Yellow tinge to water?

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Oct 20, 2023
Newfoundland, Canada
Hello all. I'm still in the process of a fishless cycle of a new aquarium, and I've run into a little problem. The water in my aquarium has a yelllowish tinge to it - almost like a very very pale beer. It's crystal clear, just colored. I have 2 pieces of driftwood I bought from an online store that was -supposed- to have been prepared fully, all I had to do was soak it enough that it wouldn't float. It was supposed to have been boiled, soaked, etc etc so that all the tannins were removed. However, the tag that came with it said that when it was put into the tank, I would see a "white fuzzy substance appear on the driftwood - this is just bacteria consuming any remaining nutrients in the wood and should dissapear in 3 to 4 days". It's been over 2 weeks and that stuff is still there, making me think the wood wasn't as prepared as they claimed. Could this tinge just be tannins leaching out?

I didn't have time to take a photo - I can grab one today after work if needed

My setup:
29G Topfin Glass Aquarium
Topfin HOB filter (came with tank)
Aquaclear 30 HOB filter (purchased. Just using with charcoal to try and improve water color. Not sure yet which filter I will continue to use)
As of last water test on Dec 2nd: Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrate 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, pH 6.6

Not sure what other info would be relevant. Oh, also, would the tannins in the water be harmful to white cloud mountain minnows, as they are the fish I am planning on getting?

Its from the driftwood. It can take years for tannins to leach out, boiling isnt always effective at removing everything and often needs a repeated treatment. I highly doubt anyone is actually going to the effort of pre-boiling wood before selling it, despite what it might say on the labelling to get you to buy it.

Either rely on water changes to remove tannins, boil the wood yourself, or run activated carbon in your filtration until the water remains clear without its use if you dont want the tannins colouring the water.

Tannins are good for fish. They have antiseptic properties. The tannic acid will also drop your pH and carbonate hardness a little, which wont be a bad thing for WCMM as they spawn more readily in softer, more acidic water.

The fuzzyness is fungus or mould, not bacteria. Again dont believe everything thats written on the labelling to convince you to buy it. Manually remove it whenever it appears, it should clear up in a few months. Boiling the wood will kill off the fungus, but wont always stop it reappearing. Its usually harmless to fish, but sometimes can be toxic. The only way to know is by adding fish. It all part of the process of having natural aquascaping.
Just want to add your water parameters show zero ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Do you understand how to do a fishless cycle? There should be ammonia in there which you need to be dosing. Your tank wont cycle with zero ammonia.

This was covered in one of your previous threads.

I do, actually. After I got the replies to my previous post, I purchased some recommended treatments.
My ammonia peaked up pretty high, then slowly sank to where it is now. Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrate climbed over time, then settled.
Ok, thank you very much. Yeah, I normally don't just blindly trust what a seller has to say, just that this seller has a lot of very good reviews, so I thought I could trust them. Another lesson learned, lol.
Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure if I'll just remove the driftwood, although it looks lovely, or not, as one of the pieces is rather long and I honestly don't think I have anything large enough to boil it in.

I wasn't sure about the tannins....this will be my first time with non live bearers. All my others were Mollies and the like, and they do have tannins in their water, but I wasn't certain with the WCMM.

Thanks for replying :)
But you need to keep adding ammonia. You need to be cycling out 2ppm ammonia into zero ammonia and nitrite in 24 hours. Letting ammonia sit at zero wont cycle the tank.
Ok, so I have questions about this specifically. Not so much what I have to do, but just to try and understand what's going on.

I understand what it means to cycle a tank without fish (essentially getting it ready so it has all the necessary bacteria etc to host the fish). But if there are no fish in the tank, wouldn't ammonia go down to 0ppm naturally anyway? There is nothing making the ammonia. That's why the bacteria is there, right? To "eat" the ammonia and reduce it into several other, non-toxic chemicals, making it safe for fish.

Everything I've read online and in various printed form, has said that I'm trying to reduce the water to 0ppm ammonia to make it safe for the fish. I'm still dosing the water with the ammonia to ensure the bacteria are still alive when I add my fish, but at lower levels since I don't actually HAVE any fish yet. Once I have fish in the tank and do my weekly tests, I would add or reduce whatever water additives I need to ensure the balances are ok.

If you're saying that 0ppm is NOT what I should be striving for, what IS the recommended number? Since my last post I did a LOT of research from about 20 or so online fish forums and hobbiest groups, and all have said to dose the water until balance, or 0ppm were reached.
You are trying to reduce ammonia to zero. But the bacteria you are trying to grow needs ammonia as a food source. No ammonia going into the water means no bacteria.

So you need to be adding ammonia into the water. If ammonia is zero, add enough ammonia to bring it up to 2ppm, then retest 24 hours later. If your ammonia and nitrite are both zero you are cycled. It typically takes a week or two before you have enough bacteria to start seeing your ammonia drop, and then another 3 to 6 weeks before you have enough bacteria to completely cycle out 2ppm of ammonia in 24 hours.

The goal isnt to have zero ammonia, but to have zero ammonia and nitrite following addition of ammonia. You can achieve zero ammonia just by doing 100% water change assuming your tap water is free of ammonia. Simply circulating ammonia free water wont achieve anything.

Your post just said you have zero ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. On its own the zero ammonia and nitrite would suggest you are cycled, but the nitrate being zero would suggest you arent. If you are dosing ammonia there would be a positive reading somewhere in your testing. Every 1ppm of ammonia cycles to 3.7ppm of nitrate. So if you are dosing 2ppm of ammonia, and its cycling out, your nitrate should be going up by about 7 to 8ppm every day. Lets say you have been dosing 2ppm of ammonia every day for a week. You should have about 50ppm of nitrate.

How much ammonia are you dosing and how often? How precisely are you dosing ammonia?
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