Will Cloudy Water Hurt My Fish

Will Cloudy Water Hurt My Fish:Causes and Effective Remedies

You have always desired to have an aquarium. But the information you didn’t have is that you will face various challenges__ which is normal. And one of them is the frightening cloudy water.

So, will cloudy water hurt my fish? By the end of this writing, you will have the correct answer. Read to the end.

Let’s face it;

Every time you watch amazing aquarium television shows or youtube videos, you develop more desire to keep these amazing fish.

“Everything gonna be easy,” you tell yourself as you rush to the nearby pet store. Luckily, you get the right tank set up. And the pet store clerk is professional. He hands over clear setup instructions to you.

Upon arriving home, you set your aquarium as instructed. You fill the water and allow it to settle as per instructions.

Finally, you introduce your amazing pets to the aquarium. First, you float them in a plastic bag to adapt to the environment. And the process runs smoothly.

On the second day, things are right, so you feed your fish. But on the third day, things go haywire. You notice your water has greyish or whitish coloration.

“What the heck is going on?” Ahem! “Will cloudy water hurt my fish?”

Will Cloudy Water Hurt My Fish?

Koi Fishes Underwater
Cloudy aquarium water

Your fish water may have turned cloudy due to various reasons. Luckily, the first one isn’t harmful. But the last two causes can take a toll on your fish friends.

Let’s dive in and learn the causes.

1. Bacteria Bloom

Bacterial bloom happens when you introduce the fish or plant species into the tank for the first time.

New aquarists sometimes report their fish tank cloudy after new gravel addition. This, too, is normal.

It occurs 2 to 4 days after the introduction when the beneficial bacteria multiply to cope with the new organic waste in the aquarium.

The ecosystem has bacteria that work to keep things balanced if you missed it. And when you add water and fish to a new tank, they work to stabilize the water.

The water has nitrogen and ammonia that need to be stabilized to avoid damaging fish gills. So, the water turns milky when the good bacteria get into action.

You will notice no floating particles in the water. This is an indication the water has no other serious contaminants.

Note that this fish tank cloudy water won’t go away until the bacteria completely balances it.

2. Overfeeding

Excessive food particles dissolve in the water and cause it to turn cloudy. When purchasing fish food, manufacturers always indicate that you should feed them twice or thrice a day.

However, it’s upon you to determine the amount of food you should feed your fish. Ideally, take time to observe and learn the amount of food they can eat without leftovers.

See also: Is it normal for betta fish to spit out food

Overfeeding causes the excess food to sink to the tank bottom and decay with time. Afterwards, it will release ammonia and nitrogen, which can be toxic to your fish.

Unfortunately, good bacteria may not be capable of balancing the whole amount of toxins released.

3. Overstocking

Overstocking is one of the leading causes of fish deaths. See, once the fish are overstocked, they will release more waste.

As such, the waste will accumulate in the water and make it cloudy quickly. At this point, the fish may suffer or even die.

Ideally, look for fish behavior changes to learn if the water is contaminated by overstocking or overfeeding.

However, the solution is to introduce the recommended number of fish per tank for better health.

Closeup of Japanese carp with colorful orange spots swimming in muddy water of pond
Betta fish

How to Fix Cloudy Water in Fish Tank as a Result of Bacteria Bloom

Cloudy water as a result of bacteria bloom isn’t harmful to your fish. So, you need just simple practices as you wait for the water to clear. Take a look;

1. Remain Calm

First, remain calm because the bacteria need time to stabilize the new environment for your fish.

As such, don’t add unnecessary chemicals or do extra cleaning on your tanks. In fact, those practices may even prolong bacterial activity.

See also: My betta fish is turning white and won’t eat

2. Seed the Tank With Pre-packed Good Bacteria

Pre-packed bacteria help to speed up the process of stabilizing the water. There are various methods of bacteria introduction in the market you can choose from.

Examples are gravel-seeded bacteria, pre-seeded filter pads, and several other life forms to kick start your aquarium.

3. Keep the Filter Clean

Keep the filter clean for effectiveness once you notice the water is cloudy. The filter helps purify the water of toxins released by fish waste and other materials like decaying plants.

Unfortunately, it may take the bacteria more time if it works alone without the filter.

4. Perform Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes can help minimize the toxins in the water. As a general rule of thumb, change around 20 to 25 % of the water once a week if the cloudy water takes a long time to clear.

5. Feed them Lightly

Always feed your fish the exact amount of food they can eat without leaving waste. This will help control the amount of toxins in the tank.

6. Reduce the Number of Fish in the Tank

If your fish are overstocked, reduce them. You can reintroduce the excess fish in new tanks to ease the work of the beneficial bacteria.

See also: Female betta fish tank size

7. Add an Airstone

Multiplication of good bacteria can deplete oxygen in the tank. To make the environment safe for your fish, add an airstone to increase the oxygen.

FAQs on Betta Fish

What Should I Do If My Fish Tank Water is Cloudy?

If the tank water turns cloudy due to bacteria bloom, keep calm. The water will clear with time. However, clean the tank and perform water changes if the water turns cloudy due to other factors.

How Long Does it Take For Cloudy Aquarium Water to Clear?

Cloudy aquarium water clears in 1 to 2 days if it’s caused by bacteria bloom. But if it exceeds, you should look for ways to fix it.

Should Aquarium Water Be Crystal Clear?

Crystal clear water is an indication of a healthy aquarium environment.

So, will cloudy water hurt my fish? My honest answer is that it depends on the cause. Happy fish keeping!


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services [FDACS] : Aquarium Water Quality: Nitrogen Cycle

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