Milky white water

6 posts

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:33 pm

Milky white water

by katatoniq

Hi there. I went to the fish shop to start up my first tank. He offered me a 25kg bag of gravel and said "are you happy to wash it yourself?"
I said yes that would be fine, but it took me ages to wash the gravel. In fact after 4 hours I hadn't got the water in the bucket I was washing the gravel in completely clear, so I let it rest, drained it, strained it, then put it in the tank. Now my water is (and has been) milky white for the last 2 days and my shop-attendant said that is normal.

I have had the finter on, conditioned the water, started cycling with a few bettas and bio-spira... what do you think? Will it settle? How can I remove it?

Cheers a million.

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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 5:10 am

by a1k8t31524

water changes.

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

yes I agree with a1k8t3, water changes. YOu need to get int the habit of water changes. By the way, what size tank do you have?

It takes from 2 to 6 weeks to cycle a tank. So you need to give it time. In the post "muggy water" under this section, I explain quite extensively how to cycle a tank.

You can't just remove the cloudy water. But you can help it by water changes. About 20-25% water change each week. You must place a dechlorinator in the water before you put clean water into the tank or you will kill your fish (you will suffocate them). Also you need water test kits for ph, alkaline, hardness, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia and oxygen. You need to perform these water tests at the very least, once a week.

The cloudy water will go away, but first you must cycle your tank. Sometimes tap water itself has high nutrient levels, but the more good bacteria is "grown" in the tank, the bacteria will feed on the nutrients bringing the cloudy water to clear.

As for the gravel, if it was in a bag, as you state, you should not have had to have rinsed it so much. Just want to get any dust off the gravel. Gravel has no nutrient or beneficial factors to it other than it makes the tank look nice and some fish, bottom fish may want to bury themselves in it.

So in time, it will settle. DO NOT put chemical additives in it for it will only make it worse in the long run because the root cause was never cured. Just water changes, do not overfeed (you will know if you fed too much because if there is too much food hitting the bottom of the tank (other than sinking pellets) then you must stop feeding, this is a good sign to know when to stop feeding), and test your water. Then give it time, your fish will do the rest for you.

One last thing, I hate to rain on your parade, but a betta is a poor fish to start cycling with. Best to have gotten zebra danios or silver tip tetras which are able to deal with most water conditions. These fish are very hardy. I started with 2 then went to 10 zebra danios, it took me 2-3 weeks to cycle my tank, and all the danios are still alive and are as adventerous and active as ever.

Possibly you can take the bettas back to the fish store and get zebra danios or silver tip tetras. You will truly notice the difference. The irony of this whole thing is, bettas tend to like cloudy swampy like water.

Anyway, hope this info helps. If you want further advice let me know (and I am sure other members will help you). Thanks

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Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:35 am

by Zambize4899

Even better, you could do a fishless cycle. Any fish is really a poor choice to expose to such high ammonia levels.

What do you mean by a "few" Bettas? Bettas will kill each other.


Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:20 pm

by faile486

If the Bio Spira is fresh (which isn't always the case) and was refrigerated properly, it drastically reduces the amount of time that it takes to cycle a tank. While it's still best to wait a day or two to make sure that the Bio Spira will take, it is possible to add fish almost immediately.

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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

Hardy fish is the key to cycling a tank. Danios are best.

These little guys stood the ammonia and nitrite spike, then those levels dropped to zero as the nitrate rose, now the nitrate is under 20 9 out of 10 time (40 is my highest).

At, there is a product called Nitrex, it is suppose to cycle a tank in a few hours. For $20.00 on a 60 gallon tank, you can go fishless. I frown upon this. But some others prefer to go this route.

I prefer to keep it as natural as possible. Let the fish poop do the work for you. Who wants an instant cycle. I want to take the time and observe the fish doing their thing, making good bacteria, etc.

My tank cycled in about 2-3 weeks with 10 danios. Observation, water testing, water was a pleasure. I don't really get people who want to take the hard work, at times, out of fishkeeping. It's good to go through an experience with your fish. If you get hardy fish, and you water change and water test, you'll have no worry about exposing fish to ammonia or nitrite. If the nitrite and ammonia levels get too high, then the fishkeeper is doing something wrong...usually it's water changes, not enough of them.

Experience the hobby. Work at it, you'll get better. Share the experience with your fish.

Put 10 zebra danios n your tank. Buy some water test kits. Water change according to how the water test reads. And in time, usually 2-3 weeks, maybe up to 6 weeks, you have a naturally cycled tank.

You must ask yourself, did you get into this hobby for a show piece or did you get into this hobby because you want to develop a long lasting relationship with your fish, live plants, good bacteria and invertebrates?

hope this helps

Milky white water

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