Starfish, Algae and the nitrate flavoured water

Discussion in 'Nuisance Algae' started by Kunhardt, 17 Nov 2008.

  1. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt

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    I have had a problem with GHA since i started, then came some brown algae growing on the back glass and some green algae on the front glass. I presumed this was due to high nitrates and phosphates. Over the past week i have been doing 20% water changes per week with NSW and added some star fish into my tank about a week ago as well. I have also placed some carbon and phosphate removers in my filter system to help things along.

    Well the algae in my tank seems to have receeded in a major way, no green algae anymore on the glass, no real brown algae, only a smidgen behind a rock at the back (probably due to flow?) and my GHA problem at last seems to be near an end with only a few strands here and there...man those starfish are like lawnmowers.

    However my nitrate level has not seemed to have dropped even with all that and is still sitting at roughly the 20ppm level. How on earth do i get this down as its driving me crazy. I thought with the decline in algae this would be a sign my nitrates would be on the decline. :(
     
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  3. trad

    trad Fish, thats the word!

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    test the nsw probably find its at that hi level. I know when I got NSW and tokk it up to joburg I had major problems with Nitrate and Phos. Test the water and collect at a different spot if its high.
     
  4. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    Have you done any tests on the NSW that you are using? And do you collect and use or store it?
     
  5. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    I collect it out of town, at glen gariff here in EL where water is supposed to be perfect, so i havent acctually thought about testing it. Will do so today. I store it in a large drum with filter system and water circulating, but the two water changes that i have made in the past two weeks have been done straight away and water has not gone into the communal water tank.
     
  6. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    The problem with NSW is that it is not always the same, so 1 day it may be 100% the next not. It will change with rain, wind and current flow.
     
  7. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    What kind of starfish did you get. Unusual to have algae eating stars
     
  8. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Just those little ones in the rock pools here in EL...do they have a name?? Lol maybe they not eating it but desolving it as they go over it?? :p But they eating my corraline as well so it must be them.
     
  9. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Test the water coming out of your storage drum. Sea water have lots of microscopic live that could be dying off in your storage container. This could contribute to your nitrate levels. It's best to just run the fresh seawater through a carbon filter and use it straight in the tank.

    my 2c
     
  10. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Also double check with a different test kit ;)
     
  11. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    k so i tested the NSW in the bin and its got 0 phosphates and 0-2ppm nitrates. I say 0-2 cause its so clear i cant tell if its 0 or slightly blue, either way its healthy so problem doesnt lie there. phosphates in tank are also 0-0.25, so i dont think they atributing to any algae growth. Although saying that, its on the decline so i guess thats atributing to their demise.
     
  12. cybervic

    cybervic

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    I'd then say patience is the next step :p. Look for any areas in your tank where detritus can accumulate and clean it out. Also look at your feeding habits, rinse frozen food with R/O and feed only as much as the fish can consume in 3 to 5 minutes. It's better to do 3 or 4 smaller feedings per day than one large feeding.
     
  13. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Spot on advice from Cybervic ;)
    Never hold frozen food inside the tank to defrost or add the juices of it in your water - it fuels nuisance algae. I used to take a small plastic glass and filled half with cold RO water, added the block of frozen artemia and leave to defrost. I then poured it through a sieve into another glass. Then I quickly rinsed with a little bit of tank water and then added to the tank.
     
  14. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    What i do with frozen foods, which i dont feed often maybe once a week, is i defrost it with a little RO water, once completely disolved suck it up with a suringe (sp?) and slowly squirt out the water till there is only the brine shrimp/other frozen product left in there, then suck up a bit of RO water and squirt into tank :)
     
  15. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Then I do not know what else to tell you :p Maybe post some pics of youre setup, including your sump. There is small things that could contribute to your problem(s).
     
  16. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Sump? hehe I dont have one...its only a 10 gallon nano, i guess i will continue with the 20% weekly water changes for now and see where that leads too.
     
  17. cybervic

    cybervic

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    How much livestock do you have in there? Do you run a skimmer? DSB? Being only 10g water parameters can go wrong very easy. Maybe do a 50% waterchange and test your nitrates after the change. They should be 50% less. It could be that nitrates accumulate at the same rate that you do water changes.

    Hope this makes sense :p
     
  18. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt Thread Starter

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    Ya makes sense, only got 2 fish :p, 5 hermit crabs, 1 cleaner shrimp and some corals. No skimmer or DSB, use carbon in a small powehead filter. It may be that food stuffs are not being eaten and causing nitrates? I will try a 50% water change and see if there is a drastic difference, else that tanks going straight out the window lol.
     
  19. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Too much food can cause high nitrates, whether eaten or not. If all are eaten, the fish will just poo more :p
    The fact remains it was introduced into the water, so what goes in must come out. Whether it is by skimming, natural nitrate reduction(DSB's), nutrient control through algae (chaeto or caulerpa) or Santa Monica's algae scrubber, or diluted over time by water changes.
    OK, someone shoot me if I'm wrong or missed something :p
     
  20. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Hehe, all you missed is that the fish use about 10% of what they eat on body mass / energy (in a theoretical world). So 90% of what is fed, goes straight back into the water.

    A 50% water change should lower the nitrates by half. So you need to change the water and see how long it takes to creep back to what it were before the water change. Then you can determine how much water you need to change or how frequently you need to change water.

    Don't throw the tank out, with some small changes, you can enjoy it for many years to come.

    With marines its never a straight and clear cut path. There is always the x factor and we as marine aquarists have to accept it and provide for it / live with it.

    Most of the people I know with marine tanks, need at least a year before they start enjoying their tanks. By then the tank have stabalised and algae etc is not a problem anymore.
     
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