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Thread: Lets Talk Mulm
12-31-2012, 02:42 PM #1
Lets Talk Mulm
For the past while I've been battling grown algae in my small tank. I thought it was weird that it wouldn't go because my parameters are spot on, I don't overfeed, and my nerite should have eaten it by now, but it's just not budging. Then someone on another forum mentioned mulm, a mix of fish waste, decomposing plants and food. What I've been able to find online suggests that I not remove it as it is a fantastic fertiliser for plants, some people even seem to add it to their tanks. I haven't been able to find much more about it online, so I've come to see what ye know about it. I've been removing as much of it as I can when doing WCs, but there seems to be a never ending supply.
I'm also worried about my oto because of it. I got one assuming that he'd be happy living on the 'brown algae' in the tank, but if it's mulm then it won't be something he can eat. I've popped in a pleco wafer to try tide him over until I can get some courgette, and it seems to be going down very well with the betta and cardinals, but I've yet to see the oto on it.
12-31-2012, 02:49 PM #2
12-31-2012, 06:51 PM #3
Otos need to be in groups. They are schooling fish. If your tank is small, you probably shouldn't have any, at all.
Is this stuff in your substrate on stuck to the glass? I've always understood that substrate gunk needs to be vacuumed out regularly to avoid higher-than-safe nitrates.
If it's stuck to the glass and it's brown, it's probably diatoms. These are harmless. Green, of course, would be algae. Blue-green isn't good. That's toxic bacteria.
I would say to vacuum your substrate more often and more thoroughly, scrape off any algae from the glass (some is easy to remove, some isn't), and keep up the regular water changes.
Also, adjust your lighting if green algae is excessive.
Snails will take care of a limited amount of algae, but they won't eat mulm. That's just waste and gunk that needs to be removed ASAP.
--mermaidwannabe20 gal. high: planted; 8 white cloud minnows, 10 RCS, 2 blue shrimp, several snails; AC50, Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 7 rosy barbs, 6 glofish,, 2 zebra danios, 6 rosy red (fathead) minnows, 3 dojo loaches, several snails; AC110 x 2.
01-04-2013, 11:11 PM #4
Thanks for the advice. I've seen so many people say that they keep one or two Otos that I guess I never realised they were schooling fish. I'm now not sure if it's actually an Oto or not, I've been looking and I can't see a sucker, I think I may have been missold an SAE, but he's so small I can't tell for sure.
I don't have a problem with algae in general, but I'll continue to remove whatever it is from the substrate during WCs.
01-07-2013, 09:38 AM #5
He finally showed his belly last night, and is definitely NOT an oto. Looks like I've been sold an SAE, which is especially annoying because I won't have a chance to return him to the shop for another three weeks.
01-07-2013, 01:57 PM #6
0Originally Posted by kilyth
The best thing to do if you're able to is to look up fish you're interested in and become familiar with what they look like so you can recognize it in the store and not purchase something else by accident.
Stores sometimes mislable fish - also some fish go by multiple names.46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
01-07-2013, 03:43 PM #7
Mulm sort of works like this.
If you have ever used a manure product for your garden there are several types.
There would be fresh and there would be composted manure.
Fresh manure needs time to have natural organisms break it down. Fresh actually burns plant life and makes it difficult to grow.
Composted has already reacted with natural organisms and a lot of the stuff that burns the plants ha been converted into harmless nutrient.
In the case of an aquarium, we have non composted organic or fresh nutrient that has to be reacted upon by organisms.
If we allow it to break down in our tanks it boosts all of our levels up and can poison the life. It is better to remove a significant amount of it so it does not break down in the tank. The smaller amount we miss in cleaning will be plenty to serve as a fertilizer type.
This way we can control the environment.
01-07-2013, 03:57 PM #8
0Originally Posted by mermaidwannabe
01-07-2013, 04:55 PM #9
Safety in numbers is why schooling fish school. Perhaps yours feel safe enough and secure enough they don't need to tightly band together. Some schools are tighter or looser than others. You may just have fish that school more loosely, or they are comfortable enough in the environment you've provided that tight security schooling isn't necessary for them. That would be my take on it ...20 gal. high: planted; 8 white cloud minnows, 10 RCS, 2 blue shrimp, several snails; AC50, Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 7 rosy barbs, 6 glofish,, 2 zebra danios, 6 rosy red (fathead) minnows, 3 dojo loaches, several snails; AC110 x 2.
01-07-2013, 05:24 PM #10
I like what Indian said on Mulm. The question I didnt see asked was your frequency of WC's. Fish poop constantly, based on the stock, the light, phosphates, feeding schedule and what you are feeding and all other components. you should expect algae and mulm but if its in such great quantities, I would only assume that you need to either A) gravel vac more, or B) limit your light exposure and test for phosphates to see if it really is algae.
Also pics would help.FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
Sw: 1 55gal, 1 30gal show, 1 29gal show, 1 20gal and 2 10's