Aqua-Noob and his cloudy water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Aqua-Noob and his cloudy water

Hello friends,
Firstly, let me apologize for the noobishness of my post. I do plan to use the search function and do some wider research, but I thought I would make a post as well. Feel free to re-direct me with a link if there is something I should read that I haven't found yet.

I haven't kept an aquarium for a long time now, and I want to make sure this first in a long time tank is on the right track. Here is a brief history:

1/13/2020 - water clear, pH neutral. Added a startup solution as directed, introduced 2 dwarf gourami, 3 mollies.

1/15/2020 - water slightly cloudy, pH neutral, no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate detected

1/16/2020 - Had to move tank to a different location. Removed 10-15% water so I could slide it onto a rolling cabinet and move it across the room. de-chlorinated and treated replacement water with start-up solution as directed when changing water. (this is where I wonder if I over did it on the bacteria).

1/18/2020 - added some 5 or so plants and a piece of drift wood. (just gravel substrate, I plan to use a solution to feed the plants for now in this particular tank). Water slightly cloudy

1/19/20 - water cloudier still, pH 7.2. ammonia 2ppm, nitrite present but very low, no nitrate.

1/20/2020 (current) - water is cloudier still. I cannot read a thermometer on the back of the tank, for example. I am thinking of doing a another water change, but I want to know first that this is not just part of the cycle to be expected.

The fish seem healthy.. they're super active, excited to be fed. nobody looks sick. I have an LED light that is on 10-12hrs per day. water is ~78-80F. The filter I am using came the the 10gal kit I started with. Everything is brand new and I assume working properly. There isn't much physical waste in the tank yet.

I appreciate any thoughts. Is the cloudy water normal at this stage? I know it is to be expected for a little while, but it seems to be getting worse, not better. Should I be doing a water change stat, or wait a few more days?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:25 AM
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Please share tank size, water conditions, substrate, filtration, heating, hardscape, lights, plants, fish, inverts, optional CO2, optional dosing, etc.

Photos and videos really help.

I see some details in your log, but we need the basics in the intro before the timeline. You can edit your post.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:27 AM
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Hi

Sounds about normal for a new tank, Solution, Water changes about 50%
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:28 AM
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Ammonia of 2 ppm, if correct, is going to kill your fish. You need a massive water change.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kgbudge View Post
Ammonia of 2 ppm, if correct, is going to kill your fish. You need a massive water change.
I know 2 ppm is high but Hoped it would be going down as the bacteria get to work. I’ll do a water change to be safe.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 06:34 AM
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Hi

You will have to do a big water change to get the ammonia levels down, at least 75% maybe even 2 water changes.

What water conditioner are you using? Eg Seachem Prime. ( 2 drops per gallon of water will only deal with ammonia of up to 1)

Please read this
https://seachem.zendesk.com/hc/en-us...g-instructions

What test kit are you using? The API master freshwater test kit cant tell the difference between Ammonia and Ammonium.

Your tank is not cycled and you are now stuck with a fish in cycle. But fear not we can guide you in what to do to keep your fish healthy.

Have you tested your tap water?
Please list all chemicals you add to the tank?
Please list what plants you have?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by meadeam View Post
I know 2 ppm is high but Hoped it would be going down as the bacteria get to work. Iíll do a water change to be safe.
It will take 2wks minimum for bacteria to kick in, your fish will be dead way before that point. Your doing a fish in cycling, you need to keep ammonia below .5ppm, preferably.25ppm and it will take probably 3 months to cycle tank (12 weeks) at those levels before you can even think of adding more fish.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 02:45 PM
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@meadeam I'd also advise daily dosing of Prime or similar until the tank is cycled, that will bind up the ammonia and make it non-toxic for ~24 hours, hence the need for daily dosing. This just helps further protect the fish, as ammonia is highly toxic and you want to minimize/eliminate exposure as best you can. Please note that your water will still test positive for ammonia, even when bound with Prime. This is to be expected, just keep up with daily water changes. Wish you luck! Start a tank journal once things are rolling.

Additionally, to speed up the cycling process, you can add an air stone and increase tank temp. I don't know about temp tolerances of mollies and guppies, but if they're fine with 80 degree water, that will significantly speed up cycling. Bacteria loves O2 and warmer temps!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the info and advice!

As for the questions above:

It is a 10gallon tank. I'm using all API products at the moment. I treated the water with "Quick Start" as well as "Proper pH" to adjust the pH and de-chlorinate prior to adding fish. I was under the impression this would allow for the introduction of fish, and to expect the parameters to be a little off for a week or so. Apparently I was under the wrong impression.

My test kit is from API as well. Perhaps I need to invest in a new one.

I lost the labels from the plants. I had intended to log the names, so I'll have to re-identify them. I bought them at Petsmart.

I added a dose of "Flourish" aquatic plant food 1 day after planting.

substrate is gravel. Hardscape is currently a medium sized piece of spider wood, a large clam shell and some snail shells from a local river, all of which were washed in tap water and the wood soaked in treated tap water prior to going in the tank.


The water is much clearer today than it was yesterday evening. I'll test it again, but it sounds like I need to do a water change regardless. The fish and plants all look very healthy at the moment. I'd like to keep them that way!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadeam View Post
Thank you everyone for the info and advice!

As for the questions above:

It is a 10gallon tank. I'm using all API products at the moment. I treated the water with "Quick Start" as well as "Proper pH" to adjust the pH and de-chlorinate prior to adding fish. I was under the impression this would allow for the introduction of fish, and to expect the parameters to be a little off for a week or so. Apparently I was under the wrong impression.

My test kit is from API as well. Perhaps I need to invest in a new one.

I lost the labels from the plants. I had intended to log the names, so I'll have to re-identify them. I bought them at Petsmart.

I added a dose of "Flourish" aquatic plant food 1 day after planting.

substrate is gravel. Hardscape is currently a medium sized piece of spider wood, a large clam shell and some snail shells from a local river, all of which were washed in tap water and the wood soaked in treated tap water prior to going in the tank.


The water is much clearer today than it was yesterday evening. I'll test it again, but it sounds like I need to do a water change regardless. The fish and plants all look very healthy at the moment. I'd like to keep them that way!
The API ammonia test is fine for cycling. When the tank is done cycling, you'll have 0 detectable ammonia on the API test kit and 0 nitrites, >0 nitrates present which is good for plants. Don't need to be able to detect ammonium vs ammonia, just want it to be a 0 reading.

Is there a reason you're using API Proper pH instead of Prime or another basic dechlorinator/detoxifier? Unless there is an absolute need, like maybe you have extremely hard water and want to keep fish that demand softer water, I would not mess with the pH of your tap water at all. Can go bad very quickly. I would suggest ordering or picking up some Seachem Prime and using that instead. It's a liquid, which I think makes it easier to work with as well.

Fish may look healthy, but definitely need to do the water change to bring down ammonia. Stresses the immune system terribly, opening them up to other pathogens, and it will destroy their gills.

As for ferts, are you planning on running a low tech or high tech setup?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
The API ammonia test is fine for cycling. When the tank is done cycling, you'll have 0 detectable ammonia on the API test kit and 0 nitrites, >0 nitrates present which is good for plants. Don't need to be able to detect ammonium vs ammonia, just want it to be a 0 reading.

Is there a reason you're using API Proper pH instead of Prime or another basic dechlorinator/detoxifier? Unless there is an absolute need, like maybe you have extremely hard water and want to keep fish that demand softer water, I would not mess with the pH of your tap water at all. Can go bad very quickly. I would suggest ordering or picking up some Seachem Prime and using that instead. It's a liquid, which I think makes it easier to work with as well.

Fish may look healthy, but definitely need to do the water change to bring down ammonia. Stresses the immune system terribly, opening them up to other pathogens, and it will destroy their gills.

As for ferts, are you planning on running a low tech or high tech setup?
I used Proper pH because that is what was available at the store, and I thought I needed it. Incidentally, my tap water is quite hard. I notice it whenever I travel and stay someplace with softer water.

As far as low vs. high tech, I am not sure I understand the difference. Had I been thinking about it ahead of time, I would have planned this tank better, but I kind of planted it on a whim. Ultimately I do want to build a larger planted tank that is well thought out from the beginning.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 07:14 PM
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High tech tanks have pressurized CO2 added (and usually brighter lights and a fertilizer regimen, but CO2 seems to be the defining characteristic), sounds like your tank is low tech. I'm not a fan of pH altering products in most cases. They have their place, but if using tap water life is much simpler to just get things that will do well in your tap. If you have the kit test your KH, this will have a big impact on how stable pH will be. As for the cloudy water, that's probably a bacterial bloom and normal for a new tank. Going forward, it's much easier to do a fishless cycle and not have to stress livestock with NH4 levels. Also important to know that the higher the pH, the more dangerous ammonia levels are. Good luck!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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After doing some research and reading the responses to this thread, I have decided not to use the pH adjuster anymore. My tap is 7.0 - 7.2. I also found out that my water district does not add chloramine, so from now on I will let the chlorine dissipate over night in a separate container (and possibly aerate to speed the process) for water changes rather than treating it with de-chlorinator.

My tank looks and tests much better after a 25% change. I'll keep doing that until I get 0 Ammonia.

Next tank will not get fish so early!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 10:45 PM
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Nice news on the Chlorine. Just leave out a couple of buckets at all times. I like to have two buckets for new water, one for water change, and one for dirty water to pick out snails, before feeding potted plants.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 11:10 PM
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While your water hasnt got chloramine, Products like Prime also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels.
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