Mold in emersed setup - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Mold in emersed setup

I am growing mainly crypts in a two-level emersed set up. Mold is rampant. White on gravel in upper level (above water level) and gray with spots on water in lower level. All in a 55 gallon hexagonal aquarium. Plants were booming initially. Since my well water has very high copper content -- deadly for crypts -- I used rainwater. Unfortunately, I initially used rainwater overflow from the house gutters. I strongly suspect that that was the source of the mold. (I had been growing the crypts earlier in plastic storage containers with city water in another location.) Is there any chemical I can use to kill the mold without damaging the plants? (Fungicide had no effect on the mold.) I fear that removing all the plants, flushing the tank with the copper-laden well water, draining that water, then somehow getting enough rainwater to flush after the well water will not defeat the mold, enough of which will probably survive to repopulate the setup. I know the mold thrives on excess moisture, but it looks to be so well established that even the minimum moisture necessary for the plants would not dent it. Of course, I could remove everything, sterilize the tank with bleach, and start over, but that's a daunting task at my age. Any suggestions most welcome.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by feeneyjj View Post
I am growing mainly crypts in a two-level emersed set up. Mold is rampant. White on gravel in upper level (above water level) and gray with spots on water in lower level. All in a 55 gallon hexagonal aquarium. Plants were booming initially. Since my well water has very high copper content -- deadly for crypts -- I used rainwater. Unfortunately, I initially used rainwater overflow from the house gutters. I strongly suspect that that was the source of the mold. (I had been growing the crypts earlier in plastic storage containers with city water in another location.) Is there any chemical I can use to kill the mold without damaging the plants? (Fungicide had no effect on the mold.) I fear that removing all the plants, flushing the tank with the copper-laden well water, draining that water, then somehow getting enough rainwater to flush after the well water will not defeat the mold, enough of which will probably survive to repopulate the setup. I know the mold thrives on excess moisture, but it looks to be so well established that even the minimum moisture necessary for the plants would not dent it. Of course, I could remove everything, sterilize the tank with bleach, and start over, but that's a daunting task at my age. Any suggestions most welcome.
I don't know if it will work, but I have been reading about springtails and their use in terrariums etc. They are tiny arthropods that eat fungus and debris of that sort. Many people recommend adding them to any moist plant setup like that. I don't know if they will control a large outbreak, but at least they will be there permanently until you flood where pesticides are usually gone after the initial work or there causing other problems with bacteria, plants etc. Worth looking into at least.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 02:02 PM
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Is this set up something that is going to be flooded eventually, or is it intended to be emersed? If it's the former you can get away with just holding the mold back long enough until flooding, but if it's staying this way it might be difficult to bring it under control long term. Anything you can do to reduce humidity and increase airflow is going to help a lot, but it can be hard to clear it out of every nook and cranny, and maybe that's where the springtails could come in.

I am not familiar with copper being toxic to crypts. Just how much copper are we talking about here? Have you already killed crypts with this water, or is it something you think would happen? I would not be excited about using water that has drained off your roof because there could be a lot nasty stuff in that water besides mold. Mold spores are everywhere in the environment, so I wouldn't waste time with blaming your water source. And what fungicide did you add to the tank? Fungicides made for plant/crops are pretty toxic and need to be used with care, but maybe you used something else?
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