Whiteish residue during cycling - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Whiteish residue during cycling

I'm having difficulty cycling a tank and in this particular instance, I cant get the Ph and kH to remain stable and there is a white residue on everything. I've read that the residue is dead cyanobacteria, but I'm not sure what to do next.

Tank is eight gallons, filter is an Aquaclear 20 with a very fine sponge over the intake and two layers of biomedia, topped with slightly used bag of Purigen. There is also a sponge filter that runs ~12 hours a day

Testing the water shows no ammonia or nitrates. Despite adding the buffer, the Ph and Kh has sunk to the lowest end of the testing scale.

My (probable) solution:

1. Add bag with crushed coral instead of relying on buffer
2. Remove Purigen to allow more good bacteria to form
3. Temporarily remove fine sponge to allow for better water circulation
4. Stop dosing Ammolock, continue with StressZyme dosing


Thoughts?

-Calvin
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 04:35 PM
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is the white residue at water edge on glass? if so it may be hard water residue. check your GH
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkychun View Post
is the white residue at water edge on glass? if so it may be hard water residue. check your GH
gH is midrange, it isn't that. Residue is on glass, substrate, wood, even the sponges.

-Calvin
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
My (probable) solution:

1. Add bag with crushed coral instead of relying on buffer
2. Remove Purigen to allow more good bacteria to form
3. Temporarily remove fine sponge to allow for better water circulation
4. Stop dosing Ammolock, continue with StressZyme dosing
1) Good. Do this. Keep adding buffer, too. Coral is slow reacting.
2) Good. Do this. You do not want the bacteria to colonize the Purigen.
3) Good. You could put a coarse bit of sponge over the filter. This sponge will get colonized, too.
4) Use a simple dechlorinator. It does not matter if the ammonia is locked up. The bacteria can use it. Do not use Stress Zyme. This produce may have some value when the fish have been handled, but has absolutely no value in cycling a tank. Do not use anything that adds slime coat to the fish.

What is removing the carbonates? Some substrates will do this. I would suggest adding baking soda (Works for me) but if you do not want to add that much sodium then look for potassium bicarbonate.

White stuff at the water line is often minerals.
White stuff under the water might be other things. Can you describe it better?
Flaky, granular, stringy, gooey, gritty, individual particles? (What size?) a film?

Here are some possibilities:
Reaction between 2 or more things you are adding to the tank.
Test: Put some water in each of several jars and add each additive separately. This will show if the white stuff is a reaction between the water and some additive. Then add each additive to the jars of water in pairs. See what different combinations will do.
Often pH altering things will cloud the water, less often will precipitate.
Some fertilizers are incompatible: Phosphate and iron fertilizers should not be dosed together.
Something settling out through the water. Is there anything in the house that might be doing that? Is the dust in NY white?
Maybe some slime from the slime coat additive. Some of these materials irritate the fish into creating excess slime coat, but others actually contain some kind of gel (Aloe is often listed) that can settle out.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana.

I suspect the white residue is due to the buffer. The residue was on the glass especially, but also the substrate and all surfaces, including the wood. It was like white dust and a small jet of water from a pipette was sufficient to dislodge it.

This was once a healthy tank that ran 3 - 4 months until a few weeks ago, when something depleted the carbonates, crashing the pH, killing the bacteria and most everything in the tank. Where I tested the water this morning, I saw no kH and a low pH despite buffering it by the recomended dose last night. There is no CO2 or fertilizer dosing in this tank. Over the weekend, I pulled out the Fluval Shrimp Stratum and replaced it with Flourite (which I washed thoroughly, so no dust). The tank had not cycled at that point either.

Most of the residue has actually cleared up, though the water is hazy. Last night, it was almost milk-like. The fine sponge soaked up most of it. I threw it out rather than trying to unclog it. I think my issue now is figuring out why the buffer is precipitating out like this. Even when it does not precipitate, I have a difficult time keeping the kH up.

Stress-zyme is a bacterial additive, Stress Coat is the slime coat one. Haven't been using that as the tank has nothing in it right now.


EDIT:

This tank has always had low/zero nitrates, thanks to the Purigen. Could I have been starving the bacteria, which in turn burned through the kH as colonies kept failing?

-Calvin
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 06:47 PM
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Nitrifying bacteria use the carbon from carbonates. They cannot use carbon that is from fish waste, fallen food and similar things. If there is less and less KH the nitrifying bacteria could have used it, and then died, probably when the pH crashed. They have a really hard time at pH under 6.5.

Some plants can use carbon from carbonates when there is no available carbon from CO2.

Some substrates can remove the carbonates. I do not know about the Shrimp Stratum, but the ADA products will do this, and the Safe-T-Sorb/Turface types of materials can do this. Unusual if this tank ran for several months before the substrate started doing this. In my tanks the Soil Master Select and the Safe-T-Sorb removed the KH in just a few days.

Either way, the tank needs some carbonates. If they keep disappearing then it could be the bacteria starting to make a comeback, or any of the other reasons.

Nitrifying bacteria use ammonia and nitrite in their cycle, and produce nitrate. Plants remove nitrate. The bacteria do best when the ammonia and nitrite are under 5 ppm.
Nitrifying bacteria do not care if there is nitrate in the water or not. They can thrive in 0 ppm NO3 or in 100 ppm NO3.

Stress Zyme is decomposer bacteria, not nitrifying bacteria. If you want to add nitrifying bacteria then look for Nitrospira species. I would not waste money on the wrong bacteria.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Nitrifying bacteria use the carbon from carbonates. They cannot use carbon that is from fish waste, fallen food and similar things. If there is less and less KH the nitrifying bacteria could have used it, and then died, probably when the pH crashed. They have a really hard time at pH under 6.5.

Some plants can use carbon from carbonates when there is no available carbon from CO2.

Some substrates can remove the carbonates. I do not know about the Shrimp Stratum, but the ADA products will do this, and the Safe-T-Sorb/Turface types of materials can do this. Unusual if this tank ran for several months before the substrate started doing this. In my tanks the Soil Master Select and the Safe-T-Sorb removed the KH in just a few days.

Either way, the tank needs some carbonates. If they keep disappearing then it could be the bacteria starting to make a comeback, or any of the other reasons.

Nitrifying bacteria use ammonia and nitrite in their cycle, and produce nitrate. Plants remove nitrate. The bacteria do best when the ammonia and nitrite are under 5 ppm.
Nitrifying bacteria do not care if there is nitrate in the water or not. They can thrive in 0 ppm NO3 or in 100 ppm NO3.

Stress Zyme is decomposer bacteria, not nitrifying bacteria. If you want to add nitrifying bacteria then look for Nitrospira species. I would not waste money on the wrong bacteria.
Understood. I think this just about covers all the issues I had with that tank. Will keep the carbonates up. Do you happen to know which products have Nitrospira bacteria?

Once again, you've been a HUGE help and I appreciate it.

-Calvin
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 10:33 PM
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Dr. Tim's One and Only
Microbe Lift's Nite Out II
Tetra Safe Start.

There may be others, but if they do not include Nitrospira species of bacteria in the ingredients they do not have the right species.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 10:40 PM
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Seachem stability is another one

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