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New Tank - Cloudy Water - No Fish Added Yet - Please Help!


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#1 herdsmc

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 10:17 PM

Hello fellow forum members, i'm new to this whole business of looking after fish and am treading very carefully at first to prevent potentially causing harm to any of our little fishy friends :-)

Right, the bottom line is the water in my tank is really rather cloudy, yet i have not added any fish as yet. I've trawled through the posts but all references to cloudy water seem to be when fish have already been added. I'll mention below the details of how i got to this cloudy situation so hopefully somebody more knowledgable in this area can help???

I purchased a an Elite Style 60 set-up from pets at home in the UK. I bought the associated stand and assembled and placed the tank on said stand. The tank came with an Elite stingray submersible filter and also a subersible heater. I bought Roman gravel and washed very thoroughly in cold tap water before lining the bottom of my tank to a depth of around 1.5 - 2.0 inches. I also bought a few plastic plants and ornaments and again washed very thoroughly in cold tap water prior to placing in the tank. The heater and filter unit were positioned as per instructions that came with the tank. I then proceeded to fill my tank to the specified level with cold tap water and left for the themostat on the heater to equillibrate. After aound an hour i turned on my filter unit and heater and let them run for a short period. The set-up came with some Nutrafin Aqua Plus so i added the specified dose as per instructions to dechlorinate my water. At this point the tank was fine, no cloudiness and i left it for aound 24 hours for the temperature to settle to aound 26 - 27oC. Next i added a dose of Nutrafin Cycle as the instructions that came with my tank seemed to indicate this was the next step to build up good bacteria. Shortly after this the water went mildly cloudy but wasn't at the point where i was overly concerned. Again i left this for a couple of days and thought i should test my water to make sure everything was OK. The nitrate, nitrite and ammonia were all zero ppm and the pH was 8.2, i had read in a book and also on the web that this was a little high for a community tank (which is was hoping to set-up) and that i should aim for a pH of 7 for a community tank. (It's at this point i think i got a bit carried away) The test kit i had bought (API master test kit) said that i could buy a buffer to set the pH to 7 and maintain it at that level so i trotted back down to pets at home and bought API proper pH 7 and returned home and added the recommended dose to my tank. Very shortly thereafter my tank went really cloudy until, after 12 hours, it wasn't far off looking like milk!!! I left it for a couple of days in the hope that by some miracle it would clear...........it didn't. I next tried adding some water clarrifer but after a few days the water hasn't really cleared. It's not quite as bad as the first 12 hours but it still seems wrong to me. I can see through the water and see my backdrop but the surfaces of the tank feel coated and there's a very thin film of white scum on the top of the water, it looks like something has precipitated out of the water??

My worry is that i've got a bit carried away with adding all these chemicals to my tank, although please note that at all times i've stuck to the manufacturers recommended doses for my size aquarium.

My questions following on from this are:-

1. Does anyone have any suggestions what might be going on and how i can resolve it, if at all?
2. Given that i've not added any fish yet, do you think i should empty the tank and start again?
3. Do you think this is kinda normal and will clear given time?

For info i have already read the posts on setting up a new tank and also fishless cycling.

Any help at all would be very greatly apreciated :-)

#2 MrWhite

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 10:50 PM

http://www.fishforum...howtopic=246850 < read this might be whats up, i had cloudy water aswell due to using sand substrate all i done was to a 20% water change everyday after like 4 days it went clear

It Should clear in time dont worry

Edited by MrWhite, 13 January 2009 - 10:52 PM.


#3 OldMan47

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 12:57 AM

Welcome to the forum HerdsMC. You are right to worry about adding too many things to your tank. In general, anything much more than a dechlorinator is not a very good idea. The clarifier probably works like so many of those by trying to make the small particles stick together so that your filter can remove them. The trouble is that if you don't have very high flow rates on the filter, the particles settle where they please. If you have a bloom going, Mr White's link takes you to a fairly comprehensive description of what that means.
Your tank set up instructions are fine for getting the mechanical things going but has left out how to get ready for fish. There are only some mechanical devices in your tank right now and you need a bacterial colony set up. There are basically 2 main approaches to getting that. The first we call a fishless cycle and it amounts to feeding some ammonia to the tank and waiting for the cycle to happen. While waiting, if the ammonia levels drop, we add more and if the nitrites get high we get excited. The excitement is because we are starting to show progress toward cycling. The second method is called fish-in cycling. It can be much more demanding of attention but can also be done with success. For a fish-in cycle, the fish supply the ammonia and you sample at least daily and do water changes as needed to maintain the ammonia and nitrites very low until they start taking care of themselves. The daily water changes remind you of the choice you made to go fish-in because they will start to seem a burden after a bit.
Both methods take about the same amount of time to complete but the work involved is much different. There is a link to each method in my signature area. You might want to read through both before deciding which way to go.

#4 joshrm115

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 01:06 AM

Give it a day or 2 to settle and you need to cycle it

#5 waterdrop

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 01:56 AM

Hi there herdsmc and Welcome to TFF!

Its always fun when we read a first post from someone who obviously reads all the instructions, researches as much information as possible and generally trys to "get it all together" before getting fish. For that type of person I feel that stumbling across TFF can be a true reward. This place holds the possibility of pulling all those different pieces of information together and helping them all make sense, while simultaneously guiding you to the most important aspects of the hobby that are easily missed without the help of other hobbyists.

Up above you've got a post from OM47 (oldman47), someone I've found to be a very experienced aquarist who expresses things well and will guide you in the right direction. OM47 has pointed you to your next most important reading. The other guys are right too: cloudy water is quite common in new tank setups and turns out to rarely be of any significant importance, being either substrate that didn't get rinsed enough or, more likely, a bacterial bloom and a quite normal thing.

What's not so good are all the things you poured in after you started trying to do something about your cloudiness. OM47 says it right: dechlor conditioner is the only extra thing you'll normally need along with fresh tap water. The other essential tool for getting started is something you happily already own, the API master test kit.

The wise thing to do at this point is stop and read the two large articles (there are even more pinned in this forum) about fish-in and fishless cycling of the filter. Its important to understand to absorb this information so you can understand our advice. My own opinion is that you will end up deciding to do a large water change, just leaving the gravel wet, getting all that extra stuff out of the tank and then start a true fishless cycle under the watchful eye of the members here.

Whatever you decide, glad to have you on board and hope we can answer many of your questions. The members here are great!

~~waterdrop~~ :D

#6 herdsmc

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 11:44 AM

What a quick response!! I'd like to thank all those who responded and i will take your advice on board. Actually the cloudy water cleared after about another 24 hours so my tank is now clear again.

Looks like there are a lot of good posts on the forum so i'll have a read through as suggested and try and get myself up to speed.

Cheers :-)

#7 backtotropical

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 01:44 PM

Hi Herdsmc and :hi: to TFF,

What a quick response!! I'd like to thank all those who responded and i will take your advice on board. Actually the cloudy water cleared after about another 24 hours so my tank is now clear again.


Its quite common for a bacterial bloom to clear on its own with no action being necessary. Lots of people will advise water changes, but as my article states, they often won't help at all.

Looks like there are a lot of good posts on the forum so i'll have a read through as suggested and try and get myself up to speed.


The forum has some great resources. Theres hours and hours of reading in all the pinned topics and it's all good information. Good luck with your reading. :good:

BTT

#8 MarineMoney

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:02 PM

What a quick response!! I'd like to thank all those who responded and i will take your advice on board. Actually the cloudy water cleared after about another 24 hours so my tank is now clear again.

Looks like there are a lot of good posts on the forum so i'll have a read through as suggested and try and get myself up to speed.

Cheers :-)



Just wanted to say that its nice to know someone cares about the wellbeing of the fish and tried to do the best thing. However, it took me a while to stop trusting shop keepers/people who dont know what they're talking about and not buying everything that a manafacturer claims to be a miracle. Relying on my own knowledge through research and places like this forum has been my saviour, it takes a while to get a very secure knowledge base that you understand, but believe me it gets there and its worth it.

Let your tank cycle naturally, takes patience because its never nice feeling the guilt of chucking a fish in a tank thats bursting with ammonia, nitrites and all sorts of other chemicals and then finding the poor thing floating at the top the next morning...if only more newbies were like you! :D

So congrats, you are on the road to being a responsible fish keeper!

#9 Fisses

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 03:11 PM

i would just like to say 1 thing, GET RID OF THE STINGRAY filter...

i bought the exact same set up, and pretty much from after a month after buying ive had problems

see my thread:

http://www.fishforum...howtopic=267431

#10 FishyFred

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 08:53 PM

Hello, Sorry a bit late to reply. We just got an Elite 14 tank. I too have a slight white bloom to the tank. Appeared after about 24 hours. I flushed out, added the filter, water, conditioner (declor?) and suppliment (bacteria, ammonia,nitrate) as directed. I'm hearing here that it's sort of normal to get this kind of mild milky reaction in a new tank. Still, were only three days down the line and we'll wait to see if it clears before we add fish. Thing is that I asked the bods (kids) down at the aquarium place what this was all about. Answer 1: Normal to gat a sleight bacterial blume, just add fish and don't worry. Answer 2: Could be an amonia spike, wait for up to a week and see if it clears ... Well I think I might have been pushing it to get the tank u and running in two days so I'll leave it fishless and see if it clears. Would you agree with either/neither/both answers 1 and/or 2? Regards ...

#11 waterdrop

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 09:34 PM

Hello, Sorry a bit late to reply. We just got an Elite 14 tank. I too have a slight white bloom to the tank. Appeared after about 24 hours. I flushed out, added the filter, water, conditioner (declor?) and suppliment (bacteria, ammonia,nitrate) as directed. I'm hearing here that it's sort of normal to get this kind of mild milky reaction in a new tank. Still, were only three days down the line and we'll wait to see if it clears before we add fish. Thing is that I asked the bods (kids) down at the aquarium place what this was all about. Answer 1: Normal to gat a sleight bacterial blume, just add fish and don't worry. Answer 2: Could be an amonia spike, wait for up to a week and see if it clears ... Well I think I might have been pushing it to get the tank u and running in two days so I'll leave it fishless and see if it clears. Would you agree with either/neither/both answers 1 and/or 2? Regards ...

Hi there FishyFred and welcome to TFF!

Both answers from the kids are pretty hopelessly naive. Cloudiness in new tanks is extremely common, has several possible causes, with a bacterial bloom being the most likely and rarely is it of much importance at all to the beginning fish tank owner. Instead, what *IS* significant is the lack of critical information about what a filter is and how to prepare it properly prior to having fish.

The aquarium filter you bring home from the LFS is actually just like a computer with no operating system or software on it would be. Its a kit, meant to be installed and set up by a hobbyist with a fair amount of experience. There is usually no clue in the instructions about this except how to put it together and plug it in. In truth, there are 3 functions to a filter: chemical, biological and mechanical. The mechanical filtration function is the one most people can guess and think is its only function.. that of trapping debris and particles. The chemical function is an optional one and is not important initially and not our focus at the moment. The *important* one is the biological filtration function, and that one stikes most beginners as "really weird" once they hear what's going on with it: The aquarium hobbyist biological filter is a strange miracle of sorts, its fairly simple and cheap and has been around for over a hundred years and yet its an amazing machine once you learn about it. What we do is grow two species of live bacteria inside the filter. These bacteria form sticky films all over the "biomedia" (the sponges, ceramic rings, ceramic gravels, bioballs etc.) inside the filter box. Then together, these 2 species of bacteria "eat" or "process" the poisons that are present in the aquarium.

It takes on average about 3 to 6 weeks (but its highly unpredictable and often can take 2 full months) to grow these 2 species of bacteria and make the filter functional and ready for fish. The filter is really not ready until this has been done and confirmed via testing. The business model for running a retail LFS simply cannot sustain the patience that would be required of the customers if this information were widely shared with the customers, and in truth, most non-long-term employees may not even have a clue about this process.

Here's why the biofilter is needed: The fish waste, fish respiration, excess fish food and plant debris in an aquarium turns into ammonia. Ammonia, at even small levels, causes permanent gill damage and potential death to fish (in the wild there are millions of gallons to dilute and carry away this ammonia.) The first of our two species of bacteria can eat this ammonia and turn it into nitrite(NO2), which, unfortunately, is yet another deadly poison. Nitrite(NO2), in even small levels, suffocates fish by attaching itself the the fish blood hemoglobin and rendering it unable to carry oxygen, causing permanent nerve damage and potential fish death. The second species of bacteria we grow will eat this nitrite(NO2) and convert it into nitrate(NO3), which, while not a very good substance to have in the tank, can wait to be removed with the weekly water change.

OK, that's the story of the miraculous biofilter. ..hope it has peaked your interest in learning about how to -really- do a good job of preparing a place for your new underwater pets! Our pinned articles here in "New to the Hobby" can get you started learning all about the "Nitrogen Cycle," about testing kits, about fishless cycling and the pure household ammonia that is needed to do it right.

~~waterdrop~~ :D

#12 Cat35

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 01:55 PM


Hi everyone,

New to the hobby and never asked advice on the internet before, so here goes:-

Set up 64 litre tank, after doing my homework on the subject and read instructions, obviously added Tapsafe to the water.
Added 2 small aquatic plants, clean gravel, decor etc.
Heater and filter seem to be working fine. Tank looks great.
Day 2 added 2 more aquatic plants, happy with how everything looks. (Mopani root is soaking in a bucket)
Day 3 OH MY GOD!!!

TANK WATER IS LIKE THICK SOUP :o

I am reading everything I can on the subject and I'm trying not to worry. Used a Tetra 6 in 1 water test kit, and it hasn't shown up anything alarming.

I have a bottle of Filter Start that came with the tank but from what I have read it needs to go into the water when I have fish.

The water isn't just cloudy, I can barely see in it. Is this perhaps the beginning of the cycle or have I successfully made a new type of stew!

Would appreciate some clarity on this issue.

#13 OldMan47

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:03 AM

Welcome to the forum Cat35.
Cloudy water in a newly set up tank is not unusual. It often happens within the first week and lasts for a few days, even as long as a week. Do you have anything besides plants in the tank? It sounds like you do not have any fish yet, which would be great because it gives you a chance to do things right.
Lets see if I can do this as succinctly as WD.
A new tank and filter is just a bit of hardware that has the potential to become a functional tank with an active biological filter some day. First you need to understand that fish produce ammonia which is a deadly poison to them in low concentrations. The good news is that there are bacteria that can turn that ammonia into nitrites. The bad news is that nitrites are also deadly to fish. Here we get lucky again because there are bacteria that can turn nitrites into nitrates. This really is good news because fish can tolerate much higher levels of nitrates than either ammonia or nitrites. Where do the bacteria come from? Some of them often arrive in small numbers in the tap water that you used to fill the tank, but there are not nearly enough in the tap water to take care of the fish wastes.
Where do we get enough bacteria? That is easy to do. We grow the bacteria that arrived by accident in our tanks by feeding them some ammonia and letting their numbers grow. The bacteria grow best in places that have some ammonia, good oxygen content and lots of flow. The bacteria grow in a film on solid objects so they tend to mainly grow in our filters. It is the one place in the tank with great flow, good oxygen content and traces of ammonia. Setting up those bacteria colonies is called cycling the tank or cycling the filter and is named after the basic process we are taking advantage of, which is called the nitrogen cycle. The methods are many for a tank cycle but the one we prefer to use here is called fishless cycling. It consists basically of using an artificial source of ammonia to stimulate the growth of the beneficial bacteria colonies without risking any fish. In order to do a fishless cycle, or even a fish in cycle, you will need a good test kit. Many of us use the API master test kit but any of the liquid reagent type test kits will give a decent accuracy in your testing. In general you will not find much respect for the test strips on this forum. They generally are not nearly as accurate as the liquid kits.
Please read through the postings on the fishless cycle and the fish-in cycle to get an idea of what all of this means. There is a link to each in my signature area.

#14 Cat35

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 07:33 PM

Welcome to the forum Cat35.
Cloudy water in a newly set up tank is not unusual. It often happens within the first week and lasts for a few days, even as long as a week. Do you have anything besides plants in the tank? It sounds like you do not have any fish yet, which would be great because it gives you a chance to do things right.
Lets see if I can do this as succinctly as WD.
A new tank and filter is just a bit of hardware that has the potential to become a functional tank with an active biological filter some day. First you need to understand that fish produce ammonia which is a deadly poison to them in low concentrations. The good news is that there are bacteria that can turn that ammonia into nitrites. The bad news is that nitrites are also deadly to fish. Here we get lucky again because there are bacteria that can turn nitrites into nitrates. This really is good news because fish can tolerate much higher levels of nitrates than either ammonia or nitrites. Where do the bacteria come from? Some of them often arrive in small numbers in the tap water that you used to fill the tank, but there are not nearly enough in the tap water to take care of the fish wastes.
Where do we get enough bacteria? That is easy to do. We grow the bacteria that arrived by accident in our tanks by feeding them some ammonia and letting their numbers grow. The bacteria grow best in places that have some ammonia, good oxygen content and lots of flow. The bacteria grow in a film on solid objects so they tend to mainly grow in our filters. It is the one place in the tank with great flow, good oxygen content and traces of ammonia. Setting up those bacteria colonies is called cycling the tank or cycling the filter and is named after the basic process we are taking advantage of, which is called the nitrogen cycle. The methods are many for a tank cycle but the one we prefer to use here is called fishless cycling. It consists basically of using an artificial source of ammonia to stimulate the growth of the beneficial bacteria colonies without risking any fish. In order to do a fishless cycle, or even a fish in cycle, you will need a good test kit. Many of us use the API master test kit but any of the liquid reagent type test kits will give a decent accuracy in your testing. In general you will not find much respect for the test strips on this forum. They generally are not nearly as accurate as the liquid kits.
Please read through the postings on the fishless cycle and the fish-in cycle to get an idea of what all of this means. There is a link to each in my signature area.


Thank you so much for your reply. I will invest in a good test kit and endeavour to try and get this right. Also, I have become obsessed with reading about fish, looking up compatibility etc (I must have no life!! :blink: ). I almost think I have created suitable matches and then something comes up on the web were there is a compatibilty issue.
Basicaly I really like the look of the Emperor Tetra and I could do with knowing if these are compatible with Dwarf Gourami. At the moment my options are open but I am drawn to purple, black, silver shades of fish and any advice on which would look great, moderately easy to keep and are compatible in my 64litre tank would be really appreciated.

#15 OldMan47

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 02:39 AM

Pairing emperor tetras with no more than a pair of dwarf gouramis should work once the tank is cycled. Be careful with the DGs as you should know that you do not want more than one male in anything short of a very large tank.Male DGs can be very territorial and will not tolerate another male in their territory.

#16 marknewham

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 05:55 PM

This all makes a lot of sense and I am currently in the same situation with cloudy water in new tank - the bit i dont get is the 64 litre love fish aquarium I have comes with two filters one green foam and one white pad and these are supposed to be changed every 28 days - wont that remove all the bacteria that I want in the filter?  Sticking new pads in there...

 

Thanks,

 

Mark



#17 daizeUK

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 06:49 PM

If your filter doesn't contain any other biomedia then yes your bacteria will mostly be living on the sponges.  These don't need to be changed every 28 days, in fact many people advise never changing them at all.  You can give the sponge a gentle squeeze in a bucket of tank water when you do your tank maintenance and this will keep it operating efficiently without losing too many bacteria.

 

Filter wool (floss) is fine mechanical filtration and does need to be changed more frequently, although again you can squeeze it out in old tank water during cleaning to prolong its life.

 

Carbon sponges (black) will last about six weeks before they need to be replaced.

 

Your green sponge, I'm not sure if this is a nitrate sponge as they are often green?  I'm not sure how long those last for but they are usually unnecessary if you keep on top of regular tank maintenance. 



#18 marknewham

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:07 PM

See attached - just confused as to why it says change every month

#19 fluttermoth

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:12 PM

Because they want you to keep spending money on new sponges; simple as that, I'm afraid :/



#20 marknewham

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 09:16 PM

Jeez OK so which filter should i be replacing out of the two in there?

 

They describe the white pad as a floss and carbon cartridge and the green pad as an algaway pad.  The algaway pad is housed in something they call a bio-holster which they say not to wash - are they reckoning the bacteria will be housed on this plastic grid mesh thingy???


Edited by marknewham, 25 September 2013 - 09:21 PM.





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