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#3196671 - 11/24/13 01:35 PM Cloudy Aquarium
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2911
Loc: Ohio
Need some help on this. Just a small 5 gallon one that I bought for my parents back in 2008. Fresh water with two Goldfish Fantails. Used to be crystal clear and it's a white fog. Did some research and bought some Accu-Clear at Petco. Two doses 24 hrs apart that did nothing last weekend. Which is more for a bacteria bloom and won't help hard water. Also putting in a water conditioner and have been doing that for years.

Running out of ideas here. Last night put some water that had been boiled then let that sit for 24 hours. Maybe the PH is out of whack. I saw some bottles of ph increaser and decreaser.

I removed all the gravel about two years ago after the larger fish got piece of it stuck in his mouth. I had to pull is out of his mouth with a round tip tweezers. So have larger type rocks at the bottom now and not many of them.

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#3196685 - 11/24/13 01:49 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
gregk24 Offline


Registered: 04/13/13
Posts: 2631
Loc: FL, USA
If its a new tank that is normal, you have to give it time to clear up. It could also be the goldfish, they are VERY messy, and 5 gallons is not a lot.
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#3196687 - 11/24/13 01:50 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
Boomer Offline


Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1637
Loc: Pennsylvania
With goldfish, you should be exchanging the water every 10-14 days with fresh water. This assumes that you are not running a filter. The fish cause a buildup of nitrogen in the water (fish pee) and this encourages bacterial and algal growth. Just siphon out about 3/4 of the water and replace with non-chlorinated water. Spring water from the grocery will do OK or water run through a charcoal filter at home like we have on our kitchen faucet.
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#3196695 - 11/24/13 02:04 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: Boomer]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2911
Loc: Ohio
Forgot to mention I normally remove 20-25% of water every 7 days and replace with tap water along with water conditioner. There is a 5-15 gallon water filter that contains a charcoal filter that I just replaced. I normally flush/clean the filter every 7 days as well.

My dad and I used to buy gallons of distilled water at the store once a week before using the water conditioner drops.

At least the fish are acting ok.

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#3196697 - 11/24/13 02:07 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 13323
Loc: Upstate NY
Does it have a filter? You have not been running the aquarium since 2008 without a filter and/or water exchange. Main thing is no tap water with chlorine. Tap water is fine, just let it sit a day. And that will also bring it to room temp which is also important. No temp shock when adding water.

Also uneaten food and other stuff will drop to the bottom into the gravel. That needed to be scooped out, rinsed and put back.
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#3196698 - 11/24/13 02:09 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: Donald]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2911
Loc: Ohio
Running this filter here:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/AquaTech-Power-Filter-5-15-Fish-Aquatic-Pets/10313136

The tap water I use sits for 7 days. Since I just refill the gallon plastic jug when I'm doing the weekly maintenance.

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#3196744 - 11/24/13 03:03 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7226
Loc: Buffalo, NY
I'm a mild tank-a-holic. Have 3 freshwater setups at the house, a 10g a 20 long and a 55.

Like said, a 20g (or 30?) tank is the minimum recommended for a single fancy goldfish and add 10g for each additional fancy. Comet goldfish (AKA "feeders" or carnival fish) are pond fish. They can grow to be several feet long. Sure they'll live in a bowl, provided some level of care, but they won't live well.

I don't use chemical adds or meds unless it's absolutely necessary. I'd do several large water changes (80% or more) and refill with fresh dechlorinated tap water to see if that helps improve the cloudiness.

A 5gal tank with two fancy goldfish should have a large water change every few days. Keep in mind, you can take the water level right down to where the fish can barely (but safely) swim.


Edited by JTK (11/24/13 03:06 PM)
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#3196811 - 11/24/13 04:34 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
jrustles Offline


Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 1872
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Cloudiness for me happens with water exchanges and the 20GAL tank usually clears up after a day. In this case the cloudiness appears to be microbubbles (carbonate?) probably from pH stablilization when adding mineralized water.
Normally on this tank, water evaporates regularly and I just add distilled makeup water, so as to maintain the mineral balance. Rarely (if) ever use the conditioners (Prime) or the probiotics since the tank is solidly cycling itself. I do a partial change every SIX MONTHS or so, and that involved vacuuming the gravel, otherwise the cycle, pH and GH is rock solid. No nitration issues. Havent had a fatality in over two years, after an unfortunate contamination and subsequent bloom claimed a few, and after a pleco jumped out of the tank in the middle of the night because of a stupid meddling cat. Going strong are 4 black neon tetras and an oversized Rosy Barb. I'm probably going to have to find a new home for the Barb-he's too big now. Heck I'll send them all off if the opportunity arises
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#3197030 - 11/24/13 07:58 PM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7226
Loc: Buffalo, NY
jrustles, I'm assuming your tank is loaded with live plants to consume the nitrates? If not, you've got miracle fish living in there. I'd be curious to see what your nitrate level is in PPM.

It is possible for some fish to acclimate over time to high nitrates (over 60ppm), but generally they're goners once an appreciable amount of new water is introduced into the tank, and the water chemistry swings wildly. This could be the cloudiness you see.

It is possible to build a 'self sustaining' tank (search Walstad Method), but it takes a heavily planted tank, just the right level of stocking and care. It's a balancing act. Not many in the hobby go this route. I've only chatted with one. Most choose the more fool-proof method of weekly water changes of 10% at a minimum. I do more like 30-40% weekly.

Tetras can live 6-8yrs with this type of care.

I never worry about pH unless it's a specific breeding project you're after. The main thing is maintaining a consistent pH. Fish will acclimate to this. They will not fare well with chasing your pH up/down with additives.



Edited by JTK (11/24/13 08:09 PM)
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#3197390 - 11/25/13 09:32 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: JTK]
jrustles Offline


Registered: 02/24/13
Posts: 1872
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JTK
jrustles, I'm assuming your tank is loaded with live plants to consume the nitrates? If not, you've got miracle fish living in there. I'd be curious to see what your nitrate level is in PPM.



No live plants, the one was removed at the last crisis. It appears to be nitrifying bacteria and algae taking care of business, though the nerite snails have polished most of the algae off. I have found that the more the tank is left alone, the less trouble I'm having. The tank is very "rustic" looking, not spotless, but the water is amazingly stable. I'll see if I can get a recent quality test and post it up. And if anyone in the area wants a mature rosy barb and 4 black neons, juts let me know!
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#3197406 - 11/25/13 09:47 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: jrustles]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7226
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: jrustles
..I'll see if I can get a recent quality test and post it up. And if anyone in the area wants a mature rosy barb and 4 black neons, juts let me know!


That would be great if you could post that. I'm curious!

Maybe try a local fish store to see if they'll take what you've got. I know mom/pop places are far and few between anymore. I'm lucky to have 2 real good ones nearby.
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#3197427 - 11/25/13 10:02 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: satinsilver]
kb01 Offline


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 930
Loc: USA
It sounds like you're things right with the water changes. One issue to consider is your filter. A fairly common critique with that model is that the biofilter is undersized. I normally take these kinds of complaints with a grain of salt (they're usually from people with too much time & money), but in this case, it might be the culprit.

How new is your aquarium? Is it possible that it isn't fully cycled? I've had similar blooms right before the nitrites dropped.

A good first step would be to check the standard parameter -- ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates -- to see what's going on. I can almost guarantee it's one of those three.

If it's an established tank and it's showing any measurable ammonia or nitrites, the tank is either over capacity with fish, or the biofilter is inadequate. If that's the case, I'd either phase in a new filter, or DIY mod your existing one for better bio-filtration, either swapping out the charcoal for floss/sponge/beads, or putting in some kind of pre-filter.

If the tank is less than 6 - 8 weeks old, it still may be cycling. If that's the case, it might be a good idea to keep testing the water and avoiding water changes, in order to let it run its course, and only changing it if/when the parameters are bad enough to put the fish in jeopardy.

If it's nitrates causing problems, the only solution would be upgrading to a bigger tank, reducing the number of fish, or doing even more frequent water changes.

I'd avoid any of the chemical fixes. They have a way of causing more problems than they solve and can just covering up major water issues. I'd be surprised if your problems are related to PH. Something is out of whack, and bacteria are feeding on it. The question is what.

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#3197434 - 11/25/13 10:07 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: jrustles]
kb01 Offline


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 930
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: jrustles


No live plants, the one was removed at the last crisis. It appears to be nitrifying bacteria and algae taking care of business, though the nerite snails have polished most of the algae off. I have found that the more the tank is left alone, the less trouble I'm having. The tank is very "rustic" looking, not spotless, but the water is amazingly stable. I'll see if I can get a recent quality test and post it up. And if anyone in the area wants a mature rosy barb and 4 black neons, juts let me know!


Without plants or water changes, where are the nitrates going? Is it just a big tank, with a few, relatively clean fish, so they're building up gradually?

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#3197447 - 11/25/13 10:15 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: JTK]
kb01 Offline


Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 930
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: JTK

It is possible to build a 'self sustaining' tank (search Walstad Method), but it takes a heavily planted tank, just the right level of stocking and care. It's a balancing act. Not many in the hobby go this route. I've only chatted with one. Most choose the more fool-proof method of weekly water changes of 10% at a minimum. I do more like 30-40% weekly.



While not really self sustaining, I know a guy who put together a DIY automatic water changer. It's basically an overflow drain coupled with a modified refrigerator supply line (1/4 pipe with a control valve) that drips fresh water into the tank. It's a pretty slick system. He basically just got sick of water changes on a giant (125? gal) tank.

I have two tanks -- 50 gallon fresh water and a 30 gallon brackish and am really lazy when it comes to changing water. I vacuum the gravel and swap out about 40% of the water once per month or sooner if the nitrates start inching up.

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#3197464 - 11/25/13 10:28 AM Re: Cloudy Aquarium [Re: kb01]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7226
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: kb01

I have two tanks -- 50 gallon fresh water and a 30 gallon brackish and am really lazy when it comes to changing water. I vacuum the gravel and swap out about 40% of the water once per month or sooner if the nitrates start inching up.


Yep, the main thing is measuring your water parameters and watching your nitrates. If your stocking is light, you can get away with fewer water changes. There are some pretty slick water change hardware out there like python water changes and whatnot. I vac out or bail into a 5gal pail, then use the waste water for the garden or landscaping. Free super miracle grow.

I would imagine that the OP's tank has a good amount of beneficial bacteria on all the hardscape in the tank, given it's age. That's where the majority of it grows, with the second best spot, on the bio filtration area of the tank's filter.


Edited by JTK (11/25/13 10:29 AM)
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