slighty cloudy water

Discussion in 'Cloudy Aquarium Water' started by rocktothesoul, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. rocktothesoulNew MemberMember

    IMG_20140628_170942.jpgIMG_20140727_161303.jpg Hello,

    I'm having some trouble figuring out what is going on in my tank. I have a freshwater tank with 3 Glofish tetras and 1 albino catfish. I do regular water changes and maintenance. I did a test strip and my NO3 is at 80 , my NO2 is .5, my GH IS 150, my chlorine is safe,my alkalinity is between 120-180, ph is 7.2.... the other thing in the past week I noticed my decore has either mold or a lot of algea on it how do I fix these problems? the first picture on here was my tank last week and the new one is this week.... nothing new in the tank.... please help
  2. ppate1977

    ppate1977Well Known MemberMember

    If this is a newer set up, it is most likely an algae bloom. It will go away itself if that's the case. Keep your aquarium out of sunlight and perhaps limit the time you keep your aquarium lift(s) on. I use a timer and only keep my lights on for 7-8 hours a day. Good luck.
  3. OP

    rocktothesoulNew MemberMember

    my tank is about 3 months old and my light is on a timer from 10-12 and shuts off till 2 and back on till 9 but its not in a window its about 6 feet from a window. Should I lessen the light time more?

  4. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I would highly recommend you get an API Master Test Kit for Freshwater. The test strips are notorious for being inaccurate. Plus you don't seem to have an ammonia test with your test strips, and an ammonia test kit is very important. The API kit will have an ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH test kit included.

    With a NO2 (nitrite) reading of .5 it appears your tank is still cycling (so you may also have elevated ammonia levels). It is very common for tanks to cloud up while cycling this cloudiness will clear up on it's own eventually.

    But other causes cloudiness can be figured out by the color of the cloudiness:
    White cloudiness-Bacteria Bloom (this is what cycling tanks get, but a tank does not have to be cycling to get a bacteria bloom) this will clear up on it's own.
    Gray Cloudiness- Caused by overfeeding. guessed it, stop overfeeding
    Green Cloudiness-Algae bloom. Solution, allow less light into the tank.

    If that mold or algae you are describing is brown, then it is diatoms (also know as brow algae for some reason). This is very common in new tanks. While unsightly, it is harmless to fish and will go away on it's own eventually. If the algae is green, once again too much light is entering the tank. But do note you will almost always have some algae in a tank.
  5. OP

    rocktothesoulNew MemberMember

    wow thank you for all the info..... all this is alil overwhelming I moved from wi where we had underground spring water and didn't have to do all this stuff for a simple tank.
  6. Phishphin

    PhishphinWell Known MemberMember

    Well, even springwater will undergo the process of the nitrogen cycle, you just would not have to worry as much about hard metals and chlorine. Unless there were hard metals in your spring water. :)

    Likewise, you will still end up with algae. If what you are describing is, in fact, brown, it is likely the brown diatoms jdhef mentioned. If it is not, just wait, it's coming . :)

    Here are some tips I put together regarding the brown diatoms:

    Brown diatoms, also referred to by some as brown algae, is the bane of many a new aquarist. Just when the new tank really feels established, something begins to creep along the walls, plants, and decorations. The next morning, your once beautiful new tank looks like a shameful mud puddle.
    What you are witnessing, is the very natural and very irritating establishment of brown diatoms. These diatoms are unique in that they can grow WITHOUT a light source. Please keep this in mind if well meaning individuals hear "algae bloom" and tell you to reduce the lights in your tank. Brown diatoms have a unique cellular structure that uses silicates to construct cell walls, thereby allowing it to grow and grow without photosynthesis. Guess what has a lot of excess silicates? New tanks and new substrates.
    Before I venture into possible solutions, be aware that brown diatoms will dissipate on their own. The excess silicates in a new tank will no longer be in excess and the diatoms will no longer have the proper structures to survive. They may reappear at times, but without the same intensity as with a new tank. At the same time, any prolonged growth will appear unsightly and may negatively impact the available oxygen in your water column.

    Here are a few steps you can do to reduce and remove the brown diatoms.

    1. When it is on the glass, take a sturdy paper towel, start from the bottom, and pull upwards without moving the paper towel around. The objective is to trap the diatoms on the glass in the paper towel without spreading them throughout the tank (as scrubbing may do). Then throw the paper towel out and grab another. Repeat this until the walls are clear. (note: magnetic cleaners and scrubbers are excellent for removing other types of algae, but will simply shuffle the brown diatoms around your tank.)

    2. Diatoms will grow on the plants and decorations. Your plants may even begin to suffer as their pores used for gas exchange become "blocked". Since I do not advocate removing the plants for scrubbing, as this can sometimes cause more harm than good to established roots, just brush off the diatoms into the water column right before a major partial water change. Some of these will end up in the suctioned water, some will end up on the glass to be pulled out via paper towel, and yes, a portion will fall back onto the plants. This will be a process that's repeated a few times while the diatoms persist.

    3. My filter sponge actually became clogged with brown diatoms. I noticed less flow and had to clean my filter. I found huge colonies of the stuff. If this happens to you, place the filter in a bucket of tank water (maybe from one of those partial water changes), and shake out the media/sponge. This will knock off the bigger chunks of diatoms, while keeping your beneficial bacteria colonies intact. Do not rinse in the sink or you will destroy the bacteria colonies and your nitrogen cycle will suffer.

    4. I noticed a significant change after adding a small bag of phosphate/silicate remover to my filtration system. They look like little white beads that absorb the silicate in the tank; in effect, they are removing what thediatoms require to form cell walls. It's recommended that you check it in a week. If the white beads are all brown, remove and replace. You can actually reuse the stuff, but you need to let it dry out and release what's been absorbed (then you can rinse it off and reuse). It is a useful product if you intend on starting more tanks in the future, but some may consider it excessive if you are only worried about a single tank. Once the diatoms disappear from your tank, remove the bag completely. While there is no risk of the beads releasing the silicate back into the water column, it is generally best to remove chemical treatments after issues are resolved.

    5. Last, but not least, you can employ a small cleanup crew, although I would only recommend this if you are interested in continuing to care for them. If this is a route you've considered, there is none better than the nerite snail. They are one of the few invertebrates that actually seek out brown diatoms. Nerites have a small bioload and are very reluctant to reproduce in freshwater (as opposed to other snails). I cannot stress this enough: If you plan on adding any invertebrates, be mindful that your brown diatoms will eventually disappear and you will need to ensure they maintain proper nutrition.
  7. ricmcc

    ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    I really can't make out just what colour the sediment or whatever on your ornaments is, or the colour of your cloudiness? Might you let me know? Thx, rick
  8. OP

    rocktothesoulNew MemberMember

    wow ok

    it looks to be a brownish....and the cloudiness is alil milky
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2014
  9. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Okay, sounds like diatoms and a bacteria bloom. Both should go away on their own in time.

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