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cloudy water

hello all,

After having battled with milky-cloudy water for months, I had just about
given up on a new 50g 'tub'.  First I tried leaving it alone, then I tried
50% water changes daily, and this past weekend I finally tried the
'blanket' treatment (total darkness for 4 days).  The first two were of no
avail.  The blackout seemed to clear up a lot of the algae, but the whitish
cloudiness remained.

Finally today - out of total desperation - I shopped for a cure-all at the
LFS (shame and sheepishness...).  I settled on "accu-clear" which claimed
to be harmless to fish AND plants.  At lunchtime I added the recommended
dose and returned to the office.  What a suprise to come home and find an
absolutely crystal clear tank! 

Can someone tell me what this stuff is?  Obviously I have yet to determine
what the long term outcome will be.  If nothing else I have learned that
there are no quick fixes with aquaria - or are there?

typical for this tank:
pH 6-6.2
25-50ppm tot hdness
<.5ppm nitrite
2.4W/g. lighting 12 hr/day