Starfish, Algae and the nitrate flavoured water

Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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. :(
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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.
 
Joined
28 Dec 2007
Posts
12,781
Reaction score
31
Location
JHB
What kind of starfish did you get. Unusual to have algae eating stars
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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.
 
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Posts
453
Reaction score
6
Location
Kimberley
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
 

Tobes

Retired Moderator
Joined
30 Nov 2007
Posts
9,482
Reaction score
119
Location
A Beautiful place!
Also double check with a different test kit ;)
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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.
 
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Posts
453
Reaction score
6
Location
Kimberley
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.
 

Tobes

Retired Moderator
Joined
30 Nov 2007
Posts
9,482
Reaction score
119
Location
A Beautiful place!
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.
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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 :)
 
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Posts
453
Reaction score
6
Location
Kimberley
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).
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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.
 
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Posts
453
Reaction score
6
Location
Kimberley
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
 
Joined
21 Oct 2008
Posts
5,698
Reaction score
473
Location
East London
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.
 

Tobes

Retired Moderator
Joined
30 Nov 2007
Posts
9,482
Reaction score
119
Location
A Beautiful place!
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.
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
 
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Posts
453
Reaction score
6
Location
Kimberley
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.
 

Top