Help with white mucusy slime!!!

KCisco

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I can't find anyone to help. We have a 40g breeder with 2 axolotls and a few guppies. Temp is always 62-65 degrees. Parameters are 0/0/5. We have a Fluval 207 canister filter with a prefilter sponge on intake and a corner sponge filter. Also have 2 round bubbling airstones (which the axis love!) and a fluval aquasky light (on about 10 hours/day but very low) and no sunlight hits the tank at all. The guppies are fed once/day - just enough fur them to eat in 3 minutes or so. Axies eat 1 nightcrawler each every night.

The tank has been up and running for 5 months - cycled fully for 3 1/2 months. A little over a month ago, we started getting this slimy, mucus-like stuff covering walls, hides, etc. I've completely cleaned everything of twice with 50% water changes to get rid of the stuff. We had to actually change out hoses on canister, as they were clogged with the stuff. The water is otherwise perfectly clear. I use the media that came with canister, as well as chemi-pure green. I recently added a phosphate remover media in case this was some kind of algae.

Has anyone ever had something like this? I am hoping someone knows what this is and can help us out.
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Murk

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Slime is always difficult (and interesting!) - especially since your parameters sound good on paper.
Could be fungal or bacterial (or algae, but likely not). Looks fungal.

These kind of outbreaks only happen when you have an imbalance of... something.
That doesn't necessarily mean your tank is not clean enough - could also be some other nutrient you're unknowingly entering or even too much tank maintenance.

So, few questions!

- Most important: did you see any change in behaviour from the axolotls? These kind of slimes/growths are often harmless. It looks gross, but if the axolotls don't mind at least you won't have to hurry.

- What do you feed the guppies? Does guppy food sometimes spend some time in the water before being eaten? Anything in the ingredients that reminds you of sugar?

- Nitrates of 5 is quite low (you have a few plants, but not enough to continuously keep nitrates that low). How often do you usually do water changes? When you do maintenance, do you usually scrub glass and decorations. Do you ever vacuum or rinse the substrate?

- Continuing on the nitrates - how fast does it increase? If you didn't do any water changes for, say... a month - could you estimate how much nitrates you'd have?

- How long did you let the white slime grow before you did the complete cleaning? If it started a month ago and this is the third time you see it, it couldn't have been in the tank very long before you removed it. Did you do it immediately, or let it grow out for a week first? How long does it take before it grows back?

-----

In general, there's two things you need to do to get rid of weird growths like these:
- Remove its source of nutrients (or in the case of green stuff, light)
- Have a lot of patience.

Hopefully the questions above can help us locate the source of nutrients. If it's harmless (seems likely), the "having patience" part shouldn't be too difficult.
 
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KCisco

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Slime is always difficult (and interesting!) - especially since your parameters sound good on paper.
Could be fungal or bacterial (or algae, but likely not). Looks fungal.

These kind of outbreaks only happen when you have an imbalance of... something.
That doesn't necessarily mean your tank is not clean enough - could also be some other nutrient you're unknowingly entering or even too much tank maintenance.

So, few questions!

- Most important: did you see any change in behaviour from the axolotls? These kind of slimes/growths are often harmless. It looks gross, but if the axolotls don't mind at least you won't have to hurry.

- What do you feed the guppies? Does guppy food sometimes spend some time in the water before being eaten? Anything in the ingredients that reminds you of sugar?

- Nitrates of 5 is quite low (you have a few plants, but not enough to continuously keep nitrates that low). How often do you usually do water changes? When you do maintenance, do you usually scrub glass and decorations. Do you ever vacuum or rinse the substrate?

- Continuing on the nitrates - how fast does it increase? If you didn't do any water changes for, say... a month - could you estimate how much nitrates you'd have?

- How long did you let the white slime grow before you did the complete cleaning? If it started a month ago and this is the third time you see it, it couldn't have been in the tank very long before you removed it. Did you do it immediately, or let it grow out for a week first? How long does it take before it grows back?
Ok. So to answer these questions:

1. No change in axolotls at all - happy and seem to be healthy.

2. We feed guppies Omega One Super Color flakes and Hikari Fancy Guppy. Nothing sugar-like in ingredients of Omega One. Hikari Fancy Guppy has "vegetable sucrose polyester" but that's all I see that looks like sugar. Most of the food is eaten within a few minutes, but I'm sure some of it likely remains in tank.

3. I do water changes (20%) every 2 weeks. I did 50% water changes when this stuff started showing up. I do scrape the glass and vacuum the sand as well. The 2 hides i didn't typically scrub, but did start when the slimy stuff showed up.

4. Nitrates - honestly I don't know. Once the tank was cycled, after adding axolotls and testing a few times to make sure it stayed in good parameters, I haven't tested much. I've just been changing water every 2 weeks.

5. The first time, I think the slime started growing and we didn't really notice, then all of the sudden, it was just there. It probably developed over the course of a week or so. It was pretty bad (that's what pictures attached above are from). I did a big water change and scrubbed everything. The second time, we changed out the hoses on the canister (as we had literally close to no flow coming out of the output hose) and I scrubbed and did water change on the 3rd day after we saw it coming in - long before it got a bad as the first time. Although after scraping glass, the water was filled with it. What didn't come out with water change, I got out with the net (as much as I could). I also added a phosphate remover to the canister in case it was algae. The last time, (yesterday) it just barely started and I did a 25% change.

Hope this helps you help me figure this out. If there's any other info that would help, just ask.

Thank you SO much for any help you can offer.!
 

Calgarycoppers

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20% every 2 weeks is not enough

I recommend doing minimum 1/3 every week - Personally I do 50-75% as nitrates will skyrocket if not removed physically or through heavy heavy planting.

Please test your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates with a liquid test kits - you want it to be 5-20ppm after your water change.

If your reading is 160 or over you will need to do daily water changes for a few days.
 

WindWolf

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I've had this exact same problem, and honestly I could never find a definitive answer as to what it was. It's definitely a pain to deal with though.

Something you could try is to check your water conditioner. Anything that mentions some sort of stress coat or extra slime coat can add extra nutrients to your water that the axolotls don't use (since they're amphibians of course and don't need the extra additives of a stress coat). I switched to API turtle water dechlorinator and found that it helped my slime problem in the tank. I also noticed that the "blooms" of slime really only happened in the summer months, which could maybe be due to more nutrients in your city's water during that time. I could be wrong about this though.

Overall I found that an amphibian/reptile-specific dechlorinator helped along with weekly water changes. Eventually my slime went away, and only ever kinda starts to come back every once and a while.
 

KCisco

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20% every 2 weeks is not enough

I recommend doing minimum 1/3 every week - Personally I do 50-75% as nitrates will skyrocket if not removed physically or through heavy heavy planting.

Please test your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates with a liquid test kits - you want it to be 5-20ppm after your water change.

If your reading is 160 or over you will need to do daily water changes for a few days.
Thank you! I tested and nitrates were still at 5. I will continue to test weekly to make sure additional water changes aren't needed.
 

KCisco

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I've had this exact same problem, and honestly I could never find a definitive answer as to what it was. It's definitely a pain to deal with though.

Something you could try is to check your water conditioner. Anything that mentions some sort of stress coat or extra slime coat can add extra nutrients to your water that the axolotls don't use (since they're amphibians of course and don't need the extra additives of a stress coat). I switched to API turtle water dechlorinator and found that it helped my slime problem in the tank. I also noticed that the "blooms" of slime really only happened in the summer months, which could maybe be due to more nutrients in your city's water during that time. I could be wrong about this though.

Overall I found that an amphibian/reptile-specific dechlorinator helped along with weekly water changes. Eventually my slime went away, and only ever kinda starts to come back every once and a while.
Thank you for this info. We use aqueon water conditioner. I don't know which ingredients would do the stress or slime coat, but the bottle does say it aids in restoring slime coat. I will definitely try a conditioner like you mentioned.
 

Murk

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Oops, completely missed this!
Good advice above.

Just want to add that it sounds like you do relatively infrequent maintenance (once every two weeks isn't too bad, but I think most people do more often), but when you do you do quite heavy maintenance: i.e., scrubbing, vacuuming. You could try to do a little more frequent maintenance, but less.
In general, fungus and bacterial blooms don't like stability.

If you can, try to give it some time. Take the advice above and leave the slime alone for a few weeks (so don't remove it). In my own experience, strange blooms disappear on their own after a while.
 

KCisco

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Oops, completely missed this!
Good advice above.

Just want to add that it sounds like you do relatively infrequent maintenance (once every two weeks isn't too bad, but I think most people do more often), but when you do you do quite heavy maintenance: i.e., scrubbing, vacuuming. You could try to do a little more frequent maintenance, but less.
In general, fungus and bacterial blooms don't like stability.

If you can, try to give it some time. Take the advice above and leave the slime alone for a few weeks (so don't remove it). In my own experience, strange blooms disappear on their own after a while.
I will do that! Thank you all. I really appreciate all of the help!
 
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