Help! New tank- Cloudy then clear then cloudy again? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Help! New tank- Cloudy then clear then cloudy again?

Hi,

I am new to this, and just started my first planted tank yesterday... I set it all up, everything seemed ok (started cloudy and within 2 or 3 hours it became crystal clear) but this morning I woke up and saw the tank and it was CLOUDY! Like cloudier than ever.
So I added some Seachem Clarity and went to work and am now hoping for it to be fixed when I get home... but does anyone know why this would happen? Any advice?

Just some details-
75 gallon
half eco complete and half sand substrate
Cascade 1200 canister filter

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 01:51 PM
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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....
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 01:56 PM
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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?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
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...

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clear Water View Post
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!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djb7880 View Post
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 doubt anything bad will come of the use of Clarity... I just wouldn't use it as a first-line response to cloudyness. I mostly wanted you to not think of clarifiers as an all-purpose fix. They have uses, but they don't solve ongoing problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djb7880 View Post
wait... as I am writing this I just remembered, it's gotta be the driftwood... duhhhhh!!!!!
That is possible... it might also be providing nutrients that are causing a bacterial bloom... A brand new tank is very prone to blooms until your more normal bio-film bacteria get set-up and established.

Note: if you intend to keep livestock you will eventually need a source of ammonia, either chemical (fishless cycling), decaying food (food-based fishless cycling), or live fish based (fish-in cycling).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
Note: if you intend to keep livestock you will eventually need a source of ammonia, either chemical (fishless cycling), decaying food (food-based fishless cycling), or live fish based (fish-in cycling).
Thank you again, Matt!
Question, how much food should one use to promote the "fishless" cycle?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 07:04 PM
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I've never used the food-based method, I am just aware that some folks use fish food, or shrimp from the supermarket to do it.

I use Ace hardware brand janitorial grade ammonia, which works for me because I'm a control freak and want to have exact doses. I'm by no means suggesting this is the only/best way, it is just best for me
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