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Old 03-15-2020, 01:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default White mulm on driftwood

Six days ago, I set up a 10 gallon Walstad tank. I have one large piece of driftwood, together with another, smaller, piece.

I noticed some white, fuzzy stuff growing on them (moreso on the large piece though). Moreover, some of the fuzz is starting to turn brown (this I noticed today). In addition, the water is slightly cloudy.

My current plant stock is:

Dwarf Hairgrass
Anubias nana
Rotala Indica green
Cryptocorine wendtii Green
Cryptocorine wendtii Brown
Java Fern
Christmas moss on rocks

I realized after the fact that I may need to plant more heavily? In particular, I have no super fast growing plants. I have not yet added floaters (have frogbit in another tank, which is doing great, *knocks on wood*), since I figured the extra light might be beneficial for the dwarf hairgrass to become established. This might be a baseless belief though.

The light I'm running is a Beamswork EA Full Spectrum LED, lights are on 7:00 am - 12:00 pm and 4:00pm - 9:00 pm with a siesta period in between.

There's a small water pump to aid in water movement.











In case the thumbnails don't work, here's a link to an album on imgur https://imgur.com/a/Iksph5y

From some reports I've read online, the white fuzz is normal (some type of fungus?) and should go away on its own. Still, I'm not sure if I should be doing any water changes or other kinds of maintenance.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 03-15-2020, 06:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

It's common for fungus or fungus like organisms to grow on new driftwood. There's food for it to grow on. Keep cleaning it off and eventually it'll go away. You can hit it with a little hydrogen peroxide as well. No more than 5ml in a 10G tank.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeroThompson View Post
Six days ago, I set up a 10 gallon Walstad tank.

I realized after the fact that I may need to plant more heavily? In particular, I have no super fast growing plants.
Tank shows a careful construction with a nice assortment and enough plants. The problem--as you mentioned-- is that there are not enough fast-growers. The R. indica might help, but it's only in one corner. Crypts are wonderful plants for the long-term, but they're slow to establish and subject to "melt-downs." (In your tank, let's hope they don't!) Dwarf Hairgrass isn't big enough to handle an inch of soil plus a gravel cover.

I'm guessing that this tank has a soil-containing substrate? Organic, potting soil type? If so, you don't have enough strong rooted plants to balance it PLUS the driftwood. Soil and driftwood are pouring out DOC, stimulating bacteria/algae growth, thereby clouding the the water.

I recommend that you add reliable fast-growers like Sagittaria subulata. This species is the perfect size for a 5-10 gal. Echinodorus "compacta", a dwarf Amazon sword plant, would also be perfect. (I have one or two in all of my 10 gals.) I would also move some R. indica to the other side of the tank or plant some Bacopa caroliniana.

I would remove the driftwood. (You can try adding it back once the plants get growing and the water clears.)

Changing water and adding FrogBit will help some, but that doesn't address the main problem of a soil-containing substrate going severely anaerobic.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 03-16-2020, 03:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

Quote:
It's common for fungus or fungus like organisms to grow on new driftwood. There's food for it to grow on. Keep cleaning it off and eventually it'll go away. You can hit it with a little hydrogen peroxide as well. No more than 5ml in a 10G tank.
Thanks for your help. When I went to brush it off today, I noticed the glue hadn't properly anchored the Java Fern, so I decided to remove the big piece of driftwood for the time being.

Quote:
Tank shows a careful construction with a nice assortment and enough plants. The problem--as you mentioned-- is that there are not enough fast-growers. The R. indica might help, but it's only in one corner. Crypts are wonderful plants for the long-term, but they're slow to establish and subject to "melt-downs." (In your tank, let's hope they don't!) Dwarf Hairgrass isn't big enough to handle an inch of soil plus a gravel cover.

I'm guessing that this tank has a soil-containing substrate? Organic, potting soil type? If so, you don't have enough strong rooted plants to balance it PLUS the driftwood. Soil and driftwood are pouring out DOC, stimulating bacteria/algae growth, thereby clouding the the water.

I recommend that you add reliable fast-growers like Sagittaria subulata. This species is the perfect size for a 5-10 gal. Echinodorus "compacta", a dwarf Amazon sword plant, would also be perfect. (I have one or two in all of my 10 gals.) I would also move some R. indica to the other side of the tank or plant some Bacopa caroliniana.

I would remove the driftwood. (You can try adding it back once the plants get growing and the water clears.)

Changing water and adding FrogBit will help some, but that doesn't address the main problem of a soil-containing substrate going severely anaerobic.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Thanks for all the suggestions. To clarify, are you saying that the Dwarf Hairgrass won't make it? That's a bummer

The substrate is one inch of Miracle Gro organic potting soil capped with one inch of EcoComplete. I've used the EcoComplete before and it worked nicely, plus I enjoy the black color. And, for reasons that are still not clear to me, it was somehow cheaper than buying any old gravel at the local chain pet store.

I added some Sagittaria subulata that I had from another tank. I didn't want to transplant too much out of fear of disrupting the soil in the other aquarium (same starting set up, minus the driftwood, about 8 months old).

I'm probably confused, but I was under the impression that Bacopa caroliniana was a slow grower. Is it a better choice than Bacopa monnieri?

Here's an update image:



PS: Thanks for writing such a great book! It was very exciting seeing you had replied to my questions!
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Old 03-16-2020, 04:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

I'm not sure about the hairgrass. It didn't grow that well for me the one time I tried it, but Kasselmann ('Aquarium Plants' 2003) calls Eleocharis acicularis hardy and undemanding. Your experience will be instructive.

Good you put in some S. subulata and took out the driftwood.

Both B. monnieri and B. caroliniana have been good growers for me. Kasselmann rates both species as undemanding.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

Two week update:

Most of the original growth in the Rotala indica has melted away, but there's some new growth so I expect it to bounce back.

Some of the Hairgrass is withering away, while other patches seems to be doing fine for the moment. I'm not holding my breath for it though.

I added some Bacopa caroliniana and one Echinodorus parviforus about 10 days ago. When I first got the sword plant, it had no roots so planting it was a pain. I ended up holding it down with a piece of "lead" which I removed today with no issues, so some roots have grown. The leaves look healthy and there is some new growth. I had to move some of the Crypts to the front in order to make room for the new background plants.

I also added a single Amazon frogbit, just to be able to see how long it takes to spread.

My impatience got the best of me and I re added the driftwood today, although I moved the smaller piece to a different tank. I'll keep an eye for anything that might grow on it. Here's the tank in its current form:

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Old 03-31-2020, 04:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

A good foreground grasslike plant is c. parva or dwarf chain sword. Parva is really slow growing but it does well in a low tech environment,
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Old 04-01-2020, 07:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: White mulm on driftwood

I would do a water change and monitor the driftwood. Let's hope the swordplant and Frogbit take off for you!
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