Need help with white cloudy water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Need help with white cloudy water

I have had some white cloudy water now for about 2 weeks. I was thinking it was bacterial but now I'm not to sure. My tank parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and about 10 nitrate. It is heavily planted but the fauna is a little light ( 7 amano shrimp, 2 zebra danio, and 8 nerite snails). I just added the pictured neon tetras today.

The tank has been running since 03/05/16. I have been doing EI dosing using 1/8tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, 1/8 tsp K2SO4 3 times a week, 3 times a week with 1/8 tsp Plantex+b, and a 50+% weekly water change.

The tank is a 60 gal cube. The static pH is 7.5. After pressurized CO2 the pH is 6.3. I have a CO2 reactor on a Fluval 406 and have added an Aquaclear 70 HOB to help with O2.

After yesterdays water change I re-positioned the outflow to create a bit more surface agitation and also re-positioned the Hydor Korilia to do the same.

I am using 2 Marineland Aquatic Plant LEDs. The plants are doing very well as are the fish and inverts.

It seems that the cloudiness seems to get better toward the end of the lighting period. I added a bag of purigen last week to see if that made any difference. It does not seem to help. I cannot figure out what is causing the cloudiness.

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Does anyone have any suggestions or advise? Please help. Thanks

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 01:15 AM
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Beating those nutes.

That water looks green...Not so sure it's bacterial bloom

Let me say that the tank looks rad!

The issue with EI dosing is that you essentially flood the water with nutes once the plants absorb enough you strip the water 1/2 RO half tap and theoretically based on guidelines and bioload you should be fine. The problem is you have to balance what you are dosing based on your plant load in the tank. The plants I see in the tank are generally easier growing plants so they don't require a TON of nutrients to thrive of which is really the whole basis of EI. Flood then strip before the mess happens.

Best guess is that dosing is based on a grown out tank however I could be wrong. Didn't really do the math for the specs you provided.

Do back to back 70-80 percent water changes then 20 percent every day for the next week. If you notice the cloudiness gradually coming back over the next week of water changes then it isn't gone YET!.

Going to a normalized feeding routine for your plants that isn't loading up the water with excess nutrients and probably adding more algae busting plants like Hygrophila Siamensis or anything that sucks up the nutes should help but then you'll also have the eventual increase in bioload unless you are just planning on having a nice looking under water garden.

I would keep the Co2, do the water changes, add some heavier plant load, NOT do EI until the tank is grown out, not do any dosing during the week of water changes until you know it isn't reproducing like mad and the cloudiness seems stabilized.

Hope this helps...It's how I beat mine.

Or you could go easy and get a UV Sterilizer. Then you wouldn't have to worry about EI being too much per your tanks specific plant load.

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Last edited by m0dest_aquarist; 05-17-2016 at 02:27 AM. Reason: Detailed info.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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I am still having the white smoke cloud. I pulled out a sample of water when the cloud seemed to peak and looked at against a white background....not green.

The cloud seems to ebb and flow throughout the day...sometimes better, sometimes worse...seems to be worse in the morning as the lights come on.

I finally received my API phosphate test kit. First test showed phosphate levels well above the max range of the kit (>10)..definitely overdoing the KH2PO4.

The nitrate was more toward the lower range..around 5. I immediately did a 50% water change. As expected PO4 dropped by about 1/2. I did no fert dosing during the week. I had also added 15 neon tetras. I removed the sad looking Fissdens nobilis, I was not sure if it was completely dead but I wanted to make sure I wasnt feeding the bacteria. Had a small ammonia spike for about 24 hours then back to zero. Currently 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-10 nitrate, PO4 5 ish. The cloud did not dissipate.

Today I did a 70% water change. After the wc 0 am, 0 nitrite, 0- trace nitrate, 1 PO4. There is still a cloud floating around, although not near as bad, even after about 5 hours. I did dose KNO3 as the nitrate was 0 and through regular testing the plants are obviously sucking up the NO3. Added about 30 shrimp, 5 nerites, and 6 khulis. Tomorrow I will do another 70% wc. I also added one bag of carbon to the hob filter just to be sure its not precipitate.

My plan is to get in another 2 to 3 smaller wc this week as suggested. I will dose KNO3 as needed. If this doesnt work..I'm getting short on ideas.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-27-2016, 04:32 AM
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Get the ferts more balanced. 1/8 tsp of each is not enough of some, too much of others, as shown by your water tests. It can reach the point that the excess of some blocks the plants ability to pick up the others, or else the plants use up all of the nutrients that they can get and need, but cannot use the excess of others.

Dose KNO3 until the NO3 ranges from a low of 5-10ppm to a high of about 20ppm. This might be at least double what you have been dosing. Try a week of at least 1/4 tsp, perhaps as much as 1/2 tsp.
Dose perhaps 1/2 as much KH2PO4 as you have been, or less. 1ppm is just fine. Lower is fine. Try 1/16 tsp or less for a week, see what happens to the PO4. Once things get balanced you might end up back at 1/8 tsp.
Whatever dose you find of KH2PO4 is right, dose the same amount of CSM+B or a bit less.
K2SO4 is optional if the KNO3 is enough.

Plants use a lot more potassium and nitrogen than they do of phosphorus.
Plants use even less of the trace minerals.
You cannot dose all the same. As you have found, the PO4 is not getting used, so it climbs, in spite of water changes. If you are using an iron test to determine trace dosing, aim for an iron test of .1ppm. This might not actually be enough Fe, but it is a reasonable way to measure the dose of all the other traces that are combined in CSM+B. You can add a bit more Fe in the form of a Chelated Iron. Try about 1/4 as much chelated iron added to whatever you end up dosing of CSM+B. For example, if you find out 1/8 tsp CSM+B is good, then add 1/32 tsp of chelated iron.

Adding more livestock does not directly raise nutrient levels. But when you add more critters you will be feeding them more. Fish and shrimp food are fertilizers, once they get broken down.
Fish food adds a fair amount of N, P and most traces. As you keep feeding more food you might find the N, P and CSM+B dosing can be reduced.
Fish food is low in K, Fe, and Ca and Mg. Ca and Mg come in with most tap water, but you might want to make sure, and see if you need to dose a GH booster (complete Ca and Mg) or else separate doses of Ca or Mg.

If you find the added food (for the added livestock) keeps the NO3 up, you can reduce the KNO3 and K2PO4, but you should add K2SO4 to maintain the potassium. I would add a chelated iron instead of too much traces. Traces can become toxic when too much are added, so just add the iron.

In a low tech tank, the fish food counts for more fertilizer and you just need to balance the dosing to supply the nutrients in low supply in fish food. In a high tech tank the plants use so much fertilizer that the fish food counts for very little.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 05:26 AM
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This looks like the haze in my tank yesterday. I dosed 10 ml Phosphate with 2 ml of Iron after a 50% water change two days ago. Afterwards, I found some threads discussing Phosphate and Iron bonding together to form a haze. This morning I deliberately did not dose Phosphate and this afternoon the tank was clear. So now I plan on dosing Phosphate and Iron on alternating days. I'm going to dose less Phosphate (5 ml Seachem) to try to avoid the haziness. It hasn't been a problem before. It's just that I put in more Phosphate than usual because I thought I could get away with it. At least I didn't get any algae. There is apparently not enough ammonia for algae in a 20 gallon tank with only two fish and some plants.
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