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Old 05-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #1 
mhxistenz
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Cloudy planted tank... please advise

This is my first truly planted tank and I've read the sticky and numerous threads, yet I'm still confused about the source of the cloudiness and how to clear it up. It's a 20-gal long tank that I'm hoping to stock with female bettas and eventually some cory cats (hence the play sand). I'm using an AquaClear 30 filter and a 100w Aqueon Pro heater. Plants include anubias, java ferns, anacharis in the background, java moss, and a marimo ball. Clarity is a lot better than it was 2 days ago since I cleaned the filter, removed the baffles, and changed 50% of the water yesterday. As you can see from the photos, it's still pretty murky. I bought the driftwood and plants from my LPS on sunday. I've also been adding Seachem Stability as directed. I tried the Clarity product but it made it so much worse that I stopped using it after 2 doses. All the filter media gets colored brown and a slimy residue gets released when I squeeze it in a bucket of water. Water parameters today test at temp 79F, ph 7.4, nh3 0.25, no2 and no3 at zero. If you look closely at the closeup of the central piece of driftwood, you can see in the center a wispy film attacked to the wood. Is this just an algae problem? I've been careful to limit the photo period to less than 10 hours (and only about 5 hours of lamp light, the rest indirect daylight). I'm using a 10,000K fluorescent light bulb, 65w. I'm also including photos of my 6-gal tanks for comparison since that water is crystal clear, sans plants, and it all comes from the same tap. I don't know what else to do. Is this a common occurrence in a new setup and should clear up on its own? Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:42 PM   #2 
gbose
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The cloudiness might be because your tank is cycling. Give it a couple of weeks before worrying about it.

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:05 PM   #3 
mhxistenz
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Thanks, GBose!
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:07 PM   #4 
Micho
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Hrm, did you wash the sand enough? Play sand needs thorough washing, also, when you filled the tank up, did you disrupt the sand?

Disrupting the substrate usually leads to a cloudy tank, just wait for the sand to settle.

If it's not that it could be bacterial bloom.

Also, I might suggest 6500k bulbs, they mimic sunlight and your plants will intake it better than 10000K bulbs.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:31 PM   #5 
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Thanks, Micho. I did rinse the heck out of the play sand until the water ran clear. Some sand did get disturbed when I added water but it was pretty minimal and the water was clear until I added the plants and Stability product the day after adding the sand. I do have a 6400k bulb in the double light fixture that is significantly brighter. I prefer the dimmer look and I thought it would help keep algae to a minimum but if the plants would prefer the 6400k bulb, I will use it instead. Does it matter that it's not quite 6500k? Would I see more algae at this intensity? Is it safe to use an anti-algae product or would it harm the other plants and marimo ball? I know some algae is to be expected but I don't want my tank to be a slimy green mess.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:57 PM   #6 
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The cloudiness does not look like algae - that will turn the water green.

It looks like dust from the sand, really. Even if you rinse it a lot, it can take up to a month to settle. The cloudiness won't hurt anything, including fish, so I wouldn't worry about it and just give it some time. The amount of sand used in a larger tank is a lot higher, so there it is a lot harder to get it really clean.

Driftwood will stain the water, but it usually won't make the water cloudy. Did you boil or soak the wood before putting it into the tank? Some types of wood will still have some sap in them, and as it seeps out a film (or in severe cases a thick coating) of bacteria slime forms on them. It is unsightly, but is completely harmless and will disappear as soon as the remaining sap has been consumed. (And as ugly as it can be, it is a good thing. Sap can harm fish, but it eats it all before it leeches into the water.)

I would just keep on cycling the tank and see how it looks in about a week. The slime on the filter was probably related to the plants and driftwood, and will go away naturally as things settle.

Do not use any chemicals unless it is absolutely necessary! They tend to screw things up more than fix them. Your tank needs to get itself in balance, and a dose of chemicals will set you back even if it "helps" in the short term. Once your plants start growing well, they will suck up the nutrients and cut down algae. Once there is no food source, bacteria will stop making films and slime. If the cloudiness is cycle related, then once the ammonia settles down there will be no bacteria bloom.

If you do decide to use chemicals, beware. Marimo IS algae. It isn't "moss" as it is sold as. It is a type of algae that grows in a ball. Algae killing products will kill it. I would also be careful about the lighting if you want to keep a healthy Marimo. They don't like strong lighting, and prefer to have low lights. The strong light that a planted tank requires may kill them, as it is like having direct sunlight.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:07 PM   #7 
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Thanks, Tamyu! I did rinse and soak the driftwood before adding it to the tank. I got them all from my LFS and the middle one was in their pre-soaked tank while the others were in their dry bin. I also rinsed the plants because I'm paranoid about snail infestations. I hate the little things. I was worried about using anti-algae products on the Marimo so, thanks for confirming my suspicions. Seems that I should just leave the tank be for now and let it do its thing. Thank you!
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:36 AM   #8 
d3nv3r23
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its the sand that causes it ..thats the problem...i have these problem too when i was a starter..
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