What is this debris and how do I get rid of it? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hi all,

Iíve got a 15gal with a healthy colony of Red Cherry Shrimp, some Nerite Snails and some pest (pond?) snails that came in on plants.
My issue is that there is a constant build up of brown debris on my nice sand substrate. It looks like tiny little brown logs and it makes the tank look ugly. I suspect this is snail poop?
My solution was to vacuum lightly over the substrate and that worked fine until my shrimp starting reproducing like crazy. Now I canít vac without sucking up loads of shrimplets which I really donít want to do.

Is there anything I can do to get rid of this debris?

Hereís a photo to help identify the problem.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-10-2018 at 03:24 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 03:26 AM
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It's more likely to be shrimp poop; they tend to look like small pieces of pencil lead (graphite).

I've found using small diameter tubing (airline tubing or the like), or tubing that has a coarse mesh over it will help remove the debris without sucking up shrimplets.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 11:44 AM
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I agree, most likely shrimp poop. I have this in my 10g which has amanos. My 20g doesn't get this. It only has mile long BN pleco poops.

I have good luck getting it out with a python with a craft mesh insert to keep the shrimp out. I keep the flow valve open about 1/4 the way to prevent picking up the substrate.

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 12:09 PM
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My small tank with nerites have the very same stuff. Little greyish-brown logs everywhere, especially on or near the wood the snails frequent. I don't have shrimp in that tank, so I know it's the snails. Move the snails if you can and see if there is a reduction of logs. In my shrimp only tank I don't feed my shrimp enough to poop that much!

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your advice! I’ve put a mesh over my vac and I’ll start to remove the snails as and when I actually find them..
I’ve also planted a (hopefully soon to be) carpet of Eleocharis Parvula which looks far better than a plain sand substrate with some poo on it haha!
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