Cloudy Tank... HELP

BrandyH312

Member
Hey, guys. I've had my tank up and going for sometime around a month now. I as doing weekly water changes as suggested from you guys. Then I was told my tank would never finish cycling due to the water changes, so I'm trying not to do a water change. However, my tank has gotten insanely cloudy in the last few days. When I checked this morning, it has just gotten worse. Y'all have any clues as to why this is happening or how to fix it? Tank info below.

55 gallon tank with Penn Plax Canister filter for 150 gallons
5 zebra Danios
2 Dalmation Mollies
3 corycats
2 Tiger Barbs

Last time I tested my water (1 week ago) before my last water change
pH- about 7.5
Ammonia- .25
Nitrite- .25
Nitrate- 0

I have been adding Prime every other day to help with the ammonia and nitrite, and again, those results were before my last water change. I will test it again as soon as I get home today.
 

lilirose

Member
It's incorrect to think that doing water changes will stall a cycle. The cycle is in the filter, not in the water. Even if the thinking was that you need ammonia to hurry the cycle- you're doing a fish-in cycle, so it's very important that you do frequent water changes for the benefit of the fish even if it does slow things a bit. The presence of ammonia and nitrite is very damaging to gills and will shorten the life of the fish even if it doesn't kill them immediately. Adding Prime is not a substitute for changing stale water for fresh water. You should be doing changes more than weekly- you should do one whenever you see detectable ammonia and nitrites.

That said, the best cure for a cloudy tank is time. When the filter is properly cycled, things will balance out. It might not
look great now, but there is no "quick fix" that will sort it that won't do more harm than good.
 
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BrandyH312

Member
lilirose said:
It's incorrect to think that doing water changes will stall a cycle. The cycle is in the filter, not in the water. Even if the thinking was that you need ammonia to hurry the cycle- you're doing a fish-in cycle, so it's very important that you do frequent water changes for the benefit of the fish even if it does slow things a bit. The presence of ammonia and nitrite is very damaging to gills and will shorten the life of the fish even if it doesn't kill them immediately. Adding Prime is not a substitute for changing stale water for fresh water. You should be doing changes more than weekly- you should do one whenever you see detectable ammonia and nitrites.

That said, the best cure for a cloudy tank is time. When the filter is properly cycled, things will balance out. It might not
look great now, but there is no "quick fix" that will sort it that won't do more harm than good.
I was told that I wasn't giving time for the bacteria to establish. I'm not fish smart enough to know anything otherwise. I just know what my local fish store expert told me. All of my fish have been doing well and my ammonia nor nitrites had been that high, and that's why I did my water change then. My only real concern is if there could be anything in the water harming my fish while it is clouded up.
 

Vinh

Member
Base on the test you took last week.Your last week water was ok.You need to test it again after you got home to know the current tank water parameter as of today.The Prime is just a chemical to neutralize the tap water to be safe water.It does not help any thing if your tap water already treat and add to tank.Save it for tap water treatment next water change.During the time your tank process the nitrogen cycle with fish.You should do 10 to 25% or more depend on how much ammonia/ nitrite/ nitrate contain on your current test.You should do water change often but not unnecessary ,to refill the nutrient and mineral lost while your plants and your fish consumed daily ,and to reduce the amount of toxic chemical in your water tank like ammonia/ nitrite / nitrate.
Base on your last test.Your tank did not create the nitrate.I guess your tank did not have the 2sd bacterial which convert the nitrite to nitrate yet ,because it had 0 nitrate (with some reason all these bacterias are dead or you have a lot alot of plants to consumed all nitrate) So now it start to have bacteria boom.That is just a wild guess.When you get your current water test today.It will tell more about why your water tank is cloud...
 
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BrandyH312

Member
Vinh said:
Base on the test you took last week.Your last week water was ok.You need to test it again after you got home to know the current tank water parameter as of today.The Prime is just a chemical to neutralize the tap water to be safe water.It does not help any thing if your tap water already treat and add to tank.Save it for tap water treatment next water change.During the time your tank process the nitrogen cycle with fish.You should do 10 to 25% or more depend on how much ammonia/ nitrite/ nitrate contain on your current test.You should do water change often but not unnecessary ,to refill the nutrient and mineral lost while your plants and your fish consumed daily ,and to reduce the amount of toxic chemical in your water tank like ammonia/ nitrite / nitrate.
Base on your last test.Your tank did not create the nitrate.I guess your tank did not have the 2sd bacterial which convert the nitrite to nitrate yet ,because it had 0 nitrate (with some reason all these bacterias are dead or you have a lot alot of plants to consumed all nitrate) So now it start to have bacteria boom.That is just a wild guess.When you get your current water test today.It will tell more about why your water tank is cloud...
Thank you very much! I will test again when I get home and post my new results.
 

lilirose

Member
I disagree strongly with your local fish store expert. I have almost never gotten truly good advice from a fish store employee. Think about it- if your fish die, what will you do? You'll go to the fish store that had the nicest employees and buy more fish. They're invested in making you feel good so that you'll keep buying stuff from them. Even if they have been selling fish for a long time- their expertise is in keeping fish alive long enough to sell them, not in keeping them alive for a full lifespan as pets.

I've been keeping tanks since the 1980s, and I can tell you that even small amounts of ammonia and nitrate will harm your fish, and you need to be doing water changes to remove these chemicals even if you think they look like they're fine. Cloudy water will not harm fish, it just looks bad, that's all.
 

mattgirl

Member
I couldn't agree more than I do with lilirose Water changes while doing a fish in cycle is critical to the health of your fish. I know you were told that water changes remove the food for the bacteria (ammonia) but the fish are constantly adding it so there is no way you can remove all of it with water changes. Water changes MAY slow the cycle a tiny bit but the health of your fish is much more important that a completed cycle.

The cloudy water may look unsightly but it won't harm the fish. Ammonia and/or nitrites will.
 

Vinh

Member
lilirose said:
Cloudy water will not harm fish, it just looks bad, that's all.
I really don't want to jump on this judgment but I want to adding more thing about cloudy water:
First you get to know why your water tank is cloudy.If not then it maybe danger to your fish or maybe not.
Let say in this case.The second bacterial is not doing their job to convert nitrite to nitrate ,and the nitrite is showing on the test as the Op described over the test.So what was happen to them?Let say are all die by some unknown reason ,and the air feeding few more bacterial to tank and they start to have more..During that time.Fish food still feeding, the ammonia / nitrite still create and it have 0 nitrate still...then ammonia and nitrite woot increase to the roof and become heavy toxic ,then in sudden the 2sd bacteria boom build up and catch up and convert all nitrite to nitrate.,water become cloud then your tank more than ever have heavy amount of toxic nitrate--> your fish get harm..
Let say your tank has a lot alot of plant ,they consume all the nitrate which your tank has ,while the ammonia and nitrite keep build up by food,that make your test has 0 nitrate,and this process keep on routing ---> your fish get no harm
In the time my water cycle normally.I never have 0 nitrate unless I kill them by no treat tap water accidently.And as you all known ,the 2 sd bacteria take more time to build during water cycle than the first bacteria...So! In this case.I think cloud came from bacteria boom and if it boom like that to danger level to have most ammonia,nitrite,nitrate than safe level then it is no good!
Correct me if I am wrong!
 

lilirose

Member
TBH I think you're overcomplicating it. I've never known nitrifying bacteria to cause cloudy water at all, not when fish-in or fishless cycling, whether or not I did lots of water changes, whether or not the fish were healthy. It is not a normal occurrence in a fishless cycle when no water changes are being done, even during the stage when ammonia is low and nitrites and nitrates are both high.

I also deliberately add nitrates back to my cycled planted tanks (as it is important for plant health) and this also does not result in cloudy water.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood but frankly I found your post very hard to follow.
 
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BrandyH312

Member
I did a water change on Thursday and this is Monday. I just wasn't going to do another because of what the guy told me. So I can go ahead and proceed water changes and watching my levels. I just wasn't sure about the cloudiness. Again, I'll post my test results after I test it again tonight.
 

Vinh

Member
lilirose said:
I'm sorry if I misunderstood but frankly I found your post very hard to follow.
It just a explaining about what happen on the process of nitrogen cycle on my way of talking.! Sorry! If it is so complicated and confusing... all I do is just clear it out deeper so we should estimate what may hide beside the cloudy water with no water testing.
 

lilirose

Member
I do understand the nitrogen cycle very well, it's really not terribly complicated. I'd like to assure OP again that cloudy water won't harm the fish. However, an uncycled tank will harm fish, so I suggest that it's better to focus on measurable parameters like ammonia and nitrite rather than worrying about the cloudy water right now. If there is ammonia and nitrite in the water, the fish are being harmed, regardless of what the water looks like.
 

SAM321

Member
Do you have a UV filter?
 
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BrandyH312

Member
SAM321 said:
Do you have a UV filter?
I do not, Never heard of one actually.
 

SAM321

Member
I recommend to Google it. A submergable 5 w is enough and possibly fix many issues
 
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BrandyH312

Member
mattgirl lilirose
I have now tested my water and ammonia is at a 1 which is crazy high, and it has never been that high. I’m doing a water change immediately. Anything else I need to do from here? Add any prime or anything like that?
 

mattgirl

Member
BrandyH312 said:
mattgirl lilirose
I have now tested my water and ammonia is at a 1 which is crazy high, and it has never been that high. I’m doing a water change immediately. Anything else I need to do from here? Add any prime or anything like that?
Try to get it down as low as possible with the water change. Once you get it down with the water change add prime to detox any that is left. Try your best to keep it down to no more than .25 Zero is best but often difficult to do.
 
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BrandyH312

Member
mattgirl said:
Try to get it down as low as possible with the water change. Once you get it down with the water change add prime to detox any that is left. Try your best to keep it down to no more than .25 Zero is best but often difficult to do.
That was my plan. Just getting some better advice because I definitely don’t know what I’m doing here. Another question, I add sink water, obviously. I have been treating the tank before I add the water, but do I need to treat it after I add it?
 

mattgirl

Member
Are you using buckets or a python type system for refilling the tank? I use buckets and treat each bucket before pouring it in the tank. If you are using a python you need to add enough Prime to treat the full volume of the tank before you start refilling.
 

JROD84

Member
BrandyH312 said:
mattgirl lilirose
I have now tested my water and ammonia is at a 1 which is crazy high, and it has never been that high. I’m doing a water change immediately. Anything else I need to do from here? Add any prime or anything like that?
I suggest getting a bottle of Tetra Safe Start+. get one big enough for your tank, I got one that was for a 100 gallon tank for a 29 gallon tank. Seriously it worked for me. I saved my daughters tank this way and the tank cycled in 9 days. My ammonia levels were at 8ppm. Poor fish

Here is what I did:

1. Did a 90% water change *use dechlorinator such as prime and replace the water
2. Shake the bottle of Tetra Safe start+ really good and hard and dump it in the tank...all of it. can't overdose bacteria
3. Wait and test water on 2nd and 3rd day and every day after that until you get the 0 Ammonia and Nitrites and some Nitrates. keep in mind that you may not see any nitrites at all or very little. I think I only saw .50 nitrites and it dropped from there.
4. Do not do any water changes for 14 days...I know, it goes against what everyone is saying; unless the ammonia levels get too high.
5. Keep testing until you get 0 reading with some nitrates
6. Once you get the 0 readings, I'm sure it will be safe to do the water change about 50% and your tank has cycled.

I do about 25 to 30% water changes every Friday. I too have cloudy water but i'm taking the advice from everyone and bought a UV light Filter...Greek Killing Machine and wait it out.

It worked for me so I'm just telling you my experience with it. It took 9 days....Good luck.
 
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BrandyH312

Member
Thank you so much. I’ll be looking into that.
 
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BrandyH312

Member
BrandyH312 said:
mattgirl lilirose
I have now tested my water and ammonia is at a 1 which is crazy high, and it has never been that high. I’m doing a water change immediately. Anything else I need to do from here? Add any prime or anything like that?
I did a 50% water change last night. Treated it all. Woke up this morning and it was a little cloudy but seemed fine. Came home after work and tested my water again, and my ammonia is back up to a 1. So I’m doing another water change now, but why is this happening? Is it the cycle or what? I’m getting defeated here.
 

lilirose

Member
This is happening because your tank is not cycled. Once it's cycled, the ammonia will no longer be a problem.

I usually recommend taking 6-8 weeks to do a cycle in a new tank before you add any fish (this is called "fishless cycling" and involves a lot of water tests but very few changes, as you don't have to worry about keeping the fish alive). However, you have already added fish, so it seemed pointless to mention this before now. If you want to keep the fish healthy and the ammonia levels low, you will have to do frequent water changes (possibly daily) until the cycle has completed. This should happen in 6-8 weeks.
 

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