Cloudy water - HELP - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-28-2018, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Cloudy water - HELP

Hi All,

I'm hoping you can help with my cloudy water situation!

I'm a bit new to freshwater tanks, we have a big 220 gallon saltwater system but our 40 gallon freshwater is giving some trouble!

So far I've done 2 complete water changes, I drained out all the water scrubbed down rocks and glass, vacuumed rocks and the water seems to clear then a week later becomes cloudy again! Eventually (after a couple weeks, starts to turn green)

This has been going on for a couple months and I cant seem to find the reason why!
My lights go off every night and I don't have many fish (maybe 5) I am using the carton filter system Eheim Professional 4+. I am thinking it may be the filter as this started to happen after using this filter. I just changed the filter back to my Aquafilter 70 but I hate the noise it makes!

Any suggestions?

Trying to save my tank!
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-28-2018, 05:50 PM
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Whats the water parameters, if its milky in colour it might just be a bacteria bloom.

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post #3 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 07:35 AM
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If youíve cleaned everything as well as youíve indicated, then my money would be on a bacterial bloom too.

Can we rewind a bit further? What was happening before you started having trouble? How long has it been set up for? Did you do any water tests to determine ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings prior to your cloudy water problem? How about after?

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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I havent done any water tests as of yet
Its been set up for just over a year and we have been having this issue for about 3 months now.

It goes cloudy about a week after a water change and eventually starts to turn green. Do you think the lights are on to strong? I have the Orbit Marine lights

I am decreasing the intensity of the lights now to see if that was the issue.

Do you think it has to do with the carton filter? It seems to have been having issues after I changed it

Thanks! :)
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 08:12 AM
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Cloudy water - HELP

Okay well water tests are the only way to know whatís actually happening with you water. Without that, itís just a guess, and what to do/where to go next based on a guess is probably not going to yield the results you want.

At this point my guess is that there are at least 2 issues at hand - cloudy water and green water. Green water is an algae bloom and is caused by an imbalance of nutrients and light. Is the tank getting direct sunlight or is it just the tank light? Whatís your photoperiod - how many hours of light a day?

Cloudy water is often a bacterial bloom, and is the result of an over abundance of ammonia in the water. The bacteria (the wrong kind) gorges itself on the excess ammonia and multiply quickly, which is the clouding of the water. This will ultimately run its course and the bacteria will all die and the water will clear. Without an established good bacteria colony, your tank is susceptible to one bloom after another. The good bacteria lives in the filter and keeps the levels too low for the bad bacteria to get a foothold.

I think the filter itself has absolutely nothing to do with any of your problems. What youíve done with the filters.....thatís something to discuss. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle and what it means for your tank?

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta

Last edited by jaysee; 01-29-2018 at 08:16 AM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for helping out!

As I am fairly new I am not familiar with the nitrogen cycle

My tank lights are on for about 8-9 hours a day

How long does it take for the bloom to take its course? Should i do weekly water changes still or let it take its course?

Any suggestions?
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 09:09 AM
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Cloudy water - HELP

The nitrogen cycle is the science that keeps your fish alive. Understanding how it works is critical, so I would suggest you do a little research on that. Afterwards, we would be happy to answer any questions you have about it. I could tell you what it is, but there are nice diagrams and stuff online.

Lights - do you have live plants in the tank? Otherwise, you can leave the lights off.

What do you have for fish in the tank?

The cloudiness of the water and all that are symptoms of a problem - gotta address the problem rather than treat the symptoms. My best guess, which can be confirmed with a water test, is that your tank is no longer cycled. Seems like things were going fine, until you had some cloudiness. That can happen from time to time with a cycled tank - called a mini cycle, where the beneficial bacteria are temporarily overwhelmed by ammonia. These usually clear up on their own in a matter of days - once whatever is causing the excess ammonia is taken care of. Anyways, seems that in your effort to fix this problem you went nuclear on your tank, tearing it down and scrubbing everything, and even changing filters. That would have destroyed the beneficial bacteria colonies in your tank, breaking the cycle. Not to make you feel bad, but that was the absolute worst thing you could have done. Once you are familiar with the nitrogen cycle youíll understand why.

Is that more or less an accurate assessment of where you were and now where you are?

Moving forward, your priority is establishing a beneficial bacteria colony. So absolutely no more cleaning or scrubbing of anything. If you know someone who has a fish tank, you can get some of the media from their filter and stick it in your tanks filter. Thatís the best thing you can do, and will cycle your tank anywhere from instantly to a matter of days. If you have to grow it yourself, itíll take 4-6 weeks.

I know thatís a whole lot of stuff, so Iíll stop here. Go read up on the nitrogen cycle and then this will all make much more sense.

Oh, and it would be great if you had a liquid test kit for determining ammonia, nitrite and nitrate - especially if you have to go the 4-6 week route....

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much!

I do have plants in the tank so I cant shut the lights off but I will try to reduce the light time as much as possible.

As for fish, right now I just have some neons as I was worried about the state of the tank so did not want to purchase more

Thank you very much for your help, I will definitely do some research and hopefully after 4-6 weeks it will be corrected! I do not have another person with a freshwater tank
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-29-2018, 11:19 AM
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You got some good advice from jaysee.
Good info on cycling.
I thought I got what I needed to know about freshwater fishkeeping from the Innes book (19th edition), which was considered to be the bible for the hobby by some, and it does not even mention the nitrite/nitrate cycle. So, it is understandable.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-30-2018, 11:54 AM
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Kill your lights for a few days to see if it clears up. The plants will survive. then resume with 1/2 duration lighting and adjust until the tank stays clear and the plants thrive.

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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