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How to Get Rid of Cloudy Fish Tank Water

So, you have brought home a perfect sized aquarium from your local store. Then, you follow all the instructions given at the store and set up your tank.

You are extremely excited now as the next step is to introduce your choice of fishes. Once you have completed this step too, you drop in a little food for your fishes, and just watch them in awe.

The next day is perhaps the most beautiful one and you straightway run to watch the fishes swimming around in glee. Everything looks so perfect and you leave home for work or school. When you come back home you notice there is a little fogginess or cloudiness in your tank.

But you just avoid it thinking it is simply your imagination. You again feed your fishes and go to sleep.

The next morning, you notice, an even thicker cloud has formed in your tank.

This is when you start to panic not understanding what to do. Do not worry, this is a common issue and can be managed easily. You surely must be now keen on learning about these solutions.

So, without any wait let us get to learn how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water.

How to Get Rid Of Cloudy Grayish or White Fish Tank Water

Video: “What Causes Cloudy White Aquarium Water”

There can be three reasons behind a grayish or white cloud forming in your tank. It can be because of inadequately washed gravel, dissolved constituents, or bacterial blossom.

Let us get to learn what you should do in each of these cases.

1. Inadequately Washed Gravel

If the water turns cloudy within just about an hour or two after filling the aquarium, then you perhaps have not washed the gravel adequately. In such a situation, you need to drain your aquarium and wash the gravel really well.

Keep doing so until the water runs completely clear. This will likely solve the problem.

2. Presence of Dissolved Constituents

If the water still stays cloudy, even after having washed the gravel, then the cause is different. It can be because of the presence of excessive dissolved constituents like silicates, phosphates, or heavy metals in your tank.

Test the tank water and you will likely notice that the pH level is high (alkaline). In such circumstances, you should treat your aquarium water with conditioners and the problem should be solved. You may even make use of Reserve Osmosis (RO) water. This will offer you more benefits than just treating cloudy water.

3. Bacterial Blossom Can Be the Culprit

Cloudy water, at times, may not appear right after you set up your tank. You might notice it after a few days, weeks, or maybe months. The reason behind this can be bacterial bloom. As your new tank goes through its initial break-in cycle, water becoming cloudy or gray is quite common.

It can take a few weeks to months for those bacterial colonies to establish that will clear wastes from your tank water. The cloudiness will itself get resolved with time. The bacterial bloom that results in milky water can also be caused by the food that remains uneaten in the aquarium.

No matter what the cause, bacterial blooms can be handled. You must keep your tank clean always by removing uneaten food, decaying plants, and debris. Vacuum your gravel regularly and do partial water changes to get rid of the cloudy water problem.

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If vacuuming or water changes are not helping you get rid of fine particles from the tank water then you can use a flocculant. It helps in clumping together fine particles, which can then easily be removed.

How to Get Rid Of Cloudy Greenish Fish Tank Water?

Video: “How to Fix Green Water in an Aquarium (Easiest and Cheapest Method)”

Green water or a greenish cloud in tank water is a result of algae growth. To learn how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water (the green cloud/water), you first need to know what caused it. So, let us get to learn the most important reasons behind the development of green water.

1. Too Many Nutrients

Nutrients like nitrates and phosphates help in the growth of algae. If you want to get rid of the green cloudy water, the algae growth has to be controlled.

Changing water will show some immediate results but the problem will not be solved. You need to deal with the phosphates and nitrates and only then will you notice desired changes.

2. Excess Light

The presence of too much light is one of the most common causes, and this can easily be handled. If you keep your aquarium in a place where it gets too much direct sunlight then there can be algae growth. You will face a similar problem if you keep the lights on for too long.

All you need to do is move your tank to a place where there is no direct sunlight. And, also reduce the duration for which you leave the tank lights on.

3. Nitrates

Fish wastes form a byproduct, nitrates, and their levels increase with time. To get rid of it you need to perform regular water changes.

The filter you use should also always be clean and must be fit for the size of your aquarium. Do not even overcrowd your tank, or else the problem of nitrates will always be there.

4. Phosphates

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Phosphates reach your tank from the source of the water itself, and from decaying matter like fish food.

You can test your tap water to learn if that is the source of phosphate. If yes, you can use a phosphate remover or RO water. Also, do not forget to reduce the amount of food you offer to your fishes.

Want to know more ways about getting rid of green water?

Check out this article –> How to get rid of Green Water Algae in Fish Tank


Now that you know how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, do not panic the next time you observe their occurrence. Even experienced aquarists have dealt with this problem, perhaps, more than once.

At times, the cloudy water problem can be a little difficult to take care of, particularly if they are left ignored for long. So, as soon as you notice this problem start dealing with it without a wait. Also, if you spend a little extra time and invest a little extra effort on maintenance, you might even be able to avoid the future occurrence of cloudy water.

As you know, prevention is better than cure, so start taking the best care of your tank right from now. You will not likely have to face the problem ever again and thus never have to lose the peace of your mind either.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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