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Fellow Forum Members - This is my first post. I am quite new to this hobby, so please pardon the sophomoric nature of my conundrum. I am including information about my aquarium below, in case any of it is helpful in forming a diagnosis. I am also attaching two images of the problem area in my tank.

To summarize, I have a black substance which has propagated on my piece of driftwood, is beginning to cover the live grass i have in the tank and has recently spread to the aquarium walls after I skipped a week of cleaning to observe this issue. Please see the photos for reference. On the driftwood, it covers the surface like black slime/mucous and appears to actively respire, as there are bubbles (assuming CO2 but unsure) trapped beneath the slime as you will see in the pictures. On the grass, it covers the tips of the grass like thick mucous and has grown a few thick tendrils, but not progressed beyond those few tendrils in ~2 weeks.

I have tried several treatments thus far. After some online research, thinking perhaps this was cyanobacteria, 1st, I applied one dosage of Chemiclean Treatment for Red Cyanobacteria. After 1.5 weeks, there appeared to be absolutely no impact to the black slime. Going back to google for answers, with a hunch that this was perhaps black beard algae, next, using a plastic syringe, I applied 1mL/gal. (39mL total) of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to the tank. Small bubbles propagated on the outside of the black slime in the spots where I had applied the H2O2, which I found encouraging. Unfortunately, after several days, the black slime seems to have exhibited no visual change/degredation.

If this is not cyanobacteria, and it is not black beard algae, the only other thing I can surmise is that this is some type of fungus which perhaps came from the piece of driftwood in the tank. I should note that I rinsed and scrubbed the driftwood, but did NOT boil it or soak it in bleach or H202 prior introduction to the tank (probably a rookie mistake...). On the bright side, the fish seem not to mind either the black slime, or my failed treatments.

A personal note: my wife kicked off this aquarium hobby for our young 4-year old daughter. She seems to like it, and I don't mind keeping up with the cleaning to the extent that it will be a straightforward and relatively quick exercise each week or so, but this black slime is killing the vibe =(

In any case, I'm at a loss, and this is frustrating. Any help would be very sincerely appreciated.

Water Underwater Fluid Organism Aquatic plant

Plant Water Organism Aquatic plant Underwater


Some tank specifics:

The tank setup is ~3-4 months old. I began with the Betta and added the others (see below) over the course of the 1st month. Every 1-2 weeks, I clean the tank and make a 30-50% water change. Following the water changes, I treat/condition the tank with API "Quick Start", "Stress Coat" and "Accu-Clear" in dosages corresponding to the amount of new water I add to the tank, per the directions on each bottle. I rinse the filter under cold tap water briefly as part of these routine cleanings.

I have gone 2.5 weeks since my last cleaning and water change, as I have tried to see if my treatments of the black algae/bacteria/mold (???) have had any effect (so pardon the dirty-looking tank in the pictures, that is atypical but intentional i suppose).

Hardware:
  • Tank: 39 gal. tall TopFin
  • Heater: 200 Watt Heater
  • Filter/Pump: Top Fin Silentstream 40 Power Filter with cartridge
  • Light: Fluval Plant 3.0 Bluetooth LED

Habitat:
  • Gravel: CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate
  • Plants: 3x small Anubias, 3x medium Anubias; 4-5 tufts of aquatic live grass purchased at Petsmart (unsure of species)
  • Rocks: 5-6 River Rocks (purchased at Petsmart)
  • Driftwood: 1x large piece of driftwood (purchased at Petsmart)

Inhabitants:
  • 1x Betta
  • 8x Neon Tetra
  • 2x Harlequin Rasbora
  • 3x Amano Shrimp (allegedly, as I have read that species is not guaranteed when purchasing shrimp)... also note that I believe two of the three may have died or burrowed under the driftwood, because I have not seen them since shortly after adding them to the tank
-1x Otocinclus

Recent Metrics (~1 week ago):
  • Temp: Stable at 78*(F)
  • PH: ~7.6
  • Ammonia: ~0 ppm
  • Nitrite: ~0 ppm
  • Nitrate: ~0 ppm
 

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Hello, I'm not the most experienced member to be answering you but I saw that no-one replied. I had black beard algae in my new tank, established itself on driftwood. I tried recommendations from the local fish store owner with no success. In the end, what worked for me was removing the wood from the tank, scrubbing the algae off in a bucket of used tank water. Then i dosed the hell out of the whole area with Liquid Carbon, left it sitting out of the water for an hour, then put it back into the tank. This was about a week ago and I've had no new black beard growth. I also changed my filters output valve to direct it into that corner, incase it was getting no circulation. Best of luck to you
 

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First Welcome, your tank is still in a fish in cycle, and it is going to go through stages, do not clean tour filter. You should be showing nitrates in a cycled tank. Do water changes a couple times a week, get some excel and dose by directions. search for dead shrimp, (fish may have dined on them if died) Add plenty of fast-growing plants like hornwort or elodea or wisteria, you can plant or let float. need plenty of plants to compete with algae. Don't leave lights on more than 6 -8 hours a day. also get some plant ferts and dose weekly to get plants growing good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello, I'm not the most experienced member to be answering you but I saw that no-one replied. I had black beard algae in my new tank, established itself on driftwood. I tried recommendations from the local fish store owner with no success. In the end, what worked for me was removing the wood from the tank, scrubbing the algae off in a bucket of used tank water. Then i dosed the hell out of the whole area with Liquid Carbon, left it sitting out of the water for an hour, then put it back into the tank. This was about a week ago and I've had no new black beard growth. I also changed my filters output valve to direct it into that corner, incase it was getting no circulation. Best of luck to you
Thanks Waiguoren! I have liquid carbon and will try that out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First Welcome, your tank is still in a fish in cycle, and it is going to go through stages, do not clean tour filter. You should be showing nitrates in a cycled tank. Do water changes a couple times a week, get some excel and dose by directions. search for dead shrimp, (fish may have dined on them if died) Add plenty of fast-growing plants like hornwort or elodea or wisteria, you can plant or let float. need plenty of plants to compete with algae. Don't leave lights on more than 6 -8 hours a day. also get some plant ferts and dose weekly to get plants growing good.
Thanks Susankat! Good to know about the plants. I will introduce more of them into the tank and will pull back on the light exposure.
 

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Dang that's the wrong substrate to be using for first time. I've tested this substrate a few times. Every time I use it I get staghorn algae, freshwater slime algae or black beard algae. Something to do with more of some nutrients and not enough of other in that soil that causes these issues. I've messaged the company and never got a response. Hope this helps some.
 
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