5 Gallon Tank Persistent Clouding in Walstad Tank

LightBrownPillow

Member
I've had a 5 gal Walstad tank running for about 2 months now, with plants, feeder shrimp, and all the hitchhikers which came in on the plants. For the first month water clarity was fine, but since ~Thanksgiving it's been severely cloudy (I believe due to the substrate). I tried running a sponge filter for 2 weeks with no change. I've done a few dosings of Aquaclear Water Clarifier with minimal impact. Only solution is water changes, but it clouds right back up in a few days.

Any suggestions of alternate chemicals I could dose? Walstad's book recommends alum or lime as options without a ton of explanation. The plan right now is to just keep doing water changes for a month or two to see if the stuff works its way out.
 

Mazeus

Member
IMO the first thing to do is to try and figure out why it is clouding. Are you developing green water? Is it a persistant bacterial bloom? Or is the substrate really fine and it is getting stirred up by inhabitants. Depending on the reason for the cloudiness, the solution will be different.

Can you give any more details as to the reason for the cloudiness.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
It could be the soil leeching into the water column. A thicker substrate covering should help prevent that.
 
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LightBrownPillow

Member
Mazeus said:
IMO the first thing to do is to try and figure out why it is clouding. Are you developing green water? Is it a persistant bacterial bloom? Or is the substrate really fine and it is getting stirred up by inhabitants. Depending on the reason for the cloudiness, the solution will be different.

Can you give any more details as to the reason for the cloudiness.
My best guess is the clouding is due to hydrogen sulfide bubbles breaking up from the substrate and bringing fine particles up with them. The substrate is an organic potting mix so there's a mix of particle sizes. The bubbling is not heavy but it is persistent (maybe 2-5 bubbles per hour), hence keeping lots of particles in the water column.

The water itself when I do changes is brownish, like weak tea, not green. While in the tank, the water does not appear a strong color, just very cloudy. Can't say if it's bacterial as I've never dealt with that before, but certainly there are lots of little critters swimming around.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
LightBrownPillow said:
My best guess is the clouding is due to hydrogen sulfide bubbles breaking up from the substrate and bringing fine particles up with them. The substrate is an organic potting mix so there's a mix of particle sizes. The bubbling is not heavy but it is persistent (maybe 2-5 bubbles per hour), hence keeping lots of particles in the water column.

The water itself when I do changes is brownish, like weak tea, not green. While in the tank, the water does not appear a strong color, just very cloudy. Can't say if it's bacterial as I've never dealt with that before, but certainly there are lots of little critters swimming around.
Seems like you need a much thicker substrate layer to cover the potting soil. It is definitely not hydrogen sulfide or everything in your tank would be dead
 
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LightBrownPillow

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
Seems like you need a much thicker substrate layer to cover the potting soil. It is definitely not hydrogen sulfide or everything in your tank would be dead
I'll see about getting more gravel then. What gas might it be then? Sure stinks like rotten eggs when I poke around to get a bunch of it out.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
LightBrownPillow said:
I'll see about getting more gravel then. What gas might it be then? Sure stinks like rotten eggs when I poke around to get a bunch of it out.
Most likely just ammonia altho I could be wrong
 

kellerjake2004

Member
LightBrownPillow said:
I'll see about getting more gravel then. What gas might it be then? Sure stinks like rotten eggs when I poke around to get a bunch of it out.
I'm having the exact same problem. My walstad tank has been up for about 2 months It's planted and stocked by hitchhiker snails. Did the thicker gravel layer help? has the problem been resolved?
 
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LightBrownPillow

Member
kellerjake2004 said:
I'm having the exact same problem. My walstad tank has been up for about 2 months It's planted and stocked by hitchhiker snails. Did the thicker gravel layer help? has the problem been resolved?
It was actually a bacterial bloom. I turned down the lighting for a few weeks and it went away. Did not do anything to my substrate.
 

kellerjake2004

Member
LightBrownPillow said:
It was actually a bacterial bloom. I turned down the lighting for a few weeks and it went away. Did not do anything to my substrate.
Thank you so much
 

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