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Cloudy Water


Guest jodyny

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Hi all,

I am a fairly new goldfish "parent" and several weeks ago got a fabulous 36 gallon corner tank. I have 4 goldfish (Fred,Ethel,Lucy and Ricky) and they seem very happy.

At first my water was nice and clear. Now it has turned cloudy and I can't figure out what's wrong. I was told on the phone by a fish shop in Columbia SC not to do water changes on a new tank for at least a couple of months as the tank is developing good bacteria, or something like that. I'm not sure that's the best advice. My readings: ammonia .5; pH 6.8; alkalinity 40; chlorine 0;

hardness 75; nitrite 0 and nitrate 0.

Can someone please advise me. It seems every time I go into a fish store I get conflicting results. Unfortunately in Greenville SC I haven't been able to find an independent fish store, just nnnn, mmm and horrible shop, Pet World.

Appreciate the help.

Thanks, and blessings,

Jody

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A 36 gallon is really only good for 2 goldies, maximum 3. I have one ryukin in a 20 gallon and normally do 25% water changes every 2 to 3 days. 3 only if I must.

From what I have learned here, when your tank is cycling it really is necessary to do more water changes and check the water params every day. It is also necessary to monitor your nitrites and nitrates in addition to the ammonia.

The cloudiness sounds like a bacteria bloom. I'd recommend a water change ASAP.

^ - that is all I can really advise for right now... I'm new and still learning too! An older member should be around soon to give you more detailed advice, or correct me if I'm wrong. :]

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They are right. Your tank is going into a cycling process, the ammonia levels if they get above 1.0ppms can burn the fish, nitrites come next and can burn there gills. Water changes of 20-30% everyday to every other day is the best way to help the fish out. Also once u get nitrites in the tank you should place some aquaium salt to the tank this will help the fish buffer the nitrites.

Also do u have a heater in the tank?

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Hi,

I do not have a heater and was told that I didn't need one for goldfish. Do I need it?

As far as the 4 fish, isn't it 10 gallons per fish? That's what I thought so I figured 4 would be okay. I'm kind of

attached to them and don't want to give one away. I also just bought an expensive tank and set up so I really don't want to get rid of the tank... I love it.

I'll start the water changes immediately.

Thanks for the advice...

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Regular and very frequent water changes coupled with adequate filtration should keep your goldies healthy. I'm sure they'll survive fine in the tank, however you must always remember that it is overstocked. 36 gallons is not 40 (though close), that leaves one fish with 6 gallons. It has no extra space, and having a bit of extra room for them always helps some. :]

Good luck and enjoy the hobby!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Regular Member
36 gallons is not 40 (though close), that leaves one fish with 6 gallons. It has no extra space, and having a bit of extra room for them always helps some. :]

Well, that's not really how it works, ya know... its not like they divvy up the gallons and one is short by 4 ;) . 36 gallons means 9 gallons each, which is pretty close to 10.

Assuming these are fancy goldfish, thats pretty close. You should definitely keep an eye on water quality, and may need to do more frequent water changes than you would otherwise. You've made more work for yourself, but I don't believe it to be unreasonable. Others may disagree.

I suggest you read up on 'cycling'. Thats what going on right now. Your tank is in the process of establishing colonies of good bacteria that process the fish's waste into less toxic forms. First, the ammonia in their waste changes to nitrites, then to nitrates. During this process it is not unusual for the tank to be a little cloudy. Supposedly that's some of the bacteria forming, I dunno.

What you do want to do is keep a close eye on those levels - ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Pick up a test for any that you don't have.

The reason that many people suggest you don't do water changes, is because if you do them too much, you won't form enough ammonia and nitrite to attract the "beneficial bacteria" that you eventually need. Still, its bad advice. If your cycle takes a while to develop, the chemicals will get too high and hurt or kill your fish. In your case, with a pH kinda low, the cycle very well may take a while and that would not be good.

The correct advice is to watch ammonia & nitrite, and, if they approach 1 ppm or so, then do a water change to bring them down. You can also use a water conditioner such as AmQuel+ to detoxify them, but still allow the cycle to proceed. Note: The conditioner Prime does a similar thing, but only lasts 24 to 48 hours, at which point you'll need to add more Prime - AmQuel+, doesn't reverse itself like that, although your levels will continue to rise as more ammonia, etc, but what AmQuel+ binds stays bound.

Eventually you should see the ammonia drop on its own, and be replaced by some nitrites. Then that will drop on its own, and nitrate levels will begin to rise. At this point your tank is 'cycled'.

The nitrate is not nearly as bad for fish as the former two, but its not good either. Your goal should be to do enough regular water changes to keep it below 20 ppm, and the lower the better.

Finally, speaking of pH, if your tap water's pH is higher than that, you may want to do some water changes to get the pH higher. Goldies prefer pHs of 7.0 to upper 7s, and the good bacteria you're looking for definitely do. Any pH change should be done gradually (although movements up in pH are much less stressful than movements down), but that'd be another good reason to do some water changes.

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Good Posting, Fred.

The only thing I'd add is that the problem with too many fish in an uncycled tank is that the waste output escalates very much more quickly.

The advice you were given at the fishstore is more appropriate for tropical fish who generally make a fraction of waste compared to gfish. With GF, constant water-changing on a new tank is the only way to go. Unbelievable that staff can be so ignorant.

If you read the links below my signature it will help you understand water chemistry a little better.

Post back if you have more Q's :)

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