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i set up a small 10 G test tank to see if i could keep a planted tank. everything is growing quite well, but in the past couple weeks, i started getting massive amounts of algae growing all over my plants and glass. started looking into a UV sterilizer. i know it wont kill any algae that's already growing on the tank, but if i start with one would it prevent algae growth in a new tank? if not, is there a better way of controlling the algae growth?
 

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As you already realize, a UV sterilizer will really only kill free floating algae. It will not be effective against other algae such as BBA, etc.

What kind of algae do you have? The best way to eliminate it is to identify and treat the root cause; otherwise, other solutions are merely a bandage, and will not prevent the re-growth of algae.
 

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i set up a small 10 G test tank to see if i could keep a planted tank. everything is growing quite well, but in the past couple weeks, i started getting massive amounts of algae growing all over my plants and glass. started looking into a UV sterilizer. i know it wont kill any algae that's already growing on the tank, but if i start with one would it prevent algae growth in a new tank? if not, is there a better way of controlling the algae growth?
Yes there is a best way. Plant heavily from the start. For example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRxbErSngJE
Here's a tank looking for potential problems. Too many fish and not enough plants.

You can find other photos of what I mean by heavily planted tank by looking in the Photo Gallery.

Stock lightly with fauna. Never overstock.
Supply plants with all nutrients and co2. Co2 is the best source for carbon. Everything else is second rate.

In a well running tank there's never a reason to use a UV sterilizer.
 
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