Is this mulm build up on leaves or something else? It's driving me crazy - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Is this mulm build up on leaves or something else? It's driving me crazy

To the pros out there.... Is this mulm build up on my leaves or something else? I don't think I over feed my fish but who knows? I have to wipe away this stuff everyday and it's driving me crazy!!! I shake it off the leaves to try and get the filter (HOB) to suck it up but by the next day it's there again. Some off it looks formed like mulm but the rest is more like a dust. Thoughts??
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 02:56 AM
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Diatoms maybe.
spore and spore like this.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 03:20 PM
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I get the same stuff in my low tech 20H. It's quite heavily planted and stocked with 5 cory cats and a BN pleco, plus a guppy. Filter is a Fluval C4 HOB with the stock foam/poly pad and Matrix replacing the carbon. Substrate is pool sand, with Flourish root tabs. I also dose 2ml of Excel daily and Flourish weekly.

Plants are growing very well with a pair of 8" clamp lights on the Versa-Top running 9W 6500K bulbs. I did have a bout of staghorn/hair algae recently, but that was before Excel. Otherwise, algae is nil.

With that said, this brown stuff drives me NUTS! It makes the water murky and settles down on all the leaves. I can remove it by installing a little Aqueon 10 HOB filter with just a 100 micron poly pad. For some reason the Fluval stock pad just isn't fine enough to filter it out. 24 hours with the added filter and the water is crystal clear and no more brown dust.

I have noticed that over time, as my plants have established themselves, the level of brown "goo" that builds up in the filter is much less (and the brown dust is much more). My theory is the bacteria aren't getting enough to eat and wash out of the filter as they "starve" because the plants are consuming much of the food before the bacteria can get to it.

I have another 20G tank with an Aqueon 20 HOB filter, stock cartridges, that is partially planted with about the same bio-load and light level. I did have a green water problem that UV took care of, but never have any issues with the brown dust and the water is always crystal clear. Since the filtration performance is about equal, my only explanation the theory above.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm.... Interesting theory. You may have something there. Anyone else want to chime in???
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:52 AM
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To me it looks like particulate matter got stuck in a biofilm that formed on the leaf. You might have a particulary stick biofilm forming there or you need to filter the water better like the other members said. This was a problem when I had very small particulate matter escape the substrate from the soil or clay.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Okay... Currently I have 1 Aquaclear 110 HOB on my tank and 2 powerbeads on either side of the tank to try and keep it off the leaves. Is one HOB not enough???
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 02:58 PM
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What size is the tank? I have a 170 HOB on a 38 and it keeps the water clear.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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72 gallon
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:05 PM
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I would think another would do some good or look into a canister filter.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:58 PM
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Well get some otos, if it's diatoms they'll make a fast meal of it. Other than that you could try adding Purigen or something like that to your HOB. Purigen should be fine enough to capture it if it's mulm or some other organic waste.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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More pictures>> HELP

Okay.. I took some more pictures. I really don't think these are diatoms. Anyone ever had anything like this? I am at a loss as to what to do. It's all over!
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 03:06 AM
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My initial impression that it looks soooo much like dust I get after adding new substrate.

In any case, one quick and cheap thing to try: get any "water clarifier" from your local LFS, should be < $10. Use instruction on the dosage, dump it in, steer the water with your hand to get the "dust" floating, give it 12 hours. Water clarifier are harmless gell that binds the particles together so that they can be picked up and retained by the filter. If the tank looks much cleaner, then clean the filter and move on with your life.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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I had some "clarity" from Seachem and put that in. We'll see what tomorrow brings....
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 12:26 PM
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I just setup a tank and was getting dusty stuff on my plants. Particularly my dwarf hair grass. I found out mine was from the root tabs I was using that partly dissolved and got kicked up by moving the substrate around.

I just buried them deeper and cleaned the affected leaves by siphoning using airline tubing. It went away pretty quick for me.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 12:47 PM
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I had something similar on my plant leaves before I introduced some Ramshorn snails. you may try some snails or do frequent water changes.
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