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Re: not your regular cloudy water

"Ziad Munson" <munson at wjh_harvard.edu>  said:

> It is different than your average cloudy water problem because:
> 1) my diatomic filter does NOT clear it-- even temporarily--
> no matter how long I run the thing. The only temporary solution
> I've found is to add the clumping agent Accu-Clear AND the
> diatomic filter. Even then the cloudiness returns after a few days;

I had a similar problem a few months ago in my 20g high tank.
The problem arose after I released some baby guppies from a
floating breeder into the main tank. During release, some uneaten
food in the breeder also entered the tank. The cloudy water was
first noticed about 2 days later so I suspect the two events were
somehow related.

At the time, I thought it was due to imbalanced biological
filtration. But after thinking about it a bit more, I'm baffled.

Unlike Ziad's situation, my System 1 diatom filter was able to
clear the water, so whatever particulates I had in the water were
bigger than those in his tank. I was also able to use P-Clear, a
product similar to Accu-Clear, to clear the water. But the
cloudiness always returned after 24 hours. I also tried "store-
bought bacteria" (even tho' some people claim it's ineffective --
hey, I was desperate), reduced fish food quantities, reduced light,
and frequent water changes. This went on for more than a month.
No change. BTW, the ammonia, nitrate, and pH were all in the
"normal" range according to the test kit. The nitrite was non-zero
but still within the safe range for fish. (Sorry, I don't remember
actual values.)

Finally, I stuck to a regimen of frequent water changes (every 2-3
days), reduced feeding, and using the diatom filter about 2-3 times
a week. (I stopped using P-clear because it was causing breathing
problems for my livebearers, but oddly, not for the tetras.) About
2 weeks later, the tank was clear and it stayed clear. No problems
since then.

Here's something interesting: when I cleaned out the used
diatomaceous earth after using the diatom filter, or the filter floss
after using P-Clear, I noticed that the particulates, when seen in
concentrated quantities, had a green tinge. However, when viewed
suspended in the tank, it was a milky white color.
- Could these particulates be a kind of algae?
- It also made me wonder what causes the cloudy water seen at the
    beginning of tank cycling. It's caused by bacteria, yes. But are
    particulates the actual bacteria itself, some kind of waste product
    from it, or a small algae bloom due to the changing water chemistry?

- Can someone point me to a journal paper or article that describes
    the nitrogen cycle in aquariums in excruciating detail? Is there
    published scientific evidence that nitrosomonas and nitrobacter are
    the actual bacteria that do the ammonia --> nitrite --> nitrate


Shireen Gonzaga
Baltimore, MD
whimbrel at home_com