BIOFILM! Sudden occurrence- what to do?

LostBear

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Helo all. Have a 64l tropical tank - it housed 2 nerites, 6 neons and 2 glowlights (we had had more tetras, but the last three months saw a gradual dying off - I assume old age as nothing had changed and remaining fish are healthy). Real live plants and some rocks, gravel substrate.

On Thursday last we did our regular weekly partial water change, and also added a piece of recently purchased, and thoroughly rinsed, bogwood (and very nice it looked, too). Within a day the water was cloudy and we lost a fish. Two more died the next day. (As I say they were probably on their way out and the shock of new stuff can be the tipping point) - other fish had lost colour the first day, but regained it the following day and all remain well and active to date.

Yesterday the bogwood developed a jelly-like bloom - I consulted Dr Google who diagnosed biofilm. I've had biofilm on the surface of a tank before, but not clinging enthusiastically to bogwood. (Apparently bogwood is notorious for it!) Today it looks like ghost bogwood, but the water has cleared, and the remaining fish seem very content - indeed happy - so my only concern is the unsightliness of the stuff, and the worry that it might suck all of the oxygen out of the water.

I don't want to be repeatedly removing the bogwood to clean the slime off (as much as anything because I've attached some bits of Java fern which is already growing). It appears that some fish and snails will eat the biofilm, but I'm wary about adding anything else to the tank just at the moment in case it (the biofilm) adversely affects the parameters of the water (just checked today - pH is normal at 7.2; ammonia is slightly raised (0.25); nitrite raised at 0.25; nitrate MASSIVELY raised at 10 - still safe level but we are usually near 0).

So - is there anything I can do to get rid of it? We are going to do partial water changes every other day for a couple of weeks and siphon as much off as we can. Do nerites or tetras eat it? Ours don't seem to be showing much interest. Bristlenose plecos seem to be the popular biofilm destroyers, but I don't think our tank is big enough to comfortably accommodate one. Apparently gouramis like it as well, and I rather like gouramis, so a pair of those may be the answer

I've also been thinking for a while of adding some shrimp to the tank - would they eat it? (I instinctively feel it is something that a dainty little shrimp might enjoy.) If so, how many would you suggest and do they breed rapidly? I don't want the responsibility of hundreds of shrimp.

It's like ghost bogwood at the moment. Will the damn stuff move onto the plants or other surfaces, or confine itself to the bogwood? I'm sorry I can't attach a photo - I've tried but can't get them downloaded onto the laptop for some reason.
 
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CassCats

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Your nerites should enjoy eating the biofilm but if theyre lazy, could opt for some ramshorn snails, they'd adore the biofilm
 
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LostBear

LostBear

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Your nerites should enjoy eating the biofilm but if theyre lazy, could opt for some ramshorn snails, they'd adore the biofilm
Cheers, NC! I'll probably get a couple (am always worried I'll get overrun by snaillets, but needs must)
 

CassCats

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If you dont overfeed you shouldn't be overrun.
But you can also get assassin snails later on (temporary, and move the nerites in the time being) if you find you dont want them or theyre a problem.

But you can choose a nice colourful ramshorn so theyre nicer to look at.

Or, could do cherry shrimp or amano shrimp instead
 
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LostBear

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If you dont overfeed you shouldn't be overrun.
But you can also get assassin snails later on (temporary, and move the nerites in the time being) if you find you dont want them or theyre a problem.

But you can choose a nice colourful ramshorn so theyre nicer to look at.

Or, could do cherry shrimp or amano shrimp instead
I'll stick with the ramshorns - I've seen tanks that are wall-to-wall assassins and I don't like them! Red ramshorns are a very attractive snail.
 

AbbeysDad

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I've never had this problem, but I wonder if it's a fungus? In any case, I think that I'd remove it and give it a good spray of H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) to kill it, rinse well, then put it back in and see what happens. You can do the water changes, but it seems like the water column is not your problem.
 

Essjay

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What type of wood was it? I bought some azalea root a few months ago and left it in a spare tank to sink. It started oozing white goo and it made the water very cloudy. After 6 weeks it was still doing it. Several hits on google and Amazon feedback claimed it killed their fish. I never used mine, I gave up waiting for the water to clear.
 

eatyourpeas

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What type of wood was it? I bought some azalea root a few months ago and left it in a spare tank to sink. It started oozing white goo and it made the water very cloudy. After 6 weeks it was still doing it. Several hits on google and Amazon feedback claimed it killed their fish. I never used mine, I gave up waiting for the water to clear.
Identifying the wood is important. If it has been exposed to chemicals of any sort, it may leach them into the water when you are not looking. Biofilm forming is expected, but I managed to kill 4 shrimp because I failed to properly clean and quarantine it since I trusted that it was at an aquarium shop. :(
 

Essjay

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The wood I bought had an Aqua One label stating it was azalea root. Aqua One is a well known brand of aquarium equipment which is why I assumed it would be OK. My usual practice with wood is to soak it in water until it sinks, and it was while soaking that the white goo appeared and the water went cloudy. That sent me to google, and I looked on Amazon which sells the same brand of azalea root to look at the reviews on there. The first hit on goggle was actually from this forum
 
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