An algae scrubber filters water by moving water rapidly over a rough, highly illuminated surface, which causes algae to start growing in large amounts. As the algae grow, they consume nutrients such as nitrate, phosphate, nitrite, ammonia, ammonium and even metals such as copper from the water. These nutrients are normally a problem in aquariums and ponds because they cause nuisance algae to grow, and also because they cause sickness and/or other problems in aquarium fish, invertebrates and corals. An algae scrubber allows algae to grow, but the algae grow inside the filter instead of in the aquarium or pond. This removes excess nutrients (scrubs the water), diminishing nuisance algae in the aquarium or pond . Nuisance algae in the aquarium or pond are not to be confused with the desired algae in the algae scrubber filter itself. The algae that grow in the algae scrubber can then be removed, or fed back to the livestock.
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