Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Ogre44 12-04-2011 11:12 AM

Farming Algae, I wanna grow it!!
Is it possible to "farm" algae for supplementing the diet of algae eating fish?
I was thinking of using my old 2.5 gallon tank to set up a farm of sorts like this:

1) Acquire several sheets of slate, my LFS has some that's quite thin
2) Add enough substrate so that the slate can be stood up on edge, and then just rack them in with a little space between them
3) Fill with tank water, or at least dechlorinated water, put the lid on, and set it in the window.

I'm thinking that the plates of slate can be removed as needed and added to my existing planted tank to make sure that my BN Pleco gets enough algae to supplement his wafers and veggies.

Would I need to add the filter for water circulation, or is standing water better?
Would I be likely to grow anything useful, or am I going to grow a tank full of inedible scum?
Would I be better off to just run my tank light 12 hours a day?

Opinions and ideas wanted and welcomed!!

redchigh 12-04-2011 11:17 AM

I would probably set the tank outside or put it in a window.. Use water from your aquarium water changes, and dose iron.

You really need a filter, and don't want much substrate. Instead of gravel, I'd probably just use river rocks and slate.

Dosing iron (or micronutrients), exposing to sunlight, and adding ammonia (or terrestrial fertiliser in extremely weak amounts) will give you a variety of algae... You should either grow green algae or diatoms with this technique... If you grow the wrong kind, then empty the tank and change the variables... You can also try feeding the algae fish food...
If you grow green water, then just leave it and ignore it. Eventually it will choke itself out and another algae will grow.

All in all, it would be much easier to just feed your fish blanched vegetables like spinach, cucumber, pumpkin, kale, and other greens.

snafudude 12-04-2011 01:55 PM

I did this once by placing small terra cotta saucers,in a large fishbowl,filled with old fish water.I put that outside on a table,in the sun.I screened it off to keep the skeeters out.:smash:It took a few weeks to get some pretty good algae built up,but my bristle nose plec. liked the treat.:greenyay: I like your idea because this could be done year round,with out the worry of freezing.I am not sure that your slate would receive enough light with the vertical stacking method,though.Algae seems to grow better on a horizontal surface.
Hope this helps.8-)

Ogre44 12-04-2011 02:27 PM

Yeah, I live in Michigan so leaving something full of water outside is a no-no for a goodly portion of the year.
I was wondering about vertical plates receiving enough sunlight all the way across their depth.

What about leaning a couple against each other, or the back/sides of the tank?

MinaMinaMina 12-04-2011 02:45 PM

Or you could feed the mosquito larvae to your fishies. :-D

I'm paying attention to this thread because it may become necessary for me to grow some algae for my Nerite. She's doing TOO good of a job! :lol:

snafudude 12-04-2011 05:28 PM

I think I would put them on the bottom and sides and give them plenty of light.As for the skeeter larvae I may try feeding my fish with them this summer.

mileshs95 12-04-2011 05:32 PM

i would just give the pleco algae wafers

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