CLoudy Water Won't Clear 29 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Cloudy Aquarium Water' started by brine-shrimp, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. brine-shrimpNew MemberMember

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a 29 gallon tank that has had persistent cloudy water for well over 10 weeks. It seemed to go cloudy when the weather changed from summer-like to fall. This tank was set up in March of 2009 and after it's original cycle was crystal clear until September of this year.

    Here are the water test stats:

    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    Nitrite: 0.3 (at the last reading this week. Varies between 0 and 0.3)
    pH: 7.2
    GH: 6 (Hardness)
    KH: 10 (also hardness as tested with my Tetra Laborett kit)
    Temp: 78

    All the water comes from our well which has tested ok for drinking quality.

    Filters: The original Walmart 20 to 40 gallon hob Aquatech that came with kit and a second aquatech hob 5 to 20 gallon filter that I had on hand for extra filtration since it wasn't doing anything else. Added 3 weeks ago a tetra 2 to 15 gallon inside tank filter that we moved from a 10 gallon tank. I have decided that the wally world filters aren't handling matters and added an AquaClear 70 last week to eventually replace all the other filters once it is established. The original filters are still running right now along with the AquaClear 70.

    The filter media is changed according to instructions or if it is clogged and I only change one filter at a time. I can say that the Aquatech 20 to 40 hob media clogs in about a week to the point that half the water is going over the bypass.

    Inhabitants: 3 tiger barbs, 3 neon tetras, 2 paradise gouramis, 2 black mollies, 2 black high fin tetras, 1 6 in pleco, 1 6 inch red tail shark, 4 small guppies (school project refugees) , 1 kuhli loach, 2 upside down glass cats, 2 albino cory cats (refugees from a cichlid tank), and 2 chinese algae eaters. All these fish except the cats have been in the tank since early summer. The pleco and red tail are the oldest residents.

    All the fish seem to be perfectly happy. I did lose a Walmart neon gourami about a month ago but there didn't seem to be anything special about his death - just natural causes.

    I added the little catfish and algae eaters about 2 months ago as an attempt to help eliminate uneaten food. My kids were also feeding a lot of shrimp pellets to the mollies (who are real pigs lol), but we took the pellets away, along with the rest of the food and got that under control so they are fed once or twice a day. We even added a glass dish to drop algae wafers in for the pleco to help stop food from spreading.

    I had one live plant in the tank and pulled it about a month ago, but that changed nothing. I have no idea what sort of plant it is any more - just some short stalks with leaves on them. It now is in another tank which is perfectly fine. Thought maybe there were dead leaves or something unser rocks causing problems.

    I have been regularly changing 10 to 20% of the water qeekly. At each change the cloudiness will reduce but returns full force in a day or two. The cloudiness is white and you can clearly see clouds of white microscopic "dust" in the tank. As a last resort I used Tetra Algae control but that hasn't accomplished anything either.

    My last move has been to remove all of the plastic plants and the smaller rocks and run that way. Everything is in buckets of tank water to hopefully not lose all of the bacteria. Nothing has been washed or anything like that. Hasn't seemed to help and no obvious algae growth.

    I would also note that we have a 10 gallon tank with two angel fish (3 or 4 inches long) and two little catfish that seems to have developed the same issues as of about a month ago. Also have a 5 gal tank with one yellow cichlid (the guppies used to be in it, too) that is beautifully crystal clear.

    Help! We really can't think of anything else to try. The LFS is clueless. Can you have a permanent bacterial bloom?
  2. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Hello and Welcome to Fishlore.

    According to your readings your tank is not cycled because your put .03 for nitrIte, 0 for nitrAte. Is that correct? That would explain the bacteria bloom.

    As for the filter maint. I never replace my filter media, only rinse it in bucket of tank water to get the gunk off. The more fish you have the quicker it will get gunked up. You have alot of fish in that 29 gallon. IMO How often do you do gravel vacs?
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  3. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the site. I'm sorry to say but I think you are significantly overstocked, which could be a contriuting factor.
  4. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to fishlore!!!
    I also think you are in a mini cycle or something to that effect....being so overstocked, but having extra filtration, is great though!! but no need to change out the media for a long time...its ok to rinse it in tank water removed when doing water changes, but NEVER change it out unless its totally falling apart...and then you can put new media in a few weeks before to let it establish this point, i wold see if you can find some prime or amquel+ and do daily 20% water changes for 2 weeks and see if that helps anymore and gets the tank cycled completely..also running fresh carbon will help but that needs to be changed out every 3 weeks...i highly recommend always running carbon with an overstocked really helps ALLOT ..but again, the carbon part needs to be changed out after 3 weeks..not the filter pads just the carbon.....good luck!
  5. OP

    brine-shrimpNew MemberMember

    Thank you so much everyone. I know the number of fish in the tank is on the high side. Since everyone but the pleco and red-tail are small guys, I figured I could get away with it. Maybe the refugees pushed it over the top.

    It is the NITRITE that is at 0.3. Is this residual bit of nitrite keeping the cycle from completing? And, leaving a never ending bacterial bloom?

    I do gravel vacs with every water change. Could any of these fish be moved in with the chichlid? I am thinking not but...

    And, yes, the nitrite goes between 0.0 and 0.3.

    :animal0068:Hello. I merged your posts to save some space.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2009
  6. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    There are different kinds of overstocking. One is too high of a bioload (too many fish) for the filter to handle, then there is fish that are too big for the tank, and also too many different kinds of fish.

    IMO your big tank has some fish that are too big for the tank, as well as too many different kinds of fish. The 10 with 2 angels is overstocked as well. And the 5 with a yellow cichlid (yellow lab?) is overstocked too, as that fish will grow much too big.

    I'm sorry, but I think you'll be battling these problems until the tank stocks are overhauled.
  7. OP

    brine-shrimpNew MemberMember

    Thank you for all of your responses.

    I don't really know what sort of chichlid he is. He came from the LFS and was labeled "Yellow African Chichlid." He's bright yellow and about 2 1/2 inches long with big black eyes. When my camera is charged again I can take a picture. How big would he get?

    How big of a tank is required for 2 angel fish? At their size right now they are about 7 inches altogether. The cory cats are about 1 1/2 inches long each.

    And, yeah, I know the pleco will eventually be a problem. I would like to have a much bigger tank for him by the time we get to that point. Fun fish, though, he is a real character!
  8. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    For the Angels you need at least a 30 gallon or bigger. IMO

    If I were you I'd take back those Chinese Algae Eaters. You don't need them. They get big, aren't the best algae eater and will give you problems in the long run.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009

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