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A common issue with driftwood is the white biofilm that forms especially on new wood.
Well, it not exactly a problem because it quite often resolves itself, but it can be pretty unsettling, more so if you have not experienced it before
Usually, the biofilm on aquarium driftwood looks like a clear to opaque, almost gel-like white stuff on the wood, with some owners describing it as a Vaseline film, though not as vicious.
The biofilm is an almost white bacterial wood fungus or mold that can be mitigated by thoroughly boiling your wood, particularly if you do not want to wait it out.
It can grow immediately you add the driftwood in your tank or within the first week to a month
For more insight, please read on.
Why Do Fish Tanks Get The White Mold or Fungus Film
White fungus or mold in fish tanks is caused by the presence of a sufficient area and environment for its development. The kind that would be created by driftwood in an aquarium.
Essentially, the wood releases sugars (carbohydrates) and other delicious nutrients that feed the fungus, as well as bacteria in the tank, and aid them to thrive.
Of course, an instance would be worse, or more, when there are some organic processes or elements on the wood to release these nutrients, meaning a more prominent white film will appear on wood that is not well dry.
As much, separate organic elements in your fish tank will also cause this problem, including leftover food and plant residue, albeit to a lesser extent because of the fewer spaces to colonize.
It’s just part of the decomposition process of the organic matter, in this case, driftwood introduced in oxygen and bacteria-rich environment, then nature doing its job. Fishlore.com.
Is White Fungus on Driftwood Harmful to Fish
White fungus on aquarium driftwood is not exactly harmful to fish, it just disrupts their lifestyle rather briefly.
Moreover, fishes such as Otocinclus catfish, bristlenose pleco, and snails will love to eat the fuzz off for you.
And if they don’t, it will go away on its own within a short minute without hurting or killing them.
If it worries you too much, you can even choose to scoop it up or scrape it off the driftwood and expel it from your fish tank.
How Do You Get Rid of White Fungus (Mold) in Your Fish Tank
Since mold and bacteria development is part of the decomposing cycle, giving the scum time to go away on its own would be the solution with the least hassle.
The mold (fungus) should disappear in a few days to weeks.
Moreover, before taking any drastic cause of action, it’s also preferable to find a natural way to deal with this and other outbreaks in your aquarium.
In this case, the fishes and inverts (snails, shrimp) mentioned above have a liking for the fuzzy film and will munch on it coming in quite handy.
You can also choose the remove the biofilm manually. Just scoop it from your driftwood with an appropriate tool, making sure you get every part to desired aesthetic view.
Personally, I suction it off with an airline or use barbecue skewers to dislodge and expel them. It comes off easily in chunks.
Even take the wood out of the tank and give it a thorough scrub if it becomes too unsightly. For better results, use a small amount of bleach (1/2 a cup for every 5 gallons of water), hydrogen peroxide or potassium permanganate to clean your piece of wood outside the tank.
Soaking your wood in bleach or white vinegar (1/2-1 cup per gallon of water) or run it through a dishwasher with a cup or two of vinegar is also advisable.
That said, before you add driftwood in your fish tank, it advisable to find out what type of wood it is. For starters, you do not want softwoods, particularly those with sap in there.
Also, make sure your wood is completely dry before putting in your aquarium. Ideally, boil, bake or sun-dry it to make sure all organic processes are stopped before adding it.
Lastly, remember any piece of wood is porous and will soak in all liquids including vinegar, and bleach, so make sure you use such chemicals sparingly rest you kill your livestock.
Do Fish and Shrimp Eat Algae on Driftwood
There are a few fish, snails, and shrimp that will consume fungus growing in your fish tank. Of course, the best candidates would be bottom-dwellers that would naturally feed on plant matter including algae.
This would include catfishes and plecos.
Otocinclus catfish and bristlenose plecos are both small-bodied freshwater options that will consume the mold albeit sparingly. Amano and cherry seem to do a better job than other shrimp breeds, while pond snails are best of all aquarium gastropods.
Even so, please note that pond snails reproduce quite rapidly and will overrun your tank in a matter of weeks. So as an alternative, consider Nerite snails.
Nerites are quite prolific at consuming algae, so they should readily devour the biofilm.
Just in case you’re worried, rest assured that like fish, white fungus (mold) does not seem to harm shrimp or snails, maybe because it makes part of their natural diet in the world.
Happy fish keeping.