Cloudy tank before fish

Brentstarburst

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Hi all.
I recently purchased a second hand 110 Aqua Safe tank(110 litre/25 gallon), it came with a Moray 700 filter. Turns out that the media - ceramic, charcole and sponge have never been changed and are about a year old.

My son thought this would be okay and that rinsing them in tap water would serve as okay in a new tank setup. Chlorinated tap water should kill all right?

My son is a relatively experienced aquarist, so I've been following his guide. Here's what we've done:

Cleaned the tank with vinegar solution and then filled with tap water. Put in Aqua safe and fired up the heater, plus the filter. I've washed gravel and added decor.

All functioning nicely for 24 hours and then my son added Pure Aquarium Balls. Tested all levels in the tank, no ammonia, PH, hardness all good, no nitrite or nitrate.

48 hours later and I'm seeing a whitish cloud in the tank. Before adding fish.

Has this been caused by the Pure Aquarium Balls?

I spoke to someone at the local aquarist shop and they said possibly to change out some water which I've done, possibly bacterial bloom.. However, could this be caused by the filter? The sponge and the ceramic filter seemed okay but I understand the carbon filter could be well past its date.. Previous owner never changed the media and bought it a year ago.

I probably need to change all the media. But what should I do? Which should I change first? I've started a cycle now as I've added some silver tipped barbs (5) and I have some Seachem Prime.

This situation isn't ideal and I do regret listening to my son now!

Any advice please!
 
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Byron

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Welcome to TFF.

First thing, the cloudiness is most likely a bacterial bloom. These are common in new tanks. It may or may not be connected to the "bacteria" in those Filter Balls. But it is not harmful. Water changes usually do nothing for bacterial blooms, because the fresh water (out of the tap) can have a lot of dissolved organics and that is what feeds the bacteria that reproduce so rapidly it clouds the water. If this is what it is, it will sort itself out.

Adding fish was not a good idea...any chance they can be returned? The cycling articles (below) will explain why.

The filter media that came with the filter should have been thrown out. You've no idea what pathogens could be in this, and the carbon has lost its effectiveness anyway by now.

You need to cycle the tank. Or have live plants growing. There are explanations of these methods at the top of the "Cycle Your Tank" forum section, here:
 
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Brentstarburst

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Welcome to TFF.

First thing, the cloudiness is most likely a bacterial bloom. These are common in new tanks. It may or may not be connected to the "bacteria" in those Filter Balls. But it is not harmful. Water changes usually do nothing for bacterial blooms, because the fresh water (out of the tap) can have a lot of dissolved organics and that is what feeds the bacteria that reproduce so rapidly it clouds the water. If this is what it is, it will sort itself out.

Adding fish was not a good idea...any chance they can be returned? The cycling articles (below) will explain why.

The filter media that came with the filter should have been thrown out. You've no idea what pathogens could be in this, and the carbon has lost its effectiveness anyway by now.

You need to cycle the tank. Or have live plants growing. There are explanations of these methods at the top of the "Cycle Your Tank" forum section, here:
Thanks for the reply.

I appreciate now the advice my son has been given is pretty bad.

I have replacement media on the way and I don't think I can return the fish.

So should I just change all the media when it arrives?

Or a bit at a time?
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I concur that the cloudiness sounds like a bacterial bloom and that, whilst harmless, it'll take a while to sort itself out. I also concur that adding fish so early on is a Bad Idea, as you're essentially putting lives at risk.
Given the known history of the filter, it just isn't worth the risk of keeping it. This means new filter media.
Plants will speed up the process somewhat and I've had good results in setting up a tank, using Microbe-Lift Special Blend and Nite-Out II.
(I'm unfamiliar with your balls).
 
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Brentstarburst

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I agree..bad advice from my son, so trying to make good out of a bad bet.

Presumably the quicker I can change the media the better? Should I just change it all at once?
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Thanks for the reply.

I appreciate now the advice my son has been given is pretty bad.

I have replacement media on the way and I don't think I can return the fish.

So should I just change all the media when it arrives?

Or a bit at a time?
Your fish have already been exposed to your old filter media, so any pathogens present will likely have been released already and your fish will die, or they won't.

By way of consolation, I packed up my filter media some 13 years ago and left it, with the substrate in a bucket, in unheated storage.
Back in July, I got it all out and set up a tank. Granted, I didn't expose fish to it, but it facilitated a relatively speedy cycling and when I added the fish, nothing went amiss and all is still tickety-boo, as they say.

Normally, when you're changing media, you change a bit at a time, so as to maintain the population of beneficial bacteria in your tank.
 
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Brentstarburst

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Thanks for your help.

So okay, I've replacement media arriving in the next 2 days. Should I replace a bit at a time assuming fish don't die? Which bits first? Carbon, ceramic, sponge?

To mitigate, should I be changing water more frequently? Or just monitoring levels anyway as I would be?
 

Fishfinder1973

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You would be as well as leaving things as is,the horse has already bolted (as they say)
The cloud should disappear within 1-3 days,as it will be the aquarium balls 99% sure of that,and not a bad thing.
With the cycle already in motion,all you can do is test the parameters regularly and do water changes when necessary.
 
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Brentstarburst

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You would be as well as leaving things as is,the horse has already bolted (as they say)
The cloud should disappear within 1-3 days,as it will be the aquarium balls 99% sure of that,and not a bad thing.
With the cycle already in motion,all you can do is test the parameters regularly and do water changes when necessary.
And not change any of the media? As I understand it, the carbon can be changed? The sponge seemed in pretty good shape?
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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And not change any of the media? As I understand it, the carbon can be changed? The sponge seemed in pretty good shape?
The carbon is unnecessary. It's a mechanical filtration and soon gets clogged up. Better swap it for another 'normal' sponge, or a bag of filter 'noodles' to grow bacteria on.
I believe (and have learned) that carbon is only useful when you want to remove medications from a tank.
 
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Brentstarburst

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The carbon is unnecessary. It's a mechanical filtration and soon gets clogged up. Better swap it for another 'normal' sponge, or a bag of filter 'noodles' to grow bacteria on.
I believe (and have learned) that carbon is only useful when you want to remove medications from a tank.
Thanks Bruce. I've replacement media on the way. So should I change out the ceramic media asap? This includes a new carbon one, so I might as well change that anyway?

I now know this is a bad situation, so just trying to work out the best way forward. What would you do?
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Thanks Bruce. I've replacement media on the way. So should I change out the ceramic media asap? This includes a new carbon one, so I might as well change that anyway?

I now know this is a bad situation, so just trying to work out the best way forward. What would you do?
This is the dilemma...
On the one hand, you may have old media that is effectively seeded with beneficial bacteria and this will make your cycling easier and faster.
On the other, that media may contain pathogens.

Given that the fish are already exposed, there may now be nothing to lose in carrying on with the old media.
As I said, carbon isn't necessary and, rather than carbon in the filter, more ceramic 'noodles' would be a better idea.

Ooooh...and I didn't see mention of aeration in your descriptions. An airpump, driving a couple of airstones, will enhance the oxygenation of the water, which never, ever does any harm.
 
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Brentstarburst

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This is the dilemma...
On the one hand, you may have old media that is effectively seeded with beneficial bacteria and this will make your cycling easier and faster.
On the other, that media may contain pathogens.

Given that the fish are already exposed, there may now be nothing to lose in carrying on with the old media.
As I said, carbon isn't necessary and, rather than carbon in the filter, more ceramic 'noodles' would be a better idea.

Ooooh...and I didn't see mention of aeration in your descriptions. An airpump, driving a couple of airstones, will enhance the oxygenation of the water, which never, ever does any harm.
Sorry, I didn't mention that I am using an air pump as well.

Aqua One mentions replacing the carbon filter and I have one on the way.

I guess all I'm asking is if the fish survive a few days, should I replace the ceramic and sponge filter or just leave it?
 

Byron

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If this were me, I would throw out all the existing filter media. I would clean the filter housing with hot water, then add new filter media. You never know what may still be in the media.

Use a bacterial supplement, Tetra's Safe Start if you can get it locally. Add live plants, even if just floating. Once they are growing these will remove any ammonia from the fish, regardless of the filter issue.
 
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Brentstarburst

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If this were me, I would throw out all the existing filter media. I would clean the filter housing with hot water, then add new filter media. You never know what may still be in the media.

Use a bacterial supplement, Tetra's Safe Start if you can get it locally. Add live plants, even if just floating. Once they are growing these will remove any ammonia from the fish, regardless of the filter issue.
But what if fish are in place and existing media in place?
 

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