, a good macroalgae will actually do surge nutrient uptake where it soaks up all of the nutrients it can find until its reserves are full. This is a great nutrient uptake strategy for ammonia spikes, however, you will likely need a decent bit of macroalgae. If you do a hang on the back fuge stuffed with sea lettuce, that should solve most of your issues.

You could also do something like marinepure for the high surface area, but since the ammonia spikes likely come in waves, the bacteria may not be able to maintain their population at the levels you would like (i.e. residual ammonia).
 

beaslbob

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Can you possibly recommend a cheap hang on back fuge for a 20?
Don't make it too complicated. On my old 55g I simply crammed in 1/4"square plastic grid (egg crate) 3" in front of the back glass. (Egg crate is actually lighting diffusers for drop ceilings and is sold at building supply stores ~$10-12 for a 4 footx 2 foot section.)

I then added two 2 tube fluorescent shop lights behind the tank pointing forward to light up that area.

So the back 3" was then partitioned so I had a coral/fish front area and a macro algae/pod back area.

The results were amazing. Nitrataes dropped to unmeasureable in 3 weeks and my two tangs were constantly picking on the macros that poked through the egg crate.

So no need to add a seperate HOB for the macros. And on a 20g you would obviously use a smaller area. But no need to make it too complicated.


my .02
 

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