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Old 09-09-2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Hello, Everyone! New Member Here with a Question Regarding New Tank Cloudyness...

Hello, Forum!

New member here that has some questions regarding my new tank and its refusal to exhibit clear water; I was hoping someone could lend some insight, as it would be greatly appreciated...

My wife and I purchased a rectangular 60-gallon recently, and set it up properly with the matching canopy on top, washing the gravel thoroughly in addition to the plants and pirate/shipwreck decorations. We purchased an Aqueon QuietFlow 55 filter, which I was told would be okay for a 60-gallon tank, as well as a couple of connecting bubble wands (which aren't working too well connected to a Tetra Whisper air pump), but the problem is, it's going on almost five days, approximately, now and the water has not cleared up with the filter running nonstop. The water is that typical cloudy/milky-white color and I have been researching this to be "bacterial bloom" which seems normal, according to varying sites. I am wondering how long it takes to clear up cloudy water in a fishless brand new tank, and if it's normal to be going on longer than three or so days...

The cartridges in the filter are definitely set up right, as is the biological grid that sits on the waterfall ledge of the tank, and the water seems to be pumping into the tank from the filter just fine. We have also added Aqueon water conditioner, per the instructions on the back of the bottle, with the correct amount for 60 gallons. Is there anything I need to do in order to clear up the cloudy water right now, or is it a matter of waiting? I have also read that some new tanks should get "starter fish" so they can begin populating the tank with good bacteria, and the cycle process can speed up, but I am uncertain of putting fish in at this point -- I would rather wait until the water is clear, if that is possible.

We are uncertain if we're going with fancy goldfish or tropicals for this tank yet, but it will definitely be freshwater. If anyone could lend any insight or suggest any tips, it would be extremely appreciated.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:57 PM   #2
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Just to clear up this a little...

Starter fish don't populate the tank with bacteria. Starter fish polute the tank, and the bacteria populations grow to consume the waste. The bacteria doesn't grow fast enough to keep the pollution low enough at the start, so the water becomes toxic forcing you to do a lot of water changes to save your fish.

Think of being locked in a bathroom for a week and the toilet doesn't work. It would quickly get smelly, and soon turn unhealthy.

Don't worry about cloudy water right now. The most important thing is to learn about building up the nitrogen cycle. Most people recommend you use a fishless cycle. Using "starter fish" is cruel to the fish and can kill them.

Now is the best time to learn about the cycle, you haven't hurt any fish, and your tank is ready to start it. Cloudy water from bacteria should fix itself while you are cycling.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:09 PM   #3
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Just to clear up this a little...
Just to clear this up a bit, I believe you meant "Just to clear this up a little..." :p Just kidding, Deep...

Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Starter fish don't populate the tank with bacteria. Starter fish polute the tank, and the bacteria populations grow to consume the waste. The bacteria doesn't grow fast enough to keep the pollution low enough at the start, so the water becomes toxic forcing you to do a lot of water changes to save your fish.
Thank you for making this a bit clearer -- I knew there was something to do with bacteria but I wasn't sure how the fish played into it. Thanks for explaining that.

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Think of being locked in a bathroom for a week and the toilet doesn't work. It would quickly get smelly, and soon turn unhealthy.
Indeed...

Quote:
Don't worry about cloudy water right now. The most important thing is to learn about building up the nitrogen cycle. Most people recommend you use a fishless cycle. Using "starter fish" is cruel to the fish and can kill them.
I realize that putting fish in during this time is definitely cruel and that you can lose them -- that's why I DIDN'T want to do it. But I don't understand why you suggest here that I "don't worry" about cloudy water "right now"; all I have is cloudy water, and I don't understand if it's going to last longer or if it should have cleared up by now...that's the essence of my original post.

Quote:
Now is the best time to learn about the cycle, you haven't hurt any fish, and your tank is ready to start it. Cloudy water from bacteria should fix itself while you are cycling.
What do I need to do in order to "cycle"...do you mean just let the filter run like I have been doing? And the water should clear on its own? Does this normally take weeks?
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:35 PM   #4
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Basically you add pure ammonia (no perfumes or surfactants) to simulate the fish waste, and test the water and watch the results, when bacteria build up enough to take care of all the waste, you do a big water change and add fish slowly (try and take a few weeks or more to fully stock you tank, letting bacteria build up more after adding fish)

Here is a somewhat detailed link from our forums

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-103339.html
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:49 PM   #5
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I realize that putting fish in during this time is definitely cruel and that you can lose them -- that's why I DIDN'T want to do it. But I don't understand why you suggest here that I "don't worry" about cloudy water "right now"; all I have is cloudy water, and I don't understand if it's going to last longer or if it should have cleared up by now...that's the essence of my original post.
Well sorry for kind of ignoring your original question, I just felt a quick discussion on cycling was higher priority.

I just watched my brother get cloudy water from a bacteria bloom during his cycling. It lasted a few days to a week, and happened twice, but he was using raw shrimp method and overdosed I think. When I looked close at the tank under lights I could see the cloudiness billowing around like smoke or clouds.

When I said "don't worry" I meant the cloudiness will probably clear up while you cycle your tank. Cycling can take 2-6 weeks, if you use some established media it can be faster, if something goes wrong it could be longer.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Deep Seven View Post
Basically you add pure ammonia (no perfumes or surfactants) to simulate the fish waste, and test the water and watch the results, when bacteria build up enough to take care of all the waste, you do a big water change and add fish slowly (try and take a few weeks or more to fully stock you tank, letting bacteria build up more after adding fish)

Here is a somewhat detailed link from our forums

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-103339.html
...but what about the time it takes for this whitish/greyish cloudy water to clear up in a brand new tank? Is it normal for it to be like five days now with no change? How long does it go on during a fishless cycle?
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:55 PM   #7
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Well sorry for kind of ignoring your original question, I just felt a quick discussion on cycling was higher priority.
I was wondering why you didn't get back to me regarding the initial question...

Quote:
I just watched my brother get cloudy water from a bacteria bloom during his cycling. It lasted a few days to a week, and happened twice, but he was using raw shrimp method and overdosed I think. When I looked close at the tank under lights I could see the cloudiness billowing around like smoke or clouds.
That's what I see under the flourescent lighting of our tank...

Quote:
When I said "don't worry" I meant the cloudiness will probably clear up while you cycle your tank. Cycling can take 2-6 weeks, if you use some established media it can be faster, if something goes wrong it could be longer.
Okay, but when we speak of "cycling," does this mean just letting the filter run in the new tank...and that's all?

Thanks for your continued help...
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:06 PM   #8
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Okay, but when we speak of "cycling," does this mean just letting the filter run in the new tank...and that's all?

Thanks for your continued help...
No, when I speak of cycling I mean adding pure ammonia to your tank in measured doses to achieve 2-5ppm and letting the bacteria start the nitrogen cycle, which for aquarium purposes is Ammonia broken down by bacteria A to form Nitrites, which are broken down by bacteria B to form Nitrates. Nitrates are considerably less toxic and can be removed with weekly water changes and plants.

When you can add fresh ammonia to your tank, i.e. 2-5ppm, and you test all your parameters 24 hours later and read 0=ammonia, 0=nitrites, and 0< nitrates, then your tank should be cycled
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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No, when I speak of cycling I mean adding pure ammonia to your tank in measured doses to achieve 2-5ppm and letting the bacteria start the nitrogen cycle, which for aquarium purposes is Ammonia broken down by bacteria A to form Nitrites, which are broken down by bacteria B to form Nitrates. Nitrates are considerably less toxic and can be removed with weekly water changes and plants.

When you can add fresh ammonia to your tank, i.e. 2-5ppm, and you test all your parameters 24 hours later and read 0=ammonia, 0=nitrites, and 0< nitrates, then your tank should be cycled
Oh boy...

What about just letting the filter run with the conditioner I added -- even if this is a tremendous wait, will the water eventually turn clear and ready for biological life (i.e. fish)?
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:38 PM   #10
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There are a couple links in my signature which should help you understand what cycling is. The one regarding the nitrogen cycle is a great read if you have no experience with cycling and really shows how everything works.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:49 PM   #11
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There are a couple links in my signature which should help you understand what cycling is. The one regarding the nitrogen cycle is a great read if you have no experience with cycling and really shows how everything works.
Thanks, mfd...

If I didn't want to do what's suggested in your fishless link, is it possible to just wait for the tank to clear up? Does it ever if these steps aren't followed? I suppose what I am really trying to find out is if it's normal for a brand new tank to develop cloudyness, and if it is indeed a matter of weeks, not days, for it to clear...
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:57 PM   #12
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It is certainly possible to wait for the tank to clear up without doing a cycle. Your problems will begin when you add fish. What you're seeing is certainly not a bacteria bloom if there is no source of ammonia in the tank right now. You're probably just seeing cloudy water from the gravel.

What you need to understand is the importance of the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium. Kind of reiterating what the links stated, fish produce ammonia. As their waste produces ammonia (which is very toxic to them), bacteria break down that ammonia in to nitrite (also very toxic to them). Another set of bacteria break down the nitrite and convert it in to nitrate (much less harmful to fish within reasonable levels).

If you do not cycle the tank by means of pure ammonia, a dead shrimp, fish food, etc, you will start having ammonia show up as soon as you add fish. Without doing almost daily (sometimes 2-3 times daily) water changes of 25-75%, the ammonia will build up to levels that will kill the fish.

It is quite possible to cycle a tank while there are fish in there, I strongly recommend against it. Even doing daily water changes, you're exposing the fish to toxic chemicals that most certainly will have a negative impact on them (up to and including death).

We'll be happy to help you through a cycle, its one of the most boring, yet rewarding parts of setting up a tank
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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It is certainly possible to wait for the tank to clear up without doing a cycle. Your problems will begin when you add fish. What you're seeing is certainly not a bacteria bloom if there is no source of ammonia in the tank right now. You're probably just seeing cloudy water from the gravel.

What you need to understand is the importance of the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium. Kind of reiterating what the links stated, fish produce ammonia. As their waste produces ammonia (which is very toxic to them), bacteria break down that ammonia in to nitrite (also very toxic to them). Another set of bacteria break down the nitrite and convert it in to nitrate (much less harmful to fish within reasonable levels).

If you do not cycle the tank by means of pure ammonia, a dead shrimp, fish food, etc, you will start having ammonia show up as soon as you add fish. Without doing almost daily (sometimes 2-3 times daily) water changes of 25-75%, the ammonia will build up to levels that will kill the fish.

It is quite possible to cycle a tank while there are fish in there, I strongly recommend against it. Even doing daily water changes, you're exposing the fish to toxic chemicals that most certainly will have a negative impact on them (up to and including death).

We'll be happy to help you through a cycle, its one of the most boring, yet rewarding parts of setting up a tank
Thanks Jon.

Is it possible that if the source is the gravel, the cloudy water would last this long -- that is, going on around five or so days? Will this ever settle with just the filter running?
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:17 PM   #14
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I didn't rinse my gravel in my first tank and it was cloudy for about 2 weeks. Since you're not cycling yet, I would just go ahead and do a ~75% water change and that should clear it right up, then proceed with the cycle
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:28 PM   #15
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I didn't rinse my gravel in my first tank and it was cloudy for about 2 weeks. Since you're not cycling yet, I would just go ahead and do a ~75% water change and that should clear it right up, then proceed with the cycle
Interesting; we did rinse the gravel, so maybe it will be shorter, if that's the problem...

How would I go about doing a 75% water change -- just remove that much of the water and replace it? Straight out of the tap?
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:30 PM   #16
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Yep, thats what you'll need to do. If you haven't already bought one, a 'python' or similar off branded water changing system will save you (and your back) tons of time when doing water changes. You'll want to make sure to dechlorinate the water before starting your cycle as chlorine kills the bacteria that you're wanting (its intended purpose in drinking water).
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:36 PM   #17
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Yep, thats what you'll need to do. If you haven't already bought one, a 'python' or similar off branded water changing system will save you (and your back) tons of time when doing water changes. You'll want to make sure to dechlorinate the water before starting your cycle as chlorine kills the bacteria that you're wanting (its intended purpose in drinking water).
Okay, but let me ask you this -- if I do have the patience to wait it out, will the cloudy water eventually clear, no matter the source of the problem? I mean, shouldn't the filter begin sucking in some of the debris and clearing up the water?
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