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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
PICS! Cloudy Water in 15 Gal Community Tank

Hello all, I was just wondering if anyone could help me out. The water in my fish tank has been progressively getting cloudier for the last couple of weeks. I alternate between a 25% water change one week and a 50% the next, always using a gravel vacuum and sucking up the junk in the rocks. My tank has a 20 gallon Topfin HOB filter, quite a few live plants and plenty of decor. I have one yellow gourami, three female bettas and six cory cats in the tank. They are all acting perfectly normal, the cloudy water is not effecting them at all, I was just wondering what (if anything) I can do, and if anyone knows what could be causing it? I have attached pictures of the tank - although the water looks nice rest assured it was the work of the flash.









 

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Hmm, the pictures aren't showing up for me. How long has the tank been set up and was it cycled? That sounds like a bacterial bloom to me. Is this a 20-gallon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just re-did the pics, they should be there now. It has been up and running for over a month now, I would say close to five weeks or six, and all the fish are original fish. I have only lost a couple, and the ones I lost were beat up by my female Betta because they were so small. It's 15 gallons, and I did all the water tests the other day - I can't remember the numbers, I didn't write them down, but everything was in the safe zone.
 

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That's pretty heavy stocking for a 15-gallon, especially a tank that new. Make sure you don't add anything else (and be prepared to possibly remove the gourami at some point, gouramis and bettas don't always get along).

I would guess it's just bacteria so there's not much to do but let it run its course. Keep up on water changes and the water should clear up :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know it's pretty stocked, but I figured with very regular maintenance I could keep it all running smoothly - and besides the cloudy water I am pretty proud of myself, everything is optimal. =) As to the gourami and Bettas, I have a back up tank if things go wrong, but so far so good. I have had all the female Bettas and the cory cats since the get go (well, not the day I set up my tank, but you know what I mean) and I got the gourami about two weeks ago. So far so good, they have no problems with each other at all, but if the time comes I have no problem re-homing. =)

Thank you for your help.
 

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I think you did very well with your tank! It's pretty and neat. I know my opinion isn't considered "right" but I think the stocking is fine as long as they aren't attacking each other. Just keep keeping a good eye on them :)

As for the water, just keep up with the water changes and it should clear up. On an odd note, I my tank's water got cloudier quicker after introducing live plants...maybe there's a connection, I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! It is my first aquarium, besides smaller ones for my Betta fish, and I am very impressed with it. I added a few more live plants, as well as reorganized it the other day, I will upload new pictures later. =D It looks a lot better - I spread the plants out so they cover just under half of the aquarium and are easier to swim through. I did have a thought though, about the plants contributing to the cloudiness of the water. Who knows? It's clearing up a little bit, as I did a very large water change a couple of days ago - the guy at my local fish store said that I am changing the water too often, though, and it is probably a bacteria bloom as Sasami mentioned. He said change the water a lot less often than I am (well, not less often, but less at a time) and that should help it.

As to the stocking, I actually found a stocking calculator (kind of like ratty calculators) on Google, and when I entered my fish and tank information into it, the site said it was only 87% stocked. I am not going to add anymore fish to it obviously, but I think it's perfect, if a little heavy as Sasami said. =)
 

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I'm still pretty new to fish myself so it's great to learn :) I'll have to read up more about bacteria blooms. I like to add extra space when figuring out stocking for fish that are normally territorial and need space (like bettas and gouramis). Can't wait to see the pics! :)
 

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Likely a bacterial bloom. Time and water changes will help.

Personally, I would suggest getting a better filter (Aquaclear 50 for an HOT-type, or better, a small canister like a Cascade 700), and fill that filter with 2 sponges and one bag of ceramic bio-media. Run that filter alongside your current one for about 6 weeks, then remove your Topfin filter.

Why? Firstly, slight overfiltering....you can not filter too much, only have to much flow. The Cascade and Aquaclear, with the suggested media have far greater bio media volume (activated charcoal/carbon is not necessary in a properly-filtered aquarium with appropriate water changes, apart from emergencies or gross over-stocking) and water movement, making for greater filtration. What is more, you can, once each week (once each 3 weeks for the Cascade) (one at a time...cycle through them), rinse the sponges and ceramic bio-media in the water you remove from your aquarium during water changes, and this media will last a very long time before it needs replacing (the ceramic should last about 10-12 months, the sponges should last 20-24 months).

The reason I like these two particular filters is their function, reliability, media flexibility, and commonality (easy to find as well as to replace parts on, should you have to).

Combine with with religious water-changes (at least 30% once weekly, but you can do more frequently...like 20% every 3 days), and your tank will be crystal-clear, your fish will be extremely healthy and reach their full growth potential.

That being said, if you choose to go with a HOT filter, whilst keeping live plants, make sure that you keep the tank topped-up, as if they are allowed much of a 'waterfall' on the return, they will drive excess O2 into the tank, which the plants will not appreciate.
 
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