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Zorse 12-28-2011 07:59 AM

Please help - problem with cloudiness
I have a 180 gallon that for about a month now has been cloudy. It has just been cloudy at the very top of the tank. Until tonight... within an hour all the water in the tank became cloudier than ever.

0 ammonia
0 nitrite
+10 nitrate within a week
API liquid test kit

I have 6 other tanks that stay crystal clear. I feed the same food in this tank. Have no large or messy fish in this tank. I don't let the nitrate go up high. 1200gph filtration.

I've tried large water changes, didn't help. I thought maybe cloudy from dirty filters so I rinsed all the filter material (in used tank water of course) and then it was clear for a few days then back to cloudy.I can't see how it's possible it could be particles in the water as there's a massive amount of filter materials for the water to go through.

I'm very scared there's something wrong with the tank. :( I have no idea what could be causing it, nothing different with this tank than my other tanks. Any ideas? I really could use some help. It does look like bacterial bloom, but after a complete fishless cycling with no presence of ammonia or nitrite on test right now, why would there still be bacterial bloom? I don't think it's bacterial bloom but it does look like it. I'm scared now tonight that it went from quite clear to being very cloudy within an hour. I think it's been running since the middle of September or October (can't remember) with fish in it (after the fishless cycle). I thought the cloudy water would go away over time but seeing as tonight it got much worse I think there's a problem.

The ONLY thing different in this tank than the rest are 2 rocks. I've had rocks leech before, which just caused discolored water... would a rock leeching cause cloudy water? The fish seem fine but I'm very concerned because the water shouldn't be cloudy. Please help if anyone has any ideas of what to do. Would putting carbon in the filters help?

fishyfarts 12-28-2011 08:40 AM

I hear your pain. I had a similar problem this last summer. At first I noticed the problem in the wash coming out of my powerheads which appeared overly 'fizzy' but then it turned into a 'haze' that wafted through the whole tank. My levels were all perfect and I was changing the water like crazy but it would just come back within a day.
My wife kept yelling at me that it was the sand substrate but I didn't listen at first. I had three panda corys that died through all this. Finally I pulled the fish and plants out and cleaned the tank completely and trashed the sand and put in the old gravel and the haze hasn't come back.
In retrospect I wonder if it wasn't caused by the dieing fish since the tank had been great for the prior year. However, ever since, my plants have refused to grow like they used to. They live but their not getting long at anywhere near the rate they used to. I attribute some of this to my small 15G tank. Obviously not in your case. Which is why I just bought a 40G which is HUGE for my little house.

I hope somehow maybe I helped ya. I'm not a fish genius like some here, just trying to keep it clean is a task for

The crazy thing is the whole time all my levels were absolutely perfect which I still don't understand

Byron 12-28-2011 01:30 PM

In both your situations i would first suspect a bacterial bloom.

[Fishyfarts, just a quick comment on your situation--the sand itself was not likely the cause (depending what type of sand, it could have been) but more probably the new substrate was too "clean" and bacteria can very quickly multiply.]

Zorse, to your issue. I have had much the same, only in two of my 7 tanks. I would suspect bacteria. I frankly do not know all the causes of this, but obviously something occurs that causes bacteria to suddenly multiply. Water changes do not help as this only provides more opportunity for bacteria to feed on the organic substances that are present in so-called "clean" tap water that is dechlorinated. I prefer to wait these blooms out, and sometimes they can be gone in a few days, sometimes in several weeks. As long as you are not seeing any sign of stress with the fish, I wouldn't worry. Have a read of the section on bacterial blooms in my article for more background:

Carbon would help, unless you have live plants. Plants will help with this better, and since carbon removes nutrients the plants need, better to stick with the plants. But if there are no live plants, carbon is advisable. It will need to be replaced periodically, probably every 2-3 weeks if it is adsorbing something.

The rock might be related. One would have to know what it is, where it came from, what it may have absorbed over time, etc. You might want to remove the two rocks and see if things change. It is one possibility.


Zorse 12-29-2011 10:56 AM

Thanks for the replies!

I woke up today and it's back to being clear with the cloudiness at the top. I'm going to take the rocks out and put in some carbon to see if it'll help any. Hopefully I'll be able to try some plants in the future. I have sand as substrate but it was rinsed very good and sinks extremely fast so I don't think it would be causing the cloudiness (or I hope not). I hope I don't have to worry if it's a bacterial bloom as the tank is still pretty new, but I don't have a large stock and I don't feed a lot so it's confusing to me. I hope it'll clear up on it's own.

Also I noticed something strange at the bottom of my wet/dry filter box. There's a brown/red slime sitting at the bottom of it, not being pulled by the return pumps, just sitting there, very strange. I wonder what it is and if it could be causing the cloudiness? I'm going to vacuum it out next water change

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