hello! i just set up a new 5 gallon tank and moved my betta fish in it. he was doing great. i then added 2 african dwarf frogs. about 3-4- days after i put the frogs in, the water started getting cloudy (light milky colored). i read online that this was probably just cycling. i also read that doing 2 water changes a week instead of 1 would be better for the 1st couple of weeks. so i did, but i still have cloudy water. is this normal? i think i might have put a little too much food in the tank one day trying to feed the frogs, which is another reason i did the 2nd water change this week. i have been doing 10% water changes. we had a problem when we did 25-50% in the past and i do not want to loose any more fish doing to large a water change. is there anything else i should do, or am i doing anything wrong? just want to make sure my betta and froggies are doing ok. thank you!
You should have established a nitrogen cycle in the aquarium before adding fish. The link below explains the nitrogen cycle in more detail, but here are the basics. Fish respiration and digestion, uneaten food and any decaying organic matter produce ammonia. A fish swimming in ammonia can have burned gills, reduced appetite and a weakened immune system. The weakened immune system leaves the fish vulnerable to all sorts of diseases and parasites.
Just as toxic ammonia is naturally produced, so are the beneficial bacteria associated with the nitrogen cycle. Actually, it takes three types of bacteria growing in sequence to convert ammonia into plant food. It also takes a 25 percent water change every week and a reasonable feeding schedule to keep the aquarium free of toxins.
To correct the problem as it now stands, you may want to start changing about 15 percent of the water every day until measurements for ammonia and nitrite remain at zero. The small, frequent water changes will gradually reduce toxins while allowing the nitrogen cycle to develop. If you have the water tested in a pet shop, get actual readings for ammonia and nitrite, not just OK. Most aquarists get more accurate results using their own test equipment.
The next step is to feed no more than is actually eaten in a couple of minutes. Syphon out uneaten food and other debris during the partial water changes, and be sure to use a good tap water conditioner like Stress Coat. You can also buy products like Cycle, Start Smart, Prime, etc., that contain dormant colonies of beneficial bacteria. These products may speed development of the nitrogen cycle, but natural processes still take time.
The fish needs the daily partial water changes to dilute harmful toxins, but the beneficial bacteria need those very toxins to grow. That slows development of the nitrogen cycle. In your five gallon aquarium with the added bacteria, you could have a working cycle in as little as two weeks. After that, you should return to weekly partial water changes.
The frogs may harass the Betta and may not be the ideal tankmates. It's your decision.
If you have more questions, please feel free to ask. You may also want to browse other postings and more blogs and even consider joining our forum.
PS: The water will gradually clear as the nitrogen cycle becomes established. The reduced feeding schedule will also help.