Cloudy Water Inquiry
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:39 PM   #1
Finalplay10
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Cloudy Water Inquiry


Hey guys and gals,
I just set up my new 40g breeder, link to my build page (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...193&highlight=), and I have a major cloudy water issue. I have honestly never had this happen to me and I am at a loss for the probable cause. The substrate is 100% reused ADA AS that never clouded the water when it was used in my prior tank. I checked both filters (Eheim 2217/Marineland Magnum 350) and all of the media is as clean as can be expected. I thought it might be that I was running the UGF on reverse but even after I switched it, been roughly 12 hours with no improvement, the problem persisted. The cloudiness resembles a white haze. You can see about 3/4 of the way through the tank but you can't see anything beyond that. Any thoughts? Thank you.

P.S. The light has barely been on and there is a small Koralina powerhead running. Tank has been running for nearly 36 hours now with no improvement.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:47 PM   #2
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How did you transfer your AS over?
Could be bacterial bloom.

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Old 07-04-2013, 10:49 PM   #3
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I just scooped it with my hands and placed it in the new tank
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:50 PM   #4
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Well, I can give you a quick rundown on the most probable causes of cloudy water and you can take your pick.

1) Substrate got stirred up. Did you put a plate or plastic bag over it when you filled? If the water entering the tank stirred it up, now the filters and PH are keeping the fine matter in suspension. Answer: Fine floss in the filter, diatom filter.

2) Bacteria bloom or the beginnings of green water algae. GWA looks white-grey for the first day or two, then turns green when it is dense enough to see it as green. Heterotrophic bacteria feed on all the organic matter in the tank. Old mulm from the used substrate, skin oils that are on all the surfaces from when you set up the tank. Answer: Wait it out. Heterotrophic bacteria will eat all the stuff then die off. Usually takes a week, rarely 2 weeks. If it turns into GWA you can deal with it when you know what it is.

3) pH altering materials. Adding minerals that will alter the GH, KH and pH can make cloudy water. Answer: if you want these changes, you might need to find different materials that are compatible with your water. Some rocks can do this, too. If you think this may be the answer test a sample of each type of rock in a jar of water. Test GH, KH, pH, TDS and watch for cloudiness. Run this test for several days to a week. Answer: Remove the rocks.

4) Other: A new tank should not have these problems, but...
When my large fish really get going in one tank they kick up a lot of clouds. It settles pretty fast, unless the fish keep on making messes. Answer: more frequent maintenance, vacuum, clean the filter so it removes debris more efficiently.
Dead fish can cloud the water pretty fast. It will also smell bad. Answer (duh!) Remove dead fish. Do enough water changes to get the ammonia back down, add carbon to the filter for the smell.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
Finalplay10
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I just read an article on bacterial blooms and have come to the conclusion that this is the most likely culprit. The ADA AS that was on the bottom of my previous tank is now on the top and over time I am sure it accumulated a TON of organic matter. So by stirring it up I probably caused a bloom of heterotrophic bacteria and that is what I am seeing. Unfortunately this means that I need to switch my UGF back to reverse (this was my intention all along but I switched it to normal in a vain attempt to fix the problem) as the article I read stated that good aeration is key to beating a bacterial bloom I guess I will just wait it out and see if it goes away in a few days. Thanks for the help.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:49 PM   #6
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Its is most definitely a bacterial bloom. Oxygenation is key as the bloom will suck up your existing 02 in no time. Another good trick is to raise the temp to 80-82. Like anything else, it'll speed up the metabolism and reproduction rate of the bacteria. Another good idea would be to monitor your kh in the process as the expelled c02 from the bacterial bloom will likely cause acidic conditions potentially leading to a ph crash. Good luck!
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:05 AM   #7
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Raised the temp to 80 and put my UGF into outflow mode last night after reading these posts. Tank has cleared up substantially. Thank you for the help.
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