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Thread: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate test

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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate test

    Question to test: Is an algae scrubber a powerful enough water cleanser to successfully grow out fry with limited water changes?

    Main elements of observation:
    - Health
    - Growth rate


    This is the second test of growing out fry with an algae scrubber and minimal water changes (less than 5% / week). Im planning on this being more of a long term test over 6 months.
    This is the first test link: http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...changes-needed


    These fry hatched on 12-1-2015. I combined the eggs from a red dragon pair (in pics) and used the red turquoise male as a foster parent. He measures 5.5 This is the first time I tried using a foster parent and think I definitely could have gotten a higher success rate with more fry after lessons learned but it looks like there will still end up being about 60 fry which is good enough for me for this test.


    I did not split the fry into a control group because I do not have an extra tank right now but I dont think it will be that critical because there is plenty of published data on typical discus growth rates to use as a comparison.


    The fry are in a 40 gallon tank. There is also an 80 gallon display tank with 9 adult discus. Both tanks are connected to a 20 gallon refugium with an upflow algae scrubber in it. Other filtration includes a canister filter, sock filters and UV Sterilizers.


    Other notes:
    Parents spawned in this setup. Fry hatched in this setup. I have only changed about 50% of the water over the last 3 months. All fish appear and behave like super healthy discus.

    I add RO water to replace evaporated water. Minerals are added to the water to control TDS.

    Starting fry = about 60 from my estimates.

    The algae scrubber could be made larger or smaller for any particular setup.

    Sorry about the lower quality pics. Pics usually have date in lower left corner. Sometimes I put notes on them.

    KH = 3
    TDS = 340
    Nitrate = 0


    Well see how it goes!
    Dad & Mom.jpgAdditional parents.jpg
    2015-11-30 (2).jpg2015-12-01.jpg2015-12-03.jpg2015-12-05.jpg2015-12-06.jpg2015-12-07.jpg2015-12-10.jpg2015-12-12.jpg

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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te


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    Registered Member rickztahone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Eagerly awaiting results. I don't mean to be harsh, but it looks like you may have been running this setup with the parents shown here? They are not full potential sized discus, to my eyes of course

    Click here to view my 75g Acrylic Tank w/ Bean Animal Overflow with 40g Sump Thread

    Also, click here for my 25 group of discus grow out thread


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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Quote Originally Posted by rickztahone View Post
    Eagerly awaiting results. I don't mean to be harsh, but it looks like you may have been running this setup with the parents shown here? They are not full potential sized discus, to my eyes of course
    You're right. These were a few of the discus I got a few years back when I first got into discus. I'm surprised the male made it to 5.5" looking back. I treated them like I did my other fish with a few flakes and pellets once or twice a day. Newbie discus learning curve!

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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Thanks for doing the experiements with the algae scrubber. I've read a lot of articles on-line about them and have seen great results with that being used with adult discus but never to grow out fry.

    I followed your first post with the fry grow out and Im sorry if I missed this but whats the difference between this second experiemnt and the first one? Didn't you use the algae scrubber on the first experiement as well?

    Again, thanks for taking the time to share your results with your first experiment. I enjoyed it very much. Its very nice to see another point of view on doing things in the hobby especially when they are backed with factual results.

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    Registered Member Jack L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    will be watching, i bought parts for DIY scrubber, have yet to assemble.

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    Registered Member Rudustin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Will someone please explain what an algae scrubber is to those of us that have never used one or even know what it is? Please.

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    Registered Member Tshethar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Here is a good presentation from a friend of the forum (uarujoey, aka "the king of diy..."): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLnBvDkaO0

    Similar in concept to using Pothos plants, water wisteria or similar in the tank or refugium, primarily as a nitrogen sink...

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    Registered Member Jack L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    quick description. a contraption that intentionally grows algae to remove impurities from water by turning it into algea. there are lots of DIY plans and ones you can buy that seem silly expensive for how easy DIY plans look.

    most i've seen use fabric mesh for algae to grow on, they you hit it with bright light and bubbles or expose to air, and nature does the rest.

    they are called algae turf scrubbers too

    lot more details here
    http://algaescrubber.net/forums/

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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Quote Originally Posted by mkng07 View Post
    Thanks for doing the experiements with the algae scrubber. I've read a lot of articles on-line about them and have seen great results with that being used with adult discus but never to grow out fry.

    I followed your first post with the fry grow out and Im sorry if I missed this but whats the difference between this second experiemnt and the first one? Didn't you use the algae scrubber on the first experiement as well?

    Again, thanks for taking the time to share your results with your first experiment. I enjoyed it very much. Its very nice to see another point of view on doing things in the hobby especially when they are backed with factual results.

    The first test was with only 7 fry and the adults for a little less than 2 months. I think it had some pretty good results but it was with an arguably small number of fry for a limited time.

    This test will be over 6 months with a number of fish closer to a typical grow out with about 60 fry (I haven't gotten an exact number yet) although I know some batches can easily be over 100 I'm not really a pro breeder so this is decent for me (and maybe the typical hobbyist?).
    The connected display tank has 9 adult discus.

    I've also removed the gravel in the display tank and other biological filters. I think this will help me to push the algae scrubber harder and keep Nitrates as close to 0 as possible. I'm sure that at some point, 60+ fish will overpower it.


    Glad to take the time to share the results. I would have posted this test a little earlier but was pretty busy.



    One other thought, I've turned on a CO2 injector I will use to also try to get better growth from the algae scrubber, hence cleaner water.

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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Quote Originally Posted by Rudustin View Post
    Will someone please explain what an algae scrubber is to those of us that have never used one or even know what it is? Please.
    The theory of an Algae Scrubber or Algae Turf Scrubber (ATS) is that it filters everything bad from your aquarium water just as it would in nature in a stream or lake. We are able to measure a few of the "bad" things it filters like Nitrates and Phosphates to see how effectively it is cleaning the water. All of the pollutants are easily removed from the water just by removing some of the older growing algae from the tank.

    Originally invented by Walter Adey, PhD. (he wrote an interesting book on the topic called Dynamic Aquaria: http://www.walteradey.com/ ) they've only recently begun to become popular and effective with the many modern changes made to the design by hobbyist trial and error and posting results.

    I also highly recommend the book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad. Thanks to DC Discus for referring that one to me!

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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Luke,
    Looking very interesting, please keep up the update posts... Algae scrubbers have always intrigued me. In commercial applications many plants are used similar to the algae scrubbers to remove toxins from waste treatment sludge (phytoremediation) , they can then dispose of it... Water Hyacinth is one.

    very interesting article here.. http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.re.20120205.04.html
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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    Luke,
    Looking very interesting, please keep up the update posts... Algae scrubbers have always intrigued me. In commercial applications many plants are used similar to the algae scrubbers to remove toxins from waste treatment sludge (phytoremediation) , they can then dispose of it... Water Hyacinth is one.

    very interesting article here.. http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.re.20120205.04.html
    al

    Awesome article Al, thanks for sharing!

    I actually tried water hyacinth and water lettuce in my refugium a couple years ago with the same concept in mind; Removal of waste like Nitrates, phosphates, etc... as stated in the article:
    "Water hyacinth without reduction in growth have high removal rates for iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As)[143-146]] from aqueous solutions besides absorbing organic substances such as phenol, formaldehyde, formic, acetic and oxalic acids [144-146]. Liao and Chang[146] found that the absorption capacity for water hyacinth, as 0.24 kg/ha for Cd, 5.42 kg/ha for lead (Pb)..."

    Who wouldn't want this for their aquarium water!?


    I found the water hyacinth to be super effective but it grows very tall and I quickly ran out of space for it under the tank. I think it would actually be more efficient than an algae scrubber if you had the space/height to grow it.
    I'm not sure why but the Water Lettuce never really grew that well for me so I set out on the Algae scrubber adventure. Super easy to grow with limited space.

    Either way, I agree the principles are all the same. Use some type of very fast growing plants / algae to filter the water.


    As a side note: Apparently the bristlenose plecos in my tank like the algae "scrubbed" water so much they spawned a few weeks ago for the first time and now there are about 17 or so pleco fry that have joined the discus fry.
    plecos.jpg

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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Its an interesting concept. I have always been a fan of algae scrubbers.

    lot more details here
    http://algaescrubber.net/forums
    /

    I am glad you included this link. This is where most the credit is due, and hopefully Joey gave some credit to santamonica (used to be a member here).

    I have some questions for you:

    1) Uv-What size and what is the flow rate?
    2) C02- What level are you maintaining your ph at?
    3) What intervals will you be updating your thread at?
    4) Are you going to monitor and post your pH and nitrates readings in your updates?

    Not to be a killjoy here but you already have some small issues, I can't get a look at all of your fry, but can see several that have dorsal fin deformities.

    good luck!
    -Rick
    Ex-President-North American Discus Association-NADA

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    Registered Member Luke in Phoenix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fry grow out test with an algae scrubber. Water change health and growth rate te

    Quote Originally Posted by nc0gnet0 View Post
    Its an interesting concept. I have always been a fan of algae scrubbers.

    /

    I am glad you included this link. This is where most the credit is due, and hopefully Joey gave some credit to santamonica (used to be a member here).

    I have some questions for you:

    1) Uv-What size and what is the flow rate?
    2) C02- What level are you maintaining your ph at?
    3) What intervals will you be updating your thread at?
    4) Are you going to monitor and post your pH and nitrates readings in your updates?

    Not to be a killjoy here but you already have some small issues, I can't get a look at all of your fry, but can see several that have dorsal fin deformities.

    good luck!
    -Rick

    1) Aqua Advantage 15 watt sterilizer with an estimated 100 gph flow rate and a 25 watt Pentair Emperor Smart UV Sterilizer with an estimated flow rate of 300 gph
    Good question, I think it is important to keep the flow rates low enough that the UV actually performs as a 'Sterlizer'.

    2) I started injecting CO2 directly into the sump to prevent the algae from consuming all of the KH as a carbon source. Although this may be a benefit to some people to have KH reduced? I don't inject that much CO2 (about a bubble a second) and because there is so much water flow it doesn't really effect PH that much
    3) I don't know... suggestions?
    4) I will definitely monitor the nitrates. It's at 0 right now. I don't really monitor the ph that much... mostly the TDS and KH values but the PH seems to stay around the 7-7.7 range.

    I'm planning on the standard cull rate of fish with deformities. I've seen 20% used often for a culling percentage. Let me know if you think otherwise. I haven't culled any yet but it will be something to watch for. I keep you updated on the culls.

    I'll try to get some better photos of the fry.

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