Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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unprejudice 07-21-2010 06:09 PM

Hazy Water
I came home from work today around 3pm EST. My water had went from crystal clear to hazy, I did a water change and moved my decore around and tryed to clean the gravel the best that I could. Added Activated carbin in my magnum filter all between 4pm and 5pm EST. Not sure what else I can do and what I need to look for. I just added that big catfish to my tank and now seems like my waters going to crap. Please help.

The water isnt green that I can see, just a creamly hazy color...

Tank size:55gal
Tank age: Running 3 months.
pH: 7.0
nitrite: Between Stressful and deadly
nitrate: Between Stressful and deadly
kH: Not Sure
gH: Not Sure
tank temp: 81 degrees
Tank Filtration: One Top-Fin 60gal water filter with zeolight in the cartridge (to bring my ammonia levels down) and 1 H.O.T Magnum 250 loaded with some rocks that lower my nitrite and nitrate leves down and activated carbin (hopping it will clear my water up)

Recent Tank Changes: Recently added two 18" 50/50 bulbs, three differ kinds of live plants, I want to say they are hornwart (about 4 braches with big leaves that roots in the rocks, some kinda small plant that the roots have to be above water, and this other stuff that just grows and floats all over the tank whever it wants to. I also added 1 7inch upside down catfish yesterday. I came home this afternoon from work and my water isnt crystal clear anymore...also changed my decore and did a good clean today.

Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): Fish seem to be doing well overall.

Volume and Frequency of water changes: 10-15% once a week

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Prime water conditioner, aquarium salt

Tank inhabitants: 5-7 Long-Fin Skirt Tetra, 3 Clown Loaches, 3 Bala Sharks, 3 Gold Groumie, 3 Silver Groumie, 2 Blood Fin Parrot fish, 1 7" upside down catfish, 1 rainbow shark, 2 dinosore something another (looks like a oversized worm), 1 Pacostimous

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): Added the large upside down cat fish, and two rocks for him to hide in

Exposure to chemicals: not sure

Digital photo (include if possible): I got pictures but the picture format wont work for this site.

Besides adding those, my water is hazy not to sure what I need to do about it. Any info will help and I hope I added everything in here that would be good to know, Hopfully I can get some help on what to do. Thanks in advance.

JohnnyD44 07-21-2010 06:24 PM

well, for starters the firs thing I noticed that jumped out at me were your water parameters. How long has this tank been set up?? Anything over zero in your ammonia and your nitrite is call for an immediate water change. My first guess is that you might be in the middle of a cycle. Have you read over the cycling process??

Your levels of "stressful to deadly" in the nitrite reading is also not good. But more on this in a bit.

For starters I would do a quick water change of atleast 40%. Do another reading after you do the water change.

Also, can you get a reading of the tap water you use?

There are some other issues to address, but lets start with a water change and some hopefully better readings!

~ Johnny

PS - Way to go on all the information given!!!! :-)

unprejudice 07-21-2010 06:33 PM

The tank has been up and running for about 3 months. I did all the cycleing and stuff water was fine, about 3 weeks ago my nitrite and nitrate levels started going up. I last tested the water yesterday and the levels are infact going down with the Fluval Clearmax. I did about a 15-20% water change earlyer, added more prime. My water from the city is perfect. I don't have any at home test kits. I take water samples to Petsmart near my house. I bought some Fluval Clearmax thats suspose to trap phosphate, nitrite and nitrate in hopes that it will lower my nitrite and nitrate levels and clear up my water. Ammonia has also dropped to next to nothing, maybe 0.0-0.1. All in all the water is still a milky creamy color. Not really bad but it wasnt there lastnight.

Byron 07-21-2010 07:05 PM

Johnny has hit on some issues, I'll just follow up a bit more.

Hazy or unclear water in itself is usually not a problem to the fish unless it occurs from ammonia or something similar, so rather than tackling the cloudiness we need to find the cause of the ammonia and nitrite which is the far more serious issue. Cloudy water from a bacteria bloom for instance can be ignored (it should be, water changes will make it worse).

First, stop using salt. Salt does not belong in a freshwater aquarium, except as a remedy and then only if the fish can tolerate it. You have fish that cannot tolerate salt. This is not likely the issue behind the cloudiness/ammonia but if the fish are dealing with ammonia and then have the added stress of salt, it only compounds the problem. Sometimes the supposed cure is worse than the problem.

Can you explain "that big catfish" you just added?

Prime as a water conditioner with partial water changes of 40-50% if ammonia or nitrite exceed .25 ppm is your best remedy at the moment. If your ammonia is now .1 that is OK.

Can you just confirm that your tap water was tested and has zero ammonia, zero nitrite and zero nitrate [I am assuming this is what "perfect city water" means but need to be sure]?

What changed in the tank (additions, new stuff, chemicals, whatever) three weeks ago when this started, if anything?


unprejudice 07-21-2010 07:21 PM

I've tested my water stright out of the spicket and its all 0's so its good. The big catfish I added was rescued from someone who was just going to flush it. I brought him home and gave his tank mates (4 full grown silver dollars) to a friend. I only had room for the one catfish. Once I added the catfish I went out and bought a hollow log and a root thing that he could hide in because the decore I had wasnt big enough for him to hide him. Before I added him to the tank my water was crystal clear. Like I said today the water changed over night and while I was at work today. As for the salt, im not doing full doses of slat (1 rounded table spoon for 5gals) I've been doing 1 rounded table spoon for 20gals, as for all the research said small ammounts of salt help with slime coats and gills. but for the last two water changes I have not added any salt. My main problem right now is getting my water clear again and getting my levels down. With that Fluval Clearmax is bringing it down but is doing so slowly. I added the 50/50 bulbs and plants because I read that the plants use the nitrate as furtilizer and will reduce the levels. but it wasnt doing it quick enough so I bought them rocks thats suspose to lower the levels. blah im at a lost.

james7139 07-21-2010 07:22 PM

it may be the large catfish is stirring up the gravel but thats just me in my own little world

unprejudice 07-21-2010 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by james7139 (Post 428456)
it may be the large catfish is stirring up the gravel but thats just me in my own little world

I was thinking the same thing as for what I've been reading its the settlement that gets mixed up. I just hope that in a few days it gets better. I've been using a new shrimp pellet food that sinks to the bottom for my loaches and for the catfish to eat and it settles with the alge chips i put in there for the alge eater to eat. This is the first time the water has changed on me like that. just freakin lost and wiggin out a little bit.

unprejudice 07-21-2010 07:32 PM

Nitrite and Nitrate
My biggest problem is getting my nitrite and nitrate levels down. I do my water changes like im suspose to I bought the Fluval Clearmax stuff and put it in my magnum 250 canister filter and added activated carbin also to get the water clear but what is the best way to get my levels down fast and safely

Byron 07-21-2010 08:03 PM


As for the salt, im not doing full doses of slat (1 rounded table spoon for 5gals) I've been doing 1 rounded table spoon for 20gals, as for all the research said small ammounts of salt help with slime coats and gills. but for the last two water changes I have not added any salt.

Salt affects the slime coat and gills because it is an irritant and the fish thus produce more mucous as a means of fighting it. Here's the reason.

Salt makes the water more dense than the same water without salt. The aquarium contains water. The bodies of fish and plant leaves also contain water [just as we do--we are, what is it, 90-some percent water?]. The water in the aquarium and the water in the fish/plant is separated by a semi-permeable layer which is the cell. Water can pass through this cell. When either body of water is more dense, the other less-dense body of water will pass through the membrane to equalize the water on both sides.

Water is constantly passing through the cells of fish by osmosis in an attempt to equate the water inside the fish (which is more dense) with the water in the aquarium. Put another way, the aquarium water is diluting the fish's body water until they are equal. Freshwater fish regularly excrete this water through respiration and urination. This is the issue behind pH differences as well as salt and other substances. It increases the fish's work--the kidney is used in the case of salt--which also increases the fish's stress in order to maintain their internal stability. Also, the fish tends to produce more mucus especially in the gills; the reason now seems to be due to the irritant property of salt--the fish is trying to get away from it.

There is varying opinion on salt, I admit that; but I have never yet found one written authority who recommends salt in a freshwater aquarium in general, only as a medication/treatment for something.

Dr. Stanley Weitzman, Emeritus Research Scientist at the Smithsonian and an acknowledged authority on characoid fishes (tetras, etc) writes that 100 ppm of salt is the maximum tolerated by characins, and several species show considerable stress leading to death at less, 60 ppm. 100 ppm is equivalent to .38 of one gram of salt per gallon, which is about 1/15 of one teaspoon [one level teaspoon is 6 grams].

This is why I do not recommend salt, whatever it may say elsewhere. I'm glad (as are those fish) that you have stopped; please don't use it again.


unprejudice 07-21-2010 08:07 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 428442)
What changed in the tank (additions, new stuff, chemicals, whatever) three weeks ago when this started, if anything?


I got to thinking. I bought brain shrimp (frozen), Shrimp pellets, and alge chips for some fish I was forgetting about that needed there own kinda food, and well the adding of the catfish and two new decore items. other then that its all the same..

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