The Night of the Living Snails (PLEASE HELP!) (Extended Black Sludge Edition -_-) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy The Night of the Living Snails (PLEASE HELP!) (Extended Black Sludge Edition -_-)

Hello Everyone,

I have been viewing topics on the forum for the past few years and first would like to say that I have found the site very useful for everything pertaining to the aquarium.

So now to why I am here, for the past year my friend's tank has gone from bad to worse. It all started when he began adding plants to his aquarium (which was well established and doing fine). One of the plants came with quite a bit of ramshorn snail eggs. Over the past year his tank has gotten very strange to say the least. The snails have reproduced to the point where their numbers are beyond countable (see pictures below). The snails have since eaten all of his plants. If this wasn't bad enough, the water has become green and exceedingly cloudy, to the point where little else but the snails on the glass are visible. Quite a few of his fish began jumping out of the tank, sadly he only discovered them very much after they had done so. In order to try and clear the water he has added a filter rated for a 75 gallon tank. Today I was trying to help him clean the tank, but upon removing the filter cartridges we noticed black sludge clinging to it, which immediately fell into the water and into the rest of the tank after the cartridge was taken from the filter. Any help would be greatly appreciated hope to hear from someone soon!

Stocking Information:
-29 gallon
-1 Opaline Gourami
-4 Sterbaii Cories
-3 Glass Catfish
-1 Hatchetfish
-2 Neon Tetras
-1 Upsidedown Catfish
-Too many Ramshorn Snails

(I know most of these need to be in a school of larger size but they have died out to these numbers, needless to say my friend doesn't want to add fish until he fixes the water issue)

Some other information on the Tank:
-In order to try and stem the tied my friend has been adding aquarium salt to the tank regularly and as directed by the box (it has not helped lol)
-The filter is an Aqueon filter rated for 75 gallon tank (we noticed that that the flow rate is way to high and stressing the fish out today)
-The tank had previously had a fungus problem (any food adding to the tank immediately would get covered in it) but this was more than a year ago and he treated it with medication and the problem seemed to go away.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 05:20 AM
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The only time I got green water was when I ad direct sunlight on my tank.
I have read on here of people having too long hrs on the tank and causing it also.
But one Khuli Loach is what I used to eat the trumpet snails in my tank.
It was a 10g so perhaps 3 might be better for your problem.
I'm gonna say that when you pull the green algae into a filter it gets no more light and dies. I think that is the black sludge. The biggest filter I'd use on that tank would be a Aquaclear 50. Maybe a 30 in that Aqueon.I believe that lots of people get the larger filters to increase flow.
It's not necessary for filtering. Perhaps one size over recommended is good.
Regular water changes should be 50% once a week to bring in new nutrients for the plants even if you aren't doing EI ferts. 7 hrs on lights till the problem goes away
but then no more than 9 after that. How much light is in there ?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 05:40 AM
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At this point I would probably restart everything, gravel included. Clean up the tank etc. There must be hundred of snails eggs everywhere in the tank/filtration, plants. You could help him to cycle faster by providing him some of your bacterial benefits coming from your filtration. That would fix the snail issue otherwise anything that inside the tank right now, if he put it back again, the problem will come back. To have green water like this there must be a strong source of light that way to strong or light is on for to long.

So here are the steps I would do

1-Transfer all fishes into a quarantine tank, until they are healthy or there no any sign of fungus
2-Clean up the tank
3-Clean up the filtration, and let it dry under sun

Once the tank is clean and dry, add new gravel(maybe he could keep the old one, but I would let it dry pretty well.)

If he doesn't mind about the snail, i would just perform water changes until the water clear out and cut off the light as much as possible.

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Last edited by blesser13; 07-04-2015 at 05:54 AM. Reason: added comments
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 08:21 AM
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Yes, clean up the tank, either all at once, or in steps.

The only thing I would add to blesser's method is to use a bottled bacteria that contain Nitrospira species of bacteria to repopulate the tank.

To do this in steps:
Do 2 x 50% water changes per week, concentrating on vacuuming the substrate 3 out of 4 times, then clean the filter the 4th time.

Cut the feeding by 75%. Half as much, half as often.

If all the plants are dead, then just turn on the lights long enough to enjoy the tank. Allow the fish to know a day-night schedule with just ambient light in the room. If the sun is too bright, or directly in the tank then put a sheer curtain over the window.

Bait and remove the snails daily.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 11:20 AM
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There's been more than enough good advice provided here on how to proceed in getting the tank back on track. But I'll just intercede here only to caution that this is in no way the result of adding plants with snail eggs on them. The green water is simply due to an imbalance of light and available nutrients combined with inadequate or improperly maintained filtration. Any time new plants are added that harbor snails or egg clutches, there will be an "explosion" in their numbers. Unless there are predators present it has to happen. If the available food supply is adequate, they continue to multiply. In this case, it seems like there was a supply of uneaten food as well as dying plants and green water. It's been said here time and time again, ramshorns and bladder snails do not consume healthy plant tissue.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 02:15 PM
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+1 cant blame snails. snails only over-populate a tank when they have plenty of food or algae. This means that your friend either over-fed like crazy which would lead to poor water quality -> algae takes over -> plants cant photosynthesize -> plants die -> snails eat dead plant matter (more food).

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 03:09 PM
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You must either have a very powerful light that is left on for many hours or have the tank in a room with a lot of sunlight. Starting over will be the easiest and getting a UV filter will help prevent the greenwater from returning. The black sludge is the algae that has collected on the filters.

I have always been a fan of having too much filtration so I would continue to use both filters, just do something about the amount of light you are giving the tank and get a UV filter. Good luck. It can be done without too much trouble. I had a friend with almost as much algae and the UV filter has his water crystal clear after just a week.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 03:18 PM
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I would start over as well, but unless you address the root issue you may end up right back where you found yourself. Several questions: what was the filtration prior to adding the filter, what size thank is this, what was the water change schedule, what kind of lighting is on this tank (including sunlight)?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2015, 12:32 AM
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What are the results for all the water tests that you or your friend have? Or take some samples to a store that will test them.

any other tests you have.

Test both tap and tank (before water change)
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