General advice - I would avoid water clarifiers unless absolutely necessary. Cloudy water generally isn't a life-or-death emergency and clarifiers bind up and precipitate all sorts of stuff from the water, and not all of it is bad stuff. Regardless, this is a short-term fix. If there's something causing your water to cloud, it will just come back. If you've been cloudy for a whole week no matter what you do I might consider a clarifier just to help the plants get light. I also might consider it if I have guests coming and need to improve appearances of the tank in the living room in a hurry.
General causes of cloudy:
- bacterial bloom - if you are cycling with ammonia this adds a lot of nutrient and tends to cause rapid bacterial growth (which is what you are looking for anyway), it will clear up on its own. In an established tank it is likely a sign of sudden nutrient surplus (look for dead things in the tank rotting, overfeeding, etc.).
- fertilizer precipitate - adding phosphorus and iron at the same time tends to cause iron phosphate to precipitate and cloud the water. Space out your dosing by a day, half-day, whatever.
- hardness booster - when I add hardness boosters with my water change (even if I dissolve it in a gallon of water first), it slightly clouds the water for a little while. This clears up pretty fast (half hour).
- If the cloudy is green-tinged, you have green water algae. See the algae section....
Thank you, Matt! I already added the Clarity solution, so hopefully nothing bad comes of that. It really didn't note any side effects or prep stuff on the bottle, so it seemed to me like it should be safe, but here's to hoping it doesn't screw anything else up...
I don't know if those options you listed are it though. I didn't use any ammonia, I am not sure what fertilizer precipitate is, but I only added eco complete, rocks, and sand...
wait... as I am writing this I just remembered, it's gotta be the driftwood... duhhhhh!!!!!
I'm a dummy, I put that in later in the evening since I have such hard water and high PH, so I figured why not add it... I forgot about the tannins that would be released and cloud it... lol, I'm going to have iced tea looking water when I get home tonight! oh fun...
This could also be the start of green water. It often starts with the water looking cloudy and then goes green. How long has the tank been set up? How long do you have lights on for? Has it cycle yet?
see my other reply... I am an idiot! It's gotta be the driftwood!
Bump: This has got to be the culprit!