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High electricity costs can make aquarium maintenance too high for many people to continue keeping their tanks, especially saltwater which requires buying salt in addition to everything else. Might it be possible to reduce, or even eliminate, these waterchanges? The answer is yes.

People usually change water for two reasons: To reduce nutrients, and to add minerals. One solution for the nutrients, of course, is to use algae in the form of an algae scrubber. Small freshwater tanks have nitrate reduced easily with algae, and many freshwater fish love to eat this algae, thus reducing feeding costs as well as water costs and hassle. Even cichlids have been found to love the fresh algae growth. If needed, hardness can be kept up with additives.

Fish-only saltwater tanks usually get lots of food added, and need large water changes (with salt) to get the nutrients (nitrate, phosphate) down. The great news is that algae scrubbers reduce phosphate as well as nitrate, and if you have lots of big tangs, they are going to love eating this fresh living algae. Having them eat this algae means you are adding less food into the water, which would otherwise just make more nutrients.

Reef tanks need to have nutrients removed, and minerals added for coral growth, but also need lots of dissolved and particulate food in the water to feed the corals. So an algae scrubber fits the bill perfectly, by reducing nitrate and phosphate, and by not removing food from the water (Cal, Alk, and Mag are still added as needed). And in addition to the algae being eaten by the fish, the algae actually add dissolved food to the water in the form of glucose, vitamins and amino acids, that you would normally need to buy and dosing anyway.

Whether you want to just reduce your waterchanges, or eliminate them completely, will determine how large of an algae scrubber (or how many of them) you install.