Cloudiness in my new 20 gal maybe from used filter? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-25-2016, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Cloudiness in my new 20 gal maybe from used filter?

Hello all,

I haven't had a tank in a while. I used to have had a 5 and 10. I thought I'd try a 20 this time.

For filtration, I set up a Sun Sun canister pump and an Aqua Tech 5-15. They are both used. Each from two different tanks.

I rinsed them out really well and scrubbed them with a toothbrush. I did use the old sponges that were in the filters. I gave the sponges a good rinse. I started the cycling last night and this morning, the water was brown and cloudy. I did a water change this afternoon, left, came back home and it's still super brown and cloudy. I just added activated carbon, another sponge, and ceramic pellets.

Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this? How many water changes should I do per week to fix this? Will this interrupt the cycle?

I've attached a photo for you to take a look at.

Thanks in advance.


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post #2 of 9 Old 10-25-2016, 12:38 PM
Kill your lights for a couple of days and it should start clearing up.

On my planted tanks I sometimes will cloudiness and what I do is to kill the lights until it clears up. Then resume with less feeding and lights and adjust so plants live and the tank stays clear.

You might also try some live plants like anacharis.

my .02

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)

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post #3 of 9 Old 10-26-2016, 04:41 PM
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Happened to me 2... But I have no fish yet or live plants, read online that I should just leave it? Getting fish next weekend. Will it clear up by then? Should I drain my tank?
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-27-2016, 12:11 PM
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If the water is brown it's most likely tannins leaching from the driftwood I see in there. It's harmless but if it bothers you try removing the wood and boiling it to remove the tannins. Or you can just leave it and eventually it will stop leaching tannins but this may take many months and many water changes.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
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55 Gallon - African tank
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-28-2016, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your responses. I'm actually draining it and boiling the wood. Cheers!
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-30-2016, 10:53 PM
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Should settle

Originally Posted by braykbeat View Post
Thanks for all your responses. I'm actually draining it and boiling the wood. Cheers!
Always a good idea to boil any rocks/driftwood for bacteria or to leech out any excess tannins (especially moreso for bogwood).

I placed a large piece of driftwood in my 55 gall. Never bothered to boil (to large to boil anyways). I rinsed it in warm water then dropped it in. My tank has been clear, but turns yellowish after about a week, at which point I do a 20% water change and the water starts to look more clear again. I do not mind the yellowish color, I actually enjoy how it makes the tank look more natural with the live plants.

Tannins are not a threat to your aquarium, they are a natural way to lower the pH of the tank. No harm at all, except if the color bothers you. The cloudiness is not caused by tannins leeching out of the wood. If I had to guess, it would be from the substrate or rocks added. To minimize this, rinse substrates before adding to tank.

Or, and very likely, it could just be bacterial blooms beginning the Nitrogen cycle. This is a natural process as you may already be aware. Because you are using the old sponge, chances are your cycle started sooner than it would in a new aquarium, which would explain why so much cloudiness at one time. As soon as the nitrites become Nitrates and ammonia and nitrite levels reach 0, the blooms should never return. I would recommend adding fish once you have achieved these parameters with the Nitrates as low as 10ppm, before adding fish to your aquarium.

Everyone has different luck with water changes, I do 20% a week and that seems to work best for me and keeps my fish very happy.

Good luck with your upgraded tank, the hardscape looks wonderful!
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-31-2016, 07:32 PM
In the spirit of keeping tannins, I have though of adding extra so as to make a blackwater tank. With very dim submersed tiny LEDs that would shine through the darkness like little stars.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-08-2017, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Updated photos :))))
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-10-2017, 06:11 AM
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looking good! Loving the updates!

Owner of fish, hermit crabs, shrimp and plants!

Hermit Crab Association (HCA) is a great resource for hermit crab care
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cloudy , filtration , water changes , water quality

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