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Old 05-03-2021, 08:40 PM   #1
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Bacterial Bloom?

We set up a new 37 gallon freshwater tank about 2 months ago. I am new to this, but my son, who I'm doing this with, has a few smaller tanks that don't have any problems.

This new tank was fine for a while, but as he started adding fish (probably too quickly apparently), we were getting bacterial blooms. We were told that's what was happening by the pet store owner. There is no algae fyi.

My son didn't really know what to do, so was doing water changes weekly, which I have since heard is not a good idea with a new tank that is trying to balance out its bacteria levels. We also kept adding fish, and as some of them were dying we would replace them. At one point there were about 22 smallish fish. There are now 8 left and we haven't added any more.

The owner of the pet store sold me some liquid that is supposed to help with rebalancing the bateria, told us not to do any more water changes, and said it will Clear up on its own. But it looks worse than ever now. The water is cloudy and looks horrible. This has been ongoing for about 2 weeks now with no improvement.

He said we have no ammonia or nitrites, and that that was a good thing.

Any suggestions on how to help clear this up?

Thank you for any advice.
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Old 05-04-2021, 03:21 AM   #2
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Bacterial blooms are common in a newly set up tank that is cycling and all the nutrients are out of balance. They normally clear up on their own as the tank establishes. First thing, stop adding new fish.

When you say cloudy, what does it look like? Like a milky colour? Like green water? Like a weak tea brown? Or fine particles suspended in the water?

I would get your own test kit. API freshwater master kit is a good one to get. Its cost effective, covers what you need it to, and easyish to use. Dont rely on a pet store to tell you if your water is safe or if your tank is cycled. They just want to sell you stuff.

When you know them, let us know your water parameters. pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

The comment on not changing water while cycling only applies to a fishless cycle. Cycling with fish, you absolutely have to do water changes if you want to do it in a safe manner for your fish.

It used to be more common to throw fish in a tank, when they die you replace them, when they stop dying you are cycled. This isnt very fair to the fish, and by not knowing how to cycle a tank safely this is what you have been doing.

The fact that your fish have stopped dying is a sign you have a cycle now, but the cloudy water is a sign it isnt. Until you can get your water test results i would change a small amount of water daily, say 20 - 25%. When you are sure you are cycled for the small number of fish in the tank you can add a few more. Build up your fish number's gradually.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:29 AM   #3
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testing

I do have a test kit and will do that today and post the results. I thought perhaps the store was a better place to get it done. The water is cloudy, but it looks green. But it does NOT look like algae at all. There is no coating on anything, and I have had algae on tanks before and it looks nothing like this.

Of course I did not want to kill the fish we added to the tank and feel badly about it. I won't be adding more fish for a while, and want to make sure the balance is correct for a while before doing so.

We will go back to water changes also.

Thanks for your help. Will post results of testing asap
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Old 05-05-2021, 05:27 PM   #4
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So here are my numbers: pH. 7.6

Ammonia 0. Nitrites: 0. Nitrates: 5 ppm


Please advise. The tank looks horrible. Wish I knew how to post a pic.

Thanks so much.
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Old 05-05-2021, 05:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sotr4242 View Post
So here are my numbers: pH. 7.6

Ammonia 0. Nitrites: 0. Nitrates: 5 ppm


Please advise. The tank looks horrible. Wish I knew how to post a pic.

Thanks so much.
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Old 05-05-2021, 06:20 PM   #6
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That looks like algae to me. Green water typically is caused by phytoplankton, a type of algae that is suspended in the water rather than living on the glass.

This is usually caused by too much light and/or excess nutrients, typically nitrate or phosphates. We can rule out nitrate.

How long are your lights on for? Is the tank sat in direct sunlight?

Are you overfeeding? Only feed what the fish eat in 2 minutes daily.

A quick fix would be a UV sterilizer, but this will simply kill off the algae, not solve the root cause.

You could black out the tank.
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Old 05-05-2021, 08:49 PM   #7
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That looks like algae to me. Green water typically is caused by phytoplankton, a type of algae that is suspended in the water rather than living on the glass.

This is usually caused by too much light and/or excess nutrients, typically nitrate or phosphates. We can rule out nitrate.

How long are your lights on for? Is the tank sat in direct sunlight?

Are you overfeeding? Only feed what the fish eat in 2 minutes daily.

A quick fix would be a UV sterilizer, but this will simply kill off the algae, not solve the root cause.

You could black out the tank.

Wow I had no idea. It makes a lot of sense that it's algae. It sits with the right side not far from a window that gets a lot of sun in the afternoon. Can I use an algaecide?
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Old 05-06-2021, 02:21 AM   #8
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Im not sure that chemical treatments are all that effective against green water. You could try it. Moving the tank would be a better solution. You really don't want a situation that requires you to be continually treating water.

If you cant or don't want to move the tank a UV clarifier would clear it up, and if you left it running should keep it clear.

If you can move the tank, you still need to clear the water. Complete blackout of the tank for a couple of weeks should achieve this. Otherwise just moving it could take months for the algae growth to gradually die off.

A video on various methods of algae control.

https://youtu.be/k6rmkyh5j4A
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