Betta Fish Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 55 gallon NPT, and lately my tank has been really cloudy. It's always been a little cloudy. I've had it set up for about 8 months now, but within the past couple of weeks it's gotten a lot more cloudy and I am having major hair algae problems (that started about 4-5 months after the tank was set up. Before that I had just diatoms). Anyway, it's really cloudy and the driftwood makes it look like green tea so it just doesn't look clean. Plus I have diatoms and green spot algae in addition to the hair algae.
Why am I having such a problem? It's soil-based and that's another thing- the soil is coming through the sand cap and I never sifted the soil so there's all these woodchips making my tank look really littered. I'm actually ready to tear the whole thing down and redo it without the soil or driftwood.
Anyway, My main question is why is it so cloudy? And why do I have so much algae after all this time? I have some fast-growing plants like water wisteria, dwarf red lily, and duckweed, but most of my other plants are slow-growers- different types of sword plants and anubias. I don't dose with fertilizers because I figured the soil would be good enough for fertilization as well as snail poop from a million MTS. But my swords are starting to look really crappy- the leaves get a lot of brown spots in them and then my snails eat holes through the leaves -_-
I change about 25% of the water every 2 weeks and in between I do a lot of topping off because of evaporation. It's not overstocked or anything. I have 5 julii cories, 3 amano shrimp, 7 neon tetras, 6 zebra danios, 3 otos, and a bunch of ramshorn snails. Up until a few days ago I had 8 female bettas but I moved them to a 10 gallon and moved my male betta to the 55 gallon, and I'm planning on adding at least 10 purple passion danios.
And my filter is rated up to 75 gallons, so... I don't know what's going on.
I'm just really frustrated.
Any suggestions and help is greatly appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,114 Posts
We haven't had an issue with cloudy water - have you tried Purigen in your filter? Since we started using Purigen we have had zero issues with cloudy water.

How long do you run your lights daily? Could you show me a picture of your tank? Is it near a sunny window?

What kind of sand did you use? We had algae issues in Stone's 46 gallon and we think the gravel cap is the culprit - we are planning to replace the gravel with black diamond blasting sand soon. I tried pool filter sand in my 29 gallon and a 10 gallon way back when we first started and I hated it, it was messy and kept the water cloudy if anything got moved or the fish stirred it up the least little bit. (personal preference for sure)

I would recommend adding some more fast growing plants and see if it helps the algae issue. The more fast growing plants you have, the less nutrients that are left to feed the algae. Anacharis, green hygro, dwarf sag, Ludwiga, rotala, Water Sprite. Even if you just get some anacharis and water sprite to float for a few months to see how it does, it might help.

The wood chips will eventually stop coming to the top, try to just scoop them out as you can. Maybe they are breaking down and causing extra nutrients in the water column. Eventually the soil will mucus together and it should stop coming to the top. (if you hate the way it looks soil bits are not really noticable on top of the black cap we use and I just vacuum it out on water changes if I pull any up)

Sounds as if your amazon sword needs a root tab, they are heavy root feeders so sometimes the soil isn't enough to supplement them with addtional food but until you get the algae under control don't dose with ferts.

Have you tried dosing with Excel? We started dosing the tanks daily with Excel and have not had any issues so far with algae since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply!

I have never used Purigen. Maybe I will try it.

I don't have a pic of my tank at the moment, but I will post one later.

On weekdays I usually turn the lights on when I get home at about 5:30 and then turn them off when I go to bed at around midnight. So about 6.5 hours. On weekends the lights are on longer. Like Saturdays probably 12 hours or longer. oops. Sundays I usually don't turn the lights in until I get home from church at about 2:00, so they're on for about 10 hours on Sundays. The tank is across the room from a window and it does get some direct sun for part of the afternoon. It's not a very long time because it mostly just goes straight across the bottom half of the tank.

I just use play sand as the cap.

Someone else also suggested root tabs for the swords, so I think I will do that. I have also never used Excel so I will give that a try.

I actually decided that I will redo the whole tank next weekend. I'm just going to drain it, get rid of all the soil, take the driftwood out, and then just put in sand. I know it's not going to be fun trying to re-plant the plants, since it's hard to get the roots buried again once they've been pulled up.
But all your advice is good so I can hopefully prevent all of this, or at least be able to get rid of it if it happens again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,838 Posts
You could put your light on a timer to give your plants more light you won't have to worry about turning it on. For my 29 gallon I was only using a sponge filter in the tank. I've just added a cheap Walmart filter that is rated for only 15 gallons. The water is much clearer. So you could add more filtration. I don't add fertilizer either and there are no algae problems. I've read how long your soil sits before you add plants can influence algae production. Soaking the soil for 3 months with a layer of Saran Wrap over it is supposed to create a tank with zero problem algae. The article said something about letting the aenerobic soil run it's cycle thus discouraging algae. I will try to find it and post it. Maybe instead of taking the tank down you could soak your soil for awhile before you add it in 5 gallon buckets. I see what looks like lots of peat on top of your soil so that would make your water really brown. I have a mystery snail that I don't feed a whole lot she is always patrolling and eating. The other thing that makes my tank look more cloudy is brown dirt (probably from the peat) accumulating on the tank walls. I will look for the article I've posted it before and return.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,114 Posts
I think and I might be wrong but looking at your tank vs the wall behind it, that what you are seeing as cloudy is actually the tannins from the driftwood making your water dark. I see a defined brown tint to your water. That wouldn't have anything to do with the algae issues, excel, shorter light periods and /or more plants will help with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The water is cloudy, though. Most of the coloring is from the driftwood but you probably can't see the tallest wisteria in the back has tons of hair algae on it. I always clean it off when it's just in the fuzzy stage, but if I leave it for a couple days it gets the long strands. I've manually cleaned off that plant every day this week including vacuuming twice but it comes back. It's on the amazon sword and the argentine sword but not as much. The glass is mostly clean now in the front, but there are a few small spots of green spot algae. The back side of the tank has a lot on it and it won't come off.
But yeah, it's cloudy- if you look through the side of the tank, it's more obvious because you're looking through more water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
Don't give up.....I think I might know what your problem is.....Cory cats and sand....sometimes they can kick up enough silts from the sand to cause a hazy hue all the time-then high flow filter that keeps it kicked up in the water column. What I did to fix mine that did that-add a thin layer of gravel-find a natural color and top off in all the places you can-you don't need much-just enough to settle the sand and prevent it from being kicked up by the cory cats. I know this defeats the purpose of the sand and cory cats-but sometimes they will keep it kicked up too much-especially is the sand is really fine grained.

The algae-you need to get a timer for your lights and stay on a constant time of at least 10h/day-everyday...Irregular photoperiod can really do a number on some species of plants too-not just cause algae problems.

Plants with brown spot on the leaves-clip them off when they look bad-it is normal leaf die off or at least what it sound like to me.

Your water should look crystal clear in the tank, however, it should look slightly tinted when you dip out a cup of water from the tannin in the wood and soil itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,838 Posts
I could not find the article but maybe you can find the link I gave you maybe a month or two ago about how to get rid of algae. There's lots of info on the site it came from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks a lot, everyone.
I read that article a few times and it seems like CO2 will take care of my algae problems. I tried to do DIY CO2 but I failed. -_-

Now that I'm thinking about it, the major cloudiness started when my filter intake tube was blocked... I pulled all the stuff off of it and then alot of this cloudy stuff came out of my filter when it started flowing normal again. It's been bad ever since. Does my filter need to be cleaned?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I REDID MY TANK!
I took out the "N" in NPT. Because I failed epically.
I drained all the water, threw out the soil and sand (omg it smelled horrific; like the ocean at low tide), replaced it with gravel, cleaned up my plants- taking off dead and dying leaves, cleaning off algae, etc, and left out my driftwood!!(anyone want to buy it?)
It looks sooooo nice, now. The pic is taken shortly after I finished so the water was a bit cloudy, but it's pretty much all cleared up, now. I just need some more foreground plants, maybe just some more Anubias. or more wisteria but trim it to keep it short (it's my favorite plant). But I'm not going to plant it as heavily as before. I moved my female bettas to a 10 gallon, so it doesn't need to be heavily planted. So right now I have 2 kinds of Amazon sword (the one on the left, and then those two in the back towards the right side- they look a lot different from each other but they were both labeled as Amazon sword), Argentine sword, Anubias nana, and Wisteria- some planted and some floating. I just need something more in the foreground besides the Anubias.
I moved my neon tetras into the betta tank, so right now I just have my betta, Fishie in the 55 gallon, along with zebra danios, Oto cats, julii cories, and amano shrimp. I need more Otos bc I only have 3 now. I'm going to get a big school of Purple Passion Danios and I want a dwarf gourami so I'm going to move by betta to his original 5 gallon. He doesn't seem to like the big tank. He mostly floats around in the big amazon sword.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
962 Posts
I REDID MY TANK!
I took out the "N" in NPT. Because I failed epically.
I drained all the water, threw out the soil and sand (omg it smelled horrific; like the ocean at low tide), replaced it with gravel, cleaned up my plants- taking off dead and dying leaves, cleaning off algae, etc, and left out my driftwood!!(anyone want to buy it?)
I think I'd like to, but what is the cost/shipping and how long/high is it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
Well dang...I was hoping you could get it to work out for you...I don't know why I don't have problems with my tanks like you did....On my 55gal I don't even have a filter and haven't for a while since it broke-
I even drained it back in June to could move it to the back room-I drained it to the soil and then re-filled with a water hose and that made one heck of a mess...lol...especially since it hadn't had a water change in about year-It was so cloudy you couldn't see through it for about 20-30min more or less...Then crystal clear once it settled. It did get cloudy a couple of times but it resolved on its own in a day or so.
Right now this tank is a bit overstocked...lol....All my juvie Betta went in this tank from the outside spawns...and a bunch of guppies-It was my Angelfish tank before the move (Angelfish moved to 75g NPT)

One thing I have found with the soil based systems.....you have to have enough of the right species of plants-along with correct light to support fast plant growth (I have to trim weekly-usually enough to start a 20gal NPtank)I don't add ferts or inject CO2-other than what is naturally created by the system itself.

I know when I start to see either more algae than normal or plant growth slows or I start to see diatoms form....It is time to change my light bulb.....since I am usually on a 12h/d photoperiod...I change my bulbs every 6mo instead of every 12mo.

I have found too...that once mature....limit water changes to 3-4 times a YEAR....IME-NPT success is Balance....gotta have good and bad in the tank so it can take care of itself to a degree...Too clean and/or too much substrate cleaning can sometimes do more harm than good IME -provided that you have the system setup properly to start with....

Good luck with your planted tank...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
A problematic light bulb can throw things off (increase algae)? When redoing my tank, I noticed that one of the lights in my fixture is very dim. It seems to get brighter the longer it's on, but it's still dimmer than the other... My plants seemed to grow ok (the wisteria grew really fast... although it was the plant with the most algae), but the strange thing was that my duckweed wasn't multiplying fast at all, which is contrary to everything I've ever heard about duckweed. Do I have a lighting problem, causing the plants to not grow fast enough, and therefore causing algae? My fixture has two bulbs in it, 10,000K each, and I think they're 50 watts or something. But one of them is probably half the brightness.

I was looking really closely at my newly redone tank, and I noticed tiny green fuzz on the intake tube on the side where the filter is. Then I looked at my plants and one leaf of one plant already has green fuzz on it (I'm assuming the beginnings of hair algae AGAIN). Ugh, I'm sooooo frustrated! I've only had it running for 4 days and I already have algae. I cleaned off my plants before putting them back in the tank and there didn't seem to be any algae left on them, but now there's some on the filter tube, and some on a plant that never really collected algae before... whyyyyyyyy?
I don't turn the lights on until I get home from work at 5:30-ish on weekdays and I turn them off by midnight or a little after.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
The tank is beautiful. If you insist on clear water ( like I do ) you can use clarifier to rid the water column of suspended particulates. Petco, petsmart under5$. Also works for tannins. I hopethis helps you.
It will soften the water so be careful to follow directions and measure exactly
P.S. are you sure its algea and not cyano bacteria? Adjusting your light schedule will not affect cyanobacteria. Algae is usualy bright green while cyanobacteria is a dark forest green. Drastic reduction of nitrate will get cyanobacteria under control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
Your light could be the problem......The 10000k is within the color temp range for some plants, however, IME/O 2-6500k would be better-You could use only 1-10000k and 1-6500k you might have better plant growth.

As florescent light bulbs are used-the color temp will change-you can see the light and algae can use it- but the plants can't to use it for energy/photosynthesis-this can give the algae a head start and stall if not kill the plants.

With planted tanks it all about balance-The driving force behind successful planted tanks is the LIGHT of correct color temp-the plants can't even use ferts, CO2 or energy in general to grow if they don't have proper color temp bulbs-on top of proper photoperid and the light has to be able to penetrate the water to the plants too....If not open top-the partition between light and water need to be cleaned on a regular basis or removed all together.

Sorry I didn't catch this before...I just assumed you had the correct color temp lights....

What I would recommend-get 2-Daylight 6500k 40w florescent bulbs on a 12/h PP-get a new starter too. I always change my starters when I change my bulbs-they are cheap..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
rsskylight04,
The water is cleared up, now. It took a couple of days to settle. Thanks for the tip, though! I'll keep that in mind.
The hair algae I got was actually dark brown before, almost black. The only time it was green was when my friend was house-sitting and apparently turning off the lights of a fish tank isn't common knowledge and I came home to an extremely green-hairy tank. It was sooooooooo gross.
The fuzz that is starting now, though, is green and fuzzy. I'll check the shade of it more closely when I get home..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,335 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
What I would recommend-get 2-Daylight 6500k 40w florescent bulbs on a 12/h PP-get a new starter too. I always change my starters when I change my bulbs-they are cheap..
Oh, ok. I just assumed 10,000K would be better than 6,500K. lol. I'll have to check for a different temp of lights for the fixture I have. I bought it at Petco and the bulbs for it are custom, I think, and I only saw 10,000 K there.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top