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Old 03-21-2012, 02:59 PM   #1 
Olympia
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Warning: Fishless cycle using food/raw shrimp. READ!

So I've been cycling fish fish food.. There has been a white mold growing on the food, I thought nothing of it. Asked a few people on here, no one knew.. I did some research, and it turns out that this mold can very possibly be the columnaris disease that you are feeding. A few fish forums said the mold usually dies down after a while. Mold is present in all tanks, and it could very well be harmless, but I am not willing to take a RISK with a fungus that could hurt fish growing in my tanks. Most of these water molds look the same, so there isn't really a way to tell what is growing right now. I am very dissapointed that this happened, I am sucking up the fish food.

The raw shrimp method is NOT a safe way to cycle your tank. I would highly recommend removing any dead shrimp you may have atm, even if no signs of mold are present.

The fish food cycling, you MUST liquefy the food, so the fungus has no base to grow on.

"The only risk of the fish food method is the possibility of Saprolegnia (mold) growing on rotting fish food which can become pathogenic to new fish that will be introduced later.
This is easily avoided with a fish flake food by powdering it between fingers before introduction to the aquarium (shaking fish flake food in a cup of water can also accomplish this). This risk is relatively small and basically non-existent when you use an easily “liquefied” fish flake food. This unfortunately is NOT the case with the raw shrimp method (recommended by a few poorly researched sites)."

"There are other methods of fishless cycling being recommended or used however one method being pushed on the internet by "cut & paste", anecdotal websites and forums is the use of Raw Shrimp; however this is a recycled idea (which included the use of silversides, frozen shrimp, and even dead feeder fish) and has reappeared on the internet even though it was debunked in the early 1990's!

I do not recommend this method, not because it does not work for cycling, but because it may also allow a Saprolegnia infection to get started in your new aquarium (or at the very least; heterotrophic bacteria which is not a desirable nitirfying bacteria as discussed earlier).
Saprolegnia is a mold (often called a fungus) that easily gets a foot hold in decaying nitrogenous matter such as raw shrimp and I have seen this many times in my experiments. Even after the source of Saprolegnia growth is removed, the secondary zoospores which are the primary mode of pathogenic transmission can remain, even after large water changes/vacuumings.
A new tank is the worst time to have a Saprolegnia infection get started as this is when fish are often much less resistant to disease due to the stressor of a new tank environment."
Source: http://www.americanaquariumproducts.....html#fishfood



As for solving this problem, could treating the tank for fungus help?
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:25 PM   #2 
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I'm confused. The same source says in a different article:"These organisms, considered to be saprophytic "water molds," are a normal, ubiquitous component of aquatic ecosystems (Saprolegnia are present in ALL aquariums and ponds)."
This implies that this fungus is always there. So, even if it does grow on your food/shrimp, after you do a water change and vacuum up the food/remove the shrimp when you're finished cycling, why would it be a problem to have a few zoospores floating around?

I can only find that one author being sited as a source on saprolegnia infection during shrimp cycling, which makes me a little less sure of this information.
Does anyone else have any information on this? I'm just about to start cycling a tank, so I'd be really interested to know.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Columnaris.html
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #3 
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Yea, I don't see the problem of having a few around, don't know why they said that. Lot's of bad things live in the water in small amounts, I just think that "feeding them" is a bad idea because then you get a lot.
And IMO one infection caused by it is enough. I'd rather not risk it when there is a better way. I am going to keep using fish food probably, just going to turn it into "dust" so there isn't a surface for this mold to grow on. Like I said I don't know what kind of mold is growing in my tank right now, but why take the risk when there is an easy solution? Right? :D
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:32 PM   #4 
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Just use pure ammonia it's so much neater and no mess... It's just as cheap.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:38 PM   #5 
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That's what I plan to do, I just keep supplementing with food since I can't go to the store till tomorrow or Friday. It seems like a much better choice indeed.
Also read that low temps can help get rid of the fungus (obviously if theres no tropical fish inside)
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #6 
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No, I would never use shrimp anyway, just because I'm paranoid about disease transmission (warm water + possibly bacteria laden rotting shrimp...seems iffy). I just like to know how things work . I've been using food because I can't get to the store. I haven't had any problems with it in other tanks, but I'll keep an eye out for white fuzzies.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:30 AM   #7 
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I bumped the temp to 80f and that's when I started having problems.
Dropped it to seventy, two days of treatment with pimafix, and now I crush the food to a powder and it's all good.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:41 PM   #8 
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I'm pretty much done with my fish cycle (0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites, 20 ppm nitrates) and my tank has been about 70 degrees throughtout my entire cycle. Except when it turned around 78 for a few days in the middle.

I have that same mold on my fish flakes. How should I get rid of it? I'm planning on adding bettas on Monday or Tuesday, so what should I do?
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:29 PM   #9 
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The easiest fix I'd say besides low temps is to get Pimafix and dose as instructed for a few days (after removing all traces of food). Since after a cycle a large water change is needed, there's no worry about the Pimafix harming a betta, since it'd be almost no trace of it left.. Pimafix, unlike many meds, doesn't mess up a cycle.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:45 PM   #10 
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So I stop "feeding" my tank and remove all traces of fish food. Then I begin treating with pimafix with the recommended dosage for a few days. Do the large water change. Finally, add the plants and fish.

My only question is how do I "feed" my bacteria for the few days that I don't supply it with ammonia?
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