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Old 12-22-2019, 08:04 PM   #1
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Iron Bacteria/slime in aquarium

*Aquarium details at bottom of post*

I recently switched my 55 gallon tank to a drip irrigation system to keep nitrates at zero. The water is the same I have always used in my aquariums - my own well water that bypasses the water softener. Despite the constant drip of fresh water, I noticed brown slime building up after only a day or two. I've always had a problem with this, and it has prevented me from having any planted tanks. I had just assumed it was some type of brown, filamentous algae, but now I have no limiting nutrients in the aquarium, so I no longer think it's algae.

Apparently, this is some type of anaerobic bacteria that feeds on iron, precipitating dissolved iron out of the water and forming without the presence of light or other nutrients. Has anyone ever dealt with this? Is there any way to remove it from the irrigation line before it gets to the tank? The fish still seem healthy, but this stuff grows quickly and requires constant scraping, and I'd love to grow some plants that won't get covered with slime overnight.

Any advice is appreciated!

-55 gallon aquarium
-Eheim Classic 2215371 with added bio media and polisher (no carbon)
-1/8 inch drip irrigation set at 2 gph
-PVC Overflow

Water Chemistry:
-pH: 7.9
-NH4: 0 ppm
-NO2: 0 ppm
-NO3: 0 ppm
-KH: 180 ppm
-GH: 240 ppm

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Old 12-24-2019, 12:17 AM   #2
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Have you looked into diatoms? There is a chance that your well water has lots of silica. For which there are a few options like PhosGuard PhosBond.

For iron, https://www.seachem.com/purigen.php might work.
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