They work well by adding a lot more light in the ATS vs the aquarium.
If you add lots of light to both locations, they are the same then.
So they do not eliminate algae per se.
They remove nutrients, but plant filters/emergent plants are FAR more effective and a simpler device. Reef folks have macro algae, the grasses and trees do not remove like the FW emergent plants.
Floating water sprite etc, or a peace lily in a wet/dry section will out perform any algae filter with less energy.
"Hydrophyte" has several simple hand on or suction cup planters that would do the job if you want to keep it simple.
Thanks, that makes sense. Not a magic bullet for tank algae. End of that question.
I have experienced how well plant filters work and agree they are more simple than a modern ATS, but I am working on a new design which is very, very simple, and as for plant filters being far more effective at removing nutrients I hope to be able to narrow that margin quite a bit with my design. Microalgae, after all, are the fastest growing "plants" of all. They can double their mass in under 12 hours! I really enjoy plant filters but am finding growing algae to be a lot of fun too. My fish enjoy the bonus O2 injection provided which is one reason I am giving ATS a try. Also, I like to screw around with stuff.