If you have a fish tank, you might notice that it gets cloudy sometimes.
The big question you might have is this: Why is my fish tank water cloudy?
There are many reasons why you might notice cloudy water. You might also notice that the water is cloudy and a different color.
It is not as easy as looking at the water and knowing exactly what is wrong. You have to do some investigation work to see what might be causing this.
Table of Contents
- Why is the Fish Tank Water Cloudy?
- Why is My Fish Tank Water Green?
- Why is my Fish Tank Water Turning Brown?
- Cloudy Aquarium Water Solutions
- How to Prevent Cloudy Water Aquarium?
Why is the Fish Tank Water Cloudy?
There are some basic reasons why your fish tank water might be cloudy. We will get to the color issues in a bit, but first, let’s look at the cloudiness.
One reason the tank might be cloudy is due to gravel residue. If you have changed the gravel recently, this is probably the case. You should drain the water from the tank and wash and clean the gravel, again.
Sometimes washing the gravel doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work for you, it could be because of dissolved constituents. These are chemicals like heavy metals or phosphates.
You should test the water if you think this is the case. It is likely you will see a high pH level. You must treat the water to solve this.
If the cloudy water doesn’t appear suddenly, you might have a bacterial bloom. New aquarium setups get cloudy sometimes, but if it is weeks or months after setting it up, it is probably bloom.
It can take several weeks or months for bacterial bloom to create a cloudy aquarium. Much of the bacteria is due to excess food or decaying plants. What is important is that you don’t have to panic if this is the case.
You should start by removing any plants that look decayed. You should also remove any uneaten food and vacuum the gravel. Doing partial water changes can also help to quickly get rid of the bacteria.
If you notice a lot of food, cut back to feeding the fish every two or three days. You also want to make sure any live plants are looking healthy. If not, switch those out. You should clean your filter, too.
You might see that these steps don’t help. If they don’t, consider using a flocculant. These are also called water clarifiers. You can find them at most local fish and aquarium supply stores.
Why is My Fish Tank Water Green?
Green water in a fish tank is almost always caused by one, simple thing: algae.
Getting rid of algae growth isn’t easy, but if you can find the cause, you can take steps to remove it. Here are some of the main reasons:
Too Much Light
The most common cause of green fish tank water is also the easiest to solve. It is too much light. If the aquarium is in direct sunlight, algae will grow. It will also grow if a tank light is on too long.
To solve this, take the tank away from direct sunlight. You should also limit the amount of time the aquarium lights remain on. This should help to remove the green water.
Too Many Nutrients
If your tank has too many nitrates or phosphates, it could cause the water to look green, too. The algae in the tank love these nutrients, so they grow. The first thing to stop this is to change the water.
If you have too many nitrates, a water change is the best way to solve this. These are caused by fish waste. Clean your filter and also make sure your fish population isn’t too large for your tank.
If you have too many phosphates, there are two main reasons. Either the water source or decaying matter, like fish food, is causing the problem. Start by testing your tap water. If there is a high phosphate level, you must rely on chemicals, like a phosphate remover.
You also might want to think about using reverse osmosis water or reduce the amount of food you feed your fish.
Why is my Fish Tank Water Turning Brown?
Green or cloudy water is usually not a cause for concern. However, if the water is brown or yellow in color, it could be a sign of trouble. You should quickly find out the reason for the color change.
We already talked about bacteria making the water cloudy, but it might make it brown or yellow, too. But this is a different type of bacteria. This is because of organic matter in the tank dissolving.
You also might see brown or yellow water due to organic compounds. Again, this might be uneaten food, fish waste, or even a dead, decomposing fish. All of this dissolves in water, which changes the chemistry.
Too much of these compounds can also harm your fish. It also can make your fish tank smell, and of course, cause the brown color of the water.
Finally, you might have brown or yellow water in your fish tank due to tannins. These usually leach from driftwood. Usually, if the color is due to this, it is not dangerous to the fish.
Just keep in mind that the tannins can cause the pH of the water to become more acidic. For some fish, this is good, though. For others, it might not be, so make sure to research the perfect environment for your fish.
Cloudy Aquarium Water Solutions
If you notice that your aquarium water is cloudy, you probably feel like you have to do something.
Right? There is something “wrong.” But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it is best to let nature take care of it.
If the tank is newly set up, doing nothing is definitely a good idea. Let things settle!
The bacteria in the water will eventually die out, just make sure nothing happens in the meantime. Changing the water can just repopulate the bacteria.
You can also add some live plants to the water to clear the water. These plants have good microbes and bacteria on them. This helps to balance out the water, too, and they provide oxygen.
Live plants also help to consume the ammonia in the water. This can make your fish sick, so the plants make the environment nice to live in.
It can be tempting to immediately change the filter if you see cloudy water. But this isn’t the case, especially if the tank is newly set up. It also disturbs the fish and eliminates the “good” bacteria in the water.
It can also be tempting to change the water when you see that it’s cloudy. But, again, this isn’t the case when you just set up the tanks. Instead, let it all settle. Then, change at least 25% of the water each month.
How to Prevent Cloudy Water Aquarium?
There are some things you can do to prevent cloudy water in your aquarium.
First, make sure you do not overfeed your fish. Some people do feed their fish too much. If you do, the uneaten food can cause cloudiness.
On top of that, overfeeding the fish is bad for their health. The chemicals in the water can get out of synch, too. Fish don’t necessarily have to eat every day. They will be just fine to eat every two or three days.
Also, make sure you don’t have too many fish in your tank. More fish produce more waste, which microbes like to eat. Too many fish can also cause levels of nitrites and ammonia to rise.
You should also consider adding carbon to your filter. You can do this with carbon pads or loose carbon. This helps to clear the water. It also absorbs the nutrients that cloud-causing bacteria like to eat.
Make sure you are testing your aquarium water often, too. Knowing the chemical makeup of the water is important. If you have nitrite or ammonia present, you should take steps to fix it. In most other cases, you shouldn’t worry much.
Finally, you can seed your aquarium. To do this, you must have access to another healthy fish tank. Take a few handfuls of gravel and add it to your tank. This transfers the good bacteria to your tank and helps to clear the water.
You can also find filters and other products with good bacteria in fish supply stores. Simply add these to your tank to bring in more of the beneficial good bacteria.
If you are like most fish tank owners, you probably panic if you see cloudy water in your tank. However, it is very common and perfectly safe, to see cloudy water in a newly set-up tank.
On the other hand, if your tank is established, and you see cloudy water, it could mean that you have a problem that needs to be fixed. Take the steps outlined above to create the perfect environment for your fish.