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Old 02-25-2009, 03:59 PM   #1
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Tank 2 weeks old - white cloudy water?

I set up my first aquarium recently, a Rio 125... I had it running for a week or so with just the water, then tested it and the levels were fine.

I spoke to my local aquatic centre who approved the water, so last Sunday bought 5 Black Phantom Tetras (again, through advice from the shop).

Trouble is, a few days after the water first went in, the water's had a white cloudiness to it. I can still see the whole length of the tank, but it's far from clear.

I've rinsed the top filter wool pad thing (see, I know all the technical terms) in some of the tank water I'd taken out, but the rest of the aquarium is as it went in.

I've read loads about dangerous bacteria blooms and I'm getting slightly worried. And I washed the gravel very carefully before it went in in case that makes a difference.

Any advice would be good...
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:11 PM   #2
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Iain, welcome to AA!

You have a bit of a tough road ahead of you, as you did not cycle your tank prior to adding fish.

Read up on the nitrogen cycle (there are a few articles in the articles tab above), and how that works. Just running the tank for a week with nothing to seed it did not properly prepare it for a bioload.

My guess would be you have some sort of bacterial bloom, as well as high ammonia levels. It will require a lot of partial water changes (PWCs) to keep your ammonia levels down while your tank's bacterial colony gets established.

Some test readings from your tank would good... what is your ammonia/nitrites/nitrates/pH/temp of your tank?
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:29 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA! Fort384 is quite correct with the advice and the diagnosis of the bacterial bloom. Unfortunately water only in a tank does nothing to further the cycle. Many fish stores are not concerned with helping you acheive good water conditions for your fish.

I would recommend getting a master test kit for testing your water. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a very good one. You can buy it online at bigalsonline.com for cheap.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:52 PM   #4
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You have to watch some of your LFS. They tend to sell you excatly what you want, not what they should.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:50 AM   #5
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You will need all the good bacteria you can get to get through the cycle and keep your fish alive. Alot of it will reside in your filter. For that reason I recommend you do not rinse your filter media unless you significantly lose water flow from it while you are cycling your tank.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:49 AM   #6
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The idea of putting a small number of fish in quite soon came from advice a friend gave me who used to be assistant manager at a big aquatic centre and has kept fish himself for years, didn't think the advice would lead to this

I've got a liquid test kit, I'll do an up to date set of tests and post them when I'm back home...

I forget to mention I put some Filter Start into the water every 2 days before the fish went in (and since, actually) and made sure I dechlorinated the water before it went in too. So strictly speaking, it wasn't JUST water sitting there for a week...
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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I forget to mention I put some Filter Start into the water every 2 days before the fish went in (and since, actually) and made sure I dechlorinated the water before it went in too. So strictly speaking, it wasn't JUST water sitting there for a week...
Technically, unless you added amonia, it was. Introducing an over the counter bacteria source (filter starter) does nothing if the bacteria has no food source (amonia) wiether added manually or from fish waste.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Ok I've done some tests:

pH: 7.5 (identical to the water in my LFS in case that matters)
Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25mg/L
Nitrite: 1mg/L
Nitrate: 40mg/L
Temperature: 24C

Any of that make the diagnosis clearer? I'm feeding twice a day, almost all the food gets eaten.

The cloudiness seems to change day by day (sometimes better, sometimes worse), but never goes away.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:23 PM   #9
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hmmm, if those test results are accurate, you are not looking too bad. I would do a 50% PWC so you can cut that nitrite reading in half, and get your nitrates down a bit as well. It looks as if your cycle is underway, but not complete. I personally would monitor/test every day, and do a PWC if your ammonia or nitrite are at 1.0 mg/L or above. Once the cycle is done, you ought to be able to go back to about a weekly or so PWC of 10-15% and be good.

As for the cloudiness, my tank went through it too, lasted about a week during the cycle. So long as your test readings are good, and your cycle is progressing, I would not panic about it yet. Give it some time and my guess is it will clear.

Remember nothing good tends to happen quickly in an aquarium. It is all about time, and incremental changes.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
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according to that your tank is pretty much cycled lol The same thing happened to me when i put my 29g up.. i put in some small fish to jumpstart my cycle.. do a 30-50% change for the nitrates.. it will clearup on its own.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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The results are definitely accurate - I've got a liquid-based test kit and some test-strips and did every test with both and got identical readings. It's a relief to hear they're good readings, the Nitrite has gone up a little from last time I tested it and wasn't sure what was acceptable!

It's just concerned me how long the cloudiness has been apparent, it's pretty much been a fortnight now. But if you guys don't think that's out of the ordinary given the method I used (or didn't use, it would seem) to get my tank started then I'll gladly leave it and keep my fingers crossed if that's the best bet, I didn't expect an instant cure, but just wanted to make sure there was nothing sinister brewing...
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:56 PM   #12
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your nitrites shouldnt be rising with the 40ppm of nitrates.. the spike in nitrites could be due to the bacteria bloom.. do some small waterchanges and let it clear up.. nothing you can do right now but wait =/
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:10 PM   #13
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your nitrites shouldnt be rising with the 40ppm of nitrates.. the spike in nitrites could be due to the bacteria bloom.. do some small waterchanges and let it clear up.. nothing you can do right now but wait =/
Is 1ppm quite a big spike for Nitrite then?

The Nitrate has been 40ppm since the first time I tested the water before I got the fish, is that a good thing?
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:24 PM   #14
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Any Nitrites in the water hurt your fish.. as with ammonia.. Nitrates are the aftermath of Nitrites and ammonia that has been converted... did you supplement the water with anything before you put this fish in other than cycle starter?
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:36 PM   #15
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Yes, some of this...
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:39 PM   #16
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The Nitrate has been 40ppm since the first time I tested the water before I got the fish, is that a good thing?
I would say no its not.
I would suspect you may have high nitrate in your tap water.
Test your tap for nitrate and see what you have.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #17
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I would say no its not.
I would suspect you may have high nitrate in your tap water.
Test your tap for nitrate and see what you have.
Tap water is 20ppm for Nitrate.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:14 PM   #18
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That is awfully high for tap water 0_o.. my tap water is like.. 4ppm ammonia 1 ppm nitrite 0 nitrate =(
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:18 PM   #19
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when i had 2 crayfish, 5 goldfish, 2 clown pleco in my 10 gallon tank, and was overfeeding them (they all died eventually but not from the cloudy water. crayfish ate all the fish and i let go my crayfish) the cloudy water went away within like 3-4 days
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:24 PM   #20
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High nitrate in your tap water is going to give you fits with your tank.
Normally you do a partial water change to lower nitrate levels but if your tap water already has high nitrate what do you do then?
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