Something is growing in my filter

Duncja

Hi All,

I have a 350L tank which i've had for a few years now. I do a half water change every week and once a month I pull the filter apart and give everything a good clean.

Last month I noticed something growing in it and didn't think much of it as i thought it was like a fungus and just cleaned it but then when i washed the filter the other day the growth had spread to the rest of the filter.

I've never seen this before and was hoping someone would be able to tell me what it is and how to deal with it before it spreads to the tank.

All critters in the tank seem happy and healthy and I haven't noticed any changes in behavior.

Any help would be greatly appreciated...


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A201

I think it's Staghorn Algae.
 

MacZ

If not, it's likely a blob.

Edit: A201 what's so funny? It's an alternative name for some species of slime molds. There are aquatic species.
 

BigManAquatics

If not, it's likely a blob.

Edit: A201 what's so funny? It's an alternative name for some species of slime molds. There are aquatic species.
Facts aside, everytime i see the word "blob", i always think of that older horror film "The Blob"!

But i agree, definitely some sort of algae or slime. Horrible at IDing those things more specific.
 

MacZ

Facts aside, everytime i see the word "blob", i always think of that older horror film "The Blob"!
They indeed named them blobs after the film.
 

A201

I've never heard "Blob" referenced to any aspect of the aquarium hobby before.
I thought MacZ was referring to a potential extraterrestrial, carnivorous, monstrous blob taking root inside the OP's HOB. Lol.
 

StarGirl

Where are you all seeing blobs? It looks like branches. Looks more like a Bryozoan or branchy slime mold. Lol
 

A201

I don't see a blob either.
 

MacZ

Physarum polycephalum - Wikipedia

After that one - a slime mold - has been called "blob" by scientists the name has been applied to more than just that one. That's all.
 

Duncja

Thanks for all the replies. I thought it might be staghorn but i have no plants and have had the tank for 12 years and water change every week and never had it before so I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't kill the fish and turtle that i have in the tank haha
 

StarGirl

Thanks for all the replies. I thought it might be staghorn but i have no plants and have had the tank for 12 years and water change every week and never had it before so I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't kill the fish and turtle that i have in the tank haha
I really don't believe it's staghorn. That grows straight out like a tree. I've never seen it grow like a ivy on something before.
 

A201

What ever it is, probably no threat to your fish. Just write it off under the topic, unidentified filter gunk.
 

Duncja

I really don't believe it's staghorn. That grows straight out like a tree. I've never seen it grow like a ivy on something before.
Darn. That was my original thought after i googled some pictures.

I might have to get out the old tooth brush and try get rid of it that way.
 

Fisch

How old is the plastic of the filter? Could it be that it is getting old and starts to show micro cracks? It is just so strange that it branches out so nicely along the grid, but does not seem to cover the holes. Is it growing on the media itself as well?
 

Duncja

How old is the plastic of the filter? Could it be that it is getting old and starts to show micro cracks? It is just so strange that it branches out so nicely along the grid, but does not seem to cover the holes. Is it growing on the media itself as well?
The filter (plastic and motor) is about 12 years old. All the media and o rings was replaced about 6ish months ago. The filter in terms of water movement hasn't decreased so didn't think I needed to replace the unit.

It has moved into the media which makes me think that i should just replace the hole thing to get rid of it.
 

Fisch

12 years is quite a record.
So it is not possible to just exchange the grid? It would be a shame to toss a filter that worked for such a long time, assuming that newer is not necessarily better.
Can you just disassemble and wash the filter plastic parts with peroxide, or a mild bleach solution (followed by lots of rinse cycles, the last one containing a good portion of Prime).
 

StarGirl

OK once and for alll....... Feohw what the heck is this? lol
 

Feohw

OK once and for alll....... Feohw what the heck is this? lol
You actually got it right when you said Bryozoan colony.

Duncja They aren't a problem and some fish will eat them (mystery snails as well). Often used as good water quality indicators, tend to indicate that there is clean water that's rich in food. So very common in filters.

The reason it would have spread after you cleaned it is because within the shell/skeleton (the part that you see) are statoblasts, basically survival pods, that develop into new colonies when broken off. So when the filter was cleaned a bunch of these would have been able to form into entirely new colonies.

As they are harmless, nothing really needs to be done and the filter certainly doesn't need to be tossed. Removing their food source is generally how to deal with them, though as they are in the filter that is more of a problem. Cleaning it out more often until they vanish could help.
 

StarGirl

Yay! I thought it was a Bryozoan but I couldnt find anything that matched....And I looked for a long time.
 

Feohw

Yeah, the pictures you tend to see are those that are still in the water, so the animals themselves are visible sticking out of the exoskeleton. These are out of the water and retracted so it can throw you off a bit.
 

Duncja

You actually got it right when you said Bryozoan colony.

Duncja They aren't a problem and some fish will eat them (mystery snails as well). Often used as good water quality indicators, tend to indicate that there is clean water that's rich in food. So very common in filters.

The reason it would have spread after you cleaned it is because within the shell/skeleton (the part that you see) are statoblasts, basically survival pods, that develop into new colonies when broken off. So when the filter was cleaned a bunch of these would have been able to form into entirely new colonies.

As they are harmless, nothing really needs to be done and the filter certainly doesn't need to be tossed. Removing their food source is generally how to deal with them, though as they are in the filter that is more of a problem. Cleaning it out more often until they vanish could help.
Thanks for that. I live in a remote area and drove about 5hrs to get some hydrogen peroxide to try and kill it but seems like it isn't needed. I'll keep an eye on it and if it gets worse I might still go down that route. Thanks for the help everyone, it did put me in a mild panic mode when I saw how much it had grown haha
 

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