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Old 10-24-2004, 06:17 PM   #1
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Little black dots on plants

So....when I was doing a little tank maintenance today, I noticed that there was hundreds of little black dots on the stems of some of my plastic plants. Anyone have an idea what they are?

I also saw at least one little snail (like 3mm ish with shell). I believe he hitchhiked in on some water lettuce I got. I also found some gelatinous goo that I cleaned out. The snail was tannish/brown with a spiral shape shell.

Would I need two snails for them to reproduce, or is one enough for a problem? If they are black, is that little babies or dead eggs? I'm doing the lettuce trick seen on other threads to lure them out so I can hopefully rid myself of them/it.


Thanks.
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Old 10-24-2004, 06:32 PM   #2
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Many snails are hermaphrodites, and yes, one can reproduce by itself. The type you describe seems like a common "pest" snail, which does.

Can you post pictures of the dots? Are you sure they're black, not brown?
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Old 10-24-2004, 06:41 PM   #3
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I have a feeling that the dots are the beginning of hair algae or beard algae. When this algae is first starting to appear, it comes in as little hairy dots. If you can examine the leaves of the plant a little closer, you'll probably find that this is the case. If so, dunk them in a 10% solution of bleach and water for a few minutes. This should kill all the algae.
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:37 PM   #4
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So, I guess I should update with the fish in the tank. 1 Dwarf Gourami, 7 cardinal tetras, 1 Otocinclus.

I had the light off for awhile while I was gone and when I returned, two of the snails were together on the side and were removed. Their shells were more round, but still had that spiral look (like a spiral ball).

I'm attaching a picture of the black things. They scrape off of the plants fairly easily as I tried a few with my aquarium pokin' stick.

Could it be from failed tetra spawnings?
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Old 10-25-2004, 10:42 AM   #5
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Did you try any of things I suggested, or are you positive this is not algae?

I doubt that they're eggs, esp. since Cardinal Tetras are notoriously difficult to spawn. Most eggs are white, and turn even whiter--and fungus over--when failed.

The picture indicates that this could be algae, but I'd have to say that the spots look more like parasites. Seriously, take them out and dunk them in bleach to try and kill this stuff off. Rinse the plants thoroughly afterwards and then return them to the tank. You can even do this with live plants in a 10% solution for about a minute. And if you have a small microscope of some sort, or a magnifying glass, you might want to have a look at the dots under magnification.

Keep us updated.
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:19 PM   #6
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I removed some samples to look at under a magnifying lens. Doesn't look like much and some of the pieces are square. I'm taking an anatomy and physiology course, so I took some samples to look under the scopes.

My current hypothesis is that it's carbon from my filter, as I was shaking the cartridge around cleaning it and moving it all around working on my DIY filter. And I didn't notice the spots unti then, so I'm thinking it could be carbon fragments. Will update tomorrow after I have lab. I hope its that because I don't really want to pull apart my tank and terrorize my poor fishes.
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:41 PM   #7
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the carbon would be my guess. I was going to say it looks a bit like sand. Did you touch it? Is it hard like carbon?
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Old 10-26-2004, 10:17 AM   #8
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That's gotta be it.
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:09 AM   #9
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Yeah, they kind of break up when you poke it (I use a bamboo skewer for the experimental stuff). I also saw a big piece of carbon come out after playing with the filter tonight, so all worries are put to rest (well 99% rest). At least I found the two snails. Now I just need to decide if I want to pop the plants out to clean them or just let the water suck them off eventually.

So the lesson is......don't play with cartridge filters otherwise you'll release carbon.

And thanks everyone for the help.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:34 AM   #10
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Busted out the compound light microscope. Definitely carbonlike things. More brown than gray/black to my surprise.

And most of then have fallen off of the plants into the tank recycler.
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