Suspended Particles Snowstorm Freshwater Planted Tank

  • #41
Do they move at all? Have u put some on a paper towel and tried to see what they look like? This is so weird...I have bugs in mine but they don't go in the water they just bounce across the top and stay on my glass above the water line. I really hope someone can figure this out
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  • #42
HI JamieLu,

They don't move like bugs would move and they don't crawl on the glass or anything like that. There aren't any visible features about these things that ever made me think they were bugs but in that photo they look like bugs to me! I seriously need to post my videos so you can see what they look like suspended in the water and collecting under the glass at the surface. While they're in the water column they're as small as dust particles. Right now they're not "thick" and from a few feet away my water appears pristine. By tomorrow they'll multiply and the next day even more thus becoming more visible from a few feet away. Right now I have to stick my face up to the glass to see them.

What else would multiply over the course of a few days besides bacteria or bugs and I'm moving away from the bacteria thing because the tank is CLEAN!! I cut off half the moss that day and squished the debris out of it several more days after that. Vacummed the sand over and over until there's not a speck of debris left on it. I reluctantly scrubbed the 3 pieces of dragon rock but as it turned out, they needed to be washed. I have removed the tablespoon or so of Matrix I had in the mesh bag and now just have the original Fluval BioMax in there which is what I had by itself until I added the bit of Matrix about 4 months ago. I cleaned my coarse sponge and added fresh floss pads. I took the filter apart and cleaned the impeller AND the motor! There isn't anything left to clean so how can it be bacterial? It has to be some sort of bug right? Could it be some sort of sand bug?

Yesterday I discovered the perfect replacement water for my tank by mixing AquaFina Purified and Ice Mountain Spring. Combined they have a PH of 7.4 and GH 4 and KH 4. So this allowed me to replace the 5 gallons without using Equilibrium as the spring water has adequate amounts of minerals. Actually, my GH is 4 now and it's typically 3 after adding Equilibrium.

I'm am SO not thinking mineral precipitate anymore either! If it was precipitate it would've stopped by now. This issue is going on for almost 2 months now so I think a precipitate issue would have died a long time ago with all the wc's I've done and not putting any ferts etc... in except for Excel which I absolutely cannot do without because of my moss being so close to the light.

So I'm Googling aquarium bugs and cannot find anything that sounds like my situation! What the heck is going on? We have eliminated pretty much everything obvious and everything secondary obvious so what's left? Do I have some unknown creatures in my aquarium? The source is obviously coming from inside like that movie where the creepy phone calls to the babysitter were coming from inside the house!

Now I'm thinking sand monsters??? What if these things are alive? What do you do to get rid of something like that?

As for putting the stuff on paper towel, I have wiped the inside glass down with these brown paper towels I have and there's NOTHING THERE!!! LMBO!!
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  • #43
I should add that I hooked up the UV sterilizer last night after the wc and it's still running. Would a UV sterilizer kill bugs? And don't UV sterilizers kill bacteria?

Adding some photos of what tank looks like from a few feet away and then I took some close ups of the particle THINGS and then zoomed in on those photos and took screenshots of them so you can see them really, really close up....This is how they are the day after a wc. Tomorrow they’ll be thicker as they multiply and by the time I do the next wc they’ll be out of control and so thick they’ll create a haze-fog.


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  • #44
Quick update: I've never run my UV sterilizer more than just overnight but I've been running it since the last wc 3 days ago and interestingly, it seems to be keeping whatever the particles are, at bay. They are still like they were right after the wc, thin.

As I said several times, the particles have always multiplied very quickly, daily until they're out of control by the next weekly wc but not this time. After 3 days I still have to put my face right up to the glass to see them so doesn't this mean the particles are either bacterial or some other living creature like bug? If it was precipitate the UV wouldn't do anything right?
  • #45
I think it could still be bio material that bacteria just doesn’t attach to.
I’ve been having issues figuring out some filter things myself but got some pictures of the gunk as I started it back up - the gunk that’s led me to wonder about matrix in yours.


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  • #46
HELLO EVERYONE! I hope you're all doing well and staying healthy! It's been a little over 3 months since I last posted about the dreaded issue and I have a surprising update!

After my last post as you know I was fed up and at my wits end. I got to the point where I didn't even want to look at my aquarium anymore. I stopped using Equilibrium, all ferts, Prime, Pristine blah-blah trying to figure out what was causing this stuff. The only thing I continued to use was Excel because as you know my weeping moss tree is super tall and really close to my light and I had gone thru that unbelievable case of hair algae awhile back.

So since my last post, for several months, I was doing my water changes with a mix of 60-40 purified-spring water and adding only Excel. The disgusting particles were still there and the film on the glass, crystal like things stuck to the glass as the water lowered during water changes, overall gross looking (you've seen the photos!) I just figured I was gonna have to live with this stuff and the mystery of what was causing it forever!

Then summer came and we went into the 90s here in Illinois. So to protect my fish from cooking and my gorgeous moss from burning up and turning brown like it did 2 years ago during a heatwave, I have kept my lights off for weeks and thus stopped adding Excel.

THE PARTICLES ARE GONE! My water is back to being beautiful and pristine again and my tank once again looks healthy!

Could it possibly be that it was the Excel that was causing this nightmare? I never once thought it was the Excel and unfortunately it was the ONLY thing I continued to add to the tank! Had the heatwave not come causing me to keep the lights off and stop adding Excel I would never have looked at the Excel but as of right now I truly believe this has to be the culprit unless this stuff was in my tank since January and just vanished on its own which I highly doubt because I had done huge 7 gallon water changes multiple times and the stuff still came back.

Does anyone know how or why Excel would cause this?
  • #47
Does anyone know how or why Excel would cause this?
I’m so glad you came back with an update! This was a very interesting case! I have no idea why Excell would do that, maybe ask the company? But I’d love it if you started adding it again and see if it comes back! I love experiments!
  • #48
Yaya so happy for u!!!!
  • #49
It looks like it might have been the cause, so I just you'll just have to see what happens when the heatwave ends and you turn the light back on.
  • #50
Hello! Did the particles come back? I have the same problem!

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