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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got three tanks set up - a 29G, a 25G, and a 10G, all with gravel, lots of plants, and a light fish load - a very light fish load. the 10 only has two guppies in it! Its chemical parameters are the same as the 25G tank, but it keeps getting cloudy and I have to do an 80% water change every week. The plants are healthy. I cannot figure out what is happening! The 25G has a small HOB filter, one for a 10G tank; neither the 29G or the 10G have a filter. Outside of adding a filter, I do not know what to do - and if I do add a filter, I don't know which kind to add. I'd like to make the 10 a guppy fry tank, so I'm thinking a sponge filter.
 

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The cloudiness could be a harmless bacterial bloom if the tank is new, or it could be the start of green water if there's too much light and nutrients available. Purigen might help but if it's GW then you may need a UV sterilizer, diatom filter or a lot of patience. If it's milky colored then it's probably bacteria bloom, just wait and it'll go away. The 80% water changes probably aren't helping anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The water is a dingy yellow, so algae are not the problem. BTW, I have been very stingy with the food. A diatom filter is WAY too expensive! I suspect a UV sterilizer is even costlier. Let's talk low tech... My best guess is a recurring bacterial bloom but I cannot figure out what is feeding it. I'm going to continue with the wwater changes for now - a 10G tank is at least not much hassle to change.
 

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Dingy yellow... do you have driftwood in the tank? If so it's probably releasing tannins. Either way I would try Purigen first, the cheapest one comes in a bag and you can throw it right into the filter. Water changes won't help any of those problems. You'll know if you have green water if you leave it alone for a week, if that becomes the case then the $30 submersible UV sterilizers are the cheapest mechanical option besides blacking the tank out.

Reoccurring bacterial blooms in old setups are usually due to an overloaded biofilter, too much ammonia/ nitrogen production. Maybe over cleaning of the tank and filter can cause it too. High water temp probably helps. Most of the time it just goes away on it's own after the colony reaches a balance.
 

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You're mistaken, the biofilter is the colony of bacteria that complete the nitrogen cycle. Every tank has them to some degree, unless it's empty. When I said 'overloaded biofilter' I meant bioload is too high, too many fish, too much food, too much nitrogen etc. But you don't have many fish so don't know what to say.
 

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What you have is green water. Your nutrient levels appear to be low from what you have let us know. The green water is not very dense and therefore looks yellow. Try cutting out the lights for 72 hours by covering with blankets. Feed your fishes before you do but don't even peep in for 72 hours or put your tank lights on even for a second. If that yellow goes away the diagnosis is proven right. All you will need to do in future will be reduce the lights for the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You're mistaken, the biofilter is the colony of bacteria that complete the nitrogen cycle.
I stand corrected.

Here are my plans. Since I am going to use this for guppy fry, I do not want a standard filter, and there are no sponge filters for sale anywhere close by. As for Purigen, not only is it not available locally, I do not know what it is - an admittedly brief search of the website did not enlighten me very much. I'll go to an online dealer and oreder a sponge filter so that i will at least have some filtration going on, plus I will research the Purigen and if I like what i find I will get it also. In the meantime I will change the water only if the fish obviously are distressed. I'll be gone Jan. 5 - 19, so they definitely will be left alone then!

Thanks for the advice.
 

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you can buy a cheap aquaclear filter and a sponge. cut a hole in the sponge and stick it on the intake. that's what i did for both of my shrimp tanks.

that time that you're gone would be awesome for a blackout since you wont get curious and peek. but any plants you have might die too
 

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if you have extra cash, invest in a UV sterilizer, either inline or in the tank. I had the same problem when my fish was playing in the substrate. The UV cleared things up in a few days.

It's handy for killing parasites in the water column too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It would appear essabee was right. I'd put in several ferilizer tabs, so I suspected a dilute green water might indeed be the problem and I stopped having the lights on except at feeding time. This morning the tank is definitely clearer.
 

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I used to raise a few kinds of fish, including gupppies, and if you can't get a sponge filter, the best thing you could get would be a HOB filter, then fix a sponge over the intake to prevent it from sucking up fry. You can also use old pantyhose or even a sock or something like that. Just something fry can't get through, but water can. You can also build sponge filters from an air pump and a few bits of pvc pipe. I never built any, but know people who have. Maybe someone else on here has instructions, check out the DIY section.

That definitely sounds like either green water or bacterial bloom to me. I have similar issues in my 55 gallon tank right now; it started up as soon as I set up a DIY CO2 temporarily while the pressurized one is refilled...I seem to get green water the most when my tank is not crammed as full of plants as I can get it...which is its current condition. I don't know why, but that's what I see in my own tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update: I continued to keep the light off most of the time, and the tank now is almost clear - I would call it in acceptable limits! Thanks for the help.
 
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