Tropical Aquarium Advice – Dealing with Cloudy or Green fish tank water


Two of the most common issues that arise in a freshwater tropical aquarium are cloudy water and green water. These can be a nuisance to deal with if you don’t know a few tricks of the trade. This article will focus on cloudy water and green water in tropical aquariums and will help you understand what causes them and how to fix them quickly!

Cloudy Water in a Tropical Aquarium
Cloudy water is usually caused by poor overall water quality. If your fish tank has cloudy water, the first thing to do is take out your aquarium test kit and test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The culprit is likely ammonia but might also be nitrites. If you have any ammonia or nitrite registering on your test kit, your bioload is overwhelming the bacteria in the tank. This most commonly arises during the first two weeks after a new aquarium is set up.

Ammonia and nitrites are very toxic to freshwater fish. Fish wastes break down into ammonia which is converted by bacteria to nitrite then again to nitrate. Dealing with ammonia or nitrite is fortunately pretty easy to do. Start with a 50% water change and replace with clean water. If you can possibly remove some of the fish to an established aquarium, you will decrease the amount of ammonia that is produced. Keep changing 50% of the water on a dialy basis until your aquarium clears up and the ammonia and nitrite levels reach zero.

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Green water in a Tropical Aquarium
Two issues combine to cause green aquarium water. Excess light and usually an imbalance in aquarium nutrients are usually the cause of this problem. These two combine to lead to a proliferation of free floating single-celled algae in your tropical aquarium. You should tackle the two causes together for optimal success in fixing green water. First, do a 30 to 50% water change to help remove large numbers of the bacteria and excess phosphates. Continue this on a daily basis until the green water clears up.

At the same time, you should greatly decrease the amount of light reaching the aquarium. If no live aquarium plants are present, you can cover the tank in a blanket or towel to stop all light from reaching the aquarium. If you have live plants, have the lights on for fewer hours every day as long as the plants remain healthy. If the aquarium is located in a place where it gets any sunlight, it should really be moved if at all possible to prevent future problems with green water. By limiting the amount of light, and doing hefty water changes, the green water should clear up in a few days to a week.

If you are having these or other issues with your tropical aquarium, it is a good idea to have a top quality aquarium resource at hand. “Katy’s Tropical Fish – A Complete Guide” provides answers to the most commonly asked questions by aquarists. Click here for more information about it.


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