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Very Cloudy Water

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    I have a 29 gal tank that is overstocked on fish that grew significantly larger than what was posted on Wikipedia and websites (for example, 4" fish have become 6" fish). I have another fish tank on order but it will take time to cycle before I can move some of my fish into the new tank. I don't know what I've been doing to get these fish to grow so big but it's really amazing. (Most are Gourami's)

    A while back, after some major meltdown in my filter, my tank was no longer cycled. I was getting ammonia readings of 8 ppm. I treated it with Prime and AmGuard and added Stability to try to get the tank to cycle. I had NO nitrites at that time, just a ton of ammonia.

    About two weeks ago a friend and I removed all the fish (I had set out multiple buckets of water) tore down everything and refilled with clean water. This reduced the ammonia to 1 ppm where it has stayed more or less since. The water was crystal clear. I started getting readings for Nitrites for the first time in ages - so it looks like my tank is finally trying to cycle.

    Then in the last week the water has turned extremely cloudy (white). Levels of Nitrites and Ammonia remain unchanged. I did a 50% water change two days ago. The water was clear for one day, then it turned more cloudy than it was before.

    I read an old post that said this is normal for the cycling process and to NOT do any water changes, just give it some time to cycle and the white water will begin to clear up.

    Any thoughts on this? None of the fish (as far as I can see them) have died. But the water is so cloudy I cannot really tell. I did just remove my major algae eaters (Bushynose Pleco's) to another tank that had serious algae issues and because there was no more algae left in their original tank and I was having to feed them algae pellets (that make a mess). They are busy removing algae from my other tank. I can't imagine removing Plecos (known to produce a lot of waste) has anything to do with the white water. If anything, I would have expected less mess by moving the Pleco's. In the cloudy tank I do have two Dojo Pleco's but they seem too small and skinny to cause such a mess - but I could be wrong. They are 3-4" long right now. The rest of the fish are Gourami's and 2 Cory's. (One Cory died when the ammonia reached 8 ppm.)

    So daily water changes or just let it ride as the tank continues to cycle? I would hate to stop the cycling when I've been fighting it for so long but I hate the cloudy water as well and it prohibits me from checking on the health of my fish it's so heavy.
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Milky cloudy water is caused by bacteria eating rotting/ uneaten food.
    Water change and gravel clean the substrate every day until it clears.
    Reduce feeding until it clears.
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Thanks! I have cut the feeding to 1/4th but I never had any excess food left in the substrate before. These are big fish and some can gulp down 4-6 pellets without any problem, while I'm used to Gourami's nibbling on the hard pellets for hours. I'll work on cleaning the gravel even though there is no food in the substrate that I can see. Will start daily water changes today. Hope this resolves itself soon - the thought of doing this for weeks is a big downer but I'll live. I'm also really concerned I have a dead fish in there somewhere - the water is too cloudy to see - so hopefully with daily water changes I'll find out.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If fish are picking at pellet foods for hours then that will cause it. You should remove uneaten food within a couple of minutes. However, bottom feeding pellets/ wafers can be left for 30 minutes to an hour but no longer unless it's a small pellet and you have a good filter.

    The water changes will help you in your quest to be a body builder like Arnold Schwarzenegger :)
     
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  5. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Herder

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    When I was a kid and didn't know anything about cycling, I just cleaned the tank and gravel and started over. All new water and everything. Then I put the fish right back in. No fancy anything, just an under gravel filter. Cured cloudy water every time. That shouldn't have happened but it did. You say the fish gulp down their food with no problem. But guess what? What goes in comes back out as you know what. I used to be religious with my old dip tube back in the ignorant days of youth. There was no such thing as a gravel vac. Maybe it's time for the aquarium hobby to go back to the simple basics. Just one old timers opinion.
     
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  6. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Well just two weeks ago we cleaned out the entire tank. Actually my friend did most of it so it wouldn't take as long (she can lift 5 gallon buckets over her head while I can't even carry them). That tank was sparkling clean after we washed everything (including the substrate) but within a day or two it was milky. They eat the small carnivore pellets (about 3-6 per fish - some just swallow them, others (my Dojo Loaches) chew on them forever - As long as they are actively eating rather than using the pellets as a bedtime snack I don't think I'm overfeeding them. They also get one huge algae pellet which would make a mess if it wasn't eaten but they all take turns eating it.

    No fish in this tank were supposed to go over 4" (most not over 3") - now they're all 5 and 6" so while there aren't too many fish they are all huge and leave a huge mess. Did a water change yesterday and again today - water still cloudy. I cut back any rotting foliage and it wasn't that bad.

    What puzzles me is that I have nearly 2x the "inches" of fish than in my other 29 gallon but none over 3 inches long. It also is my acrylic tank - that thing has NEVER clouded, it always looks sparkling clean. I see food in the substrate but no nitrates register - it's like the tank from heaven. My schedule shows I'm way past due with a water change on it but the numbers are excellent and it looks great. I just am beginning to think having a few large fish is more difficult to care for than having a lot of small/medium size fish.
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you're not overfeeding, then it's the food you are using. Some pellets are higher in protein and these can cause milky cloudy water. Try a different brand of food or use frozen (but defrosted) for a week and see if it helps.
     
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  8. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Hmmm - loach are pretty messy but it sounds like you are overfeeding by a lot.
    My dwarf chain loach (about 6cm long) only get 2 pellets between 6 of them. That's 1 pellet for 3 fish and the pellets are pretty small. Fully grown dojos are about double the length of mine. When I feed those they don't get algae wafers. When I feed algae wafers they don't get the shrimp pellets. And one small algae wafer (omega one veggie rounds) for the 6 of them. I only ever feed one type of food per day.

    What Colin said about cheaper foods is correct - and even more true about algae wafers.
     
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  9. zarat

    zarat New Member

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    #9 zarat, Sep 14, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  10. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Well I don't think I can get buy with so few pellets. For example, just one of my 6" Gourami's eats 3 pellets just by swallowing them - multiply that by 6 fish. The Loaches just pick a pellet and "guards" it with their bodies as they slowly nibble on it. The catfish eat about 2 or more pellets each I never have any leftovers in this tank - NEVER.

    Day 4 of 75% water changes. The water is nearly clear but I think I'm going to have to stop doing it - I'm in physical and occupational therapy right now and between the two activities it's constant pain. .I also cleaned the other big tank (that still looks dirtier than this tank) Oh - and with all the water changes it's stopped cycling. I'm up to 4 ppm on Ammonia and 0 on nitrates - I had Ammonia down to 1-2 and some Nitrates before I started changing the water constantly.

    While the water was clear I searched and searched and searched for a dead fish because the most horrific odor has been coming from this tank - I removed all the dead or close to dead vegetation (this tank has a huge amount of plants) I'm going to split the number of plants with the new tank when I get water and a substrate in it. I cleaned out the filter case and switched out my carbon filter - cleaned the sponge in a bucket of tank water (OMG the smell from that filter) But I believe the smell is coming from something that died or too much fish poop because it smells like dog poop. But after so many water changes I'm completely puzzled. There MUST be something dead in there and it must be something big.

    My daughter and her husband were over last night and they say they can spell it the moment they enter the house and that it's "horrible" - so now I'm embarrassed to have any body come over. It's definitely coming from this tank - and we just did a total clean out less than a month ago! I lost one cat fish but removed his body a long time ago.

    Going crazy here!
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Have you got an airstone in the tank?
    An airstone bubbling away will help to increase oxygen levels and can help bubble out some of the bad smells.

    Tell your family you need help with the water changes and get them to do the tank.

    Maybe reduce feeding to 2-3 times per week and see if that helps.
     
  12. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Thanks. I do have airstones in the tank some of the fish like hanging out in the flow LOL. I don't think my family is devoted enough to fish other than to get the tank out of the box - plus my daughter and son-in-law both work in IT about 60hours a week. I think I can still do the water changes - it's just hard now to fit in my schedule with PT, OT and a zillion dr. appts - the medical community is raking in the money on me. I do have an old friend that is able to help sometimes - she actually enjoys it, it's just her work hours are irregular. I'll figure it out. I want to get this 4th tank started too so I can take a load off my other tanks.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Great, after multiple water changes daily for about 4-5 days the water is clear and I'm getting lower ammonia counts and some nitrites. Good sign it was cycling.

    Then the cloudiness came back - coincidentally corresponded with me moving my two bushnose pleco's in the tank to take care of the algae and give them something to eat (they had cleaned the other tank spotless. I know pleco's are known to put out a mess but these are just little guys - I can't believe they would cause a milky tank. Now ammonia is back up to about 4 ppm and nitrites have gone - looks like it stopped cycling again. The other tank this size is far more dirty and I have overfed a number of times. It's starting to cycle nicely and the water is crystal clear - it also had the bushnose pleco's in it for a few weeks until they ate all the algae and not one bit of cloudiness.

    Back to daily water changes I guess. I have my new tank - filled it today as well as put plants and some cave type things. Took some gravel from the tank I have that cycling the best - even though it's not completely cycled. I'm soaking some driftwood because I don't want brown water (the substrate is a brown clay that I was told would be gray. Very expensive stuff and I rinsed it to death until all water ran clear - took hours for 4 bags. I like a nice thick substrate for planted tanks - it makes it so much easier to add plants. Added ammonia which didn't work out like the calculator said it would. Tested it about 4 hours after adding the ammonia and what should have been 3 ppm was 1 ppm. Added another dose and will test tomorrow.

    I'm hoping the new tank will solve the cloudiness problem in the other tank if I can remove some of these ultra large fish (no I'm not giving them steroids). Perhaps get a few small to medium sized fish for the two tanks depending on how overstocked it still seems to be.

    Exhausted and losing my mind.
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Did you feed the bristlenose in the new tank?
     
  15. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    I always add an algae pellet or two to my two bigger tanks - all the fish enjoy them, and I can ensure that the Bristlenose is getting enough algae (they go right for it). Since there was no more algae in tank A , I moved them to tank B where there was a significant amount of algae growth for them to enjoy. I still add one algae pellet since a number of fish seem to enjoy them.
     

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