spores in water?


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Hello all and thank you for a fantastic forum and fish site. I have been gleening information for a few weeks here. It has helped me enormously! I have learned what fish are compatible, water testing, cycling...and so much more! I have been searching for an answer to a water problem that I am having at the moment and haven't found anything. So thought I would post and hopefully get some help with this problem. I have noticed what looks like clear and white spore like dust particles floating around the tank. Some are larger than others, others are just dust like specks. The larger ones actually look like a larvae of some type. It all started after one of my platys had fry. She didnt have much and what was there was either eaten by other fish or sucked up into the filter tube. I was able to see a few( less than ten) fry swimming around but were chased quite quickly and ate by the fish. ( sniff sniff...) It came so fast I had no time to do anything. Now days after that I see these spore like floaters. I scoop them out with the net. I am wondering if its possible that it is fry that is broken down by the return flow of the filter? Is this possible? Or is there really something else growing in my 29 gal tank? I have 6 platys and two dwarf gouarmI at the moment. The tank is 3.5 weeks running. I have been doing morning water tests with the Mardel 5 in 1 test strips. The readings are as follows: PH 6.4; Alkalinity 0; hardness 50; Nitite 0.5; Nitrate 20. I am doing a partial water change every five days, taking about 4-5 gals of water out and replacing with tap water (well)& treat with prime. I have no live plants, only silk artificial ones. I would like to add a betta to the group tomorrow but do not want to do anything til I know what these spore like items are that are floating around.... any suggestions? OHHh the only new thing Ive added before this problem was feeding them frozen blocks and I have the multI pack. I have given them one cube of the spirulina enriched brine shrimp. can this have anything to do with the spore like dust? Or have caused it? Thank you so much... I just LUV this site!!
~ kate

I'm not sure what those things could be, but you may be right on it being fry that went up the flow pipe to the fillter and got stuck somewhere and are decomposing & disintegrating into little particles via the filter pump impeller. That might explain the different sizes of the specks. Maybe some have fungus on them & the fungal filaments make some of the specks look like larvae? Or maybe not all of the spirulina & brine shrimp blocks are being consumed and that is accounting for the specs, with some of it having fungus on it? If there is any fungus on the specks I wouldn't worry - fungus normally only grows on dead things (and dead tissue parts on fish that have been  injured by something else)

I'm just making some guesses here as I've never seen this in my tanks. Maybe someone else will have some better ideas.

By the way do you use gravel or sand for your substrate? If sand I wonder if something in the tank could be stirring up your sand.

Out of ideas for now.

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  • #3
HI Terry,
thank you for the reply. I was just doing some reading in other posts and found that some have inquired about what almost sounds like the same thing. Some felt it may be a bacteria by product. Because they are the same color as the fry was.. I'm also thinking it is left over particles from the filteration. Tho these spore like things float around in the current, the fish may try to eat them, but quickly spit them out. I will be doing a water change and vacumn clean the bottom so hopefully this will clear up asap! I had a tank back in the 70's and the info on care was not as extensive as it is now-a-days and found this new knowledge of fish rearing so interesting. I'm one of those folks that love to research! And I want to do it right! I know I should have waited alittle longer before introducing the fish,but didnt know then what I know now! Also noticed a few blanched out white lines on one of the platys and thought of velvet? Its not ick. So treated the water with aqua-sol, but read later that the copper in this item may not be good for the fish. Any suggestions on that?
thanks, ~kate
No apology needed! I went into modify the post and threw the part in about the sand because I hadn't thought about it at first.

More edits LOL: I just noticed your comments on the blanched out white lines on the platys. I get those too. No idea what they are but on mine they usually just disappear with time. I see it more on the platys with a black tail section, probably because it's easier to see than on my yellow platys. I once tried treating it but I don't anymore. Not sure if it's the same thing you have but it sounds very familiar. I'm not sure I'd worry about the copper with the fish you currently have but maybe someone else can comment on that one.

Those test strips are notoriously inaccurate, and don't let you test for ammonia. At some point you should consider getting the API master test kit - it uses solutions to test and isn't as easy as the strips, but the results are much more dependable. You may still be cycling if you're showing nitrite on the test strip test.

Another edit - I should think more before I post! (but I'm at work). What type of filter do you have? It may be stuff coming out of the filter if it hasn't been cleaned recently. But if you clean it, clean it carefully in tank water so you don't kill off any good bacteria that you need.
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  • #6
thank you..
I will invest in the master tester. Its more expensive for sure, but there is nothing 'cheap' about this hobby! But I know once all the necessary items are bought, it will go easier on the wallet. When I do the water change the nitrate reading does go down. The last water change was last saturday and it was due yesterday, but hubbie is going to help me tonight with it. I was so busy vacumning that I didnt notice the water over spill the bucket!! that was quite a rush! lol..
Now I just wait for his help in monitoring the water line while I suction out the bottom..
I'm 'hooked' and loving it!!!

I used to do the water change and not pay attention to see that the the outlet end popped out of the bucket. Now I clamp it on. Talking about expense - I'm just getting set up with a salt water tank & equipment. It's a good thing my wife doesn't do the bills and hasn't asked me exactly how much it's costing. I told her a few hundred but it's an understatement. Sometimes I think this hobby wipes out any common sense I may have left (as well as my savings)! :-\
Sorry for not responding sooner. The filter could be dirty in less than a month depending on how much uneaten food, etc, that it's picked up. I'm not familiar at all with those filters so I don't know if the dirt would be easily visible or not. I run mostly cannister filters, and can't see inside those, but I only need to do a cleanup on those every few months.

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