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Fungus ?, Mold ?, on driftwood


I had two types of white growth which grew on the driftwood in my 37 gallon 
tank which I need help identifying. One looked like white bristles about 1/8 
to 1/4 inch long growing from a central point. Each bristle was about 1/64 
inch in diameter. It is not hydra. It was easily detached when I brushed it 
with my fingernail. It was not brittle in that it didn't break when touched. 
There were many colonies of this growth strictly on the wood.

The other growth spread across the surface of the wood almost like a slime 
mold. It spread almost 1/2 to 1 inch per day. As it advanced the older part 
eventually disappeared after turning a light tan in color. This growth grew 
and grows on and in the gravel as well.

This tank was originally set up as a room temperature tank using two power 
heads on an undergravel filter with #3 quartz gravel for a substrate. I had 
Vallisneria, Sagittaria, one Melon Sword from an outdoor pool, Hygrophila, 
Java Moss, Lobelia cardinalis from my garden, Water Sprite, and Anacharis. 
Fish were: White Clouds, Danios, and one Hoplosternum cat. The growths were 
present even when the temperature dropped to 62 F in the winter. I never 
checked the pH when it was running as a cold water tank. The tank was set up 
about 1 1/2 years ago.

I recently heated this tank in order to add some Koi angels. The temperature 
now is 78 F, with 12 hr light. The fish are: 6 Panda Corys, 2 SAE, 6 Otto's, 
8 White Clouds, and 6 half dollar sized Koi Angels. The tank is planted with 
Cryptocoryne blassii, C. nevilii, Water Sprite, Sagittaria, Hygrophila, Java 
Moss, Lobelia cardinalis, and some unknown seedlings which grew in a 2 1/2 
gallon tank that contained pond water and gravel from an outdoor pool from 
the previous summer. (The mystery growths appeared before I added the 

I checked the pH in this tank with ColorpHast test strips by EM Science 
about two weeks ago and found it to be in the 4.0 to 4.5 range. Thinking the 
pH was so low due to the driftwood, I removed it all and made a 75 % water 
change which brought the pH to about 6.5. My fish were mildly stressed but 
have survived. The plants haven't shown any problems in the two weeks since 
I have removed the wood and the pH is in the 6.0 range as of tonight.

The bristley growth is gone due to the removal of the substrate. The other 
growth that looks like a slime mold is still showing up on the gravel, the 
lift tubes for the filter, and at the base of the Crypts. Does anyone have 
any idea what these two growths could be?

I intend to add the wood back piece by piece to determine which one is 
causing the drop in the pH but not until I see if the pH stays stable for 
another week or so.

Jerry Smith in Bloomingdale, NJ.

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