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fungus in betta tank


spillie

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I have one betta in a 10 G tank with a heater at 79F, a palm filter (with small bag of media and a sponge, but no carbon), and a small air stone. Décor is Caribsea instant aquarium sand as the substrate, silk plants, and a betta log.

About a week ago I broke the tank down and gave it, filter, and all ornaments a long PP treatment as I had hydra all over (must have been transferred from my planted tank--still puzzling over that, as I can't think of anything I shared, but I must have done).

Set the tank up again with all new water, new sand from the bag, and a new titanium heater. Prime and betta spa in the water. I used Safe Start 48 hours I set the tank up again to restore the cycle.

So here we are, a week in with this completely newly sterilized tank, and I have a whitish fungus growing on the cap of the temperature probe, a small amount on the ornaments and on the silk leaves, and what looks like plant mulm on the sand surface--even though I have no live plants. I am perplexed.

Ph is 7.6

Ammonia is 0

Nitrites are 0

Nitrates are 80 (!) and from tap 40 (!)--but though high, this is the same water my other tanks have, none of which have fungus!

The closest of my others in setup to the betta tank is a 20G tank with a golden gourami that also has silk plants, a heater, and an air stone (though no sand on the bottom--it has a different substrate and a larger filter). No mold in there, though.

What could be causing this and what do you think I can do about it? Could it be the water that came in the bag of sand--which I opened last year some time? Something from the betta spa? I am really perplexed as the tank was just sterilized, as I said, and it had 100% new water a week ago. The betta himself is fine, though his tail is a little ragged. I do have nitraban, fungus guard, etc.

mold on top cap of temperature probe and also growing on square part:

bettamold002_zps0ed2b28f.jpg

"mulm" stuff on base of plant and sand in corner

bettamold001_zpsa7b10b0b.jpg

The tank (have not done the weekly cleaning)

italyandothers721_zpsaa72e56d.jpg

:idont

Edited by spillie
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I'm not sure what's going on honestly. I am having a hard time seeing the mold/fungus in the pics, but I do see the 'mulm' on the substrate.

Are you sure the fungus/mold isn't just biofilm build up? Is it fuzzy?

Can you vaccuum up the mulm? If you do, does it re-appear?

I guess what I would do is simply keep cleaning off any of the fungus/mold stuff you see and vacuum up any of the mulm. Neither of these things should be harmful to your fish, although I am curious where that much debris is coming from :idont Do you have a filter on the tank?

The other thing that seems odd is that in a tank that has only been running for a week with one betta you have 80 for nitrates? I know you are starting at 40 (eek), but the bioload of 1 betta shouldn't account for another 40 in just a week.

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I'm not sure what's going on honestly. I am having a hard time seeing the mold/fungus in the pics, but I do see the 'mulm' on the substrate.

Are you sure the fungus/mold isn't just biofilm build up? Is it fuzzy?

Can you vaccuum up the mulm? If you do, does it re-appear?

I guess what I would do is simply keep cleaning off any of the fungus/mold stuff you see and vacuum up any of the mulm. Neither of these things should be harmful to your fish, although I am curious where that much debris is coming from :idont Do you have a filter on the tank?

The other thing that seems odd is that in a tank that has only been running for a week with one betta you have 80 for nitrates? I know you are starting at 40 (eek), but the bioload of 1 betta shouldn't account for another 40 in just a week.

I know, it's strange, right? I have no idea why it has such high nitrates after just one week--esp. in such a big tank with just one small betta. I even checked the expiration date on my API test kit (it's good through 2018). It is possible that the water last week had higher nitrates, I suppose. There seems to be no way to account for it. He gets fed twice a day, but just three pellets each time.

The mold is the light grey/whitish stuff completely covering the cap of the temp probe and the square plastic piece that holds the probe to the suction cup. All these pieces are actually black (when there is no mold on it). The camera doesn't capture it, but it is fuzzy, like cotton sort of.

I do have a filter on there (an azoo palm filter)--it is small and has a light flow. Maybe I should put carbon in there?

I change about 40% once a week. In this case, all was 100% new last Sunday and I will change the water (and vacuum up the mulm stuff/wipe off the mold stuff) tomorrow.

Hmm.. maybe I need to make this a planted tank to get things sorted..

Edited by spillie
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What are you feeding him and how much? This looks more like a sort of biofilm to me than actual fungus.

It reminds me of when you overfeed, and maybe not all food gets eaten but basically dissolves into the water and settling as an almost invisible film - which then is the perfect feeding ground for bacteria such as this biofilm. Considered you mention that you haven't done the weekly cleaning as you should have, that could explain the sudden appearance of this. It also would explain the skyrocketing nitrate, due to uneaten food.

Your best bet would be to do a thorough cleaning. Rinse the sand in hot water, scrub the decor under hot water, scrub the glass, heater, filter intake etc, to get it all as clean as possible. Then keep up with the water changes, and try to add some fast growing live plants to help with the tap nitrates. I would skip anubias, java ferns etc but go with something that sucks up nitrates.
Maybe even a terrestrial plant that has it's (washed) roots in your tank, such as pothos etc. These absorb nitrates much better than any aquatic plant. :)

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What are you feeding him and how much? This looks more like a sort of biofilm to me than actual fungus.

It reminds me of when you overfeed, and maybe not all food gets eaten but basically dissolves into the water and settling as an almost invisible film - which then is the perfect feeding ground for bacteria such as this biofilm. Considered you mention that you haven't done the weekly cleaning as you should have, that could explain the sudden appearance of this. It also would explain the skyrocketing nitrate, due to uneaten food.

Your best bet would be to do a thorough cleaning. Rinse the sand in hot water, scrub the decor under hot water, scrub the glass, heater, filter intake etc, to get it all as clean as possible. Then keep up with the water changes, and try to add some fast growing live plants to help with the tap nitrates. I would skip anubias, java ferns etc but go with something that sucks up nitrates.

Maybe even a terrestrial plant that has it's (washed) roots in your tank, such as pothos etc. These absorb nitrates much better than any aquatic plant. :)

I was just about to say that I would get this stuff in my soap dishes, if food settled in there for too long. Maybe check your feeding amounts, and do some extra cleaning over the next few weeks.

When I had it, I just took the soap dishes out with each change, wiped out the "stuff", rinsed, put them back, and then did my regular w/c. I did add in an extra change each week, but it went away pretty quickly.

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Hmm.. don't think it is over feeding. He gets three little betta pellets twice a day, and eats all of them. Plus, everything was disinfected with PP a week ago and then when I set the tank up again, it was 100% new water of course. (I haven't yet skipped a cleaning--tomorrow is my day to do it and is just a week since the complete re-start of the tank last weekend. :) )

Pothos is a great idea. I have it in my goldie tank and can easily move some over to the betta tank. And with pothos, I do not need to worry about aquarium lights because they'll be fine with room light--which would be great as the top of this tank is plastic that warps easily with heat. Pothos goes in tomorrow!

Here's a better pic of the moldy looking stuff--can you see that it is fuzzy a bit better?

IMG_5350_zpsfbf0b264.jpg

Whatever it is, it likes growing on the rubber cap and probe holder, but not on the hard plastic of the probe itself. All that is grey in the pic is this weird moldy stuff-the rubber itself of the cap, holder and suction cup is in fact black.

Edited by spillie
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Interesting--I have been googling and found many references to this kind of fungus/mold on new rubber suction cups. Something in the rubber seems to feed it somehow. No clear answer on what it is exactly, however, at least not this far...

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Interesting--I have been googling and found many references to this kind of fungus/mold on new rubber suction cups. Something in the rubber seems to feed it somehow. No clear answer on what it is exactly, however, at least not this far...

I have had this happen too! It grows only on the rubber suction cups of the heater for example, but not on the hard plastic intake tube etc.

If it is not overfeeding (clearly not according to your feeding regime) I'd just keep doing some extra cleanings, and wiping everything down often. I wonder if this is a similar thing as with new tanks and the "fresh" silicone on the seams releasing more silicate into the water, which causes new tanks to often break out with severe brown algae...?

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I did a partial water change today and found little bits of filmy stuff floating all over the tank, so ended up doing a 100% change again, wiping all the ornaments as well as the rubber and the silicone seams of the tank. There was the most slimy stuff on the silicone and rubber, a bit on the ornaments, but more like it settled there than grew there. I guess it will come back again, if it is something in the new rubber/silicone (this is a pretty new tank) that creates the condition for this moldy/slimy stuff to grow, but hopefully will go away after awhile. I think it is what was caused that mysterious "mulm" stuff, too. Anyway, at the moment, tanks looks good, pothos roots are dangling in from the top, and I put a bit of salt in the water to help with the ragged tail. Still no idea what this stuff actually is, but everything I read says it goes away eventually! I am going to do some daily wiping for awhile to try to keep it from developing to the point that these bits of it end up everywhere.

(I am also going to hold off on the betta spa/Indian Almond leaf for while, in case that adds to the nutrients for this fungus somehow)

Edited by spillie
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I think what you have is water mold.I would clean the whole tank. But not the filter. Remove the fish to a bowl for the time you need to clean up the tank. The mulm is from over feeding if you had a couple live plants in there they would love it. Maybe go bare bottom till you are sure it is gone then add back some sand.

Good luck

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Just to follow-up on this, in case anyone else has the same problem, the slimy stuff definitely is coming from the new (soft) rubber items in the tank (the suction cup and the rubber on the heater probe cap and holder). Over the course of 48 hours or so, I can see it begin to develop, but now I am wiping it off every 2-3 days, so that "mulm" is no longer breaking off and littering the substrate, accumulating in the filter, or floating about the water. The betta has showed some interest in nibbling the bit that develops, but it doesn't seem to hurt him (and since I am wiping it away so frequently, not much accumulates in any event). I expect this will just go away once whatever is leaching from the new rubber bits has diminished. (And, I have the pothos in there now to help with the nitrates or any nutrient buildup.) :)

Edited by spillie
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