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Whitish Cloudy Water

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Steven, May 17, 2010.

  1. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hello,

    Just about a week ago I fought BGA with Erythromycin for 4 days and after the 4th day I did a 70-80% WC and clean the filter thoroughly not with tank water but with new clean water (I assumed I've killed most of the good bacteria there). After that, everything was normal for the next 3 days but after the 7th day, I bought a group of 60 red cherry shrimps for my tank of 80x30x40cm and soon after a few couples of hours my dirty mosses turned to very clean almost I didn't believe my eyes.

    At the same time also, my tank water turned to slightly white cloudy and after today (the 8th day), I can confirm the water is cloudier than yesterday. So I performed a 80% WC and soon after 5-6 hours later, the water turned back to cloudy again. What is wrong here?

    Does it related to "filter shock" that the good bacteria were dead/washed away before since I used Erythromycin and cleaned the filter not using tank water, moreover added 60 RCS right away so that the remaining live bacteria have difficult time to decompose the leftover of detritus/mulm from RCS that cause the water to be cloudy? Noted that I have just checked the NH4 and NO2 are 0 ppm.

    Please help and what should I do? Thank you.
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Calibrate the test kit if you haven't, then try again. NH4 in the column shouldn't happen from biological waste to the point of toxicity if you have a densely planted tank.

    You've got a bloom of some kind, and it wouldn't surprise me if it were a secondary thing to the antibiotics and heavy WC's. I'm guessing it's one of those things that will balance its self out. If it doesn't then it's a matter of taking steps to ID and treat. You may try a UV sterilizer; they're great for this sort of thing, and odds are you can turn it off after a week or two.

    It may also be dosing related with some sort of offbeat correlation or indirect cause. Most of this stuff is easier to diagnose by treatment than identification though. If time and UV don't work, it's probably something else being added.
     
  3. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi Dan,

    How to calibrate NH4/NO2 test kit?

    I only dose KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and Seachem Flourish, nothing else beside Sera Aquatan (Anti Chlorine) and Sera Bio Nitrivec (Filter Bacteria).

    Do you think it's correlate to RCS shake all the mulm off the moss before eat it and thus releasing all the bacteria to the water column causing the bloom? If it does, what should I do now?

    Thank you.
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Some very plain household ammonia will do. I believe ACE hardware caries 10% by weight; a bottle shouldn't be more than a dollar or two. Let me know what you get/have for percentage, and whether or not you have a scale (great tool to have, even a $20-30 pocket scale accurate to .03 of a gram will pay for its self). From there I can put together a stock solution mixing method for you, and show you a little of how the math to do it works.
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Bacteria Bloom

    Hi

    It is a bacterial bloom, a problem with shortcuts like antibiotics to kill cyanobacteria instead of correcting the underlying problem.

    About the only time, I do not recommend water changes. A couple of days to two weeks, it may even tinge green for a bit, but the bacteria will take hold again and find their way to the proper places.

    Biollante
     
  6. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, today I just bought the new 5 Watts UV Sterilizer and have running it for about 5-6 hours now and I can see an improvement. Thank you all.

    How long should I keep running that UV Sterilizer soon after the water get clear to make sure all the bacteria bloom have dead? Thank you.
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'd guess at a week or two; I've always just left mine on for a month since it's in-line.

    I take a bit of a different approach from Biollante, though in a similar spirit. I tend to do regular WC's so long as NH4/NO2 doesn't spike (you do what you have to there; plant density prevents it quite often), though I usually skip out on the substrate vac. The column doesn't hold much for bacterial colonies, at least not when it's the substrate/filter containing and breaking down organics. If it is bacterial, it must be something that was out of the antibiotic's spectrum, or just something that out-competes initially. Odds are you've traded cyanobacteria on the plants for cyanobacteria in the column. A good trade IMO, since the later is something much easier to deal with and far more temporary.
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Prolific & Necessary

    Hi Steven, Dan,

    Definitely not cyanobacteria, those are cute little Chemosynthetic Bacteria, mainly Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter in this case, if rotting, melting plants, dead fish or other detritus (Detritus Mulm is always lurking), perhaps heterotrophic bacteria, Saprophytic Bacteria. These are the good guys, we want them in our filters in and on our substrates. :)

    These are the survivors of your Erythromycin massacre repopulating your filter, substrate, plants, fish guts and tank.

    I know it is not what you want to hear, but bacteria blooms are benign. In this case, it is what usually happens inside the filter, as the filter matures and clogs a bit these critters will find a home.

    As long as you are not smelling anything off, no ammonia, sharp, burning or putrid smells, you really do not need water changes.

    Time is your friend, a substantial bloom as that is will probably dissipate in a few days as everyone finds a home and food in the water column is used.

    Bacteria are tough the UV may kill some of the good guys, if you increase the dwell time.

    You can use flocculants to help in the finding homes, just do not overdo the flocculants.

    Where we openly nurture Chemosynthetic Bacteria, such as Nitrosomonas, when we talk about cycling a new tank, we rarely speak of the heterotrophic bacteria, Saprophytic Bacteria (and fungi) that actually break the wastes down, do the heavy lifting in our filters.

    We really depend on Saprophytic Bacteria to come in via the air and fish, hitchhikers on plants. :)

    My point is as long as the bacteria are not consuming so much oxygen as to harm the fish, whatever they are consuming is a good idea to be rid of. Sometimes it is a matter of sorting out species of bacteria and proper proportions along with living arrangements. :) Add aeration if the fish show signs of distress.

    This does not even begin to speak of the little microbes working their proverbial butts’ off making all the chemicals we add to the substrate and water column suitable for our, usually noxious weeds of which, we are so proud. :gw

    Biollante
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Whole earth discipline

    I suspect young Fry and shrimp often like eating on white clouds, if I understand BIO. To let it run it's course isn't the worst thing you can do. Besides, if it clears up in a few days and if using the UV light - you might think it has something to do with the clouds disappearance. It goes away, after four days or so. It should after a water change. I'm not saying which one. I think UV lights and antibiotics have similar practices. They kill good stuff too.
     
    #9 Tug, May 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2010
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think if you're killing off whatever's in the column, it'll be forced to repopulate somewhere else to feed off of NH4 (presuming it's nitrifying) instead. Do you want your nitrifying bacteria in the column or on the sponge? I know which one I'd rather have.

    Either way it's kind of hard to mess this one up. It's going to balance out no matter what you do between the plants and bacteria.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well Aside From How It Looks...

    Hi,

    Really, aside from aesthetics the only real downside to bacterial blooms are the possibility of depleting the oxygen, I do not ever recall seeing that though I have no doubt it is a possibility add an air stone.

    As long as you can take a real snoot full over the aquarium and it is not offensive, particularly there is no “ammonia smell” (here I am talking well-planted aquaria, critter only tanks require a lot more care) you are in good shape. Should there be a nasty ammonia smell an immediate 25-30% water change is in order, consider using some zeolite. Other rude smells try carbon, Purigen or ChemiPure in the filter.

    Tug is as usual correct; some of your critters are no doubt feasting on this unexpected bounty. ;)

    Dan mentioned sponges, this is a good idea, I think Gerry has also written about this, hide sponges around the tank; it gives an opportunity for an amazing assortment of mini-critters to establish themselves and provide a host of services. :) Then when you or a friend wish to establish a new tank it is easy to transfer these useful little critters and speed the establishment of the new tank. :cool:

    As to UV-sterilizers, I like them, just not during a bacterial bloom. I think a couple of hours two or three times a week improves water quality assuming the unit is properly sized, I think manufacturers tend to be overly optimistic :eek: and that the flow through the unit is not to great.

    Biollante
     
  12. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I think so too, after my EM dose ended and WC, I had no problem for the next 3 days but soon after couples of hours I introduced the 60 RCS, the water started to become cloudy. I have so much detritus/mulm lying above substrate and plants leaf especially on moss but since the RCS have been introduced, they clean/shake/eat it all, now I can see that my moss is actually green in color :). As far as I know, Tom did mentioned using mulm for bacteria colonization purposes below the substrate so I conclude that mulm/detritus reside much bacteria in it and since the shrimps tend to shake before eat somehow the bacteria was being release into water column causing bloom.

    Oh yes, I like to update a bit on my progress using UV. Today the water gets cloudier or at least the same as yesterday which I even not sure 100% myself. Is something wrong here? I think it should be clearer than yesterday.

    Thank you.
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    A Price To Be Paid...

    Hi Steven,

    It is true that all kinds of cool and generally healthy microbes live in the mulm. :) The shrimp and other critters do shake it up.

    The bacteria bloom however, is a kind of “crisis response” to the erythromycin dosing of the tank, thankfully you did not continue the treatment long enough to kill everyone off. You killed just enough to reduce the numbers to a point where there were not enough good guys to keep the wastes under control. The bacteria are leading the way to the establishment or reestablishment of a healthy system. :gw

    I use deep sand beds in some of my tanks and they become very effective biological filters as well as a source of nutrients for the plants over time. In the early going the mulm is not aesthetically pleasing (insert Detritus Mulm comment here) as you let it go on, one day you realize the mulm disappeared, like magic. :D Through biological process, debris becomes mulm that is transformed into humus. :)

    My advice to everyone is avoiding shortcuts. Avoid “treatments” unless absolutely necessary and even then only when the underlying problem has been or is being remedied.

    Trust me, on this one, I know how frustrating these things can be, I have been driven to distraction more than once by cyanobacteria (and other things), but there is always a price to be paid for the shortcut. :eek:

    Good luck
    Biollante
     
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    What?

    Somebody forgot to throw something out or changed the something and "Voila" - penicillin! What ever it is or was, it is specific. Recognize the fear? Is the situation an emergency. No. Hola!

    If something dies. Then you learn what dies and what eats it. Keep an eye open, maybe sit on your water change, stay by a week. Calibrate you NH$ test using your tank water. See what it gives you, mg/L. If the test is stupid wrong, throw it away.

    Or, use my method to recalibrate. Pick it out of the trash, shake and then throw it back into the trash.
     
  15. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    What did you mean by "shortcut"? I was using erythromycin to clean BGA but soon after that, now I also increasing my NO3 dose, I just can't stand keep looking at those BGA in front of my substrate. Does this considered "shortcut"? Thank you.
     
  16. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Remember the Naiad is always looking.

    Well, may I explain for Bio?
    Not a shortcut - going back up the hill. It would only be a shortcut if it works.
    If that is the case, the BGA will be gone.
    This white cloud? It will come back.
    Climbing up a hill, hard to say. Shortcut?
    And, if the BGA returns?​
     
  17. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I am confused now, sorry, my mother tongue is not English, perhaps you would like to simplify it? Thanks Tug.
     
  18. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    They mean that you're removing the BGA through poisoning it rather than altering your water conditions and removing it mechanically. You'll lose more plant mass this way, but not have to put up with the cloudiness.

    Personally I've got no issue sacrificing aesthetic, especially when a UV sterilizer fixes the problem. Nitrifying bacteria death isn't a concern if you have good enough plant mass to uptake the NH4.

    I see it as a viable solution, and a great shortcut. Doing things the easy way isn't always bad; it's why we use glutaraldehyde on BBA.
     
  19. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    No Problem.

    The decision to use antibiotics was not the issue, was it?. Nor are antibiotics bad. Neither are guns bad. Or UV filters. Antibiotics are a short cut if the BGA does not return and the underlying problems are addressed successfully. Then,
    it's a short cut.
    Nothing wrong with a good shortcut when it gets you closer to your goal. When erythromycin doesn't work however, your back were you started. Often weaker and with fewer good bacteria and possibly BGA more resistant to the medication.

    A UV light has it's uses. I didn't mean to sound like such a hard ass about them. Only, in this case it's not really an emergency. The white cloud is harmless, right? Turning down the lights. That's a short cut.
     
    #19 Tug, May 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2010
  20. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You didn't come off as a hard-ass in the least. If anything I'm just wondering if you or Bio see an issue either. Contrary to the snarkish reputation I have over on APC, I do like to hear converse opinions :p
     
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