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HELP with cloudy water please

mario

Member
Joined
12 May 2012
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69
Location
Kendal, Cumbria
Hello everyone,
I have very cloudy water in my recently flooded tank (after a months DSM)
Lowish or highish ? Now flooded!.
The colour of the water is yellow-brownish, definitely not green. I have done large water changes, it gets better just after it and then worse again.
I also removed the wood, without effect.
I am thinking:
  • the substrate is leaching. I have garden center topsoil under a thick layer of coarse sand,
  • it's some kind of algal/bacterial bloom (that maybe I started harbouring during the DSM?).
Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thank you,

Mario
 

Konsa

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20 Nov 2010
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1,018
Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
not much you can do really.
Just keep changing water and maybe add Purigen to the filter till it sorts itself out.If its a new filter maybe ask LFS or local hobbiest for some mature media to kick start it.
Regards Konstantin
 

Konsa

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20 Nov 2010
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1,018
Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
Im sure it will.
How long it will take is just anyone's guess tho.
If you keep on top of your maintenance everything will be fine eventually. 🙂
Regards Konstantin
 

mario

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12 May 2012
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Kendal, Cumbria
Thanks again. Just a last curiousity, I understand it's caused by the immature filter but what does it actually consist of?
 

mario

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12 May 2012
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Kendal, Cumbria
Getting worse...

16420145096725350675054833191456.jpg


The plants seem quite happy for the moment. Maybe I should increase the light to compensate for the opacity of the water...
 

arcturus

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6 May 2021
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444
Location
DE
Getting worse...
You have no livestock in the tank, so there is nothing to worry about. It should start to clear in a week or so. But it will eventually clear.

The plants seem quite happy for the moment. Maybe I should increase the light to compensate for the opacity of the water...
I would not increase the lights to avoid algae. At this stage your primary goal is to let the tank stabilize.

Thanks again. Just a last curiousity, I understand it's caused by the immature filter but what does it actually consist of?
Often it is a mix of heterotrophic bacteria and <infusoria>, depending on the maturity level of the tank. And it is not only the filter that is immature . The whole system is immature.

Also, if it's a bacterial bloom, would a UV filter help?
EDIT silly question, just be patient!
Yes, a UV filter would remove part of the bacterial load from the water column. It would also remove some microalgae such as phytoplankton that can cause "green water". But you do not want to use a UV light at this stage but to let these organisms to settle down naturally.
 
Last edited:

Konsa

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20 Nov 2010
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Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
It will really hep if you try to increase oxygen levels of the system and do large volume waterchanges daily or every other day till water clears up.Im not sure that lights increase is a wise option atm.
Regards Konstantin
 

MichaelJ

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Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
1,690
Location
Minnesota, USA
Getting worse...

View attachment 179832

The plants seem quite happy for the moment. Maybe I should increase the light to compensate for the opacity of the water...
That looks like fine sediments to me... How many days after the "flooding" was this picture taken? ...likely too early for algae or bacteria bloom if it's only been a couple of days.

I've had similar situations in the past. Just give it a few days or a week. I think this will clear up.

Cheers,
Michael
 
Last edited:

Konsa

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20 Nov 2010
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Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
I agree it looks like fine sediment.
If it is its good to try to get it out with water changes (while giving the plants a good waft)as sediment accumulating on plant surfaces is often giving algae somewhere to take hold.
Regards Konstantin
 

mario

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12 May 2012
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Location
Kendal, Cumbria
Thank you all for the very helpful input.
That looks like fine sediments to me... How many days after the "flooding" was this picture taken?
Hello Michael, the picture is on day 2 but the cloudiness started straight away after the flooding. At first I also thought it was unlikely to be algae/bacteria bloom but at the same time I don't think is sediment. The coarse sand on top of my substrate was thoroughly washed and I am very careful when I pour the water not to disturb the substrate and actually, straight after a water change the cloudiness is reduced and then it comes back within as few hours. I don't think the topsoil under 5 cm of sand can leach so much.
as sediment accumulating on plant surfaces
Also, there are no visible particles of sediment on leaves.
I tend to agree with Arcturus:
Often it is a mix of heterotrophic bacteria and <infusoria>, depending on the maturity level of the tank. And it is not only the filter that is immature . The whole system is immature.
It's true that it's early days
likely too early for algae or bacteria bloom if it's only been a couple of days.
but the tank had a month of DSM before flooding when I was spraying a lot with a weak fertilizer solution so the bacteria/algae might have started replicating in the substrate well before the water went in.

Anyway, whatever the cause, the cure is the same; I will continue water changes and see how it evolves.
I assume I should continue injecting CO2 and dosing fertilizer and liquid carbon too.

Thank you,

Mario
 

arcturus

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Anyway, whatever the cause, the cure is the same; I will continue water changes and see how it evolves.
I assume I should continue injecting CO2 and dosing fertilizer and liquid carbon too.
Yes, run the tank as usual. Why are you using glutaraldehyde (aka "liquid carbon")?

Increasing water changes during the startup is necessary to remove suspended sediment and other unwanted substances from the water column and to reduce the load from ammonia rich soils. The "<dark start method>" can be an option to skip this step. The "dry start" method you used also helps but its goal is not the same as a dark start.

A different topic is about using water changes to deal with bacterial blooms during the startup of a tank. This is controversial and I not sure you will find concrete scientific evidence on how to properly deal with it. If you increase the water change frequency during startup then you will be removing not only the organisms that are clouding the water but also the concentration of the substances that are promoting the growth of beneficial organisms. These beneficial organisms are necessary to offset the organisms clouding the water. So increasing water changes might actually extend the time it takes to stabilize the tank during the startup. However, if a bacterial bloom occurs in an established tank then you should increase water changes (and even use a UV unit) because you want to reduce the organic and inorganic load from the water column asap. But this is not the scenario you are dealing with in your new tank.
 

mario

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12 May 2012
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Kendal, Cumbria
Thank you very much for the answer Arcturus.
about using water changes to deal with bacterial blooms during the startup of a tank. This is controversial
Yes the traditional response to this was to avoid water changes (to let the bacteria run out of nutrients if I understand correctly).
In my case I think I prefer to continue with the water changes: frequently for the first couple of weeks and then reduce to once a week as see how it all evolves.
Glutaraldehyde came free with the tank and I was planning to use it at the beginning as algaecide...

Cheers,

Mario
 

arcturus

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Glutaraldehyde came free with the tank and I was planning to use it at the beginning as algaecide...
Save this stuff for the algae after the startup period. It will be very useful against BBA and other nasty algae. But IMO it should be used directly on the algae, not in the water column. Glutaraldehyde is not a algaecide but a biocide. You do not need large quantities to kill more than algae. If you need more CO2, just inject more CO2.
 

mario

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12 May 2012
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Kendal, Cumbria
Hi @Konsa
I think it's slowly improving, thank you. I am doing large water changes every other day and in between it's still getting cloudy but a bit less than at the beginning. Fingers crossed
Cheers,
Mario
 
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