If you are in the aquarium hobby for any length of time you will probably have to deal with cloudy aquarium water. Usually you will be looking in the aquarium and note that the water is a bit cloudy (either white or green) and over the next day or two it gets worse. This is usually an indication of a problem with your aquarium maintenance. If left untreated, it can result in an unsightly aquarium or dead or dying fish.
If left for an extended period of time, it can result in the loss of all your fish.
This is definitely a situation to be avoided or at rectified as soon as possible.
So what do you do? How do you clear cloudy aquarium water?
Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Vacuum your tank to remove excess food or decaying matter.
2. Do a partial water change.
3. Test your tank water and water supply.
4. Cut back on your feeding.
Generally the source of cloudy fish tank water is a bacterial or algae bloom. This is usually caused by too many nutrients being present in the water. Start eliminating this by vacuuming your tank to take out decaying food, plant matter and other organic material.
To help reduce the problem you will need to do a partial water change. When doing the water change, you will want to be sure that you do not change more than about 30-40 percent including the water removed during the vacuuming of your tank.
Continue making water changes of
20 to 25 percent every three to four days until your water is clear
. Once your water is clear you can go back to a regular schedule of changes every 2 to 3 weeks.
Test the tank water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate. The values for the
first two should be zero
, particularly if your tank has been set up for a while.
Nitrate should be below 20 ppm and phosphates should be below 0.1 ppm
You will also want to
check your supply water, especially for nitrate and phosphate
. If your supply water is high in these nutrients, you will never get your tank levels down. To correct your supply water, you can either mix it with reverse osmosis or distilled water to dilute the levels.
Feeding will add nutrients to your tank. Of course you can’t stop feeding all together, but you can cut back.
Cut back to every other day or every two days for a while.
Once your water is clear again, you can resume your regular schedule. When you do this, you should probably reduce the amount you are feeding. Never feed more than your fish can consume in 3 to 5 minutes.
These simple steps will eliminate your cloudy water. If you want more detailed information about cloudy fish tank water and other tank maintenance issues check out this aquarium resource.