White milky sludge in tank

  • #1
I'm a newbie to this site Ive had my freshwater 60ltr tank set up for about a year now. Ive just finished treating my tank for Camallanus worms with aristopet worm-enda poultry wormer, which has Levamisole in it. This particualr med has sugar in it (better tasting for the chicken etc) and I'm worried it has stuffed up my good bacteria. I have been doing 20% water changes to extract the med from the water and now my tank has gone milky..Theres also a white mucus sludge forming everywhere.. on the glass, gravel filter and plants. My fish are at the surface of the water gasping. Ive done a 30% water change, took all plants/rocks out and filters to clean and it keeps coming back. Is this harmfull to my fish? Should I take my fish out and empty all water and scrub everything and start cycle again? Any suggestions and ideas are appreciated ...help lol
  • #2
Welcome to the forum!

Usually milky water is a sign of a bacteria bloom. What are your current parameters?
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  • #3
Yeh I thought that too, though ive never had the slimey sludge before and its never made the fish gasp like they are. My parameters are all at 0 and PH is 7.0 I'm running two filters at the moment to try and clear it up but its not making a difference as yet
  • #4
Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore!

If your fish are at the surface gasping then there is a lack of oxygen in your tank. Adding an air pump w/supply line will help. There needs to be more surface water movement to provide more oxygen for your fish.

Adding Activated Carbon into the filter will also help to remove the medications.

I see that you have all 0's for readings. Too, I see this is a planted aquarium. If the aquarium is not heavily planted (if you only have 1 or two plants) then I would believe that for one reason or another you are experiencing a minI cycle. There should be some nitrates showing except for in a heavily planted tank. Nitrates are best kept under 20.

Too, be sure to mix the Nitrate Test bottle extremely well before testing. Crystals can form in the bottom of the bottle and if not mixed really well, may give you false readings. Also check the expiration date of your test kit.

If you feel your tank is experiencing a Bacterial Bloom (link above), I would not start all over. I would clean the glass, do a gravel vacuum and change out 50% of the water. Add Prime or Amquel + to condition the new water. Make sure the new water is the same temperature (within 1 or 2 degrees) as the water in the tank. I would hold off on doing any filter maintenance at this point. Over cleaning can lead to a minI cycle with increased ammonia levels.

  • #5
The white milky sludge you're talking about, is it a slight haze? When you say sludge I picture thick milk all over your decor. If it's just a very slight haze that's a type of algae, film algae I believe it's called, comes right off and is harmless, just looks tacky. The milky water, if it's like a big white cloud that moves around, is bacteria bloom.

By cleaning the decor and filters it could actually be doing more harm than good, as the bacteria needs somewhere to cling onto and usually chooses those items as well as the substrate. If you're going to clean a filter, use the same fish water to clean it with. Also don't use any household chemicals on them, not that you are, just want to throw that out there.

And to answer your question, if your fish are gasping for air near the surface then yes, they are in danger. It could be a lack of oxygen in the water, too much CO2, etc. At night, plants use oxygen, it's only during the day that photosynthesis happens and they make oxygen. Another possibility is that your fish have a microscopic parasite in their gills, which could also cause the same symptoms as a lack of oxygen, but is not as common.

Also, something I noticed in your profile, a "2 foot tank" I would think is around 20 gallons. A halogen light is extremely bright and made for more of a.. 55 gallon tank or greater. They're used for when other lights can't penetrate the depth. You may want to consider a different light source.
  • #6
Welcome to Fishlore.

As you just completed an antibiotic treatment your tank is going to recycle. The meds will have killed all bacteria.

If you haven't already I would do a 50% or larger water change. And followed with daily 50% changes. Deep gravel vac where no plants exist. And add fresh activated carbon to remove any remaining meds.

Are you injecting CO2 gas? If yes, run oxygen when lights are off. If no run oxygen 24x7.

Once your tank is again cycled, it will get back to normal.

How high is the light above your tank. The more it is raised, the more diffused it will be.

Sent from my Motorola Electrify using Tapatalk
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  • #7
Hey guys thanks for the replies =] I felt the need to take the fish out and scrub the whole tank, clean rocks, filter (using original tank water to clean filter) etc and put fresh new water in.. Its solved the problem straight away =]] Put the fish back in and they were back to being happy again and not gasping. I lost 2 neon tetras and one dwarf gourami, I'm thinking from infection from the camallanus worms that had died and detached leaving the fish sick because they stopped eating and hid alot.. But other then that everything is fine.. for now lol.. Tank is going through a minI cycle which I expected. Just hope I killed all the camallanus worms... those things are dredfull

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