4 years ago #1

Hello all,

I am new to aquarium-keeping and seem to be having problems. I have successfully kept my daughter alive and well (knock wood) and yet even in spite of following instructions I seem to be killing fish and also not able to get my small, 5 gal "MiniBow" aquarium kit- which I bought in early March or late Feb 2011 - to maintain healthy water levels. The first tetra, catfish and one other species of tetra died within days/a week of being in the tank, even though the water looked clear, the PH levels were OK and the other fish (a Betta we've had for about 7 months in a 1 gallon tank with no filter, heater, etc) seemed fine.

I know the biology and chemistry of of aquariums are complex, but this is ridiculous. As of early last week, things got worse. The Betta started lying curled up on the bottom all the time and would not eat/swim to the surface but maybe once a day, then seemed to get pushed down to the bottom again by the filter (it is a small tank and the filter is hardly powerful). I was concerned as it seemed on death's doorstep so I took it out and put it back in its old, fully cleaned and water-treated 1 gallon tank on a heating pad (I do have a thermometer in the 5 gal tank and have been keeping the water at about 75 without use of a heater). I fasted the Betta for a few days as I read that could be part of the problem, and it's still not eating anything but it is swimming around more and looking better, not curled up anymore, etc.

I am wondering how to tell if my filter is working properly? I am sure ammonia is a large part of my problem, but not sure what is causing my water to turn from clear to totally cloudy/hazy within a day of changing some or all of the tank water.

Last Monday, I went back to the fish store after I did a 75% water change and 2 days later my tank was so cloudy/hazy that I could barely see the fish swimming. I took a water sample into the store to be tested and it had off=the-charts ammonia. I had added Ammo-Lock in the right proportion as well as the tap water conditioner days before, and also had added more Ammo-Lock on a weekly basis.

I know the tank has to cycle and is trying to equalize nitrogen/ammonia, and in the meantime I've PH-tested and most of the levels therein have looked good for tropical fish. This past Monday, after taking that water sample to the pet store and being told the ammonia levels were nuts, I did a complete water change down to rinsing gravel (took fish out and with water only washed the gravel, sides of tank, fake plant and little "spongebob" hut that's in there), retreated the water with Ammo-Lock and tap water purifier, and even rinsed the filter with clean water. This filter had been totally new the week before the cloudy water began. Now, on Wednesday (two days later), the water is turning more and more cloudy again, and it looks like there's a greasy film on the top.

This does not look or sound to me like the bacterial or organism infestation many of your forums have described as causing cloudy water, and I can't imagine that would occur in one or two days of a total water change anyway.

I am not overfeeding - I switched this week to dried bloodworms at the recommendation of the fish guy at Petland b/c the flake food was getting pushed to the bottom and mucking up the gravel over time even if I turned the filter off for half an hour (another recommendation of theirs) while the fish ate so that the food would not fall to the bottom. It still did. The bloodworms they eat right up and I remove whatever's uneaten before it falls.

I also had them test the same filter mechanism at the store from a new box and it appeared to be working the same as mine.

What am I doing wrong?!! Could it be that the last filter itself was somehow a dud? I never had the cloudy water before the filter change last week, but three (!) fish did die within the first month of my having the tank. I have no live plants or other fish/creatures in there, and there are no dead fish or other known algae-type visible problems.

BC I have a few fish left (three different kinds of colored tetras) that have survived about three weeks so far, I can't let the tank cycle for days or weeks as suggested before putting fish in. I'm thinking it may be the filter b/c while a few fish died in March, the water was NEVER cloudy like this - and this week is two weeks in a row even after significant water changes.

So there are two issues: why is the water getting cloudy quickly and how can I better manage my ammonia levels? What do I do with the remaining fish while I try to fix the problem?

Any advice/help appreciated. Please help me save my little girl's remaining fish!

Many thanks.

4 years ago #2
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welcome that was a long article bud lol. well first off you shouldnt have completly cleaned everything this kills off all the beneficial bacteria and now needs to go through the cycling process all over again. The cloudy water can remain up to a week from the filter and te new tap water thats high in many minerals and the chemicals are reacting as well to kill and form many differnet microscopic things. would also recommend upgrading to a ten gallon tank. when you have a slightly larger tank the waste/water ratio works to your advantage. See more water for your fish dillutes the ammonia nitrates an nitrites and the conditioner also kills chlorine and chloromine. plus the fish love more room to roam. Its a win win wih a larger tank tust me. lol. Next is partial water changes. Do 40% water changes everyother day to maintain a heathy vibrant habitat for your fish. hope this helps

4 years ago #3
I Need HE:

Im not to sure about this but it is happening to my fish tank but mines a ten gal and all of my fish are dying i dont know what to do?

4 years ago #4
Fresh Member
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hi, best thing i suggest is yes a bigger tank and also check this link http://www.myaquariumclub.com/the-nitrogen-cycle-for-beginners-358.html , proved very usefull to me and its just the bare basics off keeping a healthy enviroment for ur fish, hope my reply help sumwot.

4 years ago #5
Platinum Member
Blogs: 5
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Votes: 7

AJ, I think smaller aquarium are tough to handle but not impossible. Try this. Do early in the day.
Take out the water from the aquarium to fill half of a bucket. Add equal amount of fresh water (kept over night without chlorine). Aerate the water that you kept over night in the bucket. Add the fishes in the bucket then.
Now dismantle the tank completely. Clean the glass with 4:1 ratio of water to white vinegar. Wash very well the glass by filling and emptying the tank atleast 2-3 times. Now clean the gravels with water. Then let them soak for 2 hours in 50gm rock salt+water solution. Clean with water many times. More the better. I suggest 4 times. Test the pH of the tank water and the water in which you have kept the stones finally. It should be 7.
Now re do the tank. Add one plant like sword plant with broad leaves. Technique of planting is use cotton thread and tie it to a stone lightly. Try to only balance the plant. Do not burry the crown.
The plant acts as a good indicator.
Clean your filter with cold water. Put it back.
Now what I told you is how to erase all earlier doubts and start afresh with the Nitrogen cycle. If you add the fishes just this time, make sure the temp in the bucket and in the tank are same. Then keep changing the water every day (only 10%). Pray to God. It should help provided your supplied water is not very alkaline.

3 years ago #6
Fresh Member
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ammonia is a clear liquid that fish and snails will give off.If you notice your fish or snail is is dead get it out right away.The ammonia will take oxegyn out of the water.If all of your pets die wait about one week for the ammonia level to go down.If you do not wait the new animals will die after a day or 2.

3 years ago #7
Fresh Member
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Hi ,there is a product...think its called "cycle up", add this to the waterASAP it contains large amounts of the "good bactaria" nitrobactus etc that need to colonise your filter medium...forms well on sponge or cotton wool. I might also try 5/10 common guppies for at least 6 weeks on their own...hardy little chaps and can usually get through a "new tank" cycling spikes better than most

2 years ago #8

I know this is an old forum but for someone reading with a similar problem- I noticed that no one mentioned one possibility that popped up in my mind when you said the water gets cloudy very quickly. It sounds like you're having a bacteria bloom. Is your tank near any windows or do you give it just 12 hrs of light per day? Even indirect light will cause algae to grow which will lead to an ammonia spike. First off, I've heard countless success stories with 1-2 day cycling being complete with "Tetra SafeStart." Also, I would use Prime to condition the water as this detoxifies ammonia, nitrate, nitrite. Lastly, I would have in your arsenal "AmmoniaSafe" just in case there are any more extremely high ammonia spikes. Remember, the best medicine is a water change.

2 years ago #9
Bronze Member
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Just yesterday after doing all the hard work of deworming process for 12 days finally I cleaned and changed all the tank water day before yesterday and overnight yesterday morning my water tv in tank was cloudy and 3 discus died cant really understand what was the problem I had also added some amount of salt to acquarium.The sponge filter and bio foam oxygen pump were cleaned before removing for deworming process 12 days back

2 years ago #10
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This is a very old post, but for clerification purposes I wanted to add, since it has been reserve tend, that the basic problem that the original poster was experiencing had a simple cause.

He was heavily heavily overstocking a tiny uncycled tank. A five gallon is big enough for one lone male betta and perhaps some shrimp or snails. Not multiple tetras, catfish, betta. The quantity of ammonia produced by these fish was beyond the ability of bacteria to grow and counteract. He could not have removed enough water on a daily basis to dilute that quantity of ammonia and even if he could had, perhaps by changing most of the water, it would have stressed the fish so much that they would have succumbed.

1 year ago #11

I too, have cloudy water issue! I bought a 5 gallon and quickly realized I bought too many fish. Upgraded to a 10 gallon. I have 3 guppies, 4 neons, one sunburst Platty, two dwarf gourami and a small cat. It's about an inch per gallon. Well, one guppy and the Platty were prego, much to my surprise. I now have 40 three week old baby guppies and 8 baby Platties. I know this is probably causing the ammonia to stay high, Petsmart said it was high. I bought ammonia block and am adding it with 25% water change every other day. Water is still cloudy. The tank is the same age as the babies three we weeks. Any suggestions or ideas on clearing it up? I have most of the babies spoken for within the next week. The fish are all well and doing great! I can't stand the water not being clear. Driving me crazy! Any advice would be much appreciated. I don't have or plan to purchase a second tank. Just want this one to be pretty and healthy. Thanks!

1 year ago #12

i think better bigger external filter will help+water change without destroying good bacteria.

1 year ago #13

Yea! It cycled then another guppy had fry and back to cloudy again. I'm doing water changes of 25% every three day. I've gotta give away more babies.... Thanks. Probably do need bigger external filter, too.

1 year ago #14
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Ali and Rena.. This is an old post. Commenting on an old post bumps it up and then new questions may not get seen. If u have a new question please feel free to post a new question using the new question box.

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