04-14-2010, 05:40 PM
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Outpost, next time you have water tested by the store, make sure you ask them for the specific numbers. While I don't doubt that your lfs guy may be honest, saying that the ammonia "looks good" doesn't really tell us anything; "good" to him might be .25 or something, and this could be the cause of the cloudiness. Or the latter could just be the new tank settling, it is only two weeks old. Or it could be a bacteria bloom. Not knowing the exact ammonia results makes it hard to pinpoint, but the cloudiness while unsightly is most likely far less of a concern than the effects of the normal cycling.
Did he also test for nitrite? This is the next toxin to appear once the ammonia has peaked and subsided which may or may not have occurred yet. This cycling process takes anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks and varies from aquarium to aquarium. Ammonia and nitrite are both highly toxic to fish, and at any sign of trouble (fish stress, like lethargy, heavy breathing, gasping) an immediate 50% water change is recommended. If you use a conditioner like Prime it detoxifies ammonia and nitrite (for 24 hours) without harming the bacteria that are slowly colonizing the surfaces.
The plants will certainly help, they grab a lot of ammonia, and with only two fish in the tank they might even get you through this without serious ammonia or nitrite spikes. Keep an eye on things.
I would myself ride out the cloudiness, at least from what we know so far. Adding carbon might help, but with plants I would not as carbon also removes plant nutrients, and frankly the plants are your best protection during all this so good growth is important.