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What Causes Cloudy Water In Fish Tanks?

Aug 17, 2007
Are you having trouble finding your fish in the fish tank due to cloudy water? There can be several different reasons for cloudy water in a fish tank, so let's take a look at the most common ones. These are debris from new substrate, bacterial bloom, chemical imbalance, or even floating algae.

Most new rocks and decorations will cause cloudy water. If this is the case then your debris should settle and go away on it's own in a couple of days. Before adding the next decorations or rocks it best to soak them in separate water to get all the loose dirt off before addingthem to your tank.

Another problem that can come from new fish tanks is a bacterial bloom. This can cause the water to have a haze and look rather gray. This can come from overfeeding the fish or dying plants.

A sure sign of a bacteria bloom is when your water is milky and has a very bad odor. Not all bacteria are bad but some bacteria blooms can be deadly to your fish. When the nutrient levels get extremely high the bacteria go ballistic and multiply rapidly.

Be sure to remove all dead or dying plants if you have a bacteria problem. If you are changing fifteen percent of your water and using a siphon to clean debris, this type of haze will not cause the fish harm. But it is essential that you get in under control quickly.

Another thing to look at is whether or not your fish are being overfed. This can also cause the water to get cloudy. Just check the bottom of the tank for leftover food - that would be a sure sign of overfeeding.

Fixing fish tank problems like cloudy water from algae can be a pain because it will be thick and green. One of the best ways to cut down on the amount of algae in a tank is by adding algae eating fish. Keeping your lights on for long periods will encourage algae growth as well as sunlight shining on the tank so make sure to watch the amount of lighting your tank gets to help prevent algae growth.

If none of the above helps you with fixing your cloudy water problems, you should follow with a test kit. The test kit will be used to check the ammonia and nitrate levels of your fish tank water.

Once you have checked the levels, the reading for a normal level for both the nitrate and ammonia is zero. If you have something other than zero then your water quality is bad.

What causes cloudy water in fish tanks with open or semi-open style tanks? Many times these style of tanks could possibly have a stopped up filter causing debris to cloud up your water.

If you are still not sure what is causing the cloudy water in your fish tank, don't panic. As long as your water doesn't seem extremely bad and your fish are acting fine, give it a little time. Sometimes if bacteria is the cause the bacteria will kill itself.

This is definitely not advice for all cases. If you are concerned about your fish you should probably remove them until you get your problem under control. It is extremely helpful to have a quarantine tank just for occasions such as these. Regular maintenance will also help you enjoy your fish tank without concern.
About the Author
Cris Stanford is the publisher of http://www.saltwater-aquarium-secrets.com where you'll find money saving advice, expert tips and answer to questions like What causes cloudy water in fish tanks?.
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