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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, so I have recently upgraded my betta to an 11.5 gallon tank. I have mostly silk plants in Petco sand substrate but then I added some microsword, java moss, two Marimo moss balls and floating pennywort. Lit by the Current LED light, which I love. It was doing beautifully but then I went away for two days, came back, did a water change and added Aquatop water clarifier (which apparently brings together live matter) and my entire tank (every plant, sand, etc.) was covered in this white fuzzy stuff.

1. What is it? Fungus?
2. I've already taken everything out, moved my betta (who seems okay overall) and rinsed everything. Do I throw away the substrate?

Additional questions

After I set up my tank again, how do I prevent stuff like this from happening? Is there a better substrate to use? Fertilizer? Lighting? Should I add shrimp or snails or something?

Honestly, would love all your trouble shooting advice so much. I was so frustrated to have to take everything apart. I'm attaching pics of my aquascape before and then some close ups of the white fuzzes.
 

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It's probably just an algae bloom, which is really common in new tanks while the plant/nutrient/light balance is still establishing itself. It's not harmful, and it could very well take care of itself.

It can also be caused by an excess of nutrients in the water caused by overfeeding. Could someone have overfed the fish while you were away? Either way, it's not going to harm your fish. It's unsightly, and it's not going to hurt anything to just wipe it off the decorations and wipe/rinse it off the plants with treated water.

If it persists past a couple of months, then you might want to look into your balance of light and nutrients. Limit your light being on to about 8 hours a day.
 

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Oh sorry I missed your "additional questions" part.

Limit overfeeding, limit lights to 6-8 hours a day, and just letting the system settle will probably do the trick. You can get shrimp or snails to help with it, but folks will say it's better to fix the underlying cause instead. However, I love snails and have several in my tanks, so I sometimes have to deliberately cause algae so they have something to eat :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you! Hmm, well then I feel dumb for freaking out and rinsing everything. I didn't throw out the substrate (and mixed in some Seachem Fluorite black), put all the plants and everything back, put in some one day old, treated water. My betta is still in the temporary tank. How long should I wait before putting him back and also introducing an amano shrimp and ottocat?
 

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Ideally you should wait until your tank is fully cycled before adding any fish. This usually takes a little over a month. Read up on common problems with new tanks and fishless cycling.
 
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