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Hi everybody,
I am looking for some advice on a problem I am having with my tank. Here is the tank specs:
55 Gallon Tank
Sand Substrate
forget the name of the filter, but it is a 4 stage that flows 55 gallons an hour
110 Fluval Air pump
Was planted but not any more.....
So I have had this tank set up for well over 2 years. About 4 months ago, the whole tank started to get covered in this white film that looks fuzzy. Around the same time the fish in the tank started to eat all the plants (there was a lot) and now there is none left. I was also loosing a fish about once a month....
I recently had a new baby and was too busy to do water changes for about 2 weeks (I feel horrible as it is). When I do water changes I usually set it to drain and fill at the same time ( I have well water and set the temp within 1 degree of what the water temp in the tank is) and it takes about 3 hours to do a 100 percent water change... well back to the story, So after 2 weeks of saying **** I got to change that water and clean the filter (even though it was still clear) I looked in the tank today and noticed 3 dead fish (2 lamp eyed tetras and a clown loach). I then noticed that the filter was not flowing. Upon further inspection the white fuzz had grown so thick it cut off all the intake to the filter. I then cleaned the filter and changed the water as normal.
While cleaning the fuzz gunk off the walls of the tank I noticed that it was super slimy, and all the fuzz that I missed would accumulate on top of the water. Thinking that this may be some kind of fungus / algie I took the heater out as the temp has been on the higher end for the fish (80 degrees). Any ideas on what this "fuzz" is and how to kill it? Thanks in advance
 

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Was the uv sterilizer working properly? What was your lighting schedule like? Im sure you know that too much light can produce crazy algae.. never had a build up of white algae like this though.. could be bacterial, if i was to guess id say that your water wasnt being filtered enough and with the decline of your plants (possibly due to too much light and not enough co2) created a perfect environment for algae growth. Pics would help also.
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I had something like this before and was tearing my hair out forever. I asked the owner of my lfs about it and the short and sweet of what he said was that its not a common thing but when you get it, its hard to get rid of. He made it sound like a one in a million type thing. I never did find out what it was or what caused it but let me tell you what it took for me to get rid of it. First of all from start to finish it took 2-3 months, though I probably could have shortened that time a lot. What I did was first took everything out of the tank. Thoroughly washed everything, tank, gravel, filter, decorations, driftwood......everything....with vinegar. Once that was done I put it all back in the tank and filled it back up with water and approximately 1 gallon of vinegar per 10 gallons of water. I let that sit for a few weeks with the filter and heater running. Then I drained and did several water changes while stirring the gravel so I could get all of the vinegar out. Then I used some fungus meds from the lfs and let that sit for a few more weeks with filter and heater. Drained rinsed and refilled this time with a super strong salt water. I don't remember how strong but I'd say 5-10 times as strong as you would make a saltwater tank and let that run for a few more weeks again. Finally I did a few more total water changes/rinses to be sure all of the salt was out. I never had that problem again. It may seem extreme but no matter what I did prior to the breakdown I couldn't get rid of it and was starting to want to quit the hobby all together. I'm sure you could use any number of techniques and disinfecting solutions but that's what I went with as they were all natural and residue wouldn't hurt anything long term like a soap/detergent based cleaner would. I hope this helps and leads you in the right direction to solve your problem.
 

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Wow. Never heard of this. Carefree touched on this, "could be bacterial", I don't think it is possible for algae to be white. Also, "decline of plants" could lead to ammonia (never saw a bacterial bloom present itself as a fuzz though) or too much organic decomposition? I know when I use dirted substrates, and especially add driftwood, I can get a white fuzz on the substrate that inverts and fish eat, but it's always been good for them, I never lost them (ramshorn snails stayed nice and red with no shell etches). Those are just my thoughts, it depends on if the plant decline happened as a result of the white fuzz, or if the fuzz was a result of the plant decomposition? ........Or, it had nothing to do with the plants at all.

Back to the white fuzz......did it seem like a blanket/covering or part of the water? Like cloudy water?
 
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