I Don't Know What To Do Anymore. Please Help Me

Should I cut my losses and try to restart the tank?

  • No, you can treat the fungus. ( Please explain below)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The fungus is just a nuisance but not dangerous

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Caleb Smith

This will be a long thread because this is truly a shot in the dark and I'm hoping someone can help me.

So about 6-7 months ago, I had forgotten to do my weekly WC on my axolotl tank and I didn't realize it until a few days later but at the time I was very very busy and so I never got around too it. At the time, he was much smaller and only produced about 20ppm Nitrate(In a 10 gallon) in a single week so I figured I could spare a few days if I added prime toward the end. Well basically, when I finally found time, it had been about two weeks since his last WC and it was at about 40 PPM Nitrate ( Horrible, IK) and his tank was suddenly coated in a hair-like fungus that was EVERYWHERE.( I believe it may have entered on some unquarantined shrimp) I scrubbed the tank really well during his water change and I easily got rid of it; or so I thought. Within two days, small hairlike pieces began to reappear and although I could easily wipe them off, they would just disperse in my tank and coat the sand and all the decorations. Initially, I had read that the fungus wasn't harmful to axolotls and that it would just make the tank ugly but would have no risk. At the time, I had a very simple setup and so I didn't care for looks. Every week, I would do a WC and scrub away they fungus only for it to return within a few days. However, each time, it appeared to come back faster and grow larger than before and it got to the point that, although I could scrub it, I could never remove all the scraped off crud from the tank. Being slow moving with large, fluffy gills, axolotls are especially prone to this crud which would stick to his gills and toes. When I first noticed this I panicked and I quickly quarantined him and began salt treatments. Within the first treatment, the fungus seemed to "die" and so I moved him to his new 20 gallon tank which the fungus soon colonized as well. I decided to move him back to the 10 gallon as a quarantine. The only cycled media I had was infected with fungus too. I figured that If I would scrub his quarantine often enough, the fungus would never get large enough to be free-floating and attach to him. When the fungus got on him a second time, my suspicions were confirmed. The fungus seemed to have NO ILL-EFFECT on him and it seemed to be there only because it was caught and not because it was growing. With this in mind, I decided that I would leave the cycled( and infected) media in the quarantine tank with him and continue scrubbing too prevent the quarantine tank from getting out of hand. Meanwhile, I would sanitize and cycle his new 20 gallon tank. Initially, I thought this fungus would be easy to handle and so I used a few easy treatments. First I scrubbed the tank (and a sponge filter) really well with vinegar, let it sit dry for a few days. Then I used aquarium salt. Next I let it sit full with CHLORINATED water, and lastly I used Hydrogen Peroxide. I was sooooo sure that the fungus was gone. In less then a week it was back and it seemed to have originated from the sponge filter. After scrapping the sand and the sponge filter, I decided I would hold nothing back in sanitizing the tank this second time. I scrubbed his tank for almost three hours using a 1:20 ratio of Bleach to Water. I rinsed it very well and then let it air dry for a few days. I then came back and scrubbed it again with the same bleach concentration and then rinsed it. It then sat to air out for about a week while I installed a corner matter filter. After setting the tank back up, I let it run for over a week to see if the fungus would reappear. Nothing showed and so I decided to continue on with guarded optimism. I have dropped probably $150 in aquascaping this new tank and for almost three weeks there was still no fungus. I was very careful to sanitize anything and everything that went into my tank with every plant being bleach dipped and soaked for a few days in chlorinated water. I also made sure to divide my aquarium supplies between clean and "infected" with nothing ever cross-contaminating. I was so excited to finally have a fungus free aquarium and I was very proud of how my aquascape turned out.... Until today.....

I got home from school after a trip to the LFS with a boatload of new plants ready for my new aquarium. Initially I thought everything was fine but after looking at the tank closely, I noticed a few new pests that seemed to have popped up literally overnight. The first pest was infusoria as identified by another member and doesn't seem to be a problem. The second pest however, was my cursed fungus that seems to have risen from the dead and started to regrow in my tank directly by the filter output. I am devastated as I have spent ALOT of time, energy, and money to reset this tank and to make absolutely sure that this fungus would be gone forever. I know have no idea what I'm going to do because I have no way to treat this tank without killing my plants and having to completely restart.

This is a complete shot in the dark, but I am hoping that somebody can help me identify and treat this fungus because if I can't get rid of it, I really can't see myself continuing to fight this losing battle and I will probably be getting rid of my aquariums. So I am going to try my best to describe the traits and appearance of this fungus to help with diagnosis. I will attach pics below.

Fungus Traits:
- Always colonizes areas of high flow first: Near filter output and right below waterline.
- Colonizes glass but not sand
- Gets about an inch long and has a flowing hairlike appearance
- It has a a clear/white color
- It is VERY easy to wipe off glass but soon recolonizes
- Has survived: Bleach/chlorine, salt, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, being dry.
- Grows equally as fast in both a cycled and uncycled tank
- Gets caught in Axolotl gills/feet but doesn't seem to attach or grow
- Shows no differentiation for lighted or unlighted environments
- Shows no difference in cold or hot environments.

Although it may seem like I am overreacting, because the fungus hasn't had any adverse effects on my axolotl yet, I haven't let the fungus stay on him for more than a day to actually tell because I am far to worried it could hurt him in some way. And finally for the question. Can someone please tell me what Satanic Fungus this is and how in the world I can treat it, and if there are any(axolotl safe) tank mates that will eat it...........



I feel for you. I had an awful white bacteria growing in some organic potting soil that eventually took over the glass pebble cap I had on top. I do organic potting soil all the time, but that was my first experience with this particular bacteria. I finally had to do a tear down on that tank, and I was very careful to wash my hands with soap and water, dry, then spray them with 70% rubbing alcohol before I rebuilt. That's because I realized that the bacteria can also get on my hands although I do think it originally came in on some bark that was in the potting soil.
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