Okay, so you set up a new aquarium, did the necessary research about all the materials you will need, even purchased the most ideal size because you want your tank to be the center of attraction. Above all, you want to enjoy watching the fish swim by inside because it gives you a different kind of high and tranquility. But to your dismay, after going through all this trouble, you are now having trouble seeing your fish inside of the aquarium because your tanks water has become cloudy and even murky. Did you do something wrong that made your freshwater aquarium cloudy?
Cloudy water is an occurrence that leads many fish enthusiasts to ask experts for advice to which a single answer cannot be given as there are several causes. the waters color and conditions in the tank determine the possible cause.
What causes white or grayish water?
When you fill your freshwater aquarium with water the first time and after a couple of hours your tanks water turns cloudy, the gravel that you put in your fish tank may not have been washed thoroughly. Empty the tank and give the gravel some more rinsing until the water runs clear into the drain. It is not surprising for new rocks and decorations to cause cloudy water even if they were rinsed prior to placing them in the tank. When they get soaked in the tank, tight dirt that was not washed away by rinsing, loosens up. You can get all of the dirt loose by soaking the gravel for 2 to 3 days in a separate container, and then give them another rinsing before you place them in the tank
What happens if washing the gravel doesn't solve the problem? As mentioned above, there are several answers as there are several causes. So if thorough gravel cleaning does not solve the problem, the second most likely cause is dissolved elements such as heavy metals, silicates or phosphates. Test the water to determine the pH level and if it is found to be high, water conditioners can generally solve the problem.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) may be chosen because not only does it help in resolving cloudy water issues, but if the water contains toxic elements. Using an reverse osmosis unit purifies and softens the water.
There are instances when after the aquarium is set up, water remains clear for days, sometimes for several weeks. everything is going great, then out of nowhere the tank water becomes cloudy. When this happens, the gravel is not the cause anymore but bacterial bloom. While doing your research prior to your purchase of the tank and the rest of the equipment, you surely have read something about 'cycling' the tank. The initial cycle that the aquarium goes through typically results to cloudy water. This is because after several days or weeks or even months, bacterial colonies begin to start that will clear waste from the water. Once the cycle takes place, the cloudiness clears itself.
New fish tank keepers sometimes tend to panic upon seeing the water in the tank turn cloudy. Our advice is whatever the cause, never panic. Instead find what's causing it because that can always be resolved. Keeping the aquarium free from debris such as decaying plants and excess food, regular gravel vacuuming and doing partial water changes are all steps to maintain cleanliness of the tank and will resolve most bacterial bloom cases. Flocculates, sold at fish shops, are also used as water clearer as they make debris bunch together which then are cleared by filters. So be sure to regularly clean your filters too which will help maintain their efficiency.
What causes green water?
Needless of an explanation, green water is caused by algae growth. The difficult part comes in its removal especially if you do not know what's causing the growth.
Excess light is the most probable cause and the cure is easy. When a freshwater aquarium is placed in a spot where it gets direct sunlight like in front of a window or when tank lights are on for too long, or the tank lights are far too strong, it promotes algae growth. Simply move the tank out of direct sunlight or lessen the time the lights are on and that will do it. If it is not possible to move the tank, try a UV sterilizer to control the algae.
Too much nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates also makes a good reason for algae growth. a water change will provide the owner with a quick fix but the problem will come back. But the source of the excess nutrients has to be removed or the problem will persist.
The presence of high phosphates can come from a couple of sources which are the old water in your tank, and decaying substances. Also, you may need to reduce the amount of food you give to your fish.
Fish wastes' byproduct makes nitrates naturally rise in the aquarium after some time and that is why a water change is a required maintenance as part of upkeep of an aquarium. So do not over crowd your tank with too many fish, or you will regularly face a problem with high levels of nitrates.
In general, a partial water change removes about 10-15 % of the water and can clean the gravel and help remove any excess uneaten food in the tank. Your fish are a good telltale sign of a real problem so check them if you're not certain of the tank water being bad. If they are alright, you just might need to give it some time, because if it's bacteria that is causing the problem, it will resolve itself. This may not be applicable in all cases. There are times when you will really need to make sure that the problem is under control.
It is advisable to keep a smaller 'quarantine tank' in such cases so that you can transfer your fish to the other tank and deal with the problem in a more direct fashion. If you need to relocate your fish to a quarantine tank, then be sure beforehand that the quarantine tanks temperature and water PH are the same as the main tank or your fish may get very sick quickly and die.