Cloudy water after adding sand? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
If you have adequate filtration the removal of the old substrate should have absolutely no impact on your bacteria since they will be in the filter, not the substrate. Not to mention that the bacteria that cause cloudy water are NOT the nitrifying bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite. The bacteria that cause cloudy water are heterotrophic bacteria that live in the water column (not in filter, on substrate, etc.) and consume food, feces, etc. and produce ammonia. This bacteria would not be impacted by a filter or substrate change.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is not a chicken. If you just added sand and the water is cloudy it is dirty sand.
I'm sorry, but this is inaccurate. Bacteria are sticky and colonize surfaces in a biofilm. There are more bacteria in the substrate than anywhere else, breaking down organics [I agree, these are not nitrifying bacteria]. When the substrate is replaced by clean material, these bacteria have to rebuild. The bacterial bloom in the water is caused because there are organcs in the water (tap water is often full of microscopic organic matter) and the bacteria quickly appear to handle these organics. As the substrate matures, this dissipates. You can read more detail here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

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Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #12 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 01:58 PM
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I just did a water test and got zeros across the board (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) but the tank is planted, too.
This is normal, the plants will handle the ammonia/ammonium. The bacterial bloom in the water is a variety of different bacteria, as I mentioned in my previous post. That linked article will explain things.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #13 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 07:35 PM
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I don't agree. Yes, many bacteria develop biofilms, but that doesn't mean they all do. And although bacteria can colonize the substrate, that doesn't mean every tank has a significant amount. I have changed out the entire substrate of tank after tank after tank and never had any issues with bacterial clouds, mini-cycle, re-cycle, or anything like that. If you let a lot of debris rot in your substrate then yes, you could have a significant amount of bacteria in the substrate, but even then you may not have any issues by swapping out the entire substrate at one time.

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post #14 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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For the record, I didn't swap out any substrate. This is a brand new tank with brand new sand.

-Kristen's tanks:

14g Tall:
Planted, eco-complete, Red Cherry Shrimp

16g Aqueon Bowfront:
Planted, eco-complete, 8 Ember tetras, 7 Green neon tetras, 6 Harlequin Rasboras

36 Aqueon Bowfront: Planted, sand, 10 Julii cories, 8 Zebra Danios
7 Cherry Barbs, Asst snails & Ghost shrimp
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 07:41 PM
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I think it just wasn't as clean as it possible could have been.

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post #16 of 24 Old 06-22-2012, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
I don't agree. Yes, many bacteria develop biofilms, but that doesn't mean they all do. And although bacteria can colonize the substrate, that doesn't mean every tank has a significant amount. I have changed out the entire substrate of tank after tank after tank and never had any issues with bacterial clouds, mini-cycle, re-cycle, or anything like that. If you let a lot of debris rot in your substrate then yes, you could have a significant amount of bacteria in the substrate, but even then you may not have any issues by swapping out the entire substrate at one time.
I assume you didn't bother to read the article, so I won't prolong that discussion as the article covers it. In the case of the OP, the cloudy water is most likely a bacterial bloom which in my 20+ years of experience occurs in all new tanks, to some degree depending upon factors. And changing out the substrate in any tank is establishing a "new" biological system however one looks at it.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #17 of 24 Old 06-23-2012, 07:19 AM
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I did.

Again, looks like dirty sand, acts like dirty sand, it isn't bacteria.

Again...I have swapped out entire substrates in tank after tank after tank after tank after tank and never had any issues. If you have enough filtration the bacteria will live where their needs are best met, in the filter, NOT randomly/evenly spread out across any available surface in the tank. Although there is a lot of surface area in the substrate it does not provide the flow and therefore food and oxygen that they require. They will live in the filter where they get a strong contact flow bringing them the food and oxygen they need, not sitting on the sand or gravel where they get a little flow. This is basic ecology, organisms concentrate where their needs are best met based on limiting factors (like water, food, etc.).

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Last edited by Fishguy2727; 06-23-2012 at 07:32 AM.
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post #18 of 24 Old 06-23-2012, 08:38 AM
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I missed part of the article, sorry.

I agree that an unvacuumed 4" bed of gravel will trap a massive amount of debris, allow it to rot, and result in massive amounts of bacteria (exceeding what is found in the filter of that tank). But I do not agree that it is a given that in any tank there are more bacteria in the substrate than the filter. As stated the flow rate alone will favor the nitrifying bacteria in the filter, not the substrate. A well maintained bed of gravel will have some debris, but not necessarily enough to throw the tank off balance if removed. I also think that the bacteria in the substrate with a lot of trapped debris are living off of that debris, meaning if you remove the substrate and the bacteria and debris inside it you should not throw the tank itself off balance since the bacteria were there for the debris, not the free ammonia and nitrite in the water column. In addition, sand will not trap nearly the amount of debris that gravel will, resulting in much less debris in the substrate to feed the bacteria system that can occur with gravel as a substrate.

Which source discusses the heterotrophic bacteria that consume waste and produce ammonia?

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post #19 of 24 Old 06-23-2012, 09:08 AM
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I used playsand and I washed the crap out of it. Literally. ;o) The water was almost clear when I was done, so I thought I'd gotten it pretty clean. I'll try to be patient. That's sooo not my style, though. LOL

Been there and done that, I had the same results...cloudy water.
Do yourself a favor, go get some pool sand and ditch the play sand. Play sand is loaded with who knows what. Some people on here swear by play sand but the sand they may be getting is completely different from what we're buying in our parts of the country.
Pool sand is cheap, clean, and like someone wrote he dont even rinse it. I rinse mine to be safe but its clean.
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post #20 of 24 Old 06-23-2012, 10:58 AM
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Been there and done that, I had the same results...cloudy water.
Do yourself a favor, go get some pool sand and ditch the play sand. Play sand is loaded with who knows what. Some people on here swear by play sand but the sand they may be getting is completely different from what we're buying in our parts of the country.
Pool sand is cheap, clean, and like someone wrote he dont even rinse it. I rinse mine to be safe but its clean.


I would be totally interested in trying pool sand, if and when I ever do a larger tank and need sand. Isn't there something, (silicone) that causes some problem? Phosphates? Thought I remember hearing something negative about playsand, but don't remember what it was.

Gwen

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