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Re: Wierd white fuzz

Michael W. McGrath wrote, Nov. 20:
........In the last few days the wood has
>started to grow wierd white fuzz off the undersides. Now I have noticed
>my Bolbitu plant has white fuzz on the roots and the plant is right next
>to the wood. Does anyone know what this is??? The other tank has wood
>although from a different source and it does not have the same white fuzz.
>I duno what it is but it is getting bigger an ugly. Any help would be

There is some source of organic matter that is encouraging bacteria and/or
fungi.  White growths are often reported in the area where yeast-generated
DIY CO2 is being released.  Perhaps there are rapidly-decomposable goodies,
still in your wood.  I wouldn't worry about it too much. unless there is so
much decomposition that oxygen levels are depleated and your fish suffer.
If the food source is something in the wood, soon the bacteria and fungi
will finish decomposing it, and then the visible growth will go away.  The
bulk of the wood is so resistant to decomposition that there won't be any
visible bacterial growth.

Sometimes a white mat with fuzzy tufts appears on top of the mulm in an
old, well established aquarium with a lot of accumulated mulm.  I have seen
this and looked at it under the microscope, and it looked like a colorless
Oscillatoria to me.  I have been looking around the web, and I located Dr.
Richard W. Castenholz, who works with bacteria in extreme environments and
who told me that it isn't Oscillatoria, rather Beggiatoa, a colorless
bacterium that resembles Oscillatoria in its structure and motility, but is
chemosynthetic rather than photosynthetic.  It gets its energy by oxidizing
sulfides, such as hydrogen sulfide, to sulfates.  I looked up Beggiatoa on
Alta Vista and found a lot of info and even some pictures of it.  Beggiatoa
is lurking in my 55 at home that only has a few fish, but a lot of mulm.
For some reason it came up to the surface for a while after I did a water
change, the only one in the last eight years.  The plants seem quite
healthy, and so are the fish.

Paul Krombholz, in warm, showery, Jackson, Mississippi.