Is That White Fuzz Growing On Driftwood Really Harmless?

MellySalz

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Ok, so I had about 10 baby angelfish in my 60 gallon tank. The tank had been cycled and running for almost 5 years. I removed the sand/gravel which was in there with the old inhabitants, because I wanted a change, but wasn't sure yet exactly what I wanted to do, plus a bare-bottom tank would be easier to clean, which I wanted to do often since these guys were so young and I knew that frequent cleaning/water changes are good for young growing fish. After a couple weeks, the angels were doing very well, and I was really wanting to add more to the tank. I decided to add some sand and a couple pieces of driftwood. Everything was fine at first. The angelfish really seemed to enjoy the decor... A couple weeks after adding the driftwood, I saw some of the infamous white fuzzy stuff growing on it. I remembered this happening in the past, and that it was supposedly harmless to fish. I added 4 otos to the tank in hopes they might eat the stuff (they were not new fish, I've had them for almost a year in another tank). They seemed to pick a little at it, but not much. This stuff was really beginning to become an eyesore. So I decided to manually remove some of it while cleaning the tank. I sucked up the pieces that came loose with my gravel vac. There was definitely quite a bit of tiny pieces I wasn't able to suck out, but I waited for it to settle to the bottom of the tank and then sucked it out/did a water change (the same way I always do my water changes). I'm sure I didn't get every single little piece of it, but the water looked pretty clean when I was done.

The next morning, I found 4 dead angelfish.... I was so upset!! They were doing SO well, looked SO healthy!! I had experience with angelfish, plus I bought them from a reputable seller that I have bought from in the past and never had any problems with... The ONLY thing that I believe could have caused this was me messing with the white fuzz. I all of a sudden remembered something regarding my experience with the white fuzz in the past... I did the same thing... scraped some of it off the driftwood... and it resulted in multiple fish deaths in that tank (they weren't angelfish, but I can't remember right now which fish they were... wish I had remembered this earlier!!). I did a large water change in my current tank to help get rid of any leftover white fuzz floating around... but it was no use... The next day, 2 more died along with an oto... Fast forward to a couple days ago... ALL of my angelfish are dead! Along with 2 of the otos.

Has anyone else gone through something like this?? I do believe that if I left the stupid fuzz alone, my fish would still be alive, so sure, in that aspect, maybe the fuzz IS harmless... but I strongly believe that once this stuff begins free-floating in your water, it can definitely cause your fish harm and even death. As I said, this has happened to me in the past as well (although I completely forgot about it killing my fish until it happened again! UGH!).
 

Aqua 59

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I'm sorry to hear that- I would remove the driftwood piece before the stuff spreads by carefully taking it out of the water. Good luck!
 
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MellySalz

MellySalz

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Yes, I am kicking myself for not doing that.... In the past, I have always removed items from my tank when cleaning them. Not sure what I was thinking this time. I've done multiple water changes since the angels have died, and the tank is bare bottom once again with NO driftwood for now... Everything is looking very clean. I just ordered some more angels, and I will be EXTRA careful this time around....
 

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