mulm...does it go bad/spoil?
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:50 AM   #1
zherico
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mulm...does it go bad/spoil?


lets see if i can make this short.....

i have a 75 gallon that has turned into a SWAMP from a year of neglect. There is about 4 inches of coarse gravel that has been sitting in the bottom with lots of java moss and algae in the tank.

the plan is to remove the coarse gravel, replace it with some black beauty blasting sand. i want to keep the mulm/ditrious(sp?) and mix it in with the new substrate to jump start the tank.

my concern is that since my tank is so swamp like, the majority of the current bacteria are going to prefer anaerobic conditions and this may cause issues in the the break in cycles of the tank. now on the other had, both types of bacteria (aerobic and anaerobic) are present, and soon as i create aerobic conditions in the tank (lots of new fresh water) the the aerobic bacteria will come back and become the dominate cultures.

if anyone has any thoughts or insight, please let me know.

Thanks yall!
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:20 AM   #2
Diana
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I would drain it all the way down and remove whatever is accumulating in there. No telling what it might be.

The new set up will develop its own culture of microorganisms fast enough without having to hang on to questionable material.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:05 AM   #3
zherico
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yep, i would say that would be the most intelligent and safest approach. I'll follow your advice.

still curious to what others opinion is though....if just for conversation and debate
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:14 AM   #4
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Oh, I can debate both sides of the issue.

a) Keep it.
It has developed a good colony of a wide assortment of microorganisms that will take time to find the new tank if you throw away all of the mulm.

b) Keep just a small amount to seed the new tank.
It will take a bit of time for the colonies to bounce, back, but whatever was in the original tank will end up in the new set up. (Lets hope all the microorganisms are good ones!)

c) Toss it all. The beneficial organisms are very common, and the risk of transferring something you might not want seems too high to risk. Fish parasites are the biggest worry IMO. If the material has been in an inhabited tank for so long the odds are pretty good that at one time or another there were fish in there that could have shed some internal parasite. Best to make a clean start, quarantine and treat new fish (or the old ones- put them in a holding tank while you are revamping this one, and treat them).
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:15 AM   #5
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So b) sounds good because of the the following:

With out any host for the parasites, would they be able to stay dormant yet become viable after a year plus?

Plus I believe adding mulm would provide nutrients for the micros to start feeding off of right away, attaching themselves to the new substrate.

Please let me know if my logic is faulty, as it often is

I greatly appreciate your input Diana!
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:10 AM   #6
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If it is over a year old, but kept in a tank with no fish, no other livestock that might be an alternate host (some fish parasites can also parasitize snails) then I would assume that the greatest majority of fish parasites and pathogens are dead. While many can enter some kind of resting or dormant phase, I doubt most would stay dormant for over a year.

I never try to save mulm, usually I just clean out the old substrate with whatever comes with it and rinse it reasonably well for storage. I do not bother saving mulm. On the other hand, I also do not go to great lengths to remove it or to sterilize the tank when I am changing things around like this. Net result: Whatever microorganisms may have been in the substrate probably got removed. Stuck to the glass: Still there, if they can tolerate drying out for a few hours to a few weeks. In the filter: Still there. I do try to keep the filters cycled if I know I am getting more fish, soon. So even if I have to run the filter on a 5 gallon bucket, I do that and add ammonia to keep the nitrifying bacteria alive. I assume all the other microorganisms are alive, too. For my tanks, then, the cycled filter is the major seed source for the new tank.
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