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Howdy! A few days ago (Feb. 16th) I setup my first planted tank. (Fluval Spec V 5 gallons) I used fluval stratum substrate and bought some plants along with easy green from the co-op. After letting the tank sit for 24 hours I did a half pump of easy green, I'm not sure if that was too soon or not but I wanted to make sure the plants had some food.

This morning when I checked on the tank to my surprise I found this piece of driftwood enveloped in a white/translucent film. After some googling and poking around for info I'm assuming this is a biofilm from bacteria? Is this stuff anything to worry about? Should I attempt to remove it? There's no livestock in the tank, just the plants. I just wanted to make sure it isn't going to harm the plants etc. (its covering some of the golden anubias roots) I boiled the piece of driftwood for 15 minutes before initially putting it in the tank.

I tested the water today and here are the parameters: (Ph: 6.4  Ammonia: 0.25ppm Nitrite: 2.0ppm Nitrate: 5.0ppm) (My tap water has around 5.0ppm Nitrates on its own)

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Whew that's good to hear! Thank you for the quick response. Yeah I know I had the same thought about the shrimp lol! I was tempted to go out and get some ghost ones or a snail to clean it up but the tank is so new and hasn't cycled so I figured I should hold off. I've also read that the stratum substrate can cause some ammonia spikes the first few weeks. (EDIT: After reading some more stuff it seems like the fluval substrate might not leach ammonia or at least not as much as other aquasoils)

Edited by surfspells
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Wow your biofilm is really pretty! My driftwood biofilm looked a lot grosser than that. 😆

If you eventually want snails, this could be a great time to get them. They’ll nom on the biofilm and the more common “pest” varieties will reproduce, which will increase your bio load slowly and help your tank ramp up its cycle. Snails seem to be able to ride the ups and downs of a cycling tank pretty well too.

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Just a small update! I ended up getting an orange bee shrimp and an amano today to help clean up the film. There's also been some brown algae that started showing up. They seemed to settle in pretty easily and have been eating plenty! The very first thing the amano did when I released it in the tank was land on the biofilm covered driftwood and start eating 😛 They seem to be favoring the java moss covered wood currently.

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Well today I learned a hard lesson. Cover tank lids if they have any holes in them. (I'm sort of regretting this fluval tank with the big hole in the center of the lid now) Couldn't find the amano anywhere today and then later found it dead on the floor completely brown & dried up so there was no chance of saving it. Swim in peace lovely shrimp ❤️

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Thanks for the condolences, you live and you learn I suppose! I had read about amanos being escape artists but didn't know if it was really that common of an occurrence or not. I check the water parameters every day and everything was fine today so I don't think it wanted out to escape bad water etc. It molted yesterday, so maybe it was under stress from that? The orange bee seems to be content but I'm going to find something to cover up this hole in the lid before I go to bed just in case.

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Update time! The tank is a little rough looking right now, a mold or something started growing on the biofilm so I've been in the process of cleaning that off. This weekend I'm going to get a magfloat cleaner (the long metal scrapper I have doesn't work well as you can see in the picture below) and a turkey baster to really get this thing cleaned up. I have a little gravel vac but the tank is still too small to do precise cleanings with it.

The latest thing I've noticed is super tiny worms! I was freaked out at first but I'm pretty sure they're just detritus worms. I knocked the majority of them off when I scrapped the glass, most of the ones that survived or didn't get sucked up after I did a small water change crawled down into the substrate.

Lastly, I did some research and my remaining shrimp appears to be a Caridina Propinqua. Petco in store had them labeled as "orange bee" shrimp, and online calls them a neocaridina lol. He has been doing well until the last day or two I have noticed a faint red spot on his side that I believe might be the beginning of rust disease? I'm worried the tank may have gotten too dirty. I'm going to do a water change this weekend when I clean it up again. In the meantime I put in an indian almond leaf as I've read it has some antibacterial properties.

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@StreetwiseOh I totally believe that the biofilm is safe. I didn’t remove much of it, the majority of it being gone in the second picture happened on its own. I’ve only been attempting to clean off the spiky white mold that was growing on it, mostly to no avail because I didn’t want to go nuclear and rip off the biofilm itself. I’m just trying to tame things back a bit until I get some more livestock in here to start consuming things on their own. Pretty much all of the pet stores and fish stores around me lately have been sold out of shrimp & bettas, the 2 things I've been considering for this tank 😛

@Brandy I'm not entirely positive yet but I first noticed a red dot right beside one of his eyes and then today the red spot on his side. The spot is like a patch and not small dot of coloration. He also molted a few days ago so maybe it is just new color coming in. He has been acting a little skittish lately so I haven't been able to get a good picture of the spots. But I agree with you it seems unlikely that the level of dirtiness in the tank would have been high enough to cause a bacterial infection especially considering the PH is pretty low. (around 6.4-6.6 from the substrate buffer)

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Here's a not so good picture of the shrimp. The spots are bright red, the lighting & zoom is just bad in this picture that's why they look more orange/brown. Another thing I've considered is that maybe that side of him became more transparent colored after molting and now you can just see his insides more. That still doesn't explain the dot near the eye though. That seems to be a sphere sticking off of him and not just coloration of the body.IMG_0176.jpeg.714f2d6a086c9964d9cb9db6497ec4e2.jpeg

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I’m really enjoying the updates on this biofilm. 😄 It just looks so awesome! I even think the white mold looks cool!

I think you’re right about the shrimp being more see-through after it’s molted. The body spots just look like organs to me. Not sure about the spot behind its eye.

Have you considered ordering shrimp online? They do well in the mail. I got some amanos from Aqua Huna that have been doing great. Apparently the co-op has a discount code you can use as well.

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Posted (edited)

@Hobbit Yeah I have considered ordering online but was waiting for the weather to warm up a bit more because I didn't know how well they'd fair in below 30 degree temps during shipping. Luckily in a few days it seems like the weather around here is finally going to stay in the 40s and above. (Indiana) If I order online it will probably be from Aqua Huna. Aquatic Arts has some nice looking shrimp too & they're in my state but their selection seems more focused on expensive higher grade shrimp which I've read can be more sensitive/hard to take care of. The hard part is deciding what kind to choose! I've at least narrowed it down to only caridina species since they are a better match for my buffering substrate than neos.

Edited by surfspells
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Today it seems like the tank is balancing out! The mold seems to be dying back and my one moss ball that was looking kind of sickly is even starting to green up a bit more. The shrimp has also molted again! 😮 At first I thought this was abnormal considering it molted on Sunday/Monday but I'm almost certain he's still pretty young because he has grown considerably since I got him last week. From what I've read its normal for young shrimp to molt more frequently. The coloration on his side is also much more orange now instead of red! (of course he won't stay still & pose on that side for me right now lol) The dot is still near his eye but also seems to be more orange now than red. It's hard for me to tell but in this picture it almost seems like maybe it's just the coloration of the socket that holds the eyeball because the other one appears to be clear colored still.

Thank you all for putting up with my constant concerns! (and apologies for all the shrimp talk on a post that's supposed to be about biofilm)

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