Cloudy Water

Karen Morphis

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I have a 55 gallon tank that has been set up for 3 and a half months. Fully cycled, planted. Fish and plants healthy and growing. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates. The water has been cloudy for a couple weeks now. Tested for phosphate and got a reading of .5 so I put chemipure in the filter and reading is now 0 but water is still cloudy after 12 days. I do gravel vac twice a month and regular water changes. I even tried doing a 35 gallon water change and a day later it started getting cloudy again. I do not over feed so what can the problem be?
 
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Karen Morphis

Karen Morphis

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Went through the ammonia spike, then the nitrite spike. When nitrites went to 0, the highest nitrate reading I got was 2. That was on 3-31. I know my test kit is good, it’s only 3 months old. Should I just do regular water changes or larger ones?
 

Ronniethewitch

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I would just keep regular water changes - the bacteria will catch up on its own...its on every surface in your tank and your filter. It was the zero nitrates I was questioning. But you have plants so your nitrates will likely always stay on the low side because plants take it up for food. Bacterial bloom clears up within a couple of days in my short experience. I have only been at it for a year but it happened a couple of times in the first 4 months or so. I tried using a water clearing chemical the first time but it seemed to make it worse. I bet it goes away in a couple if days without you doing anything different.

add:unless it is algae, which you have to get on top of with big water changes and less light
 
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Karen Morphis

Karen Morphis

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I was trying to figure out if it was bacteria or algae. I thought it might be algae because the water was very slightly green. That’s why I tested for phosphate. Little or no phosphate had me confused. I only have a regular strip light so I didn’t think it was to much light. Guess I will try a few days of no light at all and keep doing water changes. I have had aquariums off and on since the seventies and never had this happen except when I bought a stronger light that was supposed to be good for plants. Had a bad algae problem and went back to my strip lights and it never happened again.
 

Ronniethewitch

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Karen Morphis said:
I was trying to figure out if it was bacteria or algae. I thought it might be algae because the water was very slightly green. That’s why I tested for phosphate. Little or no phosphate had me confused. I only have a regular strip light so I didn’t think it was to much light. Guess I will try a few days of no light at all and keep doing water changes. I have had aquariums off and on since the seventies and never had this happen except when I bought a stronger light that was supposed to be good for plants. Had a bad algae problem and went back to my strip lights and it never happened again.
Do you get any sunlight on the tank? how long do you keep the lights on? Too many hours of light, even strip lights an still cause algae. I used a filter with a uv filter to get rid of mine. I don't use that filter anymore but have kept the lights to less than 10 hours and I do large water changes, often.

add: blocking out light altogether will mess with your plants...
 
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Karen Morphis

Karen Morphis

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No sunlight at all. The lights are usually on about 12 hours a day. I will try cutting back though. I have been doing water changes every one to two days. Even after a 35 gallon change there was still some cloudiness and by the next day it is just as bad as before. I have even considered taking the fish out and changing all the water but that would be a last resort.
 

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Karen Morphis said:
I do gravel vac twice a month and regular water changes.
going to need some specifics:
how often do you do water changes? weekly?
how much water do you remove? 50%?
what filter? what filter media?
how do you do your filter maintenance?

if you're having a bacteria bloom you either have too much nutrients in the water or you lost your cycle or your bioload increased.
try increasing vacuuming to every week. and do 50% weekly water changes.
 
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Karen Morphis

Karen Morphis

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I have always done weekly water changes but for the last 2 weeks since the water got cloudy I have been doing daily or every other day. Was doing 20 gallons but yesterday I did 35 gallons. I have a ugf and an hob with 3 stage filtration. When I put the chemipure in I had to remove the carbon cartridge to have room for it. It is only a 20-40 gallon hob as it was just in addition to the ugf. I have ordered a larger one that will be here tomorrow. I rinse the filter material in the aquarium water as needed when doing water changes. I have been checking my water parameters almost daily since first set up. Since it finished cycling I have seen no change in my numbers. I haven’t added anything new except for a couple plants. I cut back on the food thinking I might be over feeding when the water started getting cloudy. There is very little that is not being eaten.
 

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