The problem of cloudy fish tank water is a baffling one for many new aquarium owners. “Why is my fish tank cloudy?” people often ask. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what causes cloudiness in aquarium water. Therefore they do the wrong things to fix the problem.
Finding cloudy water in your fish tank is an indication of something wrong. Cloudiness in the aquarium means there are too many particles floating in the water for it to be healthy. The smaller these particles are, the more dangerous they are to the fish.
What causes aquarium water to get cloudy?
Well, there is no single answer to what causes water cloudiness. This is because there is no single cause. However, depending on the particular circumstances under which it appears and the color it shows, we can pinpoint the causes to some extent.
Grey or Greyish White Water Color
This type of water is caused by organic matter decomposition. There are several reasons why this can happen. These include:
Dead fish decaying
If you have a dead fish in the tank, it will rot and dissolve into several small particles that will eventually show up as cloudiness in your tank water.
Even leftover food will rot and cause the same cloudiness. If you have much leftover food in your aquarium, siphon some out as it can quickly decompose and cause problems.
If the water changes color immediately after filling the tank, it’s probably because of the insufficiently washed gravel. You need to wash the gravel thoroughly first before filling the tank.
Cloudy water caused by external debris is common with new tanks where there is a lot of construction going on outside, which kicks up a lot of dust into the air.
Fluorescent Green Water Color
The green color is caused by algae which can be a normal phenomenon in fish tanks and ponds. How to stop green water is a discussion for another time. But if your fish tank has this green color, below are some likely causes:
If you have too many nutrients in the water, be it from decomposing fish or other things, green algae will thrive. Overfeeding your fish is the number one reason for excess nutrient levels in fish tanks.
If your tank receives too much sunlight, the water becomes rich with nutrients, and the algae will grow like crazy. What’s more, if your tank is made of glass, you may see green algae growing on the walls as well.
You should know that green algae are not bad as it does not affect people, fish, or plants. It just looks ugly, and it may hurt your tank environment by blocking important sunlight from reaching your fish.
Fungus and bacterial bloom
If you have an aquarium with fungus, the chances are that the cloudy watercolor is caused by a fungus growing on your fish’s body and ruining the water. Aquarium bacterial bloom also leads to greenish watercolor.
Brown Water Color
Below are some reasons why the water in your tank turns brown:
Too much decaying matter
Is there cloudy water in an established aquarium? The most likely reason is that there’s too much organic material in your white fish tank, for instance, rotting food and dead leaves. The decomposing substances will release a lot of fine particles into the water, which gets caught up by the filter, creating dark-colored water.
Fish or invertebrates dying
If there’s a dead fish in the tank, it will decompose and create brown water, which is exactly what happened when you first set up your aquarium. However, if the same thing happens after that (months later), it may be because of something else like overfeeding or excess waste build-up.
If your aquarium is already more than a few months old, the chances are that the coloration of water has nothing to do with the recent addition of new decorations or décor. It might just be an age issue. To help your fish tank remain healthy and stable, you should consider replacing it every 2 years at most.
Blue Cloudy Water Color
The most common reasons for a bluish watercolor are:
Different things could cause the blue color, so it’s hard to say what exactly you need to do. However, in most cases, this is caused by insufficient oxygen, and the fish tank environment needs some aeration.
Too much Iron
If your aquarium water turns blue-green or purple color right after filling, then it has a high chance that there is too much iron in the water. This can be remedied by using a commercial water conditioner in small doses to remove harmful substances from the aquarium.
If your tap water contains copper, there is a chance that it will seep into your fish tank when you fill it for the first time. The chances of this happening increase if you have a copper pipe in your home. Contact a plumbing technician to check the water supply and change the pipes if necessary to resolve this problem.
Tannins can also turn your water blue. It’s not a usual problem you will encounter when setting up your aquarium for the first time. However, if this happened recently, it is most likely because of the leaves or algae dying off in your tank. You can get rid of tannins by doing regular water changes and regularly removing decaying materials from the fish tank.
How to Get Rid of Cloudy Fish Tank Water – Tips & Tricks
- Make sure that your fish tank is placed in a well-lit area and doesn’t get too much light if you want to avoid algae growth inside the tank. Algae may look good for some people, but they come with an aftertaste, and they don’t smell nice at all, which can be a real turn-off for many people.
- Keep your fish tank clean by doing regular water changes. Remember that fish waste and uneaten fish food will contribute to the overall problem, making your aquarium water cloudy in appearance.
- Regularly replace the filter cartridges in your fish tank to avoid the accumulation of ammonia and other substances that will make your aquarium water cloudy.
- Use only high-quality fish food to avoid excessive waste build-up in the fish tank, leading to cloudy aquarium water over time.
- Keep your fish tank away from direct sunlight or strong light sources, which can raise the temperature of the water and cause algae to grow faster.
- Always use a quality water conditioner to remove harmful substances from tap water if your fish tank is newly set up. This way, you won’t have to deal with cloudy aquarium water after water change anymore; instead, you will keep your fish happy and healthy!
- The best time to add a new fish or introduce another one in your existing tank is when the water temperature is lowest. This way, you can avoid shock and other problems if you do it during a warmer period of the year.
- Keep an eye for any pests in your aquarium because they can cause excess waste build-up in your fish tank. To remove them, follow instructions on their care or how to kill them off effectively.
- If you maintain an aquarium at work or school, make sure that you clean it regularly to avoid the accumulation of dust and grime, which can easily turn cloudy over time.
- Also, keep your aquarium away from any direct source of heat like a heater or air conditioner because this can also speed up the process of algae growth inside your fish tank.
- Using an ultraviolet sterilizer for more than 10 hours each day is not recommended because it will increase the amount of ammonia in your fish tank. In addition, using a UV sterilizer constantly can also cause cloudy water over time.
- If you add too many new fish at one time or add more salt in your aquarium containing brackish water, the salinity level will increase, which is not good for the overall stability of the aquarium.
- Add some activated carbon media to your aquarium’s filter, whether it’s in the form of loose or carbon pads. It will absorb the extra nutrients present in the tank and help clear the water.
So, we hope now you know what’s causing the problem and how to clear cloudy aquarium water. Next time you see cloudy water in your fish tank, try to identify its cause first before doing any treatment. Also, keep in mind that some cloudy aquarium water problems are manageable, while some require professional help. So, don’t panic if something is wrong with your fish tank, especially if it is newly set up. Remember that your local pet shop will be more than happy to help you out with your questions.
If you follow the tips and tricks listed above, you will find that maintaining a fish tank is not as difficult as it may seem. Good luck!