Cloudy tank - 2 months - read all the threads - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Cloudy tank - 2 months - read all the threads

ok - So I have some form of Super bad Heterotrophic bacteria bloom. I've ready lots of internet articles, followed a lot of the basic advice and still not getting better (wait it out, vacuum the substrate, add "beneficial" bacteria, used Green Killing Machine, lower light levels, change lots of water, don't change water, etc)

Here are the basics:

20 gallon long freshwater
Medium load planted tank (crypts, bucs, java moss, corkscrew Val)
One piece of 8 inch piece of mungwani driftwood
Lightly loaded with 10 Ruby tetra and 20+ Neocardia Shrimp (happily breeding)

TwinStar 650 light on a 8 hour cycle

Water parameters are (almost) ideal. The pH is stubbornly high. I test every 2-3 days with API Master test kit, to look for any fluctuation, but nothing is spiking.

TDS (ppm) 165
pH 8
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Phosphate 0
kH 4
GH 4

The substrate is Black Diamond Blasting stand.
It is an internal double sponge filter, which keeps the shrimp happy, and I have not recently clean it.

The tank was about a month old when the problem started and has been cloudy for over two months now.

The plants were growing nicely before the bloom, but some have started to lose leaves due to the light loss. I recently trimmed all the dying plants to reduce the amount of organics going back into the water. As a fairly new tank, which was lightly fed, there wasn't much bio-load to start with.

I recently tried Seachem Stability but no change.
Water changes are done with rainwater, reminerialized with Salty Shrimp

I don't add any fertilizers or other chemicals that may cause precipitation, and the water motion isn't enough to be stirring up the substrate.

I'm thinking of antibiotics, but pretty sure that will just cause other issues.

Any suggestions beyond the basics? Maybe I should be sending water samples to a lab someplace to see if I've breed the start of the great zombie apocalypse in my tank?

Thanks,
Paul
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:25 AM
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Hi Paul,
Your plants are not dying because you shortened the light period but because you have Zero Nitrogen and Zero Phosphate... These are the main nutrients your plants need to grow and they can NOT be Zero.

In regards to your cloudy water issue, try to remove your piece of wood and put it in a bucket with clean water for a few days and see if the water, in the bucket, will get cloudy.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:46 AM
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Yeah, agreed on the wood. Might even consider boiling it for acouple hours?

And I would suspect a bad test kit.

TDs of 167, Kh of 4 and pH of 8 doesn't add up. Gh of 4 is pretty low too. Your shrimp are going to have trouble molting if that measurement is good.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 12:30 PM
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Here is some information on cloudy water that may help.
6.2.3. Bacterial Blooms
6.4. Crystal-Clear Water
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions - I'm at the point where tearing the tank down one piece at a time may be the next step. I'll remove the wood (which had been successfully used in other tanks) and see if anything changes in the visibility.

The pH has always puzzled me. I can use the same test kit on the rain water and get a neutral rating (7.0) but something in the tank is raising the number up to 8.0.

The only other pieces in the tank are:
  • Heater
  • Internal filter
  • Substrate

Maybe there's something in the substrate that also non-typical that's causing issues. I can also put a sample of that in a glass and see what it does to the pH.

Paul
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 01:53 PM
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Considering what you've told us about your tank, I really don't see anything else that could make your water cloudy except the wood. I understand you had for a while in other tanks but maybe something happened to it lately and it started rotting?

Can you post some pictures so we can see what the cloudiness looks like?

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 02:18 PM
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Just an fyi...

pH test kits, especially liquid test kits, are inaccurate in 0kh water. They actually trend to an inaccurate 7 or slightly above that so it makes sense you get a reading of 7 when testing rain water.

Still think you have a bad test kit in there somewhere. May not be pH but that would be my guess based off the other results. And really it's just a guess but it wouldn't be the first time test reagents went bad. Not that it's causing your issues necessarily. Just difficult to troubleshoot with bad readings.



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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the links - I'll have to consider keeping an external canister filter running for a week to see if I can't boost the "good" bacteria and tip the balance.

Here's a picture -

Regards,

Paul
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:29 PM
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Wow, this doesn't look like wood tannis.

You said you used Green Killing Machine, did that help any? Did it give any results?

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:40 PM
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Wow is right! That looks like something crawled in there and died.

Could be a weird substrate thing but BDS is inert, most of the time, lol!

You didn't say much about water changes. Assuming tap. Could this be a change in that? Municipalities put some pretty funky stuff in the water supply to save pipes, etc.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 05:13 PM
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Did you cycle the tank?
Fish-less cycling?
You saw the rise of ammonia, nitrite, and then nitrates?
It does look like heterotrophic bacterial bloom from cycling, recycling...
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 05:22 PM
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Guys, he said the tank is couple months old and he added beneficial bacteria (I am assuming something like Tetra SafeStart)

Regarding water he said he is using rain water.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanostav61 View Post
Guys, he said the tank is couple months old and he added beneficial bacteria (I am assuming something like Tetra SafeStart)

Regarding water he said he is using rain water.

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That doesnt mean it was cycled.


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the catch on water @vanostav61 . But that poses the question, if you are using salty shrimp why is gh only 4?

Or maybe another way to put it is why is the Kh 4? If it is Salty Shrimp Kh/Gh that is being used to reconstitute than those values should not be equal

Just a thought.

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Last edited by pauld738; 06-22-2020 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Clarity
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 06:07 PM
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Which grade of Black Diamond blasting sand? The fine stuff can be really dusty.

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.” -Jules Verne
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