Algae Scrubber Thing-A-Ma-Jiggy
Getting rid of excess nutrients in an aquarium.
A Brief Description:
A container that is setup above the aquarium that houses plants in
it with aquarium water circulating through it from two 1/2" (13mm)
hoses, one the feed, the other return. This unit is lit by a florescent or
What You Will Need:
1. Plastic holding tray size depends on needs. Must be water proof (Has to
2. Plastic tubing 1/2" or equivalent metric size (length depending
on your needs).
3. Some kind of connector to attach 1/2" (13mm) hose to tray after
drilling a hole in one side of the tray.
4. Air line hose (amount depending on your needs).
5. Air stone
6. Potting soil (non fertilized).
7. Perlite or Vermiculite
10. Plant seed (Wheat or Philodendron)
11. Air pump
The Basic Setup:
First, you must consider where the tray will be placed and at what height
above the tank. I would not consider setting this up on the canopy as it
will have a bit of weight. The obvious placement would be on a shelf a
couple of inches above your canopy. Do not forget to leave room for the
lighting that will be required, be it florescent or an incandescent plant
light. The shelf width and length will be determined by your needs. This
will be said often. Hopefully by the end of these instructions you will be
armed with enough information to decide these dimensions.
On to the making of the unit. We will need a tray that is 3" ( 7.6
cm) deep at least and water tight. The other dimensions will have to be
determined by your needs and size of tank. The first step will be to drill
a hole in one side of the tray that is 2" (5 cm) from the bottom. You
will then attach a coupling to this that can accommodate 1/2" inch (
13mm ) plastic tubing.
You will have to cut two lengths of 1/2" plastic tubing. One length
will be the measure of distance from 1" (2.54 cm) above the inside
bottom of your tank running up to the top lip of the tray plus a couple of
extra inches. This length is the infeed line. The other length of tubing
will be cut using a measure of the distance from the hole in the tray to
the top of the tank plus a couple of extra inches. This is the return feed
We must consider one more thing before attaching the tubing to the
tray. How do we get the water from the tank to the tray and back to the
tank with minimal effort and expense. We will use air. Most of us use an
air pump already in our tanks and it is easy enough to gang another line
from the air pump.
The next step will be cut a hole into one end of the infeed line and
then attach both lines to the tray. The infeed length of tubing first
needs a hole put in it 1" (2.5 cm) from one end. The size hole should
accommodate a length of air line hose snugly without pinching. On the
other end we will attach the clip that will hold it in place to the tray.
Fashion this clip by using some wire (10" should be enough). Take the
wire and snugly wrap it around one end of the infeed line twice. Do not
pinch the line or constrict it in anyway. Take the wire that is left
sticking out and bend into a paper clip shape, cut off any excess. Attach
this end to the other side of the tray with the opening exiting into the
tray.The return feed line needs to be attached to the coupling which is
sticking out of the side of the tray.
After ganging another run of air line tubing off your air pump, cut the
length so that it will run from the pump into the tank's bottom and back
up at least 4" (10 cm). Place the loose end of air line into the hole
you have put into the 1/2" (13 mm) infeed line and push it up the
tube 4" (10 cm) towards the tray. Place the tray on the shelf and put
the 1/2" (13 mm) tubes into the water of the aquarium.
Now we need to start on what we are going to put in the tray. Take
planting containers and add 1" (2.5 cm) of Perlite or Vermiculite. On
top of this add potting soil mixed with some Perlite or Vermiculite to
1" (2.54 cm) from top. If you intend to use a fast growing plant such
as philodendron instead of wheat seed, plant accordingly in pots.For wheat
seed read on. Fill the tray 1" (2.54 cm) deep with aquarium gravel or
appropriate substitute. Place the pots on the gravel. Add some aquarium
water to the tray until the water starts to be released out of the
overflow hole into the return line back to the aquarium. Open the valve on
the air line running to the infeed line. In a bit of time you should have
the water entering the tray from the aquarium. Almost done!
When the soil is moist from the water in the tray add wheat seed on
top, you do not have to bury in soil. You will have to replant the wheat
When you see the wheat get to a height that it can not support itself this
is when you should replant. I would suggest staggering the planting so
that you are not creating major nutrient fluctuations in the tank.
TURN THE LIGHTS ON OVER THE THING-A-MA-JIGGY YOU'RE DONE.