Severe bacteria bloom or something else? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Severe bacteria bloom or something else?

I just recently finished setting up my 46 gallon bowfront and its a great addition to all the other planted tanks. But I have ran into an odd problem. My water is so cloudy, I'm starting to wonder if it really is a bacteria bloom or something else. I have a bunch of other tanks like my 75 gallon thats on here and a few more. I've set up my fair share of tanks in the past too but this tank has to be the worst cloudiness I've encountered. It has PFS as the substrate and I washed that thoroughly. I filled it about 2 weeks ago with half RO, half tap and the water was clear of course. I am running a marineland magnum 350 with the center compartment filled with seachem matrix instead of carbon so I have bio in the canister instead of carbon which I don't use on any tank unless I need to remove medicine, etc.. And of course it has the marineland filter pad in it as well for mechanical. In addition to that, I am running an Aquaclear 50 with one sponge on the bottom, then a bag of purigen, and then the rest filled with ceramic rings for extra bio capacity. I then did my normal cycling process of taking a big syringe full of mulm and bacteria from the bottom of my 75 gallon's canister filter and squirting that in the new canister, new hob, and just in the 46 in general. I got an ammonia reading around 1ppm, then within a few days i tested again and got a good reading of ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10ppm so I figured I should be pretty good to add some fish to get things going. I added two golden wonder killies about 2 inches long each, male and female. I also added a java fern from another tank and some frogbit as floaters to help out with any ammonia or cycling issues. Everything was clear for a week. So at this point a fed them once a day, two days in a row. I figured it is a safe amount. I also noticed the water looked a bit yellowish from just organics I guess so I added a bag of fresh carbon to clean that up faster and it did within a day. Well now, two days ago I wake up to a semi hazy tank, typical of course for a new tank but I thought the basic establishing was done from the mulm and bacteria. Well I added an airstone to help oxygenate the water for the fish and also for bacteria growth. Next day even cloudier, barely can see anything in the tank. Looks like white smoke blowing all around in the tank. So I figured I would give the tank another bit of a boost and put in an old sponge filter that has been running for 6 months in an established tank. It was one of two sponge filters running that tank, I was running two for this reason, so when I needed a seasoned filter, I can take one out and use it. So I added this perfectly seeded and old healthy sponge filter in the tank yesterday evening. And now here I am today, and the tank looks even worse. I can't see the java fern at all in the middle of the tank. I can't see anything, no heater, no filter pipes, nothing. What do you think? Sever bacteria bloom or something else? What's your opinion of what to do? Just wait it out some more. The ammonia level is about 2ppm last I checked yesterday so I figured bacteria bloom but never saw one this bad. Fish seem fine though, killies are acting normal like nothing is wrong. Here are some pics so you can see for yourself the situation in the tank.









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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 10:47 PM
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I think it's a bad bacteria bloom.

I'd remove the fish, because you have an ammonia reading.

Then I would wait and wait... until the ammonia reading was 0 and the nitrite reading was zero. Don't panic. Worst case it should clear in a week or so.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 11:44 PM
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Looks like a bad cycle. With the ammonia spike that would just point more in that direction. The magnum 350 will filter out any particles other than a bacteria bloom from a cycle.

You can either do daily water changes or remove the fish.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 12:19 AM
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either way bacteria or the beginning of an algae bloom (do the white cup test) a uv sterilizer will do the trick if you ahve access to one
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have a UV sterilizer but if I did you could bet I would be getting good use of that. lol I never had a new tank get this bad before.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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It seems to be staying as cloudy as it was in those last pics but then again it really couldn't get any worse at this point. I just have no idea of why this is happening, this seems insane because I've had worse bioloads in new tanks with no plants and never seen this. I hope this clears up soon or at least shows a sign of improvement.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:35 PM
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Could it be that the gravel had a lot of dirt in it, and it's all from that? New gravel often has a ton of fine material in it that clouds water like that, even if you wash it.

You could check easily enough. Take a glass of water, add about a teaspoon of bleach to the water in the glass, and let it sit. The bleach will kill algae and bacteria, but will not do much with particulate matter.

If you have or have access to a Diatom Filter, you might be able to filter that stuff out.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 08:04 PM
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it does look bad...why don't you do multiple water changes...maybe 50%-75% water changes every day...or if your like me then I would do it twice a day...once in the morning and once in the evening
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 08:23 PM
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Is it possible something kicked up the sand? I've seen sand storms like that in a tank that had sand in it for ages.

With ammonia that high you need to be changing out significant portions of the water anyway. At some point the bacteria will be easily getting rid of new ammonia (and other baddies) but there will be so much of it built up it can't catch up.

That way if it's bacteria or sand dust you'll get rid of it.

I think chris.rivera has the right idea: lots of water changes.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah for now I'm doing water changes and I think its making a difference. It is a little better than in the picture but not much. It seems like its starting to clear up though. I have to wait a few more days and see if it improves or comes right back. I am going to say it is definitely a severe bacteria bloom because of the smell of the water and the bio film on the surface. I guess the initial cycle was just bad and went wrong some how. I've cycled countless tanks the same way but this was a first for me to see something like this happen. Well I guess its nature and it can't always go the way we try to plan it.


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