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Old 04-09-2009, 05:36 PM   #1
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Cloudy water in goldfish tank

HAPPY to find this forum, and hoping to find an answer to a problem I've never had in all the years I've been an aquarium person.

Our current tank is a small one,....a 15-gallon hexagon tank with only 4 goldfish and a small plecostomus, although I've had years of experience with tropical fish and larger tanks.There is no light in the hood (burned out!), and no direct or bright light on the tank, and no heater. The temp stays around 68-degrees.

The filter is a Top Fin. We've had it about 6 years. We change the filter packs regularly, with no problems. This last time, about a month ago, we changed the filter pack, and within 2 days the water was cloudy. No change in food or temperature. Treated the water with "Brite N' Clear", and it helped for a day, then back to cloudy (no color, just cloudy). Changed out about 25% of the water, then it went cloudy again.

Thought it might be that the filter was wearing out, and bought a new Top Fin filter with a new filter pack...no change...still cloudy.

Changed out the entire tank water, rinsed the gravel (the original gravel, black rocks), treated the water with "Start Right", let it sit a couple days with the filter running, rinsed but didn't scrub the plastic plants, to save the bio process, and it was clear again....for about 2 days, then it clouded back up.

Whaaaa???

Now what do we do?

We plan to start the tank all over again this weekend....new gravel, new filter, new airstone and plants....etc. Okay, they're "just goldfish", but they're OUR goldfish! "Happy" is about 3 years old, a Fantail, and a few months ago lost his buddy to a bladder disease.

Would appreciate some advice, so we don't lose Happy and his friends.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappysMom View Post
HAPPY to find this forum, and hoping to find an answer to a problem I've never had in all the years I've been an aquarium person.

Our current tank is a small one,....a 15-gallon hexagon tank with only 4 goldfish and a small plecostomus, although I've had years of experience with tropical fish and larger tanks.There is no light in the hood (burned out!), and no direct or bright light on the tank, and no heater. The temp stays around 68-degrees.
how big are the fish and how long have you had them?
did you test the water?
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:13 AM   #3
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Changing the filter media can cause clouding, because the filter holds bacteria that process ammonia and nitrite. When you take out the bacteria, new ones take their places, and you can get a bacterial bloom.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:33 PM   #4
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I would suggest against NOT starting the tank from new .... you really mess up the biofilter doing that, & likely lead to more cloudy water & more stress for the fish.

I would also recommend against the flocculant water clarifiers. They work by clumping up particles so your filter can pick it up, but also gum up gills as well. Besides, they don't work very well or for long....

First thing to do is to find out why you are having the cloudy water. Being without light, I would suspect that this is not an algae outbreak. This is more likely a bacterial bloom. Bacterial blooms happens when there is ammonia or other wastes that are not handled by your biofilter. This may well indicate that you are exceeding the capacity of the tank.

I suspect that the bloom started because you changed out the filter & removed too much of the biofilter & the tank is going through a mini-cycle. It would be useful to test your water (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates). Replacing the substrate & decorations is counter-productive at this point, since a lot of your filter bacteria will be on the surfaces, and removing them will jsut make the problem worse.

My suggestion at this point is:
1. Test your water.
2. Do water changes, maybe 25% daily for the next while to reduce waste levels. <Depending on your water parameters, this will need to be adjusted.> Do gravel vacs to clean out detritus in the substrate with each water change.
3. If you wish to change out the substrate or decor, or filter material, do it slowly. I suspect that the tank is over stocked in terms of bioload, and you need to keep the biofilter un-disturbed. Generally, you don't need to replace filter pads unless it is faling apart ... most of us just rinse in tank water & reuse. When you change the pads, change no more than 1/2 the material (less is even better) every 3-4 weeks. Ditto for the substrate & decor ... small amounts every few weeks, this gives time for the filter bacteria to colonize the new surfaces & prevent mini-cycles.
4. You may consider getting a bigger tank .... if your nitrates are sky high or you are having problem keeping ammonia/nitrites at zero. Ideally, 4 golds & a pleco will need to be in something like 50-60 gal tank when full grown. <In smaller setups, you will need to do a LOT of water chagnes to keep everyone healthy.>
5. If you have a canister filter (or can borrow one) you can clear up the water with a polishing pad/filter. Takes an hour or 2, but you will need to repeat every few days until you solve the underlying cause of the cloudiness. Having crystal clear water is only for our sake ..... the fish cares more about the water parameters, so I would work more on keeping the water clean & less on the cloudiness.
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:52 PM   #5
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i would just like to state the obvious and say your tank is to small, goldfish produce exponential amounts of waste, although u can manage the ammonia/nitrate levels with water changes, u will still have cloudy water once in a while. what species of goldfish do u have, and what type of pleco, they usually get big really fast.
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