Cloudy stained water after Fluval and spiderwood

birdpond

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Hi all, I previously kept aquariums but went without for years Now I am trying a 10g nano tank (someone gave me a kit with filter and LED hood for Christmas.) I bought Fluval stratum, live plants and a pretty piece of spiderwood. After a couple weeks a rescue longfin leopard danio baby was given to me by the local fish store to cycle my tank. (She got huge really fast, lol.) But now things are going haywire. Water is terribly brownish cloudy (I never before have seen this but it's my first use of both Fluval and spiderwood.) Had gently rinsed the stratum and it had cleared. Had rinsed the spiderwood then a couple days after placing in tank it got white slime and fuzz all over it. Cleaned wood several times, all looked good, a couple weeks later added three embers and a galaxy rasbora.
But the tank has become very murky, and partial gentle water changes are not helping, nor is replacing filter cartridges. The plants and fish were doing fine. The leopard is too aggressive and will likely be moved but now am ember is a not doing well (suspect I did too many water changes and maybe temp dropped more than I realized.)
I am at a loss, the tank looks disgusting and murky, what could be going wrong? it was set up originally around Thanksgiving. This is so frustrating, I have actually worked in aquarium shops as a teen so it is especially embarrassing. Is it the spiderwood? The hob filter is a TopFin ad is the entire kit, but the filter isn't clearing water either now. Any ideas? Help!
 

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Usually to avoid this I boil my wood before putting it in the tank to release all of the stuff that's muddying your water. I'm not sure, but that would be my guess about the problem. If it is, the water will eventually go back to normal and is actually good for your fish. But doing a water change and boiling the wood should help.
 
The water cloudiness could be due to the wood, or the substrate (Stratum), or both. Third, it could be a normal bacterial bloom common in new tanks. You have much more serious issues here.

The white slime/fungus on spiderwood is a fungus. The issue with this is that it cold be deadly toxic, or not. Personally, I would toss it and use safe wood, like the dark brown Malaysian Driftwood.

Second serious issue is cycling...not with fish, please. However, you do have live plants, so provided they are growing, they will take up ammonia/ammonium.

Be careful going forward. The Stratum might cause issues with water chemistry. I myself would never use these products.
 
I am seriously rethinking the use of the Fluval. Surprised at what a pain the spiderwood is being, too, as I see both used in so many online vids. May I ask what you use in planted aquariums as far as substrate? Thank you.
 
Usually to avoid this I boil my wood before putting it in the tank to release all of the stuff that's muddying your water. I'm not sure, but that would be my guess about the problem. If it is, the water will eventually go back to normal and is actually good for your fish. But doing a water change and boiling the wood should help.
Thank you Will give that a try tonight. Some online guru suggested using an old toothbrush to clean the white off the spiderwood. She did it while the wood was still in the tank. ?? I would think that would make things worse!
 
May I ask what you use in planted aquariums as far as substrate?

Quikrete Play Sand. I originally used a medium-fine aquarium natural gravel, but changed all my tanks in the fishroom over to this sand about 9 years ago, my only regret is in not having done it long before. It is simple to use substrate tabs for large plants, and a comprehensive liquid for all plants. The sand however has the real benefit of being completely inert, and it is the safest substrate for all fish bar none. I had Corydoras and this was why I changed to sand, but then I found it better in every tank. And I had plants thriving like weeds. Yoou can get this brand of sand at Home Depot and Lowe's.

Some online guru suggested using an old toothbrush to clean the white off the spiderwood. She did it while the wood was still in the tank. ?? I would think that would make things worse!

The fungus may be harmless, in which case this would be messy but not dangerous, though I would never clean anything in the tank (unbelievable, some people). There is however no way to tell if the fungus is toxic unless a microbiologist examines it. I had a piece of grapewood many years ago; I noticed the water became slightly cloudy the day after I put it in the tank, and upon closer look saw that the cories were respirating much more frantic than normal. Took the wood out, saw this fungus, scraped it off. Put the wood in a tank of water, no fish, for three months. Saw nothing, so used it again. Within days fish began dying, so out came the wood, and it has a small spot of the fungus on the back side.
 
Quikrete Play Sand. I originally used a medium-fine aquarium natural gravel, but changed all my tanks in the fishroom over to this sand about 9 years ago, my only regret is in not having done it long before. It is simple to use substrate tabs for large plants, and a comprehensive liquid for all plants. The sand however has the real benefit of being completely inert, and it is the safest substrate for all fish bar none. I had Corydoras and this was why I changed to sand, but then I found it better in every tank. And I had plants thriving like weeds. Yoou can get this brand of sand at Home Depot and Lowe's.



The fungus may be harmless, in which case this would be messy but not dangerous, though I would never clean anything in the tank (unbelievable, some people). There is however no way to tell if the fungus is toxic unless a microbiologist examines it. I had a piece of grapewood many years ago; I noticed the water became slightly cloudy the day after I put it in the tank, and upon closer look saw that the cories were respirating much more frantic than normal. Took the wood out, saw this fungus, scraped it off. Put the wood in a tank of water, no fish, for three months. Saw nothing, so used it again. Within days fish began dying, so out came the wood, and it has a small spot of the fungus on the back side.
Really sorry you lost your fish. Good warning for me
 
Really sorry you lost your fish. Good warning for me

I consulted a marine biologist I knew o another site at the time, and she said that toxic fungus is fairly common on some types of wood, esp "grape" wood/root.

On the sane, just make sure it is Quikrete PLAY sand; none of the other industrial sands are completely safe for all fish.
 
The brownish tint is almost for sure the spider wood leaking tannin which will color the water. If your filtration has room put in a pack of activated carbon and it will do a lot as to removing the tannin.

I have spider wood but got it from the only source I will ever probably use. As a warning you MAY get some bladder/pond snails with some of their stuff but that was not an issue to me as my cichlids eat such like popcorn. ;)
The problem with spider wood is that it can contain toxic bacteria if not cured. The lack of being cured also seems to be the cause of the tannin. The site I linked seems to cure the wood as I had no tannin discoloration. Also, even though when introduced, the spider wood did develop some fine white filaments but they were benign which may also be due to the fact that the wood was cured but can't prove that.

Spider wood has a bit of a bad reputation that is and is not deserved. Yes, it CAN contain toxic bacteria but, if properly processed and cured, is a safe wood. Sorry but don't ask me how to properly cure as I have no idea. I leave that up to my supplier.

Sigh... boiling wood. Ya I'm sure that it will kill bacteria and possible parasites that might be included but I have also read that it will break down the structure of the wood causing to more quickly break down and rot. I would think that soaking in a water and bleach mixture would probably do the same without breaking down the structure of the wood.
 

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