Cloudy Water in Fish Tanks
Many fish tank owners find their water goes white and/or greyish, giving it a cloudy appearance. Sometimes the cloudiness will solve itself within a couple days, but not always. There’s multiple reasons your aquarium has cloudy water, making finding the cause a trial and error process.
Cloudy water within an hour or two of filling the tank can be due to the gravel. Gravel that’s insufficiently washed will cause this as new gravel is covered in dust and hard-to-see muck and debris. To fix this, the tank needs to be drained and the gravel needs to be rinsed through until the water that filters through is clear.
Sometimes cloudy water appears over time due to a bacterial bloom. As a new aquarium is being set up and goes through its first cycle it is common for the water to go cloudy until bacterial colonies are able to be established that consumes waste in the water – these being the ‘good’ bacterial cultures.
Over feeding your fish can cause a bacterial bloom, making them the ‘bad’ bacteria – if the foods not eaten within 5 minutes then you’re feeding too much. This excess food in addition to decaying plants can cause milky/cloudy water seen in bacterial bloom. To get rid of the cloudy/milky water the gravel needs vacuuming regularly with partial water changes to fix most cases of bacterial bloom, as well as keeping your filter clean. If your water still isn’t clear, water clarifiers can be brought to clump up any debris that’s too small for the filter to pick up without it.
Test your water
If its not the gravel, likelihood is that its the water itself. Water with a high level of phosphates, silicates, or heavy metals cause the water to go cloudy as it causes the pH to be high. Testing the water with a kit can confirm this with conditioners to solve the problem.