Slime mold – a gray, slimy coating appearing on the roots is the bane of every aquarist. Where does it come from? Is it dangerous to fish? How can I get rid of it?
Slime molds (Myxomycota) are neither fungi, nor plants, nor animals. They are eukaryotic organisms, that is, composed of cells with one cell nucleus with chromosomes. Somewhat similar to protozoa. During their development, two forms appear – a mobile amoeba and a mobile lock. Slime molds feed on bacteria, fungi and protozoa and are very eager to appear on freshly sunken roots in the aquarium.
Slime molds look ugly but harmless to the fish and plants in the aquarium. They can appear immediately after adding the root to the aquarium (even if properly prepared) or even after several weeks. They most often look like gray “snot” on wood.
Where do the slime molds in the aquarium come from?
The aquarium and the water in it contain all kinds of microorganisms, including the beneficial ones. Every time you bring new things to your tank, especially organic matter such as a piece of wood – bacteria or fungi will find a perfect place for themselves to grow. The roots release excess carbohydrates and other nutrients that slime molds and other organisms love. This is only part of the decomposition of organic matter (sunken root) introduced into an environment rich in oxygen and bacteria. It’s just that nature is doing its job.
How can I get rid of slime mold?
You do not have to do anything. It is a natural process of wood decomposition. After a dozen or so days, the good bacteria in the aquarium will do their job and the slime mold will disappear. You can also clean the tarnish with a brush, making sure that it does not spread over the rest of the aquarium. Some fish, shrimps and snails like to eat this mucilaginous coating.
Another popular method is to thoroughly clean and boil the root. It will be an easy method as long as the root is not too large – otherwise it is quite difficult to find a pot that is large enough in the house. Put the root into the pot and pour water over it completely. We add salt, which will slightly raise the boiling point of the water and help to cleanse the water and the root itself. In this way, we boil the root for 30 minutes, then pour out the water from the pot, rinse the root and repeat the process again – without adding salt (we do not want to salt our freshwater tank). Wood prepared in this way will be more sterile, which will reduce the occurrence of slime mold.
You can also use fish, shrimps and snails. You can take piece of the wood out and scrub it. You can also leave it alone and it will fix itself.