Established 20 gallon long clear for two years…cloudy last 4 months!

Ikentina

Hi Folks,
Cannot figure out why my 20 gallon lone…well established with healthy happy fish will NOT clear!
2 Rainbows (male & female)
2 Rasboras
2 Neon Tetras
2 glow light tetras
1 clown pleco
2 snails
3 Amazon sword plants (that do tend to accumulate brown algae) took 2 of the 3 out of tank 3 weeks ago…no change.
Tank Chem is close to perfect: pH 6.6, Amm: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates 30 ppm

I use a 30 gallon Aqueon filter rinse filter in 3 weeks, change every 6 weeks

I vacuum 1/5 of my tank each week which I’ve done for the last 2 years!

I cut back on sunlight now 11AM -7 PM to reduce black brush algae which worked, but as Amazon swords have expanded
brown algae has gotten worse which is why I temporarily removed 2/3 of them. Did not change cloudiness!

Any ideas?

Best,

David
 

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Dechi

It looks like a bacterial bloom. Try feeding less and add carbon to your filter if you don’t already have some. Or change it if it’s too old.

I’m wondering why you dispose of the filter cartridge every 6 weeks ? Is that your sole biomedia source in the filter ? If so, you’re disrupting the established beneficial bacteria colony every time. Which might be the cause of your problem also.
 

Akeath

My best guess is that too much detritus is building up in your substrate. Gravel vacuuming 1/5 of the substrate every week is a really small amount. I always gravel vacuum my entire substrate each week to keep things clean - and it usually needs that much gravel vacuuming. A lot of the detritus in the tank settles in the gravel, and that could be slowly building up over time. So I would up the amount of gravel vacuuming you do and keep up with that each week. In my experience, gravel vacuuming the entire substrate each week has never had a negative impact on the beneficial bacteria in the tank, and I've never seen the slightest measurable increase in my Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate levels from gravel vacuuming the entire substrate. In fact, gravel vacuuming each week helps keep my nitrogenous wastes quite low - around 5 to 10 ppm max.

It might also help to add some filter floss or other very fine filter media to the filter to help get rid of the current amount of cloudiness, in addition to gravel vacuuming more of the substrate regularly. If nothing else helps to lower the cloudiness, getting a UV light for the tank could be a last resort.

On a side note, all of the fish you have except the Clown Pleco are schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least 6 of their own kind. You might consider rehoming some of them or getting a second tank so that they can be kept in the group sizes that they require. They will be much more prone to illness, shy, and in some cases nippy when kept without decent sized schooling groups. You would also be able to observe a lot more normal social behavior from them if they were in groups of their own kind.
 

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