White Cloudy Water---HELP!!!!

ewiz06

About 3 weeks ago I did what I later heard was called a binge tank cleaning >.  I changed about 35-40% of my water, cleaned my gravel, put new charcoal media in the filter and cleaned the bio-wheel from my filter pump.  My water, which was green cloudy to begin with, soon became white cloudy after the change.  I learned from the folks at the local pet shop  that I had depleted most of the useful bacteria from my tank, and now it has to cycle again.  One shop said I should do 15-205 water changes every week, while another said I don't need to change the water.  I added a solution that claims to place "good" bacteria into the tank.

My question is how long will it take for my tank to clear up?  It has been 3 weeks and I see no difference.  Also, what suggestions do you have to speed up the process or to simply help me get a clear tank again? :'(

I need some assistance badly.  THANKS!
 

Gunnie

Welcome to FishLore! It's great to have you with us!

It sounds like your local pet shop actually has some folks that have a clue. That is a good thing! I agree with them, so let's get this situation under control.

First off, all of those products that claim to cycle your tank are junk. Some will help speed up the process some, but if it's been 3 weeks, then the stuff is not working. Bio Spira is the only product that actually cycles your tank immediately, and it's expensive and hard to find. Most folks will use cycle in their tanks, and I had zero results with that stuff when I tried it as a new hobbyist. I have read good things about stability made by seachem, but it won't help instantly. I know the cloudiness is ugly, but it's not hurting your fish by being cloudy.

In order to figure out what's going on with your cycle, you are going to need good test kits for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a great master test kit that has everything you need to get started and it's economical. They usually cost about $30.00 locally, but you can find them online for around $15.00. Having these tests is absolutely necessary in keeping your fish alive and your tank healthy. We won't be able to tell you anything about what's going on in your tank until you can post the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Continue doing weekly water changes (probably more once we know your ammonia and nitrite levels), and don't change the filter media or clean the bio wheel unless the water flow is seriously restricted. Then just rinse them in old tank water instead of water from the tap. Let us know what your levels are so we can help you. Once the balance is achieved again, you will suddenly wake up one morning to a tank that is crystal clear.
 

ewiz06

Gunnie.

Thanks so much for your quick reply. I did have my water tested at the pet shop and they said that the ammonia and nitrate levels were fine, but my Ph level was high. I've been adding some acid buffer to lower the levels and it has come down to close to 7.0. I guess I will need to get a complete kit in order to give you accurate measurements.

My tank is 46 gal, so I don't know if size matters in how long it will take the tank to cycle. Also, should I avoid adding any new fish until my tank clears up?

Again, any ideas or suggestions to help me are very appreciated. ???
 

Gunnie

If you click on the link below and print the page, you should probably be able to take the page to your local petsmart and get the master test kit for their online price.  The page is a little confusing, but it looks like the master test kit is $13.49.   



Don't add any more fish to the tank!  You don't want to complicate your problems you are having right now.  Only add fish when everything is under control.  It's all about balance, and your balance is off right now. 

If you were fishless cycling, you would be adding ammonia to the tank to keep the level up to between 4 and 5.  It wouldn't matter how big or small your tank was because you would be doing the same thing but with different amounts of ammonia.  Since you are cycling with fish, the amount of fish in the tank determines how quickly the ammonia rises in your tank.  More fish = more ammonia.  With that said, it's really not something you can determine with a lot of accuracy.  Plus every time you do a water change while cycling, you set the cycle process back some.  But with fish in the tank, water changes will be necessary to keep your fish alive.  I would say the average time it takes to cycle a tank is 6 weeks, but there are so many variables.   
 

ewiz06

Thanks Gunnie. I will go to PetSmart today and buy the kit and then report my results. Another question for you, how often should I change my water and water water% should I change? I assume I should not clean the gravel, as this will remove some of the bacteria I need.

Again, thanks!
 

Gunnie

Do a water change when your ammonia or nitrite levels get above 1.0. Then start with changing out 1/3 of the water to see if it brings the level down enough. Don't vacuum the gravel unless it's really nasty. You can hover your vacuum tube just above the gravel to pick up stuff laying on top.
 

smillermom

It's interesting you brought up the cleaning the gravel. I was at a friends house for a cook out yesterday and her son was telling me when he cleans his tank, (5gallon) he removes the fish, empties all the water and washes the gravel. Yikes!!!! That is the biggest mistake people make and they totally reomove most of the bacteria. When you get your test kit, check the ph level of your tap water. It is very difficult to lower your ph and should be done by more natural products such as peat moss in your filter. All else fails, when you stock a tank, stock with fish compatible to your ph levels. Another thing that is very hard when cycling a tank, chemicals. If you are adding lots of different chemicals such as ammonia reducing ammoloc, different cycling products, ph reducers, you are extending the time needed for the cycling process to complete. The water cloudiness will clear when it stables out, even then every 2 weeks for adding fish is better and don't add a bunch at the same time. If your water is green cut down the time your lights are on and feedings. Both will cause excess algae. I have used Bio-Spira twice with great results. I set my tanks up, ran the filters for a week, added the Bio-Spira and the fish at the same time. Excellent results but boy, expensive because if you have it shipped, you want it immediately as it needs refrigeration and comes packed in ice. The only reason I did this was because of a tank prob with a friend who gave me some fish from her 29 gallon. It was stocked with fish that were not compatible such as 2 female convicts in a community tank! I pulled out a 20 gallon and 37 from storage, set them up, ordered Bio-Spira, and added the fish when all was set. I checked the levels and they were excellent right from the get go. I have high ph and was lucky I received hardy fish!
 

ewiz06

Thanks smillermom. I will definitely keep this in mind. I will post all of my test readings once my kit arrives. I'm hoping that the water is a little less cloudy by then. I won't be adding anything additional or doing anything to the tank (except wiping the algae off of the glass) until I know what condition my water is in.

I'm just a bit impatient. It's been 3 1/2 weeks since I cleaned the tank and I am really hoping to get clear water soon!
 

vin

Thanks Gunnie.  I will go to PetSmart today and buy the kit and then report my results.  Another question for you, how often should I change my water and water water% should I change?  I assume I should not clean the gravel, as this will remove some of the bacteria I need.

Again, thanks!

Just a quick note - the PetSmart price is only good on line....The in store price is $30......So even if you pay $5 for S&H you're still ahead of the game.
 

Gunnie

Thanks Gunnie.  I will go to PetSmart today and buy the kit and then report my results.  Another question for you, how often should I change my water and water water% should I change?  I assume I should not clean the gravel, as this will remove some of the bacteria I need.

Again, thanks!

Just a quick note - the PetSmart price is only good on line....The in store price is $30......So even if you pay $5 for S&H you're still ahead of the game.

I have read many hobbyists have taken the add to PetSmart and they honor the online price at the store.
 

fish_r_friend

yep I did that they also will honor the price of a competitor if you have proof
 

ewiz06

I did go into the store yesterday in hopes of purchasing the kit, but all they had was a similiar kit from a different company.  They only had individual tests from the manufacturer from the online ad, which would have cost about $35.00 if I purchased them separately.  I ordered the kit from the ad online yesterday and I'm tracking it through UPS.  It is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, 06/01/06.

I will post the test results as soon as I get the kit.  In the interim, I assume I should not do any type of water change.  The water is still cloudy, although not quite as bad as it was a week ago.  It is still far from being clear.  I'm wondering, is the tank just going to all of a sudden clear up once the bacteria level reaches normal or will I have to do serious water changes or add something to the tank??    ???
 

Gunnie

It will all depend on what your readings are. Hopefully your kit will arrive tomorrow so we can help you unravel the mystery.
 

vin

Thanks Gunnie.  I will go to PetSmart today and buy the kit and then report my results.  Another question for you, how often should I change my water and water water% should I change?  I assume I should not clean the gravel, as this will remove some of the bacteria I need.

Again, thanks!

Just a quick note - the PetSmart price is only good on line....The in store price is $30......So even if you pay $5 for S&H you're still ahead of the game.

I have read many hobbyists have taken the add to PetSmart and they honor the online price at the store. 

Didn't know that - thanks for the info.....
 

Gunnie

No problem. We are here to share.
 

ewiz06

Just got my kit. It is the exact same one that was in the store for $27.99. I paid a total of $21.64 w/ shipping, so once you figure in sales tax I saved about $8.00. If you order items that cost over $40.00 the shipping is free, which will save you another $6.50. In any case, I have performed all of the tests and here are my results:

Ph level approx. 7.5
Nitrate approx. 4.0
Amonia approx. 0 to .25 (closer to 0)
Nitrite approx. 0 to .25 (closer to 0)

I know my Ph level is definitely high. I will add some acid buffer to lower the Ph (after I get suggestions). Both the ammonia and nitrite levels are closer to the 0 (normal level) than the next closest shade.

My tank is still considerably cloudy, although not as bad as it was 1-2 weeks ago. I would love to be able to have it clear again.

I would appreciate any help I can get to make my tank clear ???
 

fish_r_friend

your pH is not hight at all I strongly recamend not to change your ph thoubht
 

ewiz06

Thanks Fish f friend.  I know Gunnie was awaiting my test results before providing recommendations.  Any suggestions on how to clear up my water?  This cloudiness is driving me crazy.
 

Mmmsushi

Might try it. I haven't had to use this myself as I am still new to this whole thing myself.
 

ewiz06

Thanks mmmSushI but this product won't help my cloudy water issue. I actually have it already.
 

smillermom

Hi! Try not to use chemicals if you can in your tank. 7.5 ph is high but not terrible. Have you tested your tap water? Also, just do your 10-15% daily water change as your ammonia is low but still will hurt your fish and by the way, do you have any fish in the tank now? If you do it is the bacteria boom and chemicals to clear cloudy water will not make a difference. The best philosophy is less is best with chemicals unless you need medications and other fish related disease fixes.
 

ewiz06

Thanks smillermom. I do have six fish in the tank, including 2 med/large angelfish, 1 gourami, & 2 large striped danios. My corys didn't make it past my initial water change, which was about 4 wks ago.

I did do a 20% water change 2 wks ago, but I was advised to not do any water changes for awhile since my problem is from removing most of the good bacteria when I did my unfortunate binge cleaning (cleaned all filter, biowheel, gravel, etc, along with a 40% water change).

Since this was 4 wks ago, do I just wait for the cycle to complete or is there anything else I can do now to get my tank clear again? Should I do daily 10-15% water changes???
 

Gunnie

You look like your tank is very close to being cycled again. Don't do any more water changes unless the ammonia or nitrite goes above 1,or your fish appear stressed. Hopefully it will be back to normal in a few days!
 

ewiz06

Thanks Gunnie!!

Three quick questions. Should I expect the water to just start clearing up within the next few days without doing anything?

Once the water starts to clear how often should I clean the tank, what % of water & should I vacuum the gravel?

Finally, when would it be safe to add more fish?

I guess that's more than three, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. ???
 

Gunnie

Hopefully the water will clear up soon! It should be crystal clear when your nitrites and ammonia go back down to zero.

I change out 50% of my water every week on my tanks, and clean 50% of my gravel. You may want to only clean 25% of your gravel right now for the first few times just so the balance isn't disturbed too much again.

Once your tank is cycled again, you can add more fish, but only 1 or 2 at a time, and that's if they are small fish. New fish add more ammonia to the tank, and they affect your balance of bacteria in the tank. Adding too many will make your ammonia and nitrites go up again until your bacteria grows to meet the need.
 

ewiz06

Thanks Gunnie.

I will keep a watch on the ammonia and nitrite levels. I may do another test today and report the findings just to see if I'm headed in the right direction. I will not add anything to the tank (chemicals) to try to lower these levels.

I will follow your advice regarding water changes, doing them once per week at 40-50%. I will also only add a few fish at a time.

I have a Penguin 330 w/ 2 biowheels. It has 2 baskets for charcoal media & 2 filter bags as well. Should I only change them out once every 4-6 weeks once things have settled? Would it hurt to change the media now before the ammonia and nitrite levels level out? Don't know if it would help.

Thanks.
 

Gunnie

Don't touch the filter media or you will go back to square one. That's where most of your good bacteria is right now! If they appear clogged, or the water flow back into the tank is sluggish, then swish them in used tank water but that's it. Charcoal is not necessary all the time for a healthy tank and does not have to be replaced on a regular basis. It won't hurt anything to leave the charcoal in there.
 

reaper12122

I can't get my 55 gallon black sand substrate tank to clear up. Here's my specs all the water parameters are great and correct I have black sand substrate a big lace rock and a couple fake pots and drift wood its been set up for about 2 weeks no fish don't want to until it clears up I have a fluval 306 canister filter so any suggestions lol
 

Junne

Hello there!

When you say, "Set up" are you in the process of a fishless cycle? What are you using to cycle with if no fish?

Do you have a picture of your tank? That would help
 

reaper12122

You must be registered to see images
that the best pic I got and I used tetra safe start
 

AnthonyC4C

Reaper... Nice set up!... if this has only been set up for 2 weeks... give it some time... when you say all your waters are correct do you mean your tank is cycled or do you not know for sure?
 

reaper12122

its cycled I use the liquid master kit for testing so everything is right
 

AnthonyC4C

its cycled I use the liquid master kit for testing so everything is right

Then just give it some time...you should be all set and when you decide to add your Gilly friends that should help as well...it did for me...my tank got cloudy out of nowhere BUT then went back to clear...all while having fish in...
 

reaper12122

thanks I'm getting my cichlids in about a week
 

flynruff

You said you had no fish yet, Tetra Safe Start will not work without fish. Did you add ammonia to complete a fishless cycle? If not I would guess your tank is not cycled. What are your water readings?
Read https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/q-a-with-tetra-about-tetra-safestart.58116/ for the full info on sucessfully using SafeStart.

I would hazard a guess you are having a bacterial bloom. Unfortunately the wrong type of bacteria. The bacteria are feeding on the organics naturally occurring in the water.
I like this article for bacterial bloom explanation

I would buy some more safestart and follow the directions in the TSS FAQ link above. As the beneficial bacteria take hold, the cloudiness will clear up on its on. No immediate danger to fish, just watch for signs of stress since there can be a drop in oxygen in the water.
 

AnthonyC4C

thanks I'm getting my cichlids in about a week

What kinds are you getting?
 

reaper12122

ok thanks will do
 

reaper12122

mbuna
 

Junne

You must be registered to see images
that the best pic I got and I used tetra safe start


Okay if you used TSS ,you need to add fish in within 2 hours or your bacterial will die off. The whole thing with TSS is you need to keep the ammonia present. and do so for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you do a pwc. It is recommended that you do not test during the 2 week with TSS.
I don't know if that is the cause of your cloudiness but I have noticed when I used TSS in the past, it did make my tank a bit cloudy.
 

AnthonyC4C

Okay if you used TSS ,you need to add fish in within 2 hours or your bacterial will die off. The whole thing with TSS is you need to keep the ammonia present. and do so for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you do a pwc. It is recommended that you do not test during the 2 week with TSS.
I don't know if that is the cause of your cloudiness but I have noticed when I used TSS in the past, it did make my tank a bit cloudy.

I have to try this stuff... 2 hours huh... cripes...I waited over a week when I did my 60... don't ask about my screw ups lol
 

reaper12122

I screwed up a 20 gallon tank b4 trying safestart lol
 

JDcichlidlover

I found this starter made by atm called colony

I was looking at it for a while. They actually use the real bacteria. it has some really good ratings
 

flynruff

I've used ATM colony. Had great success and prefer it to safe start.
Here's my Colony Q and A thread.....

I've also found it useful to boost the bacterial bed after medicating a tank
 

AnthonyC4C

You must be registered to see images
that the best pic I got and I used tetra safe start

Hey...everybody is right and your pic totally made me miss that you said you were using tetra safe start, that stuff is meant for fish in...
 

Sora

I like the set up
 

hans_yuka

Okay if you used TSS ,you need to add fish in within 2 hours or your bacterial will die off.

Whoa, whoa, it is more like almost two weeks without fish (food source) if it is real bacteria not 2 hours. Maybe they don't want you to test for two weeks so you don't find out it isn't working?

When doing an instant cycle you should be testing every 8 hours or so to find out where in the process you are. I can't imagine what purpose not testing for two weeks could possibly serve. I've never understood that.

Like flynruff I use ATM Colony and I see nitrite no later than two days, one time it was 24 hours. My tank is cycled a full week before they recommend doing their first test... I don't get those instructions with TSS.
 

Ksuar

Hi everyone! My betta’s tank has been running for several months now, cycled and all that good stuff. We went away for a week and had a friend feed Mushu here. He eats 2-3 tiny pellets a day and leaves none behind. His water has been super murky (white). Did a fairly large water change and still the same murky. I rinsed the filter (in tank water) too.

2nd mystery here: When I cleaned the tank, all this dark stuff was coming up that looked kind of like poop but it was way too much to be a week’s worth of poop. This was why the water change ended up being like 70% in the end. I’m still trying to determine what the stuff was. I thought maybe the fake log was disintegrating but it was poop shaped and not flecks of paint. Also there are bubbles all around the edge of water but it isn’t slimey at all. Still from water change days ago?

anyway, please help a sister out.

10 gallon. 1 baby anubias in there.
pH 6.8 (little low- indicator??)
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates between 0-5
 

MrBryan723

It's a bacteria bloom... probably from your friend overfeeding a bit... also I would figure the stuff that looks like poop, is poop. A well fed fish poops more.(pictures are ever helpful when IDing things tho). The bubbles look like an attempt at a bubble nest... which if the betta is eating more, it might be ready to breed, qnd bubble nests are a part of that.
Water changes are great, if you can test your ammonia I would do so.
I'm blaming all of your problems on overfeeding causing a mini cycle.
 

mattgirl

Is it possible you have snails hiding out in your substrate? If so that would explain the black coming from it when you gravel vac'd. I mention this because at one point I had way more ramshorn snails than I could have imagined in my tank. I knew I had some but had no idea just how many. The water coming through the gravel vac was black.

Quite often simply waiting out the cloudy water is better than trying to fix it with water changes. Most of the time it can't be water changed out. Of course you will want to do a water change should the ammonia spike but other than that just continue with your normal water changes.
 

bored411

I would keep doing water changes. It could just be a bacteria bloom which will go away on its own. As long as the levels are okay it shouldn't be an issue. The bubbles are from the betta though, trying to make a bubble nest. My betta does the same. It means they're happy and healthy! I'm not sure about the poop bits though. And the close-up you did with the bubbles makes it look like there might be a light film on top of your water. Did you add any chemicals when you did the water change? Water conditioner or anything?
 

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