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Murky / Cloudy Water


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Good morning

I recently bought myself a goldfish starter kit which came with a small tank, filter and gravel. I have three fantail goldfish and a small plecostomus, as well a few java fern in the tank.

The probolem I have is that my water clouded over almost instantly, I don't think its from over feeding as I make sure that all the flakes are consumed with a few minutes.

Last night I did a 50% water change, and added some liquid enzymes into the filter, still no luck - the water is still just as cloudy.

Please can somebody help me with this?

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Hello there and :welcome

Have you only just set up the tank, added the gravel etc? If so it could simply be a matter of waiting till the smaller floating gravel particulates settle on the bottom of the tank (it should only take a day or maybe 3 at the longest for it to clear up). If not, could you tell us what the size of your tank and the thickness of the gravel layer are, and what kind of filter you are using (maybe name, type and/or 'gallons per hour')? That might give us a better idea of what it could be caused by :) .

If you just started with goldfish keeping, it would also be a good idea to get hold of a testing kit (drop tests) for ammonia, nitrate, nitrate and pH. Although these are not visible with the eye, they build up from the goldfish produce (namely ammonia, not only the droppings), and even with weekly water changes their levels can quickly become more than the goldfish can cope with.

-edit: I just noticed the 'good morning' in your post :) (a large part of the people here are from the US, and most of them are asleep at the moment :rolleyes: ) , so I went to where you're from => it's possible that you don't use gallons like in the US, but litres like in Europe. If so, try to look for the 'litres per hour' on your filter's manual-

Edited by Erinaceus
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I set the tank up on Saturday, I will have to check the size this evening but its roughly 30 centimetres in lengh and the gravel is about an inch thick - it was one of those small start up kits.

I am very new at this, and naturally very concerned about the state of the tank. would it be a good idea to try and set the tank up all over, eg: remove the fish and start the tank up with a completely fresh batch of water? I also have the feeling that the java fern might be adding to the problem, I did rinse them thouroghly and I removed all packaging, but there still seems to be debris floating around in the tank. The only water treatment I have at the moment is a dechlorinator and some liquid enzymes (for the cycle).

The fish seem to be very lively, but again I have no frame of reference.

Another question I have is: How necessary is it for me to have a light in the tank? I do not have one at the moment, the tank does get a lot of sunlight during the day (indirect of course), but during the evening I have to direct one of the lounge lights on to the tank.

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I set the tank up on Saturday, I will have to check the size this evening but its roughly 30 centimetres in lengh and the gravel is about an inch thick - it was one of those small start up kits.

Could you give the other two size measurements as well, then we call calculate the volume of the tank :) .

I am very new at this, and naturally very concerned about the state of the tank.

Being concerned about your fish is very good, and is the same for probably everyone on the forum :D .

would it be a good idea to try and set the tank up all over, eg: remove the fish and start the tank up with a completely fresh batch of water?

Instead of removing the fish, I'd suggest doing a lot of large waterchanges (say 50% of the water volume). That might remove part of the murky particulates in the water, and (more importantly) because you have only just set up your tank, it will need to cycle before your tank is able to remove part of the (non-visible) waste that goldfish produce. It would be best if you inform yourself about the how and why of tank cyclying; you can find a lot of information in this and this topic post. You could also look at this post for information about water changes and this one for all around information on goldfish keeping.

I also have the feeling that the java fern might be adding to the problem, I did rinse them thouroghly and I removed all packaging, but there still seems to be debris floating around in the tank. The only water treatment I have at the moment is a dechlorinator and some liquid enzymes (for the cycle).

The dechlorinator should be used to dechlorinate (what else :) ) the tap water you use for water changes. An alternative to using dechlorinator is letting the water rest (in buckets, before use) for at least 24 hours. Be sure to temperature match the water (this is discussed in the link above).

I don't have any experience with liquid enzymes, though I seem to remember a recent post on this forum where it said they don't do a lot. What is useful are benificial barcteria (BB) seeds. That's basically 'bacteria in a jar' which can be added to your filter media to 'seed' the filter.

The fish seem to be very lively, but again I have no frame of reference.

It's good that they seem okay. Be sure to watch whether they behave 'jumpy' (doing one ore more fast zigzag manoevres every so often), because that's actually a good indicator of stressed goldfish. It might be useful to know that goldfish are very sturdy fish; they can cope with a lot of hardship for a long time without showing much sigb of stress, but at a certain point 'enough is enough' and they can suddenly become very very ill (the moral of the story: don't trust your fish's happy behaviour, it's your water quality tests that tell you if your tank -and therefore fish- is doing well).

Another question I have is: How necessary is it for me to have a light in the tank? I do not have one at the moment, the tank does get a lot of sunlight during the day (indirect of course), but during the evening I have to direct one of the lounge lights on to the tank.

Although I don't think goldies are cut out to live in permanent darkness :) , they don't really require the bright light you often see in tanks. Given that your tank gets a lot of sun light, there is no real reason to have a light installed, except for you if you like the look :D . Also, a day-night schedule similar to humans in fine for goldfish (our large tank doesn't have lighting at the moment, and the goldies more or less wake up and go to sleep when we do :D ).

I hope this is of some help. In either case, keep the questions coming ;) .

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Thanks for the info Erinacous, the topics you suggested were also very helpful - will definitely save those.

I will check the rest of the measurements after work and get back to you tomorrow morning (your tonight)!

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You have to cycle a tank to get clear water. All new tanks are cloudy until they are cycled. You can read up about cycling by clicking on the links in my sig or elsewhere on the forum. Good luck :)

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Good morning (or good evening)

Got the measurements of my tank (in cms): Length - 29cms, Width 18.5cms, Height 23.5cms.

I am beginning to think that the tank may be overcrowded, the ppl at the pet store certainly didn't mention anything when I bought 3 of the most expensive goldfish they had!

The filter I am using is a mechanical / biological underwater filter, made by Hagen in the US. It has a max flow rate of 58 gallons p/hr, but I have it on about about a quater of that.

The liquid enzymes I was refering to is a product called Cycle - also produced by Hagen. Its a biological aqaurium supplement, its actually a highly concentrated supplement of living bacteria, which remain dormant until added to the filter.

My water conditioner (also Hagen) removes chlorine AND chloramine in the water and I use it with every water change.

I am only now really starting to understand the cycle of the tank, I performed a 50% water change on wednesday, adding more of the Cycle to the filter, and I plan to do another water change (probably about 20%) on Saturday. How many times a week should I change the water?

My main worry now is that the tank is overcrowded, I would love to get a bigger tank but I'm a little restricted by space and my wife will KILL me if I spend any more money. WHAT SHOULD I DO!!!!

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Good morning (or good evening)

Got the measurements of my tank (in cms): Length - 29cms, Width 18.5cms, Height 23.5cms.

I am beginning to think that the tank may be overcrowded, the ppl at the pet store certainly didn't mention anything when I bought 3 of the most expensive goldfish they had!

The filter I am using is a mechanical / biological underwater filter, made by Hagen in the US. It has a max flow rate of 58 gallons p/hr, but I have it on about about a quater of that.

The liquid enzymes I was refering to is a product called Cycle - also produced by Hagen. Its a biological aqaurium supplement, its actually a highly concentrated supplement of living bacteria, which remain dormant until added to the filter.

My water conditioner (also Hagen) removes chlorine AND chloramine in the water and I use it with every water change.

I am only now really starting to understand the cycle of the tank, I performed a 50% water change on wednesday, adding more of the Cycle to the filter, and I plan to do another water change (probably about 20%) on Saturday. How many times a week should I change the water?

My main worry now is that the tank is overcrowded, I would love to get a bigger tank but I'm a little restricted by space and my wife will KILL me if I spend any more money. WHAT SHOULD I DO!!!!

That would equal about 12.6 litres which equals 3.3 US gallons or 2.8 UK gallons (I myself also use the metric system, but as this is a US-based forum, in most cases US gallons are mentioned). The rule-of-thumb used on this forum for (minimum) space requirements per fish is 10 (US) gallons per fancy gf and 20 (US) gallons per common/comet (an easy way to get it in litres is gallons times 4, but if you want he exact measurements, click above on 'My Controls' and then you'll see that just above it, nest to Gallery their is a link to 'Converter', or you can just use this link :D ). Given that it's a rather small tank for 1 fancy, let alone 3, I'd really suggest making daily large water changes (try to do get as close to 100% w/c's as you can). If the trouble is placing a new tank somewhere, note that a plastic or rubber box will also do, and at much lesser cost. Keep the questions coming ;) .

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Mmmm... looks like I need to get a bigger tank, not sure what plastic / rubber boxes are though.

If I do get a bigger tank, how should I introduce the fish to it?

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Just to add to the above - just spoke to the pet store, I can get a 2ft tank with a stand for quite a good price, which I'll get tomorrow. I'm sure thats still not quite big enough for all three fish, but its the best I can do at the moment.

A friend will be coming over to help set it up.

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A 60 cm tank will probably mean about 54 litres (something like 14 gallons). I think that'll be like a breath of fresh air for the goldies :) .

Btw, I don't know if it's been mentioned already but I was just curious: what size do you estimate you fish have (a rough estimate of with and without tail would be fine)?

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Good morning (it's 07:30 am here).

It's a bit hard to tell, but I would say they are about 4 cms including the tail.

Any tips on how to introduce the fish into the new tank?

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Hello again (there's currently I conference which I'm attending, so I'm not able to check the forum during the day :wacko: )

It was 7:30 in Belgium to when you added you last post :) .

The (most) important thing is trying to get your tank/filter up and running as quickly as possibly, though usually rather a matter of weeks than of days. During that time, regular large water changes are advisable if not essential. This topic is explained by others much better than I ever could in for instance the topics that I referred to above, and possible in several other topics in the 'water quality' and maybe the 'disease and diagnosis' subforums. If you want to draw the attention of some more of the members here, to have multiple people answered this question, you can always start a new topic.

In the short run, you should make sure that the two tanks are temperature and pH matches as much as possible (though if the new tank has a pH between 7 and 8 that's perfect, so don't try to meddle with it in that case) before actually physically moving the goldfish from one tank to the next. To let them cope with any remaining differences between both tanks, first use a small bucket or something to put them in, using the water from the tank the came from (it's even one of the easiest and best ways to catch them; using a net is not advisable as it could hurt the fish). Then gradually remove some of the old water and add some water from the new tank. Do this slowly, a little water at a time, so they can adjust over the course of say 5 to 10 minutes (in total, between removing them and having most of the water replaced), after which you can gently let them loose in the new tank. Do mind to do this one fish at a time, but preferably each immediately after the other, so you prevent the first fish from getting used to being alone in 'his tank'.

If possible, it would never be a bad idea to move two of the goldies into the new tank and let one in the old tank. That way you have slower waste build-up and possible less problems. If that's not possible with respect to available space, that's fine. It's only meant as a suggestion.

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Actually, scratch that bottom comment of my last post: I think it would be (much) better to keep 3 4cm goldies in one 54 litre tank (=6 gallon/goldfish) than one in the small tank and two in the large tank (=one goldie has 3 gallons, the other two have 8 gallons/goldfish). A general rule I forgot here (apart from the simple numerical fact that there isn't much different between 6 or 8 gallon/fish but there is between 3 or 6 gallon per fish), is that even taking into account the 10-gallon-per-fancy rule, it's harder to keep 1 gf in 10 gallons than 2 in 20 or 5 in 50 gallons, simply because it's not just a matter of waste build-up, it's also a matter of living space: in a 20 gallon tank witgh 2 gf, each gf has 20 gallons of 'swimming space' (and even goldies need to stretch their legs, erm ... fins :P ).

Edited by Erinaceus
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Thanks for all the advise!

Well yesterday turned out to be quite a hectic day, we spent most of the morning in pet stores getting all the new equipment,and the rest of the day setting up the new tank.

I am really limited to space so all three goldfish (lionheads by the way) had to go into the new tank, as well as the pleco.

It looks like they love it, at first they were a little wary (to be expected of course), but after a few minutes they were "running" around, exploring their new environment.

The only problem I had was with the new heater which took in water over night and stopped working, the temp in the tank dropped to about 20 degrees celcius which is fine for the goldfidh (?????) but was more of a concern for the pleco. I replaced the heater this morning, and now I'm trying to get the temp down from 28 to 24 degrees celcius (it gets really hot and humid here during the day along the coast)

Thanks again for the help

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