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Bacteria on new wood in new tank

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Lindat, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    I'm have recently set up my new tank and have added new wood from the LFS (which I soaked for a couple of weeks and poured boiling water on.) It now has a white fuzzy growth on it. I have researched and found that it is harmless to fish and can be scraped off til it stops growing. Since I haven't put in my first fish yet should I delay it? Also its a planted tank, will it spread to the plants and could it harm them? I have more plants to put in
    but thought I'd ask first. Thank you in anticipation. Photo attached.
     

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  2. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    You don't have to remove it, but I would do it just for the hell of it.

    What you've read on the internet is correct.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
     
  3. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    Cheers Metalhead88. Should I just go ahead and put in my new fish? And add the other plants?
     
  4. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Crazy

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    Lots of questions here before I can recommend anything.

    When was the tank set up?
    What size tank and what fish do you plan to add?
    Are you aware of the nitrogen cycle? If so how have you cycled the tank?
    What are your readings mainly ammonia, nitrate, and nitrate?

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The white fuzz on the wood is fungus which grows out from the wood. While most is usually safe, there are some deadly toxic species and it is impossible to differentiate them except through examination by a qualified microbiologist.

    I had one of the toxic fungi and had to remove the wood branch. Complete drying for several weeks followed by very hot water did not do anything, and after the branch was placed in a different tank the fungus appeared after a couple weeks and the fish began showing the same symptoms, namely lethargy and rapid respiration. Corydoras catfish are especially sensitive to the toxic fungus, that was how I spotted the issue initially, by their sudden change in activity and respiration. I have known others who lost all the cories because they didn't remove the fungus/wood.

    No amount of boiling is really going to remove anything from wood unless it is extreme enough to literally dissolve the wood into splinters--but what is the point of that?

    Since most fungus is safe, it may depend a lot upon the type of wood. I learned from others that the branchy wood such as grapewood (grape root) is especially prone to toxic fungi. That was the piece I had this issue with, though it was labelled differently when I bought it.
     
  6. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    Hi
    I set the tank up about 2 and a half weeks ago, fishless, using Aqua Pure balls.
    It's a 300 litre tank.
    I understand the nitrogen cycle.
    Using API Master Test Kit today the readings are:
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 5
    PH 7.2

    API strip reading yesterday:
    PH yesterday Api strip 6.8
    GH yesterday API strip 8
    KH yesterday API strip 6

    I intend to stock the tank with:
    1. 12 Rummynose Tetra
    2. 5 -6 young Discus
    3. 2 Apistogramma cacacatuoids
    4. 3 pearl dwarf gourami
    (Following advice from Byron and ColinT)
    Do you think the change in the PH is anything to do with the wood/bacteria?
    I am aware that it's slightly higher than the ideal for Discus (between 6 and 7).
    Also the GH yesterday was reading 8. Again I know that Discus generally like between 10-15 with a preference for 11.
    Any advice appreciated.
     
  7. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    P.s It also has newly planted discus appropriate plants.
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    More questions. The numbers for GH and KH, are they in degrees or ppm? They are low enough that it could be either depending.

    The above will be needed to answer your question about the lowering pH. It is natural in any aquarium with fish to have organics and as these are broken down it produces CO2 which creates carbonic acid and thus the pH will lower. The degree to which this occurs depends upon the initial GH, KH and pH. Wood is an organic material so it can contribute to this, but usually it is very minor because of the buffering capability of the GH/KH.

    Discus preferences are a bit misleading. I will assume you intend acquiring tank-raised discus, as opposed to wild caught. Being a soft water species, they will be happy if the water is soft or very soft, and the pH can be fairly acidic, in the 5-6 range. Wild discus would be much more demanding of this than tank raised, while tank raised should have a bit more tolerance. If your GH/KH numbers are ppm you have no worries at all for either; if they are degrees (dGH) tank raised discus should be able to manage.

    An observation on the stocking. With discus, I would not have any gourami. Pearls are generally peaceful, but it is still not advisable to mix gourami and cichlids. Increase the discus perhaps, to seven? Definitely no fewer than five.
     
    #8 Byron, Oct 31, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  9. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    Hi
    I set the tank up about 2 and a half weeks ago, fishless, using Aqua Pure balls.
    It's a 300 litre tank.
    I understand the nitrogen cycle.
    Using API Master Test Kit today the readings are:
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 5
    PH 7.2

    API strip reading yesterday:
    PH yesterday Api strip 6.8
    GH yesterday API strip 8
    KH yesterday API strip 6

    I intend to stock the tank with:
    1. 12 Rummynose Tetra
    2. 5 -6 young Discus
    3. 3 Apistogramma cacacatuoids
    4. 3 pearl dwarf gourami
    (Following advice from Byron and
    My wood is an azalea root.
     
  10. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    Hi Byron.
    The test strips are Tetra 1 in 6 (just checked) and present the colour codes for results in °dH which I presume to be degrees of hardness? The Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite results in the Master Kit are presented in ppm. Yes I am intending to buy tank bred Discus the easier option. I can't honestly say I fully understand all of your reply. I now wish I'd taken chemistry at school! The reason I thought the wood may have contributed to the change was because I noticed bubbles rising to the water surface from it.

    Do you think my water parameters are ok to go ahead and start stocking with the hardy fish; Rummynose Tetras. When I do, should I put in the 12 or will it be safer to put them in in smaller groups to avoid an ammonia spike? And finally, should I wait until the wood has stopped showing fungus/bacteria? Obviously, I am excited to be almost at the stocking stage but I don't want my eagerness to be detrimental to any fish.

    Sorry to throw so many questions at you but this site is such a valuable resource!
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Yes, dGH (or dH sometimes). So that means moderately soft/hard at 8 dGH.

    Don't worry, there is just a minimal amount of chemistry an aquarist must understand so he/she doesn't do something harmful trying to adjust parameters. You asked about the pH lowering in the aquarium, and the organics breakinbg down is one cause, but here the GH and KH are moderate so this is going to be minimal. There is another thing though, and that is that your water authority might add something to raise just the pH; soft and acidic water areas often do this to prevent corrosion of pipes and appliances due to acidic pH levels. You could check with your authority and see if they do this, as frequently whatever they add is not permanent so the pH will again tend to lower some in the aquarium. But whatever the reason here, you have no issues with an acidic pH so long as you stay with soft water fish (no livebearers and similar fish that must have harder water than you have).

    Bubbles from the wood is most likely just air inside; eventually the wood will be waterlogged and this will cease.

    The Aqua Pure balls I assume from looking them up are a bacterial supplement to aid in cycling. You also have live plants, and these take up ammonia and quite a bit, so you should be OK for fish. Fast-growing plants, and floating plants are best for this and in fact all but mandatory with discus (and rummy's for that matter, neither like overhead light), and once established it is almost impossible to add too many fish with respect to ammonia; floating plants are "ammonia sinks."

    Rummynose tetras are actually not hardy, quite the opposite. And shoaling species like the tetras should always be added as the entire intended number whenever this is possible (i.e., the store has the number you want). The more there are, the easier they will settle in with less stress. Some species may have hierarchies and the entire intended number is even more critical but all shoaling fish should be added as the entire group. You will not have ammonia issue with live plants, plus there is the tank size (more water reduces this risk).

    On the rummynose, I would get a few more, here 20-21. I had this number in my 70g (4-foot) tank and it worked very well. This is a species that tends to stay in a shoal more than most other tetras, and it will always fare better in larger numbers.

    If this were me, I might consider putting the discus in first. Again, being a shoaling species, add all of the intended number together. I think I already suggested seven as a better number. I know they are probably expensive fish, but this really does make a difference to their health, and you are more likely to avoid any hierarchical problems. The discus can settle in to a fish-empty space, and will be less stressed than if they are introduced to a tank with fish swimming all over the place. Rummys are active swimmers, but not to the extent it will bother the discus. And they can tolerate the needed warmth of discus. So can the false/green neon tetra, a close relative of the cardinal but better in warmer tanks even than cardinals. Angelfish would find them food, but discus should not unless they are full grown and it is better not to acquire full grown discus. I believe the discus authorities suggest 3-inch fish as best.

    I don't know what to suggest concerning this wood. Azalea is in my mind as possibly an issue for fungus, and it would be a shame to add a group of discus and have them die overnight. The rummynose would be better given this, thinking of the expense. I wonder if other members have had fungus issues with Azalea?
     
  12. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Can't comment specifically on Azalea - but it is also known (sold) as spiderwood in case somebady has this.
     
  13. Byron

    Byron Member

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    IMPORTANT. I decided to see if I could track down any data, and I found this thread from this very forum (TFF). This is exactly what I was referring to previously; I would be extremely cautious using this Azalea (spiderwood) if a fungus appears. As it notes in this thread, fish were harmed. I also had the cloudy water. Now I come to think of it, I believe "spiderwood" was the name of the piece of branch I bought in a local fish store several years ago that produced this toxic fungus that nearly killed my fish.

    https://www.fishforums.net/threads/change-of-wood-fish-suffocating-within-24-hours.440711/
     
  14. Lindat

    Lindat Fish Fanatic

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    Hello Byron. Thank you for your especially thorough reply. I am so impatient to get some fish in my tank now. I saw other photos on the internet that was exactly how my azalea root/spiderwood looks and they were saying not harmful to fish. However I am alarmed about your experience and I did read the link. Like the comment in the link I bought mine from Maidenhead Aquatics. I didn't put mine straight in the tank though. It was soaked to release the tannins for a good two weeks, and had boiling water poured over it. Think I will go back to the shop to enquire tomorrow before I put in fish. They have the same root in their show tanks and obviously sell a lot of it. I will start off with the Rummynose first and keep my fingers crossed. So pleased you suggested the Green Tetra because I do like their appearance. Next step is floating plants. Thank you so much for your advice I will update you, if you're interested, when the tank has fishy inhabitants.
     
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  15. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Just keep in mind that neither soaking nor boiling water will have much if any effect on fungus within the wood. You would have to boil the wood so much to kill internal bacteria/fungus that the wood would barely hold together.
     

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