New Tank - Milky White Water
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New Tank - Milky White Water

This is a discussion on New Tank - Milky White Water within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Good Afternoon I was recently bit by the aquarium hobby and purchased a 45-gallon arc tank. I started a fishless cycle two days ago ...

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New Tank - Milky White Water
Old 05-28-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
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Exclamation New Tank - Milky White Water

Good Afternoon

I was recently bit by the aquarium hobby and purchased a 45-gallon arc tank. I started a fishless cycle two days ago and the water is milky white with snowy/stringy algae (?) growing on the walls and decorations. Is this normal for this stage in the cycle? If so, how long is the cloudiness expected to last? I've 'fed' the ammonia once a day with flakes.

  • Colonize (ATM)
  • StressZyme (beneficial bacteria)
  • Stress Coat (remove chlorine)
  • AccuClear (yesterday, one treatment)

  • .5 inch crushed coral
  • 1.5 inch river stone gravel

  • Marineland Emperor 400

Water Specs:
  • GH : 60-70
  • KH : 40
  • PH : 7.2
  • Nitrates : 0
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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On a side note, anyone have any suggestions for stocking?

I've considered a Cichlid tank, a barb/small shark tank, or a peaceful tropical community style tank. I'd love to hear your suggestions!
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
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A couple of comments. Cloudiness is normal in a new tank, this is most usually a bacterial bloom. Until the various bacteria--and here I'm not referring to the nitrifying bacteria but the myriad of bacteria species that colonize all surfaces and especially the substrate--become established, this is to be expected. It varies as to how long it takes, depending upon various factors. Live plants aid in this...I can't tell if those are live or fake plants on the wood. More info here:

A second point is on having crushed coral in the substrate. This will add minerals to the water and raise the GH and pH. Which restricts you to fish types. Livebearers, a few of the rainbowfish and cyprinids requiring basic medium hard water, and African rift lake cichlids. Now is the time to decide on replacing the substrate or not, before things go too far. The GH is relative low this your tap water reading? Half an inch of crushed coral will soon add considerable calcium and the pH will be very high. Just half a cup of crushed coral in the filter of my 90g raised the pH from 6 to 7.4 in a couple days and would likely have gone higher if I had not removed half of it. More info on this topic here:

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Old 05-28-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
I would imagine the stringy white goo appeared after you added Accu-Clear. What that stuff does is bind floating particles together and sort of solidify them so your mechanical filter will catch them. You will need to replace your filter cartridges from using the Accu-Clear.

Don't use the Accu-Clear again. I don't care how much the milky water drives you crazy, don't give into temptation! Let the tank cycle naturally or this will become a long-term battle.

I recommend against cycling with fish if at all possible. Do so with live plants rather than sacrifice fish. When you are going to start stocking it with fish, do so AFTER the bacteria bloom has balanced itself out. This could be a couple of weeks... or a couple of months.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
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Thank you, Byron. I will consider your advice. However, my tap water runs a rather low (acidic) PH, so being able to add a small buffer will help balance (and keep consistent) our tank water without the use of chemicals. I've done this with a second tank and the results are very promising. You are correct, there are no live plants on this tank.

Stormfish, I believe you misread my post. I am currently doing a fishless cycle and do not plan on adding any fish until the tank has fully cycled itself. Also, the Accu Clear did not cause the white particles as they were present before we used Accu Clear. I've used this chemical before and had very successful results.

The tank has started to clear today - less milky. I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #6
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Thanks Stormfish for your post...I earlier missed the chemical soup.

I was going to mention that careful what goes in the water. Even though there are no fish, some of these chemicals can have detrimental effects and can later harm the fish. Any product that claims to clear cloudy water is one that should never be used. Cloudiness usually occurs naturally and will dissipate on its own.

Unless something is causing it, and here we come to the other chems. Don't know what "Colonize" is, can you give us a link to that product? Presumably some type of cycling product, but they can be good or bad. StressZyme may be partly to blame for the cloudiness; this is a product I never recommend because if it does any of what it claims, it is interfering with the natural biological system and that is best left alone. StressCoat is a water conditioner but it also adds chemicals to coat fish which is questionable.

When setting up a new tank, I only use one product, a dechlorinator. With live plants, this is all you need; without plants, a bacterial supplement is OK to jump-start the cycling, provided it is one of those containing live bacteria specifically for this purpose. Tetra's SafeStart does, and Seachem's Stability too. Dr. Tim has a product too, forgotten the name.
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:42 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback. "Colony stablishes this biofiltration in days instead of weeks." And yes, we are a fan of their show. :]

Things are still milky white today, and the algae or bloom has gotten a bit thicker in some parts of the tank.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
I agree with what's been posted - I'll use a clarifier in the pool, but not the tank. These products bind small particulate matter so they can more easily be filtered out. It is unclear how long this chemical remains active and it stands to reason that it could very negatively affect the function of gills. I realize there's no fish now, but water additives can take many, many partial water changes to clear.

Just to assist in Byron's senior moment (I know them well!) I believe that Dr. Tim's product is called 'One and Only'. Also, In addition to Tetra SafeStart and Seachem Stability, API recently released their product called Quick Start.

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Old 05-29-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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Back on the buffering/GH/pH issue. What fish are intended for this aquarium?
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. :] Definitely helpful!

Byron, I am unsure (and torn), to be honest. My first thought was to get the tank running and cycled.

My other tank is a 20 gallon tall planted with black CaribSea sand and 2 golden panda mollies, 1 sail-fin lyre-tail molly, 1 dalmatian lyretail molly, 1 dwarf gourami, and three corydoras (albino, julii, emerald). They all play very well together and the Dwarf Gourami keeps the population down courtesy of two very healthy, active breeding molly pairs.

With this tank I wanted something a bit more exotic and dynamic - perhaps full of small peaceful schooling fish, colorful barbs and small sharks, an array of semi-aggressive colorful cichlids, or two larger tiger oscars and a pleco. Whatever I plan on going with, the first fish I plan on getting is a bottom/algae feeder - I've been reading about plecos. Some species of pleco can grow giant, however the ones I've been reading up on (Gold Nugget and Tiger) only reach 6-8 inches. They're really charming creatures (I also love corydoras - soft spots for bottom feeders I guess). Any thoughts on the perfect bottom feeder (or feeders) for a 45 gallon tank?

The decorations are natural brown river rocks, a couple silk plants, and a really magnificent piece of underwater root (plastic). Great places to hide and many places to school and swim about.

I'm overwhelmed with possibilities.

Last edited by Sybil; 05-29-2012 at 05:00 PM..
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