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Cloudy goldfish tank

Posted by jill1979 Canada (My Page) on
Mon, May 22, 06 at 18:27

I have one black moor and one fancy oranda in a 20 gallon tank which I have had for a few months now. It was cloudy at first but I took care of that and now months later I cannot see to the back of the tank. I do not over feed, I do water changes on a weekly basis and the water levels are all fine. So what is going on? Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

When you say that the water levels are "fine", what are the exact numbers? What color is the cloudiness? If its a milky white then it most likely a bacterial bloom. Did you rise gravel before putting it in the tank (if there is gravel)?


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

This is my first tank. The ammonia is 0 and the ph is 7.6. It is not a milky white, just a light cloud I guess, the water is green in the bucket when changing. Did I rise the gravel, I don't know what that means. Did I rinse it, yes. I am thinking my boyfriend may have over fed one day but would the cloudy water remain for over a week and we have done two water changes at 25% since then. He didn't go too crazy but maybe a bit much.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Do you have tests for ammonia and nitrite? A bacterial bloom happens when the nitrogen cycle is starting in new tanks or it is disrupted in old ones. When this happens, there is usually ammonia showing, but I'm sure high nitrites could cause it too. When you clean the tank, did you by chance rinse the cartrdge or other filter media under tap water, or replace it completely? Explain to me everything you do during a waterchange.

When I said rinsing the gravel, I meant did you wash it before putting it into your tank when you were first setting up?


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

The milky cloud is from the first bacterial bloom sparked by high ammonia spikes and unbalance of nitrifying bacterias, usually it clears in less then a week when the 2nd stage of the cycle begins (ammonia levels fall or become undetectable and nitrite levels spike). Cloudiness usually won't occur because of nitrite spikes. Keep in mind ammonia "dip strips" and single reagent ammonia tests can be skewed by dechlorinators, a 2 part reagent ammonia test is a better choice. From what I understand, the water clarity problem is a "green water" problem. Green water is caused by floating green algae (Phytoplankton). The usual cause of floating green algae is excess phosphates. Overfeeding can certainly cause this. Most fish foods have phosphates added as a supplement that fish do need. It seems that manufacturers add way too much. Uneaten fish food and the excess phosphates in the fishpoop. To combat this do several partial water changes, about 5 gallons daily and reduce lighting to only 4 hours, 8 hours max, I am assuming you have no live plants. Reduce feeding using the 2 minute rule (only feed what the fish will consume in 2 minutes). I am not sure of feeding requirements for goldish but feeding every other day or a couple small feedings spread over the day is plenty. Goldfish are big time poop machines so less feeding = less poop = less green water. Also changing activated carbon weekly can help keep the water clear of other organic materials that can cause cloudy water. Try to find a fish food with little or no phosphates added, the fish don't need as much as is added by manufacturers.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Yes, I have been switching everything in the filter as it is time. I use a two part regeant ammonia test and the ammonia has never been better. But it was at an obscene level a few weeks ago where my fish were sitting on the floor of the tank. I lost many of them. I guess I will keep doing changes and I only feed once a day not even for two minutes. I give them a few crumbs. No I have no live plants. I will try everything suggested and hope thatin a few days it is better, it just seems to be getting worse. I had this problem before and it went away in a week but now I cannot even see my fish, maybe it's the new filter. I just change the parts a few weeks a part from one another but thinking about it this problem occured when I switched the foam. When I do my water change I do a five gallon once a week that obviously has been sitting out with all the chemicals in it and I vaccumm the bottom and that's about it and I check my levels non-stop. Thanks for the help so far!


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

I am not sure what brand and kind of filter you have. So, this is another possibility, if you change everything at once it can be causing a "mini-cycle". The cloudiness you had a few weeks ago with the ammonia spike was more then likely a heterotrophic bacteria(HB)bloom. When the beneficial bacteria grew in you filter media and gravel bed it balanced out the HB, this is common when establishing a cycle. If you are removing everything at once in your filter, you are also removing a huge ammount of beneficial bacteria (BB). To prevent this only change the carbon. If you have a cartridge that has the carbon inside you can make a slit in the material arround the carbon and dump it out, swish it around in removed aquarium water from the PWC to remove build up and replace the carbon with new stuff. You can get loose bulk carbon at any LFS. The sponge can also be rinsed. I have a filter cartridge that is about a year old. This will also save you $$$. If you have the green water, you could most likely have a phosphate level issue. Phosphates can come in the tap water, any pH down type products and some water conditioners. Also low grade carbon used in some filter cartridges can leach phosphates, this is another reason to use the bulk stuff. Goldfish are also poop machines and most filters that are rated for your size tank can be too small. The GPH for a 20G tank with goldfish should be minimum 100GPH, 150-200 GPH would be better since they are "dirty" fish. How long are the lights on? and is this tank near a window? Also, is the water green, or just milky or cloudy? To add take a small clear glass and fill it with aquarium water to see actual color. Some aquarium glass puts a green hue on water because of iron content in the sand used to make the glass.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Don't rinse the cartridge under tap water or replace it. Even though it is in the instructions, don't do it. The company justs wants your money and don't care about your fish. This could potentially crash your cycle and hurt your fish. I haven't changed any of my cartridges in over a year too, and I don't plan to until they start falling apart. If there is any extra room in your filter, I recomend buying some sort of bio-media. Aquaclear has many different kinds available, and I personally use the ceramic cylinders not only in my aquaclear filters, but in all the rest, even my betta's red sea nano filter. Plop these inside your filter and beneficial bacteria will collect here in large numbers, keeping your cycle stable. That way if you need to change out the cartridge it will have no or very very little impact on your cycle. I hope that helps :)

Also, I don't know if you are planning on getting more goldfish or not, but if you are, consider just keeping two. As woe said, they really are poop machines and will grow into really huge poop machines. I recomend that you have a filter with at least 200gph. If the current is too strong you can always put an large ornament in front of the flow to disperse the current.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Nitrite levels are low. So are you saying I shouldnt wash the filter parts in tap water? It sounds like the changing of the filter parts was the cause of this cloudiness, so other than doing some water changes and trying to keep the phosphate levels down is there anything I can do? In time will the water clear up if I wait or is there something that has to be done?


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

How low are nitrites? If they are not at 0, your tank is doing a "mini cycle". The chlorine and other chemicals in tap water will kill most of the bb in the cartridge. Instead of rinsing dirty cartridges under the tap, try swishing the waste off in a bucket of old tank water after a water change.

To get your cycle back on track and the cloudiness gone, do small water changes every day, about 15% or more depending on the params. Feed very little. How are the fish acting? If they are looking ill at all or have irregular breathing they may be suffering from the nitrites. Adding some aquarium salt to your tank with help relieve stress from nitrites. I think .1% would be good, just until your cycle is back on track. .1% is 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon. Make sure you dissolve the salt before adding it to the tank.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

The nitrates are at 0. So what in the world is it? Is it just the filter change doing this.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

What level is 0? niTRATE or niTRITE ? Nitrite should be undetectable ( or 0 ppm ). Nitrate in an unplanted tank is usually detectable even after 1 day after a water change. When the level reaches 40ppm time to do a PWC. You can do PWC if it is slightly lower, but every 2 weeks is a good idea. I try to do weekly PWC's, but to be totally honest sometimes I don't get to them. With that said a newer tank (less then 9 months to a year), should get them routinely. IMO & IME you can get away with more in a mature, established set up.

If you have well water you don't have to worry about killing off the bacteria. Another way to clean the filter stuff is to place it in the stream of water that is removed by the gravel vac. I know it is not reccomended to rinse the filter in "city" water because of the chlorination, but I do know some who have without crashing the system. It deppends on the concentration of chlorine which varies from town to town, house to house. I don't know if the residual chlorine and minimal contact time can do real damage, but it is definately not worth the chance.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank/ forgot to add this

I meant to add this link about salt detoxifying nitrite. At the bottom it has a chart for the amount needed per gallon and level of nitrite. Just in case mg/l = ppm, same chit different pile.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Yes, it was nitrite that I was looking at. I don't have a nitrate tester. Isn't nitrate related to high ammonia? My ammonia levels are perfect and even though they were up weeks ago my nitrite also never went up. This is so complicated for a new comer I am feeling overwhelmed by this. All you want is for your fish to be happy and something always happens. I have a couple of apple snails in the tank and one just died today. Would that have anything to do with the green water? I did a five gallon water change two days ago and it was unbeleivably green, then did another one yestaurday and then today and it is getting a bit better but still very cloudy. Should I get aquarium salt? Thank you again for all your time and effort in helping me, both of you. Woeisme, no site ever came up to look at.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

This is puzzling to me too. In case you don't know, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are related in this way:

Ammonia is released by the fish into the water mainly through the waste excretions. In a cycled tank, there is an established ammount of beneficial bacteria in the tank. The bacteria will convert the ammonia into nitrite and the nitrite into nitrate. In a fully cycled and stable tank, ammonia and nitrite will show up as 0. The nitrate will steadilly raise until you do a water change, bringing the number down. In a brand new tank, there is not enough bb to support the cycle, but the presence of ammonia allows the small number of bb to "eat" and reproduce. That is how the cycle begins.

Now for the green water. Green water is single celled algae caused mainly by bright lighting. Phosphates help too, but for green water it is mostly high lighting or an outdoor tub or pond. Is it bright green, like this? http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v737/OldHag1/101_2983.jpg Maybe not as opaque, but if it resembles that then you are fine. Green water is not harmful, and is actually very good for goldfish. Most people just don't like the way it looks :) Sooo what wattage of lighting do you have on your hood? Does the tank receive direct sunlight?

Snails are more suseptible to poor water quality, and deaths can be a sign that something is wrong. Do they hang around at the surface, breathing above with their syphons?

I recomend that you bring a sample of the tank water to a local pet store to get it retested for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, just in case. Make sure you get the exact numbers. Aquarium salt helps mainly with nitrites, so if you've got high nitrites pick up a carton of it while you are there. If you have high ammonia, might as well get some salt too because that ammonia will soon become nitrites. If you salt the tank, remove the snails first. Do you have any other inhabitants in the tank? Some fish can not tolerate salt or some types of medications.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Temp of water can also affect a bacterial or algae bloom. Are you getting sunlight coming into the tank now that the seasons are changing? I've got a huge algae bloom that began as the sun started hitting my goldfish tank. Fish are fine - can't see them until I do a water change. The heat from the sun additional to the heater (these are fancy goldfish that are set up on an enclosed, but non-heated porch so heat is necessary, plus fancy goldfish prefer warmer water as opposed to their cousins the plain hardy coldwater goldfish, comets and koi) is probably contributing to the algae bloom so I'll be disconnecting that now that the air temp is high enough to keep the tank water warm enough without supplemental heat.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

The lady who had the greenwater fry tank I posted above just posted another updated pic today. This is about 2 weeks of lots of water changes later. I suspect yours looks more like this. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v737/OldHag1/101_3242.jpg


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

Every time I go to look at the pictures it says oops the picture is no longer there. Yes, my water is still green but it is getting better. I really think it was changing the filter parts, the sponge espiecially that did it as it happened at the same time pretty much. I'll never do that again.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

When fighting green water/floating green algae use the same method as fighting a fire, remove one element that makes it exist, or starve it. Fires need 3 things fuel, air and ignition if one is absent the fire goes out. Green water needs 2 things food and light. The food is nutrients (9 out of 10 phosphate). Light should be less then 1 1/2 watts per gallon (WPG)in a non-planted tank and on for no more then 8 hours a day. No direct sunlight and minimal in direct sunlight. 1 WPG and out of the way of a windows is better. 4-6 hours of light is also better. When I need to battle an algae problem I like to go after the unbalanced nutrients first. Nothing worse the staring at a dark aquarium. We work too hard and spent too much time and money to stare at a dark tank.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

I could have made Jill's post because I'm having the same problem in my heated tank. The tank is milky. It has been set up since last fall. OK--I admit it--I have rinsed the outside filter cartridge in tap water.

The fish seem ok (5 rasboras/1 algae eater + snails). Anubias and red wendii plants are growing. Ammonia checked out ok with my home test kit (in the yellow zone). I guess I should change 15% of the water each day and just wait?

It's not a pretty sight.


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RE: Cloudy goldfish tank

I suggest just to do your weekly water change and it will clear up.


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Ammmonia & PH

I suggest to anyone starting a tank to also check PH. High ammonia and high PH are a deadlier combination.When I mean high ph I mean 7.4 or higher.


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