Cloudy Fish Tank Water

Cloudy water can be annoying and baffling, and don’t worry; you are not alone having that struggle. For sure, all hobbyists are experiencing and feeling the same way.

There are many answers as to why your fish tank is cloudy, and it usually depends upon the circumstances and the level of maintenance you’ve done for the fish tank.

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Maintaining the fish tank may be time-consuming, drastic, and not at all friendly with the budget, but as a pet owner, all you can ever think of is what’s best for your pet fish.

This article will help you determine the possible causes of cloudy water, and we’ll come up with some know-how tips and recommendations to fix this problem. But let’s start first with the “New Tank Syndrome” because this is the first occurrence of cloudy waters.

What Is A New Tank Syndrome?

A new tank syndrome is a well-known occurrence to aquarists, especially to those first-timers who knew nothing about the phenomenon that can happen when introducing the fish tank to the fish.

To specify, new tank syndrome is the vast rising of the nitrate levels to a highly abnormal state that leads to the cloudiness of the water.

When you introduce the fish to their new home, the high nitrate level, the presence of ammonia, plants, and fish leftovers, and fish waste products can become factors as to why the fish tank becomes too cloudy.

The Causes Of Cloudy Water

Gravel Residue

Milky white cloudy fish tank is only temporary because of poorly-rinsed gravel. When you restart the filter, there might be the residue of debris, and the tiny air bubbles are the one that creates a white haze.

Despite having “suitable for immediate use” written in the packaging, you must still rinse the gravel before you put it in the fish tank. If you are still having problems with cloudy water after rinsing the gravel, then it might be the bacteria bloom.

Bacterial Bloom

Bacterial Bloom is a phenomenon that anyone can experience when they have set up a newly bought aquarium. During the first few stages of the tank cycling process, this bacteria buildup can produce ammonia, which is the cause of the milky water. This would usually take about 1-2 days until it will clear again.

Milky waters are not harmful to the fish, but if by chance that the fish is gasping for air during this period, you place the fish out of the fish tank and conduct a 50% water change just so to decrease the number of bacteria and increase the oxygen supply.

However, if fish is not yet introduced to their new fish tank, you have to allow 3 weeks to complete the tank cycling process before settling the fish in the aquarium.

Another case of bacterial bloom is the sudden increase in nutrients after heavy feeding to the fish. Most fish flakes can be easily dissolved in the water, causing the nutrients to increase and produce ammonia and nitrite.

Ammonia and nitrite can be dangerous to your fish, in which the good bacteria will cope up rapidly with the produced waste.

The white-grey cloudy water can be observed up to 3 days, so you have to filter the waste before introducing the fish to their new home.

The third case of bacteria bloom is due to the restart of a good bacteria colony. There are two reasons why beneficial bacteria are even wiped out in the tank: first, it contains too much chlorine and chloramine. Second is the introduction of medications, like antibiotics. 

When you’ve attempted to introduce some chemical formulas, beneficial bacteria will have to attempt rebuilding themselves too. For the recommendation for the cure, chlorine and chloramine are usually found in tap water, so you have to condition the water by changing the water temperature.

Lastly, it is due to the filtration system shutdown. Do not let the filtration system shut down because it will only cause oxygen to deplete, which results in the bacteria dying off.

Replacing the filter medium will also result in bacterial bloom. With this, you have to mix 50% of the filter medium from the established filer and accelerate the process.

Algae Growth

Getting rid of algae in the water can be challenging, even if it has an easier remedy. When the water turns green, that could only mean that there’s an excess accumulation of algae in the water because of these causes: lighting conditions, excess nutrients, and nitrates.

The easiest to cure is the overexposure of the fish tank to light. All you can do is position the tank nowhere near the window to stop getting too much direct sunlight. Also, you have to reduce the amount of light.

For excess nutrients such as phosphate and nitrates, you have to watch out for it time by time immediately. Phosphates came from two sources: either from the dissolved fish food or from the water itself.

First, you have to test the water source and check if the water source has a high phosphate level. By that means, you have to use RO water to treat the water and to remove the excess phosphate.

Another nutrient is the nitrate that comes from the fish’s waste products. The only way to remove the excess nitrates is to conduct water change and ensure that the filter is clean and the population is good enough for the fish tank.

Remedies For Cloudy Water

OF Ocean Free Hydra 30 Depurator

If you want to have a successful fishkeeping hobby or business, you have to make sure that the fish’s sanctuary is good enough to stay.

To conduct a regular checkup and maintenance, you have to avoid every aquatic hobbyist’s pain in the head, which is an unpleasant water condition that could potentially stress out your fish tank inhabitants.

Fortunately, Ocean Free Hydra 30 Depurator can control nitrite and nitrate by diminishing the presence of ammonia with Hydro-Pure technology. This product is environmental-friendly and chemical-free.

This also uses modern filter design to ensure maximum use of filtration.

OF Ocean Free Hydra 30 can stabilize the water quality at a flow rate of 500lph. When the ammonia is completely removed, then the water can turn into a safe living environment for your aquatic friends.

Other necessary features of Ocean Free Hydra 30 are to reduce the nitrogen cycle to prevent new tank syndrome for your fish and minimize the bad smell that came from the aquarium.

OF® OCEAN FREE Hydra 50 Internal Filter

Water clarity is extremely important in the aquatic world because it can save your fish from having too many toxins.

With OF® OCEAN FREE Hydra 50 Internal Filter, which Hydro Pure Technology powers, it can break down water nutrients and detoxify ammonia and nitrite, which results in a clear and pristine water condition.

Hydra 50 is a versatile depurator, that could be used as a surface skimmer. It can be converted as an internal filter that removes all surface oil film in achieving an exchange of oxygen and to increase light penetration as well.

OF® Ocean Free Hydra Stream

OF Ocean Free seemed to be doing good business in the aquatic world. This OF® Hydrea Stream features a high hydra power filter and controls ammonia to dominate the fish tank.

Like any other OF products, the Hydrea stream is powered by Hydro Pure technology that stabilizes water quality and frees water from any harmful chemicals. This product comes with a manual that could instruct you on how to set it up. The setup is pretty simple, as well as to operate and pull it apart.

How To Keep My Aquarium Crystal Clear

Taking care of the aquarium can be very tedious and time-consuming because no specific method could perfect your maintenance routine. Water changes are most likely to occur in less than a month if not supervised properly.

This is not an easy task, especially for first-time hobbyists, but you can perfect it over time. There are 3 elements where you can take note of in cleaning your aquarium.

Filtration System

Please choose the right filtration system for your aquarium because they are responsible for making your water clean and pristine. To install a new filter, you have to consider the mechanical parts of the filter first.

When you first install the filter, you make sure that the chemical part of the filter is well-adjusted, like nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia levels need to be at the same level.

Many inexpensive tests can be performed to check the level of these chemicals, like the Stress Coat for the chlorine reducer and the Stress Zyme, which is for the bacteria booster.


After choosing a good filter for you, you can choose an easy-to-clean decoration. Plastic rocks and plants need to be cleaned periodically, while river rocks don’t be cleaned often.

Also, consider the decoration if it’s best for the fish. Fish can be choosy with their environment, so you have to choose the decoration that comes close to their natural environment.

Fish Residents

For fish tank hobbyists, the rule of thumb is to have one individual fish per gallon so it won’t overpopulate. Pairing fish species must be aligned perfectly depending on the kind of temperature they’re most comfortable with.

For instance, there are many fish species that you can choose from, like African cichlids, which are more comfortable with warm waters, while tetras can be versatile with water temperature changes. For goldfish, Koi Fish and Carp can live in cold waters.

When you’re ready with all the fish tank and fish preparation, you can rearrange the aquarium however you want it. The most important thing is not to get them overstressed with their environment. If you want to make them live longer, make them comfortable as soon as you can.

Troubleshoot The Cloudy Water

The first thing that you can look out for is the bacterial bloom and check your filters if they are working properly. If it’s not, some bacteria might be sticking out of the filters caused by ammonia and waste products. If it’s working, then the bacteria can build up in the water.

Refrain from overfeeding the fish because that’s also the reason why the water is cloudy. Fish has to be fed only twice a day. The excess fish foods will dissolve in the water before they eat so, it will just add up to the water’s cloudiness.

As for the decoration, you have to check if there are hidden algae in it or you can rinse it before you put them into the water.

Lastly is to control the growth of blue-green algae that clings to the side tanks and sometimes decorative items. You can use safe scrapes and a clean toothbrush to scrape the side tank and the decorations.

Then rinse it with clean water before placing them again in the water. You can also add activated carbons in the layers of the filters to keep the water clean for a long time.


Having a daily problem with cloudy water can be a pain in the head. All it takes is the right discipline to maintain a healthy-looking aquarium to make your pet fish satisfied.

Some methods may not work out for you, but the end goal is to reach a steady-state of being wherein the chemistry and the other aspects of the aquarium are going along and well-balanced.

If the aquarium isn’t cloudy anymore with algae’s minimum presence, you can have the aquarium cleaned up 4 times a year. Being too cautious and thinking about the fish’s welfare can never go wrong. It’s only the best way to protect the fish from the possible danger that could happen to them.