How Long For My Cloudy Aquarium Water to Clear?

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KristinaW

KristinaW

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I am setting up a 29 gallon high fish tank and the water has been cloudy for about a week. I don't think I did anything wrong. I rinsed the gravel well and I cleaned everything I put in the tank. I just put a few fish in the tank, but the water is still so cloudy. I have had the filter running the entire time too. I thought that would have cleared the water up, but it only did a little bit. Does anyone know what's going on? Why is my aquarium water still cloudy?
 
JodyBuchanan

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There are a few things that may be going on. Most likely, you just need to wait things out and the tank will clear up in time. You don't want to rush the process. Bacteria needs to build up and grow and those little microbes will eat a lot of what's making the water cloudy, or as some people call it, milky. I'm sure yours isn't drastic enough to be called milky though. If your tank is anything like the ones I've set up, the water is cloudy because, as much as you think you cleaned the gravel, you didn't clean it enough. A good filter and about a week should fix the situation.

Something else that's most likely going on is called "new tank syndrome." Basically, in many new fish tanks, just after they're set up, billions of tiny little bacteria are duking it out for supremacy. These different types of bacteria are eating any food source that's available in the tank. The beneficial bacteria that actually helps clear the water and remove the cloudiness takes some time to establish. This is the "nitrifying" bacteria that we all seek as aquarium hobbyists. It establishes balance to the tank and that can take a few days.

I'm sure your tank is at the stage where the microbes that were alive in the water when you put it in the tank are multiplying like crazy. They're feeding on the nutrients in the water and all that feeding is making the water somewhat opaque. What you don't want to do right now is add too many fish or feed the fish you do have in the tank too much food. That will just feed the microbes more and make matters worse.

So what should you do? What's your plan of action? Nothing. Don't do anything. The best thing for you to do is go on with life and let the colonies of good bacteria grow and consume the bad. Let nature run its course. Don't change the filter in the hopes that a new one will make matters better. Doing this will actually make matters worse. Also, don't do water changes because, again, you'll be making matters worse. What you're hoping for is called a "nitrification cycle." At this very moment, good bacteria is establishing itself in your filter media as well as in the water and on the gravel. If you were to try to clean all that, you'd disrupt the entire thing. As the good bacteria grows, the bad (dirty) bacteria will consume what it can from the water and eventually die off.

To hurry the process of cycling your tank and making the water clear, you can add live plants and old filter media from another tank you have, if possible. Doing this will add the good bacteria and help fight the bad.

So, to sum up, to hasten the clearing of your fish tank water after setting up your tank:

1. Don't over feed your fish. This only adds fuel to the fire and adds to the cloudiness.

2. Don't add too many fish too fast. Fish eat food and poop and pee out ammonia. This feeds the bad microbes.

3. Try adding activated carbon to your filter. Carbon sucks up and reduces the available nutrients that feed the bad bacteria.

4. Add previously used gravel, filter media, plants, and hard-scape from another tank. This stuff has loads of good bacteria already attached and can work wonders for your tank. This is called "seeding" your aquarium.
 
15Katey

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The process can take anywhere from several days/weeks to a few months, depending on how many fish you have in the tank and how many live plants you have. Like the previous poster said, don't try to fix the situation. You can do a water test to see how high your ammonia and nitrates/nitrites are, but really, you just need to wait for the bacteria to grow. This is all part of the aquarium break-in cycle. You're probably experiencing a bacterial bloom that needs to be dealt with naturally.
 
How Long For My Cloudy Aquarium Water to Clear? was posted on 07-02-2021 by KristinaW in the Home Forum forum.
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