Cloudy Water, Need Help Diagnosing Problem?

fish_ninja
  • #1
HI all,

My tank water has become cloudy this past week and I'm not sure why. My water parameters are good (ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates <5).

Recently I replaced my sponge filter, which was due. I have an Aquaclear filter and only replaced that media. I also had had a filter bag of Purigen in place of the carbon media and took it out this week because I noticed that the bag had a tiny hole in it and it was leaking into my tank. I vacuumed what I could of it from the sand but will have to go back for round 2. Could this be the cause?

All my fish are accounted for. I have some plants in the tank and am new to caring for live plants, but have been trimming dead leaves or anything that looks brown as I go. I have a sand substrate that gets cleaned with a vacuum hose and a plastic fork attached to comb through and lift up debris.

I am worried about my fish, so any reassurance or advice on how to remedy the cloudy water is much appreciated!
 
kallililly1973
  • #2
That's the exact cause of the cloudy water. It's a bacteria bloom. Keep an eye on your parameters. A good idea in the future if you need to replace something in your filter only do 1 section at a time as to not disturb the BB being grown in there.
Edit: was the AC sponge falling apart or dirty? usually they last a long long time and can be rinsed in tank water and put back in for many many filer cleanings.
 
fjh
  • #3
If you replaced some of your filter media, your tank is probably going through a minI cycle. Your parameters look good and it shouldn't harm your fish. Don't do a water change, since that often just makes your tank even more cloudy. It should clear up in about a week once the BB in your filter catch up again and the BB no longer live in your water column. Basically this is one of those situations where, as much as you want to, just don't touch! lol
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
That's the exact cause of the cloudy water. It's a bacteria bloom. Keep an eye on your parameters. A good idea in the future if you need to replace something in your filter only do 1 section at a time as to not disturb the BB being grown in there.
Edit: was the AC sponge falling apart or dirty? usually they last a long long time and can be rinsed in tank water and put back in for many many filer cleanings.

Okay, wow! I feel so much better thank you! Yes, I usually rinse it (in tank water) but it was pretty brown.
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
If you replaced some of your filter media, your tank is probably going through a minI cycle. Your parameters look good and it shouldn't harm your fish. Don't do a water change, since that often just makes your tank even more cloudy. It should clear up in about a week once the BB in your filter catch up again and the BB no longer live in your water column. Basically this is one of those situations where, as much as you want to, just don't touch! lol
Thank you so much!
 
kallililly1973
  • #6
Okay, wow! I feel so much better thank you! Yes, I usually rinse it (in tank water) but it was pretty brown.
A brown sponge is a happy BB sponge until the sponge falls apart in your hand then you should continue to use it. It has a great deal of your BB on it. Give it a few good squeezes in a bucket of tank water swish around your ceramic media in the same water and replace your filter floss and its good to go
 
A201
  • #7
Regarding Aqua Clear filter media; just squeeze out the foam sponge every three or four weeks in a bucket of used tank water. The same goes for the ceramic media. My two Aqua Clear 110's have been up & running four years using the original media. The foam sponges show very little wear.
Don't worry, your tank will clear up soon.
 
Redshark1
  • #8
I've never replaced a sponge in my filter. They last forever. Just rinse in aquarium water.
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I've never replaced a sponge in my filter. They last forever. Just rinse in aquarium water.
Okay good to know! I guess I’m a bit of a clean freak, and worried that if the sponge was brown it wasn’t properly filtering the water. Thank you everyone for the feedback!
 
Beneful1
  • #10
An aquarium is one place where cleanliness isn't next to godliness much of the time
 
Redshark1
  • #11
The cloudiness should hopefully recede once the new sponge builds up a bacteria colony.

Something else that may help is to avoid overfeeding as much as you can as fish only need a flake or two per day.

Maintenance feeding requirement of five popular species of ornamental fish

Fish species/ Fish size/ Flakes per day/ mg food per day

Goldfish 3.59g 2.4flakes 14.36mg

Goldfish 11.66g 3.1flakes 18.33mg

Neon Tetra 0.18g 0.6flakes 3.8mg

Leopard Danio 0.30g 1.2flakes 7.2mg

Kribensis 1.02g 1.7flakes 10.2mg

Moonlight Gourami 1.87g 4.9flakes 28.5mg
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
The cloudiness should hopefully recede once the new sponge builds up a bacteria colony.

Something else that may help is to avoid overfeeding as much as you can as fish only need a flake or two per day.

Thank you for this. I use pellet food, and try to give less than I think is enough lol.
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I've never replaced a sponge in my filter. They last forever. Just rinse in aquarium water.

Also, my water is now green so I closed the blinds in my room and unplugged my tank light yesterday. I have it on a timer for 5 1/2 hrs per day and have never had a problem with algae bloom, so I’m hoping a break from the lights helps.

I am really hoping this all clears soon because I’m worrying about my fish! How long can I expect this to last?
 
Redshark1
  • #14
It will last until the bacterial colony in your filter builds back up again.

It is impossible to give a time limit because there are so many variables.

Bacterial blooms and algal blooms in the water column are utilising the nutrients that the filter bacteria would have consumed.

Once the filter bacteria have caught up the blooms will go provided there is no overfeeding.

I don't think the fish will be unduly disturbed by the blooms unless you add chemicals to kill them. Chemicals can harm the fish directly or dead blooms can reduce oxygen levels as they decay.

When blooms die out naturally due to competition they just fade away.

When you rinse the filter media (e.g. sponge) some of what you rinse away is waste from the fish but most of it is bacteria.

However, what you leave in the sponge after gentle rinsing in water from the aquarium represents sufficient bacteria for the colony to recover quickly.

It is necessary to rinse the sponge in order that the pathways for the water to flow do not become blocked.

I have become used to observing my fish carefully and can tell when the fish are undernourished or overnourished and adjust the feeding accordingly.

Sometimes just feeding the same amount is not enough as I often vary the diet and try new foods and it is difficult to give a comparable amount each time.
 
fish_ninja
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
It will last until the bacterial colony in your filter builds back up again.
.

Thank you for all your help!
 
Redshark1
  • #16
Sorry, I edited my last post to say rinse the filter sponge in aquarium water and not tap water.

This is because the colony of good bacteria that you want to keep in your sponge may be adversely affected by tap water which is usually a different temperature and composition and treated with disinfectants such as chloramine.
 

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