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I have always assumed mulm was some sort of combination of living and dead bacteria. I was always happy to see it because I assumed the mulm is processing fish waste from something more toxic to something less toxic.

But that is a least 2 assumptions so far. I haven't googled this yet so I am throwing the question out to the forum.

What is mulm?

mulm.jpg.b3eb86fb0a93983b873332ccb7658f7b.jpg

Edited by Daniel
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I have always considered it to be underwater compost. In my tanks with wood, it is largely wood that has passed thru a snail. Like compost, it contains bacteria, and micro fauna. It is dead plants, fish poop, food bits...bacteria, algae, seed shrimp, detritus worms, etc...depending on how much and how long you leave it there. If, like me, you aren't into gravel vacs, it becomes soil/fertilizer for plants. As an experiment I left a bunch under some wood in the shrimp tank. it disappeared in a short time, like a month? Great plants there now!

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Yes, I have had it disappear spontaneously also. It had appeared just as spontaneously in a Daphnia tank that I was feeding green water. No fish, no snails, no plants in this tank. Eventually the hydra in the tank were able to eat almost all the Daphnia, so that point I threw in some hornwort and some guppies and some zebrafish.

After that everyday had less mulm than the day before. Now it's almost gone.

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5 minutes ago, StephenP2003 said:

I was about to break out my cheapo USB microscope before scrolling to this vid. What magnification do you have on it?

I have a 10x eyepiece and the turret has 4x, 10x and 40x so in the video I start at 40x then go to 100x and finally 400x. I liked the view from 100x the most.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was given an aquarium for Christmas when I was 10 and an old brass microscope for Christmas when I was 12. I'm now 62 and I'm still looking at the muck in my tanks and it's just as fascinating as it was 50 years ago. 

Only yesterday I cleaned out an internal power filter sponge into a bowl, let the solids settle out and then put a drop under the microscope. One drop must have had 20 to 30 organisms living in it and there were at least 5 different types. This was a tank that has only been set up for a month with a new filter but I did use lots of Java moss from an established tank and Canadian pond weed from my pond 

When I have bred fish and used infusoria cultures I have noticed that the creatures that grow are not always the same and some are better than others at growing fish. I don't know their name but if I had ones that looked like cups on a stalk the fry would grow quickly. 

I would recommend getting yourself a microscope, there are monsters living in your tanks you just don't know about. Mine is so old it doesn't even have a light, it has a mirror to direct the light.

I think I've talked myself into asking Father Christmas for a new one which will take pictures. 

 

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1 hour ago, Terry Ellacott said:

 

I think I've talked myself into asking Father Christmas for a new one which will take pictures. 

 

If you haven't already, check out on YouTube "Creative Petkeeping" she recently did an unboxing and review of a microscope that I am thinking of getting myself.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

As far as I can tell the baby Cherry shrimp like to hang out and feed in the mulm. I think the danger in gravel vacuuming is pulling out baby shrimp and not even realizing it. But you could sort through the detritus in the gravel vac water and see if you find baby shrimp. I had no idea the baby shrimp were in there and wouldn't have known with out some thorough looking through in my post siphoning detritus.

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Some of my mulm is from stirring dirt, with more from big pieces of Mopani Wood breaking down and getting grazed, especially by my loaches. My Yo-yo actively digs out holes in the wood for his efficiency apartment.

In my tubs, more mulm comes from leaves falling in and getting broken down by snails.

Edited by Streetwise
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