So you have your aquarium set up and you thought you did everything right. Yet you still find yourself asking “why is my fish tank cloudy”? Or maybe you have had a clear tank set up for a while and overnight, the tank has mysteriously developed a cloudiness.
There are many chemicals on the market that advertise that they are the cure for your cloudy fish tank, but this is not usually the case. Typically, these chemicals act much like an air freshener – they help hide the problem but they don’t get rid of it. Chemicals are a nice temporary fix, but if you do not want the cloudiness to return, you have to get rid of the source. Sources include:
When a tank has just been set up, there will often be a shiny cloudiness throughout the tank. This is caused from several air bubbles that are suspended all throughout the water.
It just takes time for all the bubbles to dissolve/rise to the top. Bad news is, there is nothing you can do to speed up the process, so you will just have to be patient. Good news is, it should only a few hours for everything to settle and for the cloudiness to go away.
Perhaps one of the most likely causes of cloudiness in a fish tank is a result of the cycling of a new tank. Cycling is a process that every fish tank must endure. It is the process in which necessary bacteria grows in a filter’s media, which helps it break down the Ammonia that is produced.
The cycling process takes 4-6 weeks. During this process it is very common for there to be imbalances in your tanks water, which causes a milky-white cloudiness.
If this is the situation you find yourself in, there is nothing to worry about. The tank will work itself out and will clear up within a few days. During this time, frequent water changes can be done to help reduce the cloudiness. You do not want to add cloud-reducing chemicals to a tank that is cycling. It will damage the cycling process and prolong the amount of time it takes for your tank to develop a safe environment for your fish.
It is very common for unclean decorations and substrate to release residue and cause a fish tank to become cloudy. Some sand and gravel will even make the water muddy.
Rinse everything. When you’re done that, rinse it again! As a general rule of thumb, it is best to stick to store-bought ornaments since natural corals and sea shells will help contribute to murky water.
Substrate will need rinsing too – even when bought from a fish store. To do this, follow these steps:
Step 1) Fill a bucket 5-7 inches-full with substrate.
Adding more than this amount may save time, but it will not clean as well.
Step 2) Insert the garden hose into the bottom of the bucket. Then, turn it on to create a gentle flow.
Step 3) As the bucket is filling up with water, use your hands to stir up the substrate.
Step 4) When the bucket is full, slowly pour out the water — making sure to not pour out the substrate.
Repeat Step 3 & 4 until the water in the bucket is no longer murky.
You will need to do this entire process until you have thoroughly rinsed all of your substrate. This can be very time consuming, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to ensure that you have a crystal clear tank.
Your tank has excessive algae growth on the walls, ornaments etc. There may even be some free-floating algae bloom. As a result, your water has slowly turned into an undesirable greenish color.
Begin by giving your tank an extra good clean. Scrub down all your walls and ornaments and do a 50% water change.
Now that you have cleaned up all the algae, you need to determine the source of your algae problem, so that you can fix it. Otherwise you will find your tank developing a greenish hew and you will be scrubbing algae again in no time. The causes for algae growth include:
- Light exposure – Light helps promote the growth of algae. Avoid putting your tank somewhere where it will be exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. Also, do not keep your tank lights on for too long. If you aquarium doesn’t get any sunlight, 10-12 hours is the recommended amount of time.
- Overfeeding – Feed sparingly. If food is going uneaten, then you are feeding them too much and it is promoting the growth of algae. All species will be different, but as a general rule of thumb, you should only feed your fish 2-3 times daily, feeding them as much as they can consume in 2 minutes.
- Overpopulation – If your tank is overpopulated, it will surely cause excessive algae growth because your filter will not be able to keep up with the level of waste that your fish are producing. As a general rule, 1 inch of fish per gallon of water is a safe way to gauge how to properly populate your tank.
Any type of chemical that has been added to your tank is capable of causing an imbalance in your water, making for a cloudy fish tank.
A variety of different chemicals can all cause different types of cloudiness. Minimize your use of chemicals and perform regular water changes, then your problem should begin to go away.
If no solution is found, then test your water’s chemistry. This can be done by taking a sample of your fish tank’s water to a local fish store or by testing it with a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If there is an imbalance in your water’s chemistry, then you will now be able to take the necessary steps to help alleviate the imbalance and hopefully getting rid of your cloudy fish tank problems for good.
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