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FAQs about Marine Cloudy Water

Related Articles: Captive Seawater Quality, Nutrient Control and Export, Water Changes/Changing, Understanding Calcium & Alkalinity,

Related FAQs: Marine Water Quality 1, Marine Water Quality 2, Marine Water Quality 3, Marine Water Quality 4, Marine Water Quality 5, Marine Water Quality 6, Water Quality 7, RO/DI & Distilled Water 1, Environmental Disease,

New Super Nassarius Snail in iM fusion 10 Nano reef     2/14/18
i hope you are doing well. thank you for reading my question. I have a Nuvo fusion 10 nano reef. It' been up for 6 months. I just started adding coral in mid December after slow cycling for 3 months. I cycled with dry rock and
1.5" of "live" sand, adding small amounts of frozen and pellet food one a week. I do not have any fish, only coral and a few inverts, as I think it would be cruel to house a fish in such a small tank.
<There are some small gobies, blennies...>
I started out with a few soft corals and have added a couple peaceful LPS. and a skunk cleaner shrimp. Last Week I added 3 sexy shrimp and a super Nassarius snail. I am now experiencing what I think is a bacteria bloom caused by the new snail stirring the sand bed. I have the regular symptoms, cloudy water that tests good for PH, nitrate phosphate, etc. It's been about two days now like this and some off my corals are not opening. My water parameters have been and remain very consistent in the PH and other areas. My question is can I ride this out and will it balance back out, or do you think the tank is too small to have that type of snail stirring up the sand and I need to take it back. thanks for your time.
Kind Regards,
John Arenz
<I'd add some mechanical filtration... a small outside power filter would be ideal... or a small internal one, sponge or box filter... to ride out the particulate storm for now. All ought to settle down soon. Bob Fenner>

very murky water       8/1/15
Good evening or morning that is wherever you are in this world for sure,
<PST now; back in S. Cal.>
Here is my issue. I have set up a very large L300cm x W100cm x H160 (about 11oo gallon) saltwater system which is situated outside the house in Thailand. I had the system set up with base rock (actually life rock we turned into base rock after a muriatic bath and heavy rinsing) and natural ocean water. I have 3 separate skimmers installed each rated at 600gallon.
The system has gone through a short cycle period of about 3 weeks (going through only a small ammonia spike an even smaller nitrite spike and is sitting now at a nitrate level of 10) without chiller without any issues of cloudy water. The system does get hit with direct sunlight for a period (through the front viewing pane) of the day but was not an issue at the
start. Now since a week I have added some small fish with about 18 blue green Chromis and 8 Anthias with the first week again no issues. Now all of a sudden the last 4 days the water has turned very murky which I think is an algae bloom as it has a bit of a green shine on it and not white which would mean a bacterial bloom right?
<Might be just algae, but likely a bigger mix of species; mostly Protists and Monerans... will clear in time... there are some "things" you can do to speed up; but I'd just wait if it were me/mine: Patience>
Now the question is this due to the still not installed chiller so the high water temperature (87F) the direct sunlight?
<The light, heat, the system being new.... not "settled in">
Now the chiller will be installed within the next few days turning the actual water temperature down to 80F initially. Will this resolve the murky water by itself or do you think there is more behind it all?
<The temp. being lower will help speed the clearing along.... again, this is part of the "run in" period.... or establishing "cycling" in new systems>
Should i run activated carbon in the mean time to help clear out the water or not effective in an algae bloom?
<The carbon will help as well. Yes to using it in the filter/flow path... in Dacron/Polyester bag/s if you can... ladies stockings if not>
Thank you
Dirk from Thailand
<Welcome. Bob in San Diego>
Re: very murky water        8/15/15

Hi Bob in San Diego
thanks for the reply a few weeks back though since than as mentioned I had the chiller installed and is now operational which indeed took care of the murky water rather quick.
<Ah good>
Though now a week later with the water now sitting at 26.4C is murky again?
I heard of bacteria blooms but isn't it rare to have 2 such blooms in such short spam?
<Not rare; no>
what could cause those blooms?
<Food; dissolved nutrients, lack of established competitors and predators (microscopic)>
and what more can I do now with all parameters good and temperature good?
just sit it out I guess?
<There are clarifying agents, bacterial products you might use. Some are better (much) than others. Do you have "fish stores" thereabouts? I'd go see what they have on offer>
Thanks, Dirk from Thailand
<BobF, still in S. Cal.>
Re: very murky water        8/15/15

Hi Bob from San Diego,
could you get me some names of some of those products so I can have an idea on what specific I am looking for. Thanks again
Dirk from Thailand
<Please, learn to USE WWM. Read here:
and the linked files above. B>

Hazy Foamy Water Mystery     12/7/14
I have been dealing with a stubborn water quality issue for weeks that I can't seem to resolve or make sense of. The issue is that the water in my 120 gallon fish only tank has a slight white haze to it, similar to the haze that I have experienced during initial cycling. The larger issue which I assume is linked to the haziness and appeared at the same time is the water is "foamy." As the attached pictures show I am getting foam that builds up on the supply side of my sump as the water goes down through filter socks. I also cannot run my protein skimmer even at lowest air setting as it floods within minutes.
<A good clue>
Per my tank notes the issue appeared 11/8. I had added a Pearlscale Butterfly from QT to the display on 10/25 and all appeared normal between those dates. Since the issue began my water quality has remained stable (pH 8.3-8.4, dKH 8.5-9, 0 Ammonia and NO2, SG 1.024, Temp 78.25-78.5) with the notable exception that my NO3 has dropped from 10ppm to 2ppm. I do weekly 7.5% water changes and run Purigen and use no other additives, my top off water is RO/DI. I have tried running carbon as well as doubling the size of my water changes the previous two weeks with no effect.
My feeding regiment <regimen> has stayed the same with small amount of NLS pellets and a few flakes of Formula 2 being offered in the morning and mysis shrimp soaked in Selcon being offered in the evening. I also offer a 1 inch square piece of dried Ulva twice weekly. All inhabitants have continued to act and eat normally.
My conundrum is that I'm not sure what to do next. Everything I have tried so far has had no noticeable impact. I know that my LFS carries products that claim to clear the water but i am always leery of using chemical concoctions. Your opinions are always appreciated.
Thanks Again,
<"Something" endogenous... microbial likely... What I'd do: re-set the balance here... either massive water change, and/or the addition of metabolite absorbing chemical filtration... My pick? A few units of Chemipure.
Bob Fenner>

Bacterial Bloom?    2/19/14
Hi!  I recently started (1 week ago) a new 95 gallon reef tank using Dr. Tim's one and only, three fish and a small cleanup crew.
<... I would have held off on the last>
Immediately afterwards, my tank water got cloudy and has remained ever since.
<Yes; not uncommon...
microbial population explosion most likely>
I know he states on his website that the bacterial bloom I'm seeing isn't the bacteria in the bottle and that it can be attributed to the faster growth of heterotrophic bacteria.  The only additional things I'm using is activated charcoal and running a skimmer.  All parameters look good (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all zero).
Water changes seem to have no affect. Is there anything else I can do to assist in clearing it up? UV? Air stones?
<... sparse feeding; no more livestock; patience>

<Welcome; Bob Fenner>

Cloudy Water in Reef      1/24/14
Hey Crew,
Thanks again for all of the expertise, time and passion!
Just a quickie today: I have a 155 Gallon In-wall reef that has been up since August. Everything has been going fairly well so far but for the past week, the water has been fairly cloudy. Lets start with water parameters:
SG: 1.024 (trying to get up to 1:025 gradually)
Temp 77.0- 77.4 degrees F
pH 8.4- 8.5
<A bit high... what are you doing (if anything) to boost this? Might be the/a part of the cloudiness issue>
Ammonia 0 (API)
Nitrite 0 (API)
Nitrate reads as zero (API)
<And this; additives, media?>
Calcium 400 (API)
Calcium 450 (Salifert)
Alk 9.6 (Salifert)
Mag- have not tested yet
Fish include a Midas Blenny, Med Sailfin Tang, Royal Gramma, Adult Clarkii, and Juvenile Clarkii. Also have a variety of snails, crabs, and shrimp. The young Clarkii was just added last week in an attempt to pair the two.
Previously had a pair but the male died. I noticed the Female at first, acting aggressive towards the juvie, then accepting him more, followed by a clearing of all sand around its rock bommie that holds the Rose Bubble-tip anemone. I originally accounted the cloudiness to this, but would assume that it would clear up in a few hours.
I also dose Kalkwasser hourly and thought that maybe an overdose occurred, causing something the precipitate out of solution, however my calcium and alkalinity tests show otherwise, although both kits are somewhat old.
My only other guess would be some kind of bacteria bloom. I just performed a water change with the regular RO/DI water (25% monthly) right before the cloudiness started.
Any ideas?
 <Perhaps a reproductive event... most likely involving your snails... but could be many organisms. Do you have a microscope handy? I'd look at a water sample if so. Otherwise; the usual patience, observation, perhaps switching out your activated carbon, adding to it.>
Thanks so much!
Joe Westwood
<Cheers; Bob Fenner>

What is the cause; sm. vol. allelopathy      8/27/13
Hi Crew,24 gallon AquaPod over 5 years old, pretty stable with LPS, 3 cardinals, Firefish and clown goby. Last new coral was open brain about 4 weeks ago. This morning it looked like a tank being cycled. Very cloudy and it has been getting worse as the day goes on. Temp has been about 82  daytimes for the past few weeks. But the last few days it was down to 80.
Don't see any big change in corals or fish. Corals not getting good light so slightly less full. A couple fish hiding more than usual. A bloom just like that? Sam
<... Allelopathy... look up on WWM... my number one guess. I'd be changing a good deal of the water, moving the most recent coral out... This system is too small to just drop in Cnidarians w/o longer acclimation/introduction. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: What is the cause; sm. vol. allelopathy    8/28/13

Thank you Bob, I changed about 3 gallons
<I'd change half; daily>
 over a short period and the water was still pretty cloudy. Also put in a micron filter pad but that did not seem to help even after 12 hours. I prepared some more water and had to leave. When I came back 6 hours later the tank was clear.

Allelopathy is something I thought of as being there but not seen. You know it is there when some corals start declining. Any possibility something spawned.

 I have 6 Astrea snails. I have them a few years and never saw any spawning.
Dozens of small limpets the size of a split pea. I know they are multiplying but they are so small I can't imagine them spawning enough to cloud the tank. My corals are 8 Acan colonies, a large Candycane, two Trachyphyllia, a large Blastomussa with 12 heads larger than quarters, a Platygyra, a 4 inch Lobophyllia, a fox coral and a Cyphastrea. Most have been in the tank over 2 years and some over 5 years. The Trachyphyllia (4 inches) and fox coral (3 inches) were the only recent additions. Thanks again, Sam 
<Ah, welcome. Maybe the snails or some other organism spawning as you state, speculate; not the Scleractinians. Bob Fenner> 

Sudden Cloudy Water, SW...  6/23/13
I looked over at my tank and noticed it looked a little cloudy. As I got closer to check it out (I had just been looking at it an hour before and it was completely clear.) a large puff of slime exploded into the cloudy water.
It reminded me of seeing the little Stomatella snails releasing their goo into the water but on a much more massive scale. Freaked me out big time!
<I bet>
I sat down to examine the tank and it did it one more time. It appears to have come from the Acans. ??? I have seen them slime when hungry, but this was very different. It clouded the whole tank and it was like big puffs of smoke coming out.
<Could be waste release...>
It seems to be clearing up already, but I got some water started anyways so I can do a water change ASAP.

Does this make sense that this might be the Acans?
<Might be>
There is some xenia passing by on their way to climbing the glass. Could that be upsetting them?
Is this dangerous to the tank inhabitants?
<Can be. Please read here re:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm 
Not sure what to do.
<You will through your reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sudden Cloudy Water  6/24/13

Thanks for the quick help!! You rocks!
<Okay; for all of mes! B>

Sudden water cloudiness - allelopathy or something simpler? Mmm, Reef maint., cloudiness troubleshooting f's   6/19/2013
Hi to the WWM crew,
I am in need of a little guidance on a new issue (cloudy water) that has arisen very suddenly/"out of the blue" (pun intended). Tank is a 75g with 20g sump, temp is steady around 81, parameters on NH4, NO2, NO3 are 0,0 and 20ppm respectively. In the sump, just running a Reef Octopus NWB150 skimmer as well as a simple HOB filter with Chemipure Elite (basically just
activated carbon with a bit of GFO mixed in).
<Mmmm, am not a fan of much "rust" use... Do you really have an HPO4 issue?
I'd pull this for now... it may well be that the cloudiness issue is indirectly related to a lack of phosphate, over-abundance of Fe here>

The tank looked great up until yesterday. Had previously been battling some GHA
<Green Hair Algae for browsers>
 but finally defeated it several weeks ago; haven't seen a hair of algae since then. Water was crystal clear, good parameters, all livestock looking healthy, etc. Actually, all livestock still looks just as healthy, and the parameters are still good. It is just cloudy water (almost foggy, but I can still see from side to side and front to back pretty well).
<Mmm; me no like>
On Monday, we had a scheduled power outage for electric company maintenance (from 10-2pm PST). There were no issues with overflow of the sump, etc. (I planned for that situation carefully). However, I found out when I got home from work Monday night at around 7:30 PST, I noticed that the return pump had failed to start back up. So, no water was leaving the sump, and no water was draining from the DT for about 9 1/2 hours. But, the HOB filter and skimmer were still running in the sump. I removed the (seemingly bad) return pump, and later that night, tried plugging it in again just to see what would happen. It came back to life, so I put it back in the sump, connected the return and let it go. Water in DT was still clear at this point.
<Okay; with you so far>
Last night (Tuesday), I got home around 6:00 PM PST and the water was cloudy in the tank. Did a 15% water change, but no noticeable improvement in cloudiness. Besides the power outage event, the only recent change (added Sunday) was the addition of a Kenya tree coral. I can only figure three possible reasons for the cloudy water, but cannot pinpoint which direction I should be looking. Here are the suspects, from what I can ascertain:
1) allelopathy being caused by the Kenya tree - although I know they are capable of emitting toxin, I doubt it's got enough power to cloud up an entire 75g tank.
<Oh no; by releasing enough materials, disturbing other life... it could, can cloud up much, MUCH larger volumes>

And, it is all by itself on the left side of the display. On the right side, there are a few Zoa frags and a three-head hammer coral. The hammer might be considered an enemy, but I doubt the Kenya would be aware of its presence from opposite sides of the tank.
<Does "know" of this Euphylliids presence; and the Zoanthids... Does the water have a smell to it? Vaguely of turpentine?>
2) bacterial bloom - a common cause for cloudiness, but can't think of any reason this would have happened/be caused by a power outage and return pump failure for less than 10 hours.
3) maybe the HOB filter containing the Chemipure Elite dried out during the power outage, and when turned back on, any particulates/dust/etc. in there got washed out into the sump, and then pushed to the display tank when the return pump was restored to service?
<Doubtful; but could be that microbes living in/on the media triggered this event as well>
Would appreciate any thoughts/suggestions here.
Thanks much,
<Well... when/where in doubt: Water Changes! And I'd pull the GFO for now; make sure there is always some measurable [HPO4] present... necessary for all chemosynthate life. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sudden water cloudiness - allelopathy or something simpler?  6/22/13

Thanks for the reply and input, Bob. I have been battling a bad cold so have no sense of smell at all; I had my wife take a few big whiffs of the tank water to see if there was any hint of a turpentine/chemical smell. She said that it smelled "just like saltwater". In any case, I removed the newly-added Kenya tree coral and placed it back in QT.
 I then performed a 20g water change. I also removed the GFO in the HOB filter and replaced it with a mesh bag of fresh, plain carbon.
 Also added a second bag of carbon just laying in the return section of the sump. It has been a couple of days and the tank is no longer cloudy. Looks absolutely clear, and all livestock remains looking healthy. It very well could have been allelopathy from the Kenya tree (my wife doesn't know what turpentine is suppose to smell like and it's hard to explain something like that). Wanted to say thank you for the help.
<Surely welcome>
Also, I meant to mention in my first email but forgot, that I very much enjoyed your presentation on the collection station in Fiji at the SDMAS meeting. I was battling this same cold at that time and didn't want to get too close to anyone, so I was hiding in the corner. Was disappointed that I could not say hello and introduce myself at that time. I probably should have just stayed home but was very interested in the topic and had to attend. Anyhow, thanks again and have a great weekend.
<I thank you... am doing so already! Fixing a few things out in the garden, pre-cooking some items for the Green Flash Hash, and about to walk the olde dog (likely he is thinking something along the same line. Cheers! BobF>

Re: HELP       11/28/12
Hi again, My Koran didn't make it, i know the tank is too small we were working on finding her a new home.
 My ammonia levels are off the charts,
<... .... ...>
and I have done water changes (20-25%) along with one today. My water is still cloudy and I cannot figure out what to do.
<Why not search WWM... and read?>
 I have been adding Stress Zyme, Ammo Lock, and Stress Coat.
<None of use here>
The Lunar wrasse still won't swim. Ph: 8.2 Ammonia: 8.0ppm (I'm amazed my fish are still alive) Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm. Salinity: 1.25
<.... wrong. B>

Cloudy water in marine fish tank.    9/2/12
Hi Crew, All my fish are fine but in the last few days the water has become very cloudy which I think is an algae bloom as it appears slightly green.
All my levels are normal, Nitrates are not too high for a FOWLR tank at 20mg/l,
<More likely being taken up by the algal profusion>
 I do not have a Phosphate test kit. Do you have any ideas for an easier way to remedy this except for a water change. Regards, Adam.
<... please learn to search/read...:
and so much more on WWM. B>
Re: Cloudy water in marine fish tank.     9/4/12

Hi Crew, I am probably an unusual inquiry as all my fish are doing really well, great colours, eating like a horse which shows they are "happy" but the water is cloudy. Last night I changed about 60% of the water with fresh seawater from the Indian Ocean.
 The cloudiness has dropped by about only 20% and I now think it is a bacteria bloom.
<Highly likely>
 I have read that carbon can remove cloudiness but I do not like to use carbon as I believe it takes out too much of the good stuff as well, also if it is bacteria it will not help. My other option is to increase with a sump, mechanical filter or wait as the bacteria should stabilise and become clear in a week or so. The tank is about 7 months old. Any ideas please do you think it will remedy itself? Regards, AA.
<It will in time... in the meanwhile... keep reading! B>
Re: Cloudy water in marine fish tank.      9/5/12

Bob, Do you think a UV will cure the cloudy water,
<Might well help... by zapping microbes, increasing DO, RedOx...>
 it is so bad now I can't see the back of the tank and the fish probably can't see the food?
<IF it's this bad, I'd be changing a good deal/% out and/or moving the livestock elsewhere. B>
 Regards, AA.
Re: Cloudy water in marine fish tank. 11/9/12

Hi, My line of attack was to buy a UV which has cleared the green out of the water but the water is still cloudy.
<From all the way back to Sept. 5? Something is up here>
I do add Seachem Marine Buffer but it says any precipitate which does not dissolve necessitates a water change. Mine all dissolves very quickly. Any ideas how to remove the cloudiness please, all fish are ok. Regards, Adam.
<Depends on the cause. Please read here:
Either your mechanical filtration is insufficient, you're adding, have added something that is producing floating particulates... BobF>

Forecast for Cape Cod:   cloudy, cloudy, cloudy! 4/17/12
<Hi Pam>
Ok, it's about time that I should be seeing clearer waters by now!  I know, patience is important in this hobby, but really? Almost 4 months later?? 
The filtration (bio and mechanical) just isn't there!
<Fish would be dead if it wasn't.>
I'm wondering about 2 things that could be the culprit:   not enough rock and not enough sand??
I know dry rock can take a  while to cure, but this long?
<Dry rock requires no curing, nothing is dead on it.>
Funny thing though, in the 3 months I have set up the tank, I've never had nitrates!! Why??? What happened to the cycle numbers?
<Likely too soon to see, tank too new.>
One last note: the skimmer hasn't put out much of anything in the past 10 days or so.
Even though I cleaned it thoroughly, took the screw out and brushed that area out too!
Ok, heavy sigh! Going to work now, and thank you so much for putting up with so many questions.
I really do appreciate you guys, really! It's just so nice to know I am talking to people who really know their stuff!!
<Pam, discontinue the use of the B-Ionic products for a week and see if your tank clears up.  I'm thinking you have some precipitation going on here or a bacterial bloom which is not uncommon in new systems.>
<Kisses.  James (Salty Dog)>

  • 75 gallons
  • 50 lbs dry rock
  • 2 inches LS
  • Remora skimmer
  • Power filter with floss, charcoal (API) Poly Filter â
  • 48 inch Current USA 6x54W Nova Extreme Pro T5HO 3-10k/3-460nm Actinics
  • AquaFX Economy 3 Stage 100g RO System

March 16, 2012

March 20, 2012

April 8, 2012




? no kit

? no kit

still no kit L




































 Dosed B – Ionic ( for Calcium and ALK) March 18, 2012 ONE TABLESPOON

    Dosed B-Ionic (Cal & Alk) April 7, 2012 ……one Tablespoon

    Dosed B-Ionic (Cal & Alk) April 12,2012………. 2 T

Re Forecast for Cape Cod:   cloudy, cloudy, cloudy! 4/18/12
You know, I was thinking about  precipitation myself, but discounted it because I'm not using that much,...but WILL def discontinue it!
<Try it, process of elimination.  I personally do not like two part products.>
For the record, I have NO fish!! Just a brittle star (somewhere) and 50 assorted snails and blue legged crabs.
<Is likely why your not reading nitrates.>
I don't plan on having fish, well, maybe a few, but mostly inverts.
<Different scope for sure.>
Funny that you mentioned that dry rock requires no curing because it's dead.
One of your WetWeb buddies mentioned that dry rock is very messy and will take longer to cure than live rock. Crap,.. someone didn't do their homework! Which one is true James baby???
<Sweet baby James does not know how dry rock can be messy, just requires a good rinsing before putting into the tank.>
I love the "BINGO"  It's such a powerful word! Sooo, what the heck is wrong with my skimmer? Crap!
<No waste obviously...with no fish load there will be little waste.  If I recall correctly you have the Remora skimmer and it is a good skimmer.>
Beijos e uma abraca !
<Kisses and hugs to you as well.  James (Salty Dog)>

Something in Water Column 12/13/11
<Hi Ken>
I am really having trouble with clearing up the water in my display tank.
I have a Biocube 29 that is running a media basket and fuge rack with filter floss, Purigen, Chemipure Elite,
<Mmm, one or the other, too much chemical filtration here, can be detrimental to corals/clams.>
and Chaeto in chamber 2 where the Bioballs used to be. I also have the Oceanic Biocube Protein Skimmer in chamber 1 and a UV Sterilizer in chamber 3 that is turned off because I did some research and decided that it was doing me more harm than good. Anyway, I have been looking all over this forum and others trying to solve my problem but just can't figure it out. For around 1.5 months my display tank has been filled with either microbubbles or detritus floating around the water column.
<What color?>
Is there a way to figure out which it is?
<I'd take a water sample out and see if the "bubbles" break when poured on a hard surface.>
I turned off all the pumps
<Including the skimmer pump?>
and they didn't rise or anything, just kind of floated there. Does that mean they're not microbubbles?
<Quite possibly.>
For current I have the stock pump and the Biocube powerhead. I noticed that my sand is being indirectly blown a bit by the pumps to where the top grains kind if move a bit, but never seem to leave the ground. Is this the right amount of flow over the sand or should there be none.
<Is good to have water movement over the sand as long as you are not creating a sand storm.>
I'm not sure it is possible to get no flow over the sand in a tank this small. The only things I have that touch the sand are 3 Nassarius Snails that I added 2 weeks ago, and some hermit crabs that occasionally walk around on it. Any ideas as to how to fix this problem?
<Not with the little info you have provided.>
My LFS has a Biocube 29 just running stock filter with the protein skimmer and some filter floss that is crystal clear. However, even when I was just running stock I had this problem. Sorry this message is so long. Hope I gave you all the information you need. What do you think is going on?
<I'd like to know what your calcium and dKH reading is. Is possible you may have some calcium precipitation going on. A pic may help also.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Something in Water Column 12/14/11

Thanks for trying to help me out.
<You're welcome.>
Sorry I didn't give enough info, I didn't really know what is important.
The stuff floating around just appears to be white, and it is really tiny, like about the size of a grain of sand, maybe smaller. They are so small that I am pretty sure that if I poured them onto a hard surface I couldn't tell if they broke. There is just so much of it! The only tests I have are PH: 8.2, Nitrite: 0, Ammonia: 0, Nitrate: < 5, Specific Gravity: 1.0215 (I know this is a little low, I'm fixing it), Temp: 76 degrees. Should I get a test kit for calcium?
<And for dKH as well.>
What other information do you need.
<Calcium and dKH test results.>
Do you need a picture?
<May help. Do read here, fourth paragraph down. I believe this is your problem. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm>
I might be able to get a high enough quality picture for you to see what I an talking about, but I am not sure.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Cloudy Water/Bacterial Bloom 9/17/11
Hey Crew,
<Hello Ryan>
I'm having a problem with cloudy water, in my newly set up 75 gallon reef tank. The tank has been set up about 2 weeks, and after a day or two of having it set up it cleared up completely after the substrate settled. So I'm slightly confused as to why it might be cloudy, My protein skimmer is new also (Bubble Magus NAC6), I've talked to a few people and they say it could be a case of something as simple as micro bubbles in the water. I feel as though it would be weird after being run for 2 weeks, to randomly have micro bubbles. I also have done a 15 gallon water change and still am not seeing a major difference in water clarity.
Any suggestions?
<Is not a bit unusual for new systems to go through a bacterial bloom, and I'm quite sure this is what you are seeing. This should clear up in a week or two.>
Thanks in advance for all the help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Cloudy Tank 8/18/11
Hey Guys,
Third time writing in! Contacted you last time about an algae problem which has since been cured. Thanks for the help!
<You're welcome.>
My current issue is with a slightly hazy (cloudy) tank. I'm had problems with low alkalinity and high calcium in the past, but pH was fine. I was correcting the problem by adding baking soda. Everything was just fine for awhile. About 1.5 months ago I got some new baking soda from a friend and added it to the tank as per usual. The next day, the tank was quite cloudy/hazy. I assumed I had overdosed and let the tank take care of itself for a few days. Nothing changed...perhaps slightly less cloudy, but still hazy.
<I'm not a fan of baking soda, can be dangerous if not used/dosed properly.>
I read that it should clear-up by itself and there might be a snowstorm and precipitate on the rocks etc. So far, I've had no precipitate at all. I also have some brown hair algae growing in the tank recently, since fixing my last algae problem (red slime). Don't think its related.
Over the past 2 weeks I've been doing 20% water changes every other day, tank is still cloudy. I tested before starting the water changes and both alkalinity and calcium were low (6 dKH and 300ppm),
<A dKH of 6 is not that low.>
but pH fine (8.3). I also tried dosing 2-part alkalinity and calcium, which worked a little ...
<Dosing both parts at the same time can cause cloudiness. Best to dose part B the following day.>
but Alk quickly went low again; this was before water changes. After doing these water changes calcium has climbed, but Alk is low still. Ph is fine ... but my magnesium is very high. Before starting water changes it was at 1,500ppm, its now at 1,650ppm.
<The high magnesium will have an effect on dKH.>
I am not adding anything to my tank right now except 2ml vodka a day (tank volume 110g).
<You might be experiencing a bacterial bloom from the vodka dosing, stop dosing for a few days.>
I'm using the same salt mix I've always used (marinium), so not sure what's going on here. I can't find much info on high magnesium levels, but I'm guessing this, alkalinity and calcium are all doing something strange here.
<I just wrote a short article on magnesium which Bob recently placed on our site. Do read here.
I've also lost about 3 snails, 3 crabs, a cleaner shrimp and a blenny since the cloudiness. Before this, lost almost nothing in the past 6 months except the occasional hermit crab from fighting. Only one coral and its not too happy at the moment.
<Likely due to the 0 nitrate level, corals do benefit from some nitrate present, 4-5ppm would be ideal. Is best to correct one parameter at a time and then move to the next. Your dKH is fine where it is for now. Do not add any more magnesium to the system until levels drop below 1250ppm. You are creating several parameter changes by trying to deal with all at the same time which is likely contributing to your problem.>
All the fish seem to have Ich suddenly as well, with no new pet introductions.
<Likely stress induced re above.>
I also found a pump leaking about 100v of electricity into the tank, this was rectified yesterday. Tank still hazy, any ideas would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
My parameters:
Temp: 26 C
Salinity: 1.025
Ph: 8.2
Alkalinity: 6 dKH
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0
Calcium: 380ppm
Magnesium: 1,650ppm
Re Cloudy Tank 8/18/11- 8/22/11

Hi James,
<Hello Marc>
I've stopped the vodka for 4 days now, the cloudiness has not gotten any better. Possibly worsening slowly (though I think its always getting worse when I don't try water changes). Coral is looking worse, getting puffy around the base and tentacles not extending much at all. Fish and crabs also not looking very happy; still eating, but not as much as before. Almost all covered in Ich.
<Definitely something amiss in water quality.>
I've never added Mg to my tank, the levels seem to be increasing by themselves.
<Impossible, do compare readings with another kit, at your LFS.>
I'm thinking when I added the baking soda, everything went way out of whack.
<Easily could have. I would not use baking soda.>
I'm starting to think it wasn't even baking soda ... baking powder?
<Yikes, baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate as does baking soda, but it includes an acidifying agent, not good and can cause a drastic short term drop in pH.
You have too much money invested in your livestock, and trying to save a dime by using baking soda/powder does not make good sense....akin to walking over a dollar to pick up a nickel. Much safer to use products designed for marine systems.>
I've done something like 4 x 20% water changes, but the cloudiness has not gotten any better. Maybe in the short term, but then it seems to get worse again. What do you think I should do?
<I would get a Polyfilter and ensure water is flowing through the pad.
Continue with water changes, should see an improvement in a few days of using the Polyfilter. Is there any chance a containment may have gotten into the water? Have you tested for ammonia/nitrite?>
All parameters look fine, except dKH a touch low, calcium low and Magnesium sky-high. Thanks again for your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Marc Steeb
Re Cloudy Tank 8/18/11- 8/22/11- 9/6/11

Hi James,
<Hello Marc>
Just an update. I wasn't able to get the Polyfilter, so put in some Kent Marine carbon instead. I followed this with a large 40% water change.
Before I got to this point however, most of my fish, crabs and snails perished.
All covered in white spots, likely from the stress of the water conditions. The Yellow Tang which was the first infected, has made a full recovery and is completely clear of white spots (at this time) and eating well.
My coral is looking back to its original state with no signs of any long-term problems.
All in all, everything seems to be almost back to normal ... still no idea what happened though.
<Strange things can happen for no apparent reason.>
All my levels are good, except alkalinity a touch low still (6 dKH), and Magnesium still high (1,600ppm) but coming down with water changes. No vodka addition in a few weeks and ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate are still reading 0 strangely enough. I do have a brown hair type algae growing over the sand and in high-flow areas. A week ago the entire sand would go from clean to brown in 12hrs .... its now slowed down quite a bit after I scrubbed most of it off and doesn't seem to be coming back. Needless to say, the skimmer has been going absolutely nuts for the past few weeks with tons of skimmate.
I'll continue with the carbon and water changes until all levels are normal and skimmate goes back to normal. Still have no idea what happened, besides the overdose of alkalinity; to cause this.
<Or overdosing the vodka.>
Perhaps something additional was introduced to the tank without my knowledge, who knows. Just wanted to say thanks for the help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Sudden cloudy reef tank
Hey Bob!. Sorry to hear about the pub closed. Wanted to thank you again. Will bring Mag up before doing my water changes
<Do such supplementing IN the water change water, NOT in the tank itself>
and also retest my batch of salt/test against another test kit. As I have said, great site and have learned and
used your advise when dealing with my own problems. A must read for anyone!
<Ah good. B>
Re: Sudden cloudy reef tank 5/20/11
Hi again Bob. Well I am concerned now with my Alk. at the high end of "safe levels" due to test results from my new batch of Tropic Marin. The results are: Alk. 4.5, Cal. 375, Mag. 1062.5, Ph. 8.3, Temp 78', Sg. 1.025-1.027.
Would it be best to augment my Mag. level to keep Cal. from precipitating when I do my water changes?
<Mmm, yes... Strange that the Tropic Marin product is even this much "off" from a 1:3 ratio of Ca:Mg concentration. Simple Epsom Salt will do... but first do check your checker... that is, assure your Mg test kit is accurate>
The tank parameters are same as above except Cal. precip down to 275. My test kits are a few months old. Use Seachem and/or Salifert kits.
<Good brands I'd warrant>
Will retest Alk. at LFS. I have used Brightwell Aquatics Magnesion (powder) to augment Instant Ocean. This is my first batch of Tropic Marin Salts. I do dose Brightwell Aquatic Kalk+2 only if Alk. is 2.0-3.0 and calcium is low, and help with Ph support.
<Mmm, I want to emphasize that cross-mixing brands here is not often a good practice. Just stick w/ SeaChem...>
I have had problems raising magnesium so that's why I started using Magnesion.
<Mmm, better to have a slight imbalance in alkaline earth metals/elements than to have one twixt these and Alkalinity>
Your knowledge and responses would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again. Was the pub open?
<No pub unfortunately... was past one AM by the time tickets were redone, some vouchers issued, and San Diego is in ways a one pony town..

Cloudy Water – 02/03/11
Hello again Crew,
<<Greeting Zach>>
Having problems with cloudy water. This is getting annoying. I had battled this before and it went away and now it has come back. However I think I have narrowed it down to a small list of suspects that I would like to get your opinion on.
The only things I done to my tank recently are 1 I added Kent phosphate sponge the white stuff, 2 I put two small caps of Amquel in my tank, 3 I used Kent Marine essential elements. I had not done a water change this week so it’s not my Reef Crystals salt like I had previously thought. My tank is a 90g with a 29g sump/fuge with 100+lbs of live rock, DSB, and the inhabitants are 1 Firefish goby, 1 small blue hippo tang,
<<This tang will (does!) need a larger environment>>
and two small clown fish. I do have assorted soft and hard corals including sps that are all putting out polyps and my derasa clam is also still opening fully. The water is not extremely cloudy and I cannot see any large particles floating in the water column either. I am stumped as to what is happening here.
<<If not a result of livestock activity (digging/stirring up the substrate), it is likely from something you have added to the tank (dust from the Kent product, or maybe a bacterial bloom caused by the additives). Another possibility is spawning activity from worms/other benthic organisms…maybe triggered by some husbandry/maintenance activity>>
My param.s are calcium 410, Alk 4-meq/l, magnesium 1350, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, phosphate 0, and ammonia 0. I have two skimmers on this tank 1 is an AquaC Remora Pro hang on, on the display. The other is a Coralife super skimmer in the sump. I believe I have adequate filtration so what is going on here this is very frustrating because my 55g was beautiful and never had these problems and I have had nothing but problems since I switched to my 90g a few months ago. Any advice on where to go and how to combat this is very welcome.
<<Do investigate the elements I have mentioned…and read here and among the associated links for clues I may have not: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CloudySWF.htm >>
Thank you! Zach
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Sudden Cloudy water! Worried for whole setup : \ 1/21/11
Dear WWM crew,
I haven't done tests yet, will do after I send this. Everything was fine last week. Just got a brand new pink tip anemone.
<... A Condylactis sp.?>
First, I didn't think that clownfish would reside in this, and the owner of the store told us it would,
<Even from different oceans, sometimes they do>
so of course my husband wanted it.... Pretty sure we were lied to, but we shall see. Secondly - the problem is that the water had gone cloudy. I'm talking, like I acclimated the anemone over the course of
2hrs, didn't use drip method, but I use a turkey baster (fish tank only turkey baster) and add about an ounce of water every 15 or so minutes. He did fine, looked awesome when he was added to the tank (this was last night).
This morning, he was stretched out, looking good, turned the lights on and he turned towards it a bit... All is still good. Lunch time, my husband and I went out for lunch, took approx. an hour. came home to cloudy water. I KNOW that it wasn't cloudy before we left - but man that's quick! Also, all fish are looking fine (2 clowns, 3 mollies, 4 Chromis, 1 green mandarin, 1 bicolor Dottyback, 1 cleaner shrimp, 3 small hermit crabs, 1 brittle star, and a few baby snails, and a small hammerhead coral.... I think that's
<Mmm, highly likely there is something of a tussle going on twixt your new Anemone and the Euphyllia...>
Our setup is one 55 gallons tank and one 20 gallon tank, both overflowing to a sump below. Total, we have close to 90 gallons running, cycling throughout. What could be the cause of this awful cloudiness? What do I need to do to fix this?
<The above... and removing the Anemone to a separate system pronto... there are other precautions you could/should take. Stat!>
We have never seen this problem and our water has been crystal clear, my husband and I were just remarking about it how clean and clear it looked last night. OOO, also, the anemone, as of right now, has started to close up. Like it's deflating and starting to hide within its body sort of. I'm very concerned for all of our life forms.
<I am as well>
Let me know if you have questions I hopefully can answer.
Thank you for you time,
<Mmm, please go here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
insert the words:
Anemone Allelopathy
and read the cached views. Soon. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sudden Cloudy water! Worried for whole setup : \ 1/21/11

Thank you for your response Mr. Fenner.
<Welcome Alicia>
Glad to hear my clowns "Brownie" and "Lady" may host!
Our tests were great as of yesterday (after I sent the email)
Salinity - 1.024
pH - (approx) 8.3
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - maybe 5
The hammerhead coral and anemone are not in the same tank (will not be and have not been). Is this still a problem?
<Ah no>
Only the clowns, and the anemone are in the small (20gal) tank. They do share water with the 55gal through the sump system.
<Oh! May well be interacting then. Do read here:
and as much of the linked files above as you can stand>
I was looking around my tanks, inspecting if you will - and feel I need to mention that our largest, most favorite piece of live rock (home to the Dottyback and coral and usually the shrimp) has white fuzz/slime/crust.
It's not "new" it's been around for a few weeks. Could this have any effect?
<Not likely; no>
My husband also wants to note that we put calcium in it water a few days ago as well.
<This could>
I will be moving to anemone into a small Qtank, along with some water from the other tanks, we'll see how it goes. All other life forms still seem fine. And all of this JUST in time for our tank heater to break as well... ugh Picking one up in about an hour, for the time being, I have kept my house a bit warmer (lol) in order to try to sustain the life of our tanks.
Thanks for all of your info!
<Thank you for your follow-up/further input. BobF>

Hazy water + bad temp swing 7/22/10
Hey guys,
<And the tender gender Tyler>
Love the site, its a amazing resource.
I'm sure this has been beaten to death but here it goes.
Tank is a 100 with a external sump and skimmer, running bio pellets and Chemi pure elite.
The tank has been running for about a year now with no real issues.
As its the summer here, the temp got up quiet high, around 86-88 (yikes)
(it was at a constant 79 before that, then we had the sudden heat wave that I wasn't prepared for)
<I'd leave your lights off during the day... oh, I see you've corrected this other ways below>
I rushed out and bough a AC unit for the room, and all is well back to 79, no issues yet. Day or two goes past, I do my normal fresh water top off with ro/di water, only a gallon or something.
All looks well, and then the water starts to look like it has a ton of micro bubbles...that kind of whirrrrr around. I check all my components, no bubbles. Bacteria bloom!?!?!?
<Mmmm, may be...>
And to top it off, I shut off my return over night to see if it was the return making bubbles (its not) but I forgot the heaters are in the sump! Doh! So the temp dropped to 76 over night. Temp is all back to normal.
A few oopsies on my part, but this bacteria bloom. (if that's what you think it is?) how do I get rid of it? The quicker the better. It looks a bit nasty! Thanks Tyler
<If the bubbles are a bit bigger than a millimeter in diameter I wouldn't be too/overly concerned as they're more just a visual nuisance than dire biological trouble... I'd do a large water change (or two), vacuuming the gravel (to reduce the presence of chemicals and microbes that might be contributing to the bubbliness here and to increase RedOx), and leave all else be for a week or so. Do give us/me a write back in seven days re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hazy water + bad temp swing 7/26/10

Hey Bob
I threw a clarifier in, a fresh bag of Chemi-pure and a bag of Rowaban,
Came back after a weekend away and its crystal clear!
Everything is where it should be as far as nitrates and everything else.
Still not sure what it was
<Thanks for this report. BobF>

Cloudy water, SW 3/6/10
I moved from a 10 gallon to 20L in December of 2009. Recently I woke up one morning to find a very yellow cloudy water in my tank.
<Is this out of the blue? Tanks will become yellow between water changes if [a] those water changes are very infrequent; and [b] there's a lot of organic matter in the tank, such as bogwood. But these are gradual processes, and stain the water like tea rather than making it cloudy. If the tank has suddenly become cloudy-yellow, then it's more likely you're dealing with a diatom bloom.>
Not knowing what exactly was going on I treated the tank for ammonia and did a 20% water change.
<What do you mean "treated the tank for ammonia"? There's no such process. Either you have non-zero ammonia levels, in which case you have to review stocking, filtration, overfeeding -- or else you don't!>
The tank was then clear for about another two days and then became cloudy again.
<Does sound like a bloom.>
I then did a 50% water change and didn't have trouble for another couple days only to wake up and find that my water was cloudy. In a panic I head to my LFS and asked for the opinion of someone who could help me understand. He said that he believed my tomato clown was kicking up my sand because he was unhappy and causing the bacteria in the sand to be suspended in the water.
<No, it's a diatom bloom, and quite common in new marine tanks, less common in freshwater tanks. You either let them take their course, which can take months, or else you install a UV-steriliser, which generally kills the problem once and for all. Some folks leave the UV on all the time, others only switch it on if they have problems. Either way, works very well. Do read here:
He recommended adding more feather dusters
and to cure my fishes attitude problem by getting an anemone or another fish in the tank. another recommendation was to add another filter system.
I'm just looking for help and general info about what I should do for this problem since I'm generally new to this hobby. Thanks guys!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Cloudy Water 2/4/2010
I have a dilemma and I have been unable to find any info on the subject on your website or elsewhere. I have a 20G Hexagon tank with 24 lbs of live rock, all parameters are normal I know from reading you hate when people
say that but for the sake of time, I added star polyp to the tank now my mushrooms are closed water is cloudy and fish look agitated. Please advise me on what I should do?
<There are any number of reasons why the water could be cloudy. When you added the polyps, did you rearrange anything? The short of it is that 99% of the time just waiting for whatever is in the column to settle or be filtered out is all you can do.>
Thanks, Ron
<Welcome, Scott V.><<RMF has a very bad feeling about this... I'd, I'll refer the querior to reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above. Pronto.>>

Re Assorted SW Questions/Reef Lighting/Now Cloudy Water 1/27/10
Hi again James,
<Hello Drew>
I'll steer clear of any new fish, thanks.
However, I have a new issue... I woke up this morning and my tank is a milky white color! It's pretty thick and very worrisome.
All the livestock seems to be doing fine, they ate alright and don't seem to be in any distress. My water parameters are as listed originally, no change. Coral polyps seem to be open. It has been in this condition for at least 12 hours and does not seem to be getting better. So far all I have done is a 5 gallon water change, and I'm planning on another 10 soon.
<Mmm, bacterial explosion, a bloom of some type. May want to search WWM re.>
I have about 10 Astraea and 10 Turbo snails, and I suspect that this might be some sort of mass spawning event?
<Possibly, water change likely triggered something.>
The only unusual happenings last night involved me doing some carpentry modifications to my wooden hood (in a manner of speaking) to make the light higher over the surface of the water.
Any advice or enlightenment about this situation would be appreciated,
<Search WWM re.>
Thanks, as always
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Milky water in quarantine tank, 12/31/09
Good Morning Crew
Five days ago I set up a bare 26 gallon quarantine tank with one yellow tang and one blue tang (both small). I have a 280 Gph HOB filter with a new filter pad and a 50 Gph powerhead with an air tube for extra circulation.
The tank has had two 10% water changes in that time (all from RO/DI water from the LFS).
This morning when I went in and turned on the light, the water is very milky. It's unlikely to be the water, since I used the same container of water to do a water change on my main tank and the lack of any other sources has me concerned.
<Bacterial bloom most likely, did you use old filter material to jumpstart the biofilter or new material?>
I'm going to try to scrub the water with a diatom filter and naturally I'm keeping up on water chemistry, but my main concern is if the fish have introduced a protozoan or other bug into the tank. Is this possible and if so, is there a broad spectrum treatment I should be using?
Thanks guys
<No need, will most likely settle out in a few days, but watch your water parameters very closely and be ready to do water changes.>

New Tank, Cloudy RO/DI Water 12/10/09
Hello WWM crew,
<Hello Shannon>
I'm new to marine fish keeping and just starting up a 150 gallon tank.
<A good start for sure.>
I have a problem I'm hoping you can help me with. A few weeks ago I filled my tank with plain tap water and let everything run for a few days to check for leaks. After fixing a few small ones I let the tank sit for a while with some of the fake rocks I'm planning to use.
Needless to say, the tank got a little dusty, even though before I was finally ready to fill it I dusted it out as best as I could. There had been a small amount of leftover tap water in the water line that led to the refugium, but the only way to remove it would be to redo the whole plumbing line, so I just left it thinking it would be okay.
<Should be.>
Well, last week I finally started to fill the tank with RO/DI water--this took a week before the tank was completely filled. Now the tank is up and running with RO/DI water, and I have my heaters warming up the water before I'm ready to mix in the salt. One thing I'm noticing is that the water appears a little cloudy and has a slight smell to it. I'm baffled. I added two bags of carbon to the sump to see if it will clear the water up and remove this slight smell. What could be causing this? The water does not smell at all coming out of the RO/DI unit, so could it be from residual dust or residual tap water in some of the tank plumbing? I have a big canister filter--should I use that to help clear the water? Please help--I'm prepared to drain the whole tank and start over if need be.
<You likely have a bacterial bloom and is quite common after the water sits a couple of days. Once the salted is added and cycling begins, this will/should
clear up.>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re New Tank, Cloudy RO/DI Water 12/10/09
Thanks so much, James.
<You're welcome.>
I guess on a big tank this will take longer to clear up? I did notice this same type of cloudiness when I started up
my smaller freshwater tanks, and it did clear in a few days. If this is all it is I feel a whole heck of a lot better!
Thanks again!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Particles in the water column 11/3/09
Hello Bob, Scott, or whomever is on the other end! Hope everything is well in crewland!
<Tis for the others I have talked to!!!>
A mad thank you goes to everyone!!!
<Ahh, thank you!>
I have a slight problem I'm seeking guidance on. I have recently setup a 75 gallon reef with a 55 gallon sump, with the help from WWM and Scott V!
<Otay, I will try.>
I was so happy to figure out the plumbing, so happy that I might not have washed all the pieces I cut properly! I cut acrylic panels for my sump, cleaned them well I thought. I might not paid as much attention to the pvc I cut but thought I cleaned it ok. The GlassHoles overflow box sat in my basement for a few months collecting dust, I gave it a quick wipe down.
<Oh no...really, having the box so far ahead shows your research was done in the correct order!>
Got it all hooked up, solvented the hard pieces, siliconed the threaded. Turned on the water [no RO yet], pump started pumping, drains were draining, YAAAAY no leaks!!! Well there were a lot of what I thought were bubbles. The next morning things had settled a bit, especially on the bottom and I noticed there was a lot of particles. Fine like dust.
<Hmmm, what substrate? Did you rinse it prior to placing it in the tank?>
Later that day the glass was becoming less transparent on the sides and front too. Starphire is clear and i could barely see through it! I tried siphoning the "dust" off the bottom and it wouldn't budge. Tried a sponge on the end of the siphon to no avail, finally I siphoned half the water out and got a rag and wiped the surfaces down. It was caked firm. So after wiping the surfaces down I let the debris settle for an hour then siphoned out all I could. I did this process 5-6 times over about three days.
<It will take a while to settle down, get out of the system.>
It cut the amount down and things seemed to calm down a little, well at least the bubbles. I still have a few microbubbles, are "just a few" harmful?
<Not necessarily, but unsightful to most.>
But there still is "dust" and the longer I wait in between siphoning, the more surface area it covers. It makes the surface of the glass, especially in the sump roughish like sand paper. It looks like a white powdery substance once it dries on the surface, it accumulates while full of water by the way. I stuck my finger in a drain line and scraped down. Its lined in the drains too!
<Surely has.>
At first I thought it might have been pvc dust, but now I'm not sure! My local water is pretty hard but can hard water do that much damage?
<Saltwater is fairly hard in of itself. Not the source.>
Id have a mouthful of stuff every glass of water I drank if so! I'm thinking of draining the tanks all I can with a siphon then toweling them dry. Plus take as much of the hoses off as possible and scrape the coating off the drains[doesn't sound easy or fun] and trying to get as much out as possible. I wanted to get your opinion on what's going on or how to maybe fix it. Sorry if I left anything important out.
<Whatever substrate you have is likely the source. Some sort of mechanical filtration like a canister, power filter or Dacron filter bags on the overflow outlets for a few days will clear this up. The latter will help you out with the microbubbles as well.>
WWM and its crew is the reason I have this tank! I'm stuck and your thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Particles in the water column 11/05/09
Hey Scott, as always thank you for your reply!
<A great pleasure to help.>
I realize my email was vague, let me clarify a few tidbits if I may.
Substrate, hah, I wish, that would've been simple. There is no substrate in the tank. There is no salinity in the water either...Aaahh.
<Uh oh.>
All I did was wait a day for the silicone to dry and filled it up with tap water for the freshwater leak test. No salt! Like I said the water around here is hard but I didn't think that was it. The first day I was tinkering to try and calm the bubbles down and I used panty hose on the 3 drain lines, do you think that was a mistake? Also I used sponges in the baffles?
<No issue with either.>
When I said surface area, I should have said everything. The dust is coating the powerheads, the sides and front panels slowly, the bottom covers faster, even the teeth on Mikes box!
<Hey, I probably built that! Yeah right.>
I don't know, the thought of taking apart plumbing that's not leaking sucks to me!
<Oh no, don't.>
At least its mainly clamps and hose. I plan on getting a baby bottle cleaner and putting it in the end of a piece of garden hose for maneuverability for the really long fuge drain. My drain lines are 1.5" id so I'm hoping that works to get the "gunk" out. I left everything running, powerheads, return pump, skimmer, to see if that helped and all it did was coat them....so I get to clean them now too Heh. Do you think I should turn everything off till I get it under control?
<I would keep it running, let it settle out.>
As far as the bubbles...my return pump [eheim1262, suggested by you] is plumbed with clear flex 3/8" to a wye, then 3/8" flex to two 3/8"pvc utubes with my LocLine on them. I didn't install a bleeder line to throttle back and that pumps just sucks them right through the sump baffles let me tell you ;] !
<You can always throttle the pump back without a bleeder, but I would take a look at your baffles here, give it some time.>
All my research didn't prepare me for any of this dust! Do you think the dirtyish pvc could've did it?
<Possibly, or some sort of sediment/precipitation in the water. Especially within such a short period of the silicone curing. If this is just fresh tap water I would clean all you can easily reach, drain and refill. See
what happens then. If it happens again it may be time for a RODI or at the very least a micron sediment filter.>
Do you think the towel dry and scrape will cure it, assuming its not something crazy with the tapwater?
<It will, like I say, clean what you can and then do a water change, this will be very telling.>
Sheesh!!! I'm at a loss. Thanks for all your help Scott! I'm so anxious to order my live rock I can't stand it!!!! I gotta get this nipped in the "bud". Ha. Talk soon.
<Welcome, let us know what you find. Scott V.>
Particles in the water column
Scott, I have had problems with my email last night and today, so I'm risking sending twice to insure you receive this follow up email. If I did send twice I apologize in advance! I will click the send button ever so
gently this time!!! Thanks.
<Received both, I do that more than I care to admit!>

Re: Particles in the water column 11/13/09
Hola Scott, hope your weekend was good!
<Honestly it sucked!>
Mine definitely got better!
<Good news!>
After a barrage of siphons, brushes, sponges, and excessive swearing, I think I've came up with something.
<A little beer would fit in well here.>
I cleaned all glass and objects in the tank, got a toilet bowl brush <new, unused ;]> halfway up each drain line, got all the water siphoned and toweled out dry. I let it dry over night. Somewhere along the way I
remembered reading somewhere a guy having trouble with his water heater having build up in it... The sink I get my water from is in the laundry room, so is the water heater. When I fill, I run both taps wide open, hot
and cold. On a hunch, I filled with cold only. Took longer but immediately I noticed a difference!
<Sure can be.>
That was last night, this morning the tank is clear other than my microbubbles and few deposits of whatever was leftover on the bottom.
LIVEROCK TIME! So what can I make off that huh? Can I just age, heat my cold water for liverock curing and cycling purposes or should I get the RO right away?
<Test the water for the usual aquarium type stuff, if it looks good aging will do it. Do you use a water softener? You do not want to use water that has run through one of these units.>
I have a real quick question on the bubbles if I may, I don't care for the live rock but I want to stop them before any livestock per say. Which is the best way of dealing with them, some sort of filter sock on the drains, sponge or other media in the baffles, or throttle back the pump?
<I like the filter socks. They are cheap, buy a dozen, swap them out every few days and then wash them all at once in the washing machine.>
I don't like the idea of nitrate factories in the tank but the microbubbles are really unsightful and annoying! Its a 55 gallon sump and right now it has 3 sections...11 gallon fuge area 15" high on the left, 9ish gallon
return area in center, 9ish gallon skimmer section on right, baffles separate return area from both. Josh's method for baffles never worked for me so I siliconed. Eventually I'll have a separate 55 gallon fuge slightly
above sump, slightly below display, utilizing current fuge area for RDP and making 55gal fuge on display same as main tank. Should I add the sand in my fuge area before I get the rock? I plan on using 6" of CaribSea super reef or something similar.
<I would add the sand first in this area.>
I'm not very familiar with sand brands but they had specifics labeled burrower/sifter safe. I'm excited and surely cant believe I made it this far. After a year and so of WWM, your help, and a lot of OCD later I'm
ready to begin the adventure. I'm confident and I know it'll be a success through the vast knowledge I've gained here.
<I have no doubt.>
Scott, thanks once again! Chat soon.
<Glad to help out, have a good one.>

Persistent Turbidity After 48 Hours/Moving 11/3/09
Hi WWM crew,
<Hello Flavienne>
My 86 gallons SW just went through a 1500 km move in a U-Haul truck.
Every piece of live stock (fish, corals, etc..) was kept at 20 degrees
<Yikes, I'm hoping this is Celsius and not Fahrenheit.>
throughout and water was changed partially every evening (twice). Sand and rocks were at the back of the truck (so cold but did not freeze).
At arrival, everyone was happy (even the corals, some of them even expanding in their respective Ziploc bags). After putting the tank in place, I placed the sand at the bottom and carefully added some water over it. After a few hours, turbidity was gone and I placed my rocks in the tank and covered them with freshly made SW. The next morning, tank was almost completely clear and I decided to place my corals in.
They now have been in the tank for 36 hours and this morning the tank smells pretty strong and it is very blurry. It won't settle which makes me think it could be some sort of bacterial invasion (by now some heavier like particles should have settled). Both anemones are dead and the rest of my corals does not look happy. I am in the process of removing them from the tank and place them aside in a separate bucket, but I was wondering how I could treat the tank so that it restart properly.
<For starters, I would filter the tank with Chemi Pure, Poly Filter, or a good grade of activated carbon, will remove most unwanted substances/nutrients.
I would add Dr. Tim's One And Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria or a similar product of good quality to ensure a healthy colony is present and working, but would only do this if ammonia is detected with a test kit.
I'm thinking something in your sand bed or rocks may have died during the move causing the noxious smell you state. Would have been a good idea to do a complete water test before introducing any animals to the system. The all new saltwater didn't help matters much either, would have been much better to save at least half of the original sea water. Many invertebrates including the anemones you lost, are highly sensitive to parameter and water chemistry changes.
Mmm, may be a little too late, but you may want to read here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/Moving.htm >
Thanks for your help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Please Help/Cloudy Water 10/29/09
<Hello Craig>
Please help, I have a new 40 gal. reef set up. Tank has been running about 60 days now, I have a Duncan Coral, torch, frogspawn, Acans, polyps and a ultra grade maxima clam, all seem very happy and growing nicely, however can not get the tank clear for more than a day a week. It will be crystal clear for a day and then bam! The only way to describe what happens is that it looks like someone smoked a pack of cigs and blew it into my water, it literally looks like smoke in the water. Then over a few days it will become clear and then bam again it happens,,,,,,help me. Tank has 40lbs of live sand, 50lbs live rock, a sump below with built in refugium which houses some live sand, ball of Chaeto, and small rubble. Lights are a 150 14k M.H. and two 24 watt actinic. Specific gravity 1.025, calcium 500, dKH 9.5, mag1350, pH 7.9-8.1. No nitrates, temp 78-81. What is happening,
<Stop smoking::-) >
almost ready to give up. Three fish in tank, Watchman Goby, reef Chromis, Firefish along with some Astreas, blue leg hermits, and two Nassarius snails.
<Craig, are you dosing both calcium and alkalinity buffer on the same day.
If so, this may be your problem, some products may react that way. Is best to dose these additives on alternate days. I would get that calcium level down to around 400ppm.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 10/29/09
Thank you,
<You're welcome.>
I do dose Ocean Blend A, B, not on a daily basis because levels were pretty high, but when I do dose it is probably with in a few minutes of each other in the sump.
<I do dislike using A and B products. Always seems to be difficult to balance the parameters.>
Will calcium come down on its own and should I still dose the Alk, to maintain current levels?
<Seeing as how you maintain your magnesium level, the calcium loving corals will slowly reduce the calcium level. I would not dose either A or B until calcium lowers to 380-390 and dKH down to 7. A good product I have found and am using is Tropic Marin's Alka Balance. It maintains calcium levels and keeps dKH at an acceptable level. High dKH levels aren't necessary in a properly maintained/stocked system.>
Also is it ok to do water changes, I was just wondering if I was having some type of bacterial bloom?
<Is possible but unlikely to continually recur. Yes, no problem doing water changes. You should not have to dose calcium or buffer for some time and I'm thinking during this period you may not experience cloudy water.>
Tank is only 60 days old.
<Yes, a young tank, not fully seasoned yet.>
Did not want to get rid of bacteria if tank was still in its process of establishing, does this make sense?
<No, you will have plenty of bacteria on the live rock alone. No worries here.>
Also what is exactly happening if it is the product, is it coming out of solution, the label says dose both daily,,,,,
<Precipitation may be taking place here due to your high calcium level.
See if the problem continues without dosing this product and/or when the calcium level
lowers to 380-400ppm.>
Thank you for your time and patience with me,
<You're welcome.>
had a 14 gal bio cube and dosed same stuff on a daily basis and tank was the most healthy out all I have ever had,
<Mmm, what did you maintain your calcium level at in that system?>
now I just have a smokey mess.
<I know the feeling, I'm enjoying a fine cigar right now. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 10/30/09
<Hello Craig>
Attached are some pictures. You may be able to tell if this is the problem you mentioned. If so, why does this happen?
<Simply put, calcium and carbonate (a component of alkalinity) can precipitate from the water if the concentration of each of them rises too high.
And it appears what is happening in your system with a calcium level of 500ppm and a slightly high dKH of 9.5.
This problem will stop once levels are returned to the norm. Do keep the magnesium level at 1280-1300ppm, is important for the corals to be able to absorb all the calcium available.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/5/10
Thanks, took your advice.
<And did what?>
I know it has been a while. One day did a 5 gal water change on this 40 gal tank with Tropic Marin salt and boom, cloudy for a week. This was the week before Thanksgiving, went home to Vt for 8 days at x-mas checked levels and calcium was 450, Mag was 1500, dKH was around 6ish, tried adding a little buffer to get it up to 7ish and once again smoky. For some reason I can not raise Alk with out this happening. I know Mag is high,
<Shouldn't cause cloudiness.>
<<Actually James... it well could. RMF>>
but I know something is way messed up, not much growth or coralline algae after 4 mo. Please give me your opinion so I can once again enjoy this hobby.
<What product are you buffering with at present?>
Thank you.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/6/10
Ocean's Blend A and B (Referring to what supplement the querior uses.)
<I'm not a fan of the two part solutions. Have used them in the past and cloudy water after dosing was one of the reasons I discontinued use of such. Took too long to clear up.
You may want to dilute/mix with freshwater before dosing, may help some.
James (Salty Dog)
Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/6/10
Took your advice and did not add anything as far as chemicals for quite awhile.
<OK. As far as the cloudy water goes, you may want to try Tropic Marin's Alka Balance. It controls both calcium and alkalinity and does not cloud water. Is what I use, a great product. Take a look here.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Please Help/Cloudy Water Now Trace Elements 1/6/10
Also what is a good product as far as trace/essential elements, some corals losing vibrance.
<May not necessarily be caused by a lack of trace elements. Have you read here and related
articles/FAQ's? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm
James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Tropic Marin Salt/Cloudy Water Query 1/6/10
Good morning Bob,
<Hiya James>
I was talking to Lou/Tropic Marin re above subject, asking for any input he may have that I may have missed. Below is his reply to me. You may want to post on the dailies if you like, and I will save should the querior write back.
<Will do so. Thank you. BobF>
Subject: Re: Tropic Marin Salt/Cloudy Water Query 1/6/10
Hi James,
Not much to add to what you have already said.. The key here, is that this is clearly a calcium carbonate precipitate. A couple of possibilities…The Ca test could be off and this tank actually has a much higher Ca level than what he thinks it is to me, this is the most likely cause).....He doesn’t mention phosphate levels at all. A very small amount of phosphate in the tank will keep a lot of Ca in solution. If he is running a phosphate reactor ALL THE TIME, he could try shutting it off to see if that makes a difference…..Lastly, his alkalinity test could also be off (much less likely, it is much easier to test for) and the Alk might be much higher than he thinks. Any of these might cause the issue.
BTW, there is no reason that using other products with TM salt or Ca should make this happen IF all of the parameters are in line.
Let me know what you find out.

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/7/10
<Hello Craig>
Thanks, I will order Alka balance and be in touch.
<Craig, I've talked to a contact at Tropic Marin for any additional input he
may have regarding your problem. I've pasted Lou's reply below for your information.
James (Salty Dog)>>
"Hi James,
Not much to add to what you have already said. The key here, is that this is clearly a calcium carbonate precipitate. A couple of possibilities…The Ca test could be off and this tank actually has a much higher Ca level than what he thinks it is to me, this is the most likely cause).....He doesn’t mention phosphate levels at all. A very small amount of phosphate in the tank will keep a lot of Ca in solution. If he is running a phosphate reactor ALL THE TIME, he could try shutting it off to see if that makes a difference…..Lastly, his alkalinity test could also be off (much less likely, it is much easier to test for) and the Alk might be much higher than he thinks. Any of these might cause the issue.
BTW, there is no reason that using other products with TM salt or Ca should make this happen IF all of the parameters are in line.
Let me know what you find out.

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/8/10
no reactor, and have not tested for phosphate. Tank has a refugium in sump and a big ball of Chaeto growing. Confused about the level of phosphate he spoke about, I thought the goal was to keep phosphate at 0000000000,
<I believe what Lou meant is that small levels of phosphate hinders absorption by calcium loving inverts. I will forward to Lou to confirm.>
Thanks and be in touch, by the way, added 10 ml of the Alk buffer to a gallon of top off water last night and all seemed well, Alk was 8 just a few minutes ago.
My trusty local fish store told me the dKH should be 10 or more and the only way to fix my problem was to do a 100 percent water change,,, sounds fishy...
<Is fishy, perhaps he is overstocked with salt mix, 7-8 dKH is just fine.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/8/10
I did forward your recent email as I mentioned to you. Lou at Tropic Marin responded and I have attached his email to me below.
James (Salty Dog)
Hi James,
You are partially correct, about what I was saying I meant.
What you said to him is true but to a very small extent if we are talking about low levels of phosphate. What I also meant though, is that if one is running a phosphate absorber all the time, it is possible then to have extremely low levels of phosphate in the tank approaching zero. In these very rare cases, the lack of phosphate might facilitate what he is seeing. Another example of the principle I am talking about is if you try to dissolve some type of Ca in distilled or RO/DI water, the concentration you can achieve before it starts to precipitate is much lower than if there is even a small amount of phosphate present in the water.
All the best,
Lou Ekus
(the Big Fish)
Director of US Operations
Tropic Marin USA

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 1/9/10
James, ok, now really confused, Is he saying a level of no phosphate could cause this, and why do you think I could add this buffer to a gal of top off water with no negative results but if the same amount of buffer is added to tank very bad things happen.
<Craig, I wouldn't fret too much on the phosphate issue as Lou does mention "very rare cases" and I do not believe you fall in to this category. Some manufacturers of buffers will actually state to mix with freshwater before dosing for just this reason. It's just the reaction of the concentrated buffer and the water parameters of your tank. You may want to take a water sample to your LFS and have him perform an alkalinity and calcium test to confirm that his test results are the same as yours.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/3/10
Me again,
<Hello Craig, James again also.>
I thought I was in the clear until,,,, you know I had switched A/B products to Kent Nano which I currently use, but I cannot seem to get levels to come up. I am at 8 dKH and around 400 calcium, Mag is 1400.
<Those levels are great.>
However if I dose small amounts in 40 gal tank eventually it will start to smoke up which from all this is precipitation of?????????????????????? everywhere I read says dKH 7-11, cal 380-450. Does this mean that if dKH is 7, cal should be 380 and if dKH is 11 cal should be 450 or can dKH be 7 and cal be 450, hope I am not confusing you.
<You are confusing yourself, not me. First off, dKH is an acronym meaning Degree Karbonate Hardness (German origin, measure for carbonate hardness alkalinity), and is the scale most test kits use and is not directly related to calcium.>
Is there a ratio between the two to keep in balance?
<No, each parameter has recommended values. dKH acts as a buffer to keep pH stable and your reading of 8 dKH is just fine and there is no ratio that needs to be met.>
I just don't understand that with my ####s above I can't raise them.
<You have NO reason to raise these parameters higher than they are presently at, do understand this. I know in previous emails I have given you plenty of information regarding this.>
Or is there a possibility that my Salifert test kits are not giving accurate readings and that calcium could be high so when I add A/B product this is why smoke happens. or vice versa.
<I believe in past threads, I've suggested to have your LFS take these tests and compare readings/confirm.>
I just think that if my numbers are correct I should not have this problem every 4-5 days.
<Many A/B products will actually state in the instructions that cloudiness may/will occur for a short period and is just one of the reasons I do not care for these type products.>
Make any sense, I hope so cause I am starting to think I don't know what the heck I am doing anymore.
<I do not understand why you are bent on using A/B products if cloudy conditions persist.>
Please give me your input,
<I have, in past threads, and with input from Lou Ekus of Tropic Marin. To help you better understand dKH (alkalinity) and calcium, I do suggest reading here and related articles/FAQ's shown in the header.
Also re-read previous threads, as much of the above has already been gone over.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/4/10
Tank is a Cadlights 39 pro, about 40 lbs of lr, 40 lbs of live sand maybe 100 + heads of Acanthastrea numerous colonies, 5" derasa, 3" squamosa ,2.5" maxima, 15 head Duncan, 4" meteor shower, 4" orange plate,,4-5 sps frags, 4" Tyree Ponapean Birdsnest, 6" blue encrusting Montipora which may have to go soon due to some yucky Mont Nudibranchs I now see any thoughts, and my newest addition today a jumbo Dendrophyllia, beautiful,,, I mean beautiful. plus one 8-9 head branching hammer. Do you consider this overstocked?
<Fish are the major waste producers and that is what I was eluding to. The corals are fine.>
Has built in refugium with big ball of Chaeto growing, and stock skimmer which seems to do alright. Water changes are about 10-15 gal a month with right now reef crystals. Did not mention any softies because this should not matter, correct?
<Yes, and I do like the Cadlight system, very nicely done.>
If you do feel that it is to much for Alka balance please let me know of another product you would recommend.
<What is your fish load?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Craig,,,, By the way just ordered the newer Aqua Illuminations lighting system, just 1 module because it is supposed to be comparable to a 400 watt MH bulb at full intensity, but was told by Greg at AI one should be fine as long as raise it 12-18 " to get good spread. what are your thought on these lights, If you think they suck please tell me to late to cacel <cancel> so your honesty will be apprecietd <appreciated>.
<I actually welcome LED technology in this hobby. In the long run it is a cost saver both on power consumption and lamp replacement along with generating much less heat into the system. I have no hands on experience with them as the full spectrum units are a little too pricey for my blood right now. I'm sure as sales increase, and production/development costs are absorbed, this lighting should be able to compete in cost with MH/HQI systems.>
Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/5/10
Royal Gramma, Bartlett Anthias, Watchman Goby, Mccosckers <McCosker's> Wrasse, and a fire fish.
<With your system, you are a little tight here as each fish has less than 10 gallons of water. The
McCosker's Wrasse and the Anthias fair much better in larger (50+ gallon) systems.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/11/10
<Hi Craig>
Last one, promise. Was the cigar good?
<I've been running out to the mail box daily, but no cigar from Bob yet. Me thinks he ordered a real expensive one from Cuba and it's just taking a little longer to get here.><<You've got a ways to go to beat some of Neale's treatise/conversations. RMF>>
I think I finally get or I am just way off. Referring to you<r> marbles in a jar article, If you have a volume of water with calcium, buffers, phosphate, mag, trace elements, nutrients, organic matter. This all applies to a full bowl of marbles.
<I need some marbles.>
Being said if I add cal or Alk to this bowl it over flows or that the ionic make up of saltwater can't let what I just added dissolve because <because> of all of what I mentioned above. If true it is starting to make sense. I always here <hear> of low nutrient sps tanks, is this so because having some of the marbles gone,,,, nutrients etc,,,,,, allows for a higher level of Alk and cal to be maintained, ideally what the sps prefer.
<Basically, yes. A low nutrient tank is a tank that is well maintained, not overstocked, and nutrients are exported efficiently. Dissolved nutrients are acidic, and being so, can/will deplete the buffer (dKH) which can lead to a lower pH. When we measure dKH, we are actually measuring Degree Of Karbonate Hardness (a German term we have adopted). The buffers can be considered as money in the bank. If we wish to maintain dKH at 8, we have a reserve of buffers we can draw out to maintain/restore that level if necessary. If we have big spenders in the tank (high nutrient levels/nitrates), all the reserves will eventually be drawn out and will need to be replaced. This is why we add buffers. Well maintained tanks contain misers, so very little of the reserve needs to be drawn out, so trips to the bank (adding buffers) are infrequent.>
So depending on your volume of water and what's in it, it may not be possible to achieve high levels of both Alk and cal, Because your bowl of marbles is to full of something else?
<I think you are getting it now.>
I either get it or am retarded. If I am wrong, do not be afraid to tell me to give up the hobby.
<On the contrary, Craig, is one of the reasons we are here, to assist and help folks understand and better maintain their systems. Giving up on the hobby just indicates your desire not to learn, and I would like you to learn/understand this so you can enjoy this hobby. Now, where did I put my Jack Daniels, I need some buffer. :))>
<You're welcome, and keep reading/learning. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/11/10
O.K. so my problem was probably, example....50 black marbles= nutrients, acids etc. 25 red= cal, 25 blue= buffers, if buffer and cal both reach 20 a piece and I add a and b supplements of 10 each. This now means that I have 5 marbles left of each undissolved which= cloudy water. Precipitation. I think I finally get it, and I keep good weekly maintenance so I have probably been adding a and b products with out the need for them on a daily basis.
<Likely so, and I still suggest reading the links I provided, even if you have to read them 10 times, you will understand. I cannot put it much simpler than I did in the last thread.>
thank you so much
<You're welcome, and Salty Dog with no cigar, losing his marbles.>

Re Please Help/Cloudy Water 3/29/2010
The other day, Tuesday, I did a 5 gallon water change, and once again all hell broke loose. Tank was cloudy for 3-4 days. Why? Calcium was 380 dKH was 8 before. Salt was Reef Crystals, and was close to my existing water as far as chemistry. Maybe slightly higher, but it was only 5 out of 40 gallons. Now today, which is Sunday the tank is crystal clear with similar chemistry. What the heck is going on? Water is RODI , tds 0.I, am lost and frustrated. I used spell check.
<Craig, we have been through all this before, I have given you all the advice I could muster, I've linked you to several of our articles, have even asked Lou Ekus/Tropic Marin for his input which he so graciously
provided. I suggest you again read all the threads below. Again, if all the water parameters are in line (including magnesium) as you say they are, and you are sure your Ca and dKH test kits are accurate, there is no reason, based on the information you provided, that this should happen. I have no more suggestions/answers. Bob and the crew may have some, but I'm fresh out. James (Salty Dog)>

Hazy Tank Woes 8/31/09
Hi everyone. As always, I find myself coming to you for your expertise about my reef. My tank is a 120 gallon (48" x 24" x 24") mixed reef ( yes, I know what's coming with the "garden reef" grins ). The tank is mostly stocked with aquacultured Acropora , a couple of chalice, Xenia, Hammer, and a Torch coral. My fish include a purple tang, pair of tomato clowns, pair of Laboute's fairy wrasses, and a group of 5 Resplendent Anthias . I also have two Crocea clams, a cleaner shrimp, and the various cleaner crew.
<Sounds very nice>
All of my tank levels are in normal ranges ( pH 8.2, nitrates 5-10ppm, phosphates 0, calcium 420ppm, dKH 10-11, specific gravity 1.023 ). I change 20% of my water with RO /DI water every 2-3 weeks. I dose C-balance 2 part calcium, and Kent Marine Iodine and Strontium, all from an Aqua Medic dosing pump. All supplements are dosed according to directions.
Over the last week, I have come downstairs to find my tank cloudy and murky. I'm a little baffled because around the time the lights go on ( about 9:00 am ) the tank is crystal clear and all is well. The next time I come downstairs, I find myself peering into a milky white, clouded tank.
It's not a gradual process either. I'm talking crystal clear to mess in the span of an hour or so. Both times this has happened I've changed my carbon in my phos-ban reactor, cleaned my skimmer ( Aqua-C EV 180 driven by a Mag Drive 7 Pump ), and changed my pre-filter material. After a period of a couple of hours, the condition subsides. I test for my normal parameters, and all is well. I'm stumped! Is this something from my supplement dosing?
<A likely source... the C balance product has had "mis-dilution" issues at times. I suggest switching to B-Ionic>
Do I have a clam that's trying to spawn in my tank ( I know this is rare ), any thoughts on what this could be?
<There could be a biological component... Do you have a microscope handy?>
Please help with anything.
Shawn Green
<Bob Fenner, San Diego, sweltering kinetically and with socialism; i.e. run-away gov't>

Sunburst Anthias and overfeeding... more cloudy water 4/19/09
Hi there:
Thank you for your web-site. I spend a lot of time reading your articles.
<Hope they are interesting, informative... useful>
I have had recurring problems with cloudy water in my 75 gallon. I'm reasonably certain its a bacteria bloom. In my last attempt at this, I had five fish in the 75 gallon and was feeding twice a day because I had a
flame angel that I was scared would pick at corals if it was hungry.
After a bunch of water changes, a temporary "supersized" skimmer, Seachem's "Clarity" and a complete breakdown of the tank including washing all the live rock with new saltwater the problem was cleared -- for four days, and then came back. We did multiple tests of the water and the amm/nitrate/nitrite all stayed at zero throughout the cloudy period.
I took down the tank, took all the live rock and fish back to the store and took a month off to clear my head. I'd struggled with this for about two months and was really frustrated. About six weeks ago, I started the tank again, this time swearing that I would have minimal stocking.
After two weeks (using cured live rock from the store), I put in a midas blenny, and then a week later, a purple Firefish. The water stayed clear. Three days ago, I picked my final fish (swore I'd limit myself to
three fish), a Sunburst Anthias. I was a complete moron and didn't find out that these guys need to be fed twice a day.
<Mmm, will feed themselves given sufficient small life presence from rock, sand...>
After two days of twice a day feeding my water has started clouding up again.
I'm at a loss, the overfeeding is all I can think of as a cause.
<Coupled with insufficient circulation, filtration...>
There is also a diatom bloom. I put in about 15 snails to eat the diatoms.
I use about 1/2 of a cube of mysis shrimp two times a day for feeding. I did, however, leave the mysis shrimp in a bowl of water by the tank for a couple of hours before I put the remaining shrimp in. Could it have spoiled?
<Not likely, no>
Do Sunburst Anthias really need to be fed multiple times a day, or could I take a couple of days off feeding this tank anything to see if it clears?
<I would take the few days off>
I wrote about this several months ago, and a diatom filter was suggested.
I tried to find one without much luck. The one place that did carry them had instructions on the web, and my head got dizzy just reading them, so I got scared to try it.
Should I remove the sunburst Anthias so that I can feed less? Could I try feeding the fish just once a day for a while in small amounts to see if it resolves itself? Should I do a big water change?
Thanks for your help.
<I would read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CloudySWF.htm
and the linked files above... and consider your options a bit further, while just being patient for a few days. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sunburst Anthias and overfeeding – 04/22/09

Thank you! The cloudiness has subsided a bit.
<Ah good... patience is rewarded (not always, but in this case). BobF>

Cloudy water 4/19/09
Sorry to bother you with this, but I am having a party tonight. I awoke to two cloudy tanks this morning. Both have been running for about a month.
One is a RR 75g with LR and limited coral, the other is a 14g BioCube with coral and inverts. The only thing that has changed with the two setups is that I rearranged some of the coral and live rock between the two. Now, they're both completely cloudy. I understand that this is likely a bacterial/ algae bloom. Anything I can do to speed up the process?
<Mmm, no... nothing that is practical that might not cause more problems...
Perhaps running a diatom/Diatom filter for an hour or so would clear them temporarily (for the party)>
Any ideas what caused this simultaneous bloom?
<Likely the coral, rock movement...>
Thank you very much as always
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cloudy water 4/19/09

Both tanks are completely clear today. Is there anywhere I might be able to find a more specific answer regarding why both isolated tanks "bloomed" at the same time?
<Mmm, no... not w/o more specific, time-registered water quality test results... But "does happen"... that there are microbial, protozoan population explosions at times from such seemingly simple changes>
I did not disturb the sand bed in the rr 75g whatsoever. I just removed a few lbs of rubble without any detritus disruption. In the 14g, I did stir up the sand bed a bit. I did not transfer any substantial bioload of coral between the tanks.
<Welcome. BobF>

Pollution From Spawning Event – 04/01/09
Good morning.
<<Greetings Mike>>
I was extremely surprised to see a worm like appendage emerge from some rock in my salt water reef tank and spew a white cloud of material.
<<Ahh…likely a spawning event>>
Enough material to fully cloud the 34 gallon Red Sea Max tank.
<<Not unusual>>
Was it dangerous to the others and should I try and root it out?
<<That depends on how good your filtration is…but this probably is/was not a big hazard to your tank, and probably provided a bit of food to some of the tank’s other inhabitants. But do check your filter, and exchange/replace the filtration media. As for the “worm like appendage”…unless you can determine it to be harmful in itself, I would leave be and enjoy>>
Thanks in advance.
<<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Desperate for help: Murky Saltwater 02/09/09
I hope you can help me with a problem that has both me and my LFS confused.
For several weeks I've been struggling with cloudy water. It transitioned over about two days from clear to so thick I can't see more than a few inches into the tank.
<Ah, might be time to break out the frustules...>
75 Gallons, 1.025 gravity, dKH 9, Calcium 550, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 8.3, Temperature 78 degrees, Phosphates - undetectable, Tank age: 4 months, Live rock: approximately 30 lbs. (was fully cured when I bought it)
I had my local LFS test the water also to confirm my test kits.
* Fish in the aquarium: Watanabei Angel, Flame Angel, Swallowtail Angel, small yellowtail damsel, fridmani Pseudochromis, tomato clown
* Circulation: Tunze Nanostream, EcoTech Vortech mp20.
* Remora HOB skimmer.
* I had not added any new fish/corals within three weeks prior to the water change from clear to murky.
* I was feeding the fish 2x a day, but have cut down to once. I feed Spirulina 2 days in a row, then "Emerald Reef" on the third day.
* I've done several water changes over the past several weeks, two 15 gallon changes, two 30 gallon changes. Each time, the water will get better for an hour or two then be the same (or even
worse) than it was before
* My fish are all still alive, and the corals seem to be OK (at least the ones I can see).
* I tried putting on an additional Euro-reef skimmer that has produced about 1/3 skim cup over three days, but the water is murky as ever.
* I put on a filter sock and ran carbon. I also tried a Polyfilter pad. The pad became slightly discolored after a few days, but nothing significant.
* The skimmate is not super smelly (slight odor).
I'm desperate....considering breaking this tank down if nothing better happens in the next two weeks because I can't think of what else to do. I miss looking at my fish and corals :(
<We (the crew) just had a big discussion about this topic. It is my standard advice, for cloudy water, to use diatom filtration (i.e. run a diatom filter or use diatom powder in a Magnum canister filter). We did this daily at the LFS where I used to work. In my opinion/experience, it's the safest, easiest and most effective way to clear up cloudy water.
Though, do continue to investigate the source of the problem.>
Thanks for any advice you can offer,
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 2/9/09
<Crew, any input on this matter? I am at a loss.>
I wanted to follow up and see if there were any more ideas among the WWM crew.
<Will ask for help on this query today.>
Recently I hooked up an Ocean Clear 25 micron filter to a bucket with about 2 gallons of tank water in it and let it run for 24 hrs, the filter was fed with a 700gph pump. The following day I took some of that filtered water into a clean glass and I could still see the matter. I let that water sit in the glass for most of the day, that evening the stuff was still in suspension in the glass, none of it had settled.
I also upgraded the return pump from a Mag 9.5 to a Mag 18.
I am completely out of ideas and I really could use any help WWM can offer.
<Yes, and I too.>
Thanks again for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/09/09
Just my opinion here, but I think James might be over-complicating this all a bit. If it were me (and it has been me before), I would just run a diatom filter... diatom filtration takes out just about anything visible, suspended in the water (and even a lot of stuff too small to see with the naked eye). "Filter feeding corals" (which ones James might have been referring to, I'm not entirely sure) are not going to help much here. And even so, the corals that might act most like "filter feeders" usually don't survive in aquariums. So I certainly wouldn't go this route for a solution. Do try the diatom filter though... you'll be amazed by how quickly and effectively they work.
Sara M.

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/09/09
Thank you for your input. I do agree with you as to the diatom filter as a quick fix,
<It's likely more than just a quick fix. Unless this aquarist is adding something strange to his water (or isn't telling us something important-- nothing I can think of), I suspect this is a bacterial or algal bloom of some kind. The diatom filtration can (and in my experience does) "solve" such problems by removing the culprit. I'm not saying that this won't ever happen again, but when/if it does, another run of the diatom filter seems to cure it. And even if the diatom filter needed to be run every day...
I'm not so sure that would be such a bad thing anyway.>
but I'm looking for an answer as to where this may be coming from. What puzzles me is that the querior is using an RO for purification. As you know, these units produce near perfect water.
<James, I do think you had the right idea to start with... that something is "growing" in the water. But corals won't solve this and, imo, there's no shame in just filtering the stuff out mechanically. ;-)>
Sara M.>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/09/09
?! I don't usually read James's queries, but Scott told me to read this one yesterday... and I'm kinda surprised. Using corals to clarify water? Am I missing something? Isn't this just a simple problem of suspended particulates? I've never had a suspended particulates problem I couldn't fix in 3 to 5 hours with just a diatom filter...
<Filter feeders of all sorts can be used profitably in many such circumstances... they trap particles with their mucus often in addition, and change the water quality such that materials settle out. B>>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away -Dissenting
I must respectfully disagree with you. Yes, corals can do all those things, but not enough necessary to cure a tank of such size of what seems to be such a pervasive water clarity issue. The aquarist in this case would have to add very large colonies and quantities of corals... quantities which most people would take years to acquire/grow It just doesn't seem to be at all a practical (or even possible?) solution in this case (IMO).
Sara M.
<Thanks for your input. B>

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 2/9/09
Again, thank you for your input. I am well aware of what a diatom filter will do for polishing water. Suggesting the use of such was going to be my last resort, since a good diatom filter such as the System 1 Filter, runs right around $120.00, and the DE media, another $14.00 at most etailers.
At the time, I really didn't want to suggest to the querior to go out and spend $150.00 to cure his water problem, but rather to send out a distress call to see if any crew members or acquaintances have had this problem and what they have done to correct it. So far, no takers.
Again, Sara, I really do appreciate your input and knowledge, and do consider you a valuable asset to our site.

Or... one can get a Magnum canister filter at a garage sale (if you don't already have one) for maybe $30 and a box of diatom powder for maybe $5 at LFS. In fact, this is what I did every day I worked at a LFS back home. I assume just about every aquarist either has a Magnum or knows someone who does. And if not, they're just so easy to come by for cheap. I mean, seriously... there's even a few going for <$20 on EBay right now. But I don't/didn't want to pick a fight here. You asked if any of the crew had any experience with such problems. I have. And you asked for a solution. I have given mine. Yes, I agree all underlying causes should be investigated. They do seem to be by the aquarist.
Peace, love and pet fish.
Sara M.

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 2/9/09
Thanks once again for your input. Yes, the Magnum would be a much cheaper way to go. No fighting intended, I am a peace loving man, especially after a Jack Daniels on the rocks, and is where I'm heading now, to get
"Suspended Matter Won't Go Away" out of my head:))).
Well, dang... I wish you could share! I'm visiting my mom, a dry house currently... no spirits for me.
Cheers and beers,

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 2/11/09
Thanks for your reply, I purchased a Vortex XL diatom filter and set it up as per the mfg instructions and ran it for about 12 hours. No change at all. I can still see a lot drifting around.
<Wow... no change at all? How odd. I'm sorry. I'm baffled then. Can you take a picture of this? Where did your rock come from? Any chance that your rock is disintegrating? Can you think of anything the previous tank and the current tank have in common? Anything weird going on in your house? Plaster falling from the ceiling or something? Bizarre...
Sara M.>

I'm not sure, but looking over this again, it seems like the only thing the two systems have in common is the live rock and corals. Unless one or a few of the corals is continuously spawning in your tank (not likely)... I would guess this must be coming from your live rock.... or perhaps, do you have a lot of leather corals that shed a lot? What a mystery!
Sara M.

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/11/09
Hi again Joe,
I just chatted with a few friends about this. And I think that you have a bacteria bloom problem. If it were algae, the diatom filter should have taken it out. If it were chemical (i.e. Ca/Alk issue), then it should have settled out overnight when you took out a sample to sit still. Thus, unless your rock is disintegrating (seems unlikely) or you have something
falling into the water (also seems unlikely)... the only other thing I can think of is bacteria. You could try a broad range antibiotic, but that's really risky... you could accidently overdose and "nuke" the tank. Only other thing I might suggest is to go rent/borrow a UV sterilizer from your LFS. The more marine aquarium focused LFSs will usually rent such things out... maybe you could see if that works.
In any case, if you do find out what the problem is or find something that works. Please do write to let us know!
Good luck,
Sara M.

Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/11/09
To be honest the 65 was more of a LR tank than a reef tank. But that was 1.5 years ago. I do have a few leathers, but they look great, I never see any slime on them or anything. Actually everything in the tank looks happy.
I am attaching a few pics here. After running the diatom for 12 hours I turned off all the pumps and power heads in the tank and let it sit for about 2 hours. Then took these pictures. Please note this is in the water column and not on the glass. I would think if it is micro bubbles then in 2 hours they surely would have risen to the surface.
Thanks again for your time and patience with me.
<Oh, wow, it's a good thing you sent in these pics. I had a totally different mental image of what was going on. I was thinking that your water was more "cloudy." I don't think this is a bacterial bloom anymore.
I honestly don't know what this is. I'm puzzled because the particles look more than big enough to be removed by the diatom filter. So I wonder why that didn't help. And you say you don't have any sand in the tank at all?
Huh... I guess I'll just have to say what James said... maybe look at the particles under a microscope?
Sara M.>

Mmm, int., bio. or no... RMF
Re: Suspended Matter Won't Go Away 02/11/09
My rock has come from a few different sources, I tried to diversify as much as possible. I do have a lot of rock in the tank, probably about 200#. I don't know that the rock is disintegrating, but I can make the problem much worse if I do a real thorough blow off of the rock work. The only common link between the two tanks is some of the LR and a few pieces of coral. The corals have grown a lot since then. I'm in an apartment, no work being done in or around my place, no construction or anything. I took the sand out along time ago because I thought it was the problem, it wasn't, so I do have sand in the tank as of last week. Last week I took the tank down and removed everything, cleaned the tank and sump and all the power heads and pumps, then blew off all the rock with a big power head before putting it back in. I reused 1/2 the water after running it through two 25 micron filters, the other 1/2 was new salt water.
A little history: I started with a 20 with a HOB filter, then I moved to a new apartment, I upgraded to a 30 with an overflow box and sump. Tank looked crystal clear. I upgraded again to a cleaned 65 with that same overflow box and the same LR and corals, the same RO, everything was exactly the same as the 30. But the tank had this stuff in it. I changed filtration and pumps, added a glass tank cover and sump cover, but still no help. I then upgraded to a 90RR, added the LR + 100lbs and corals, got a new RO/DI, got a new mixing can for the water changes, new sump, all new filter socks, new skimmer (which was upgraded to ASM G3), new lights, new heater, and a new return pump and mixing pump, new power heads, even added filters to the fans in the canopy. That was over 2 years. Still dealing with the problem.
<Well, honestly, from what I see in the pics, it doesn't look like it's really much of a "problem." I mean, your fish look healthy and all. It doesn't look like you have any algae problems. This might be something you just have to make your peace with.>
I just back flushed the diatom and re-charged it, for another round. Can this filter clean the water too good and starve the corals?
<I wouldn't run it 24/7 or after feeding. It's one of those things that's good to run periodically, but not constantly.>
I am going to see if I find a cheap microscope to look at this stuff more closely.
<Please let us know if you find out anything...>
Sara M.>

Cloudy saltwater tank, base rock use 2/2/09
thanks for reading my e-mail. I have a custom made 86 gallon tank its 5'8 long 18 tall and 18 deep. I started out with a 50g tall that i never had this problem with, it all started out when i transferred tanks. I used all the sand, 30 pounds of live rock, about 100 pounds of limestone,
<Mmm... "base rock"... this can be problematical... take a while to stop "flaking">
filter, skimmer and sump with about 15 pounds of live rock from the 50 gallon. Since the swap the water has never been clear, its not green just hazy. The fish don't seem stressed at all,. the new tank has been set up for approx . 3 months now,
and seems to get cloudier every water change. last week I decided to test for Alk . and calcium for the first time. The Alk was at 16 and calcium was at 440 my ph has always been 8.2-8.4 . I had been using tap water. I tested the tap water and Alk was at 11. So naturally i went strait out and bought an RO /DI filter and started doing water changes to lower the Alk .
<Mmm, "it's" not the tap>
I did several 30 gallon water changes adding the water very slowly over several hours. The Alk is now down to 9 and the calcium is still at 440 i am using Coralife salt. I am going to do some research on diff salts and their different readings. The last water change was done 24 hrs ago and it looked like it was going to clear up but now its cloudy again .
custom made 86 gallon tank
45 pounds live rock
100 pounds of limestone
20 gallon sump
has filter sock on sump inlet
maxi-jet 1800 return pump
CPR backpack skimmer
2 Hydor #1's
2 eco modded maxi-jet 1200's
Eheim eco filter for carbon and filter pads
for now 6 NO florescent
2 6500
1 18000
1 10000
2 actinic blue
specific gravity 1.024
temp 78 deg
ammonia 0ppm
nitrite 0ppm
nitrate 0ppm
ph 8.2
alkalinity 10 dKH
calcium 440 ppm
phosphate .25 ppm
2 tank raised clowns
5 Chromis
1 coral beauty
1 black Combtooth blenny
1 dragon goby
1 cleaner shrimp
varies snails and hermit crabs
no coral yet....
I have looked all over WetWeb and found a lot of info on calcium snowstorms. I thought that's what this was but since lowering the Alk there has been no change. I know that the dragon goby could be causing some of this but i don't see anything that looks like sand particles in the water.
thanks for your time.
i know the super bowl is about to come on so i don't expect any replies soon.. lol
<Heeee! Was out walking the dogs during... surprisingly uncrowded. Well, my best guess is on/with the CaCO3 rock... not your source water, the salt mix, or anything else... Cures? Time going by... maybe sped up with the
addition of a refugium... with macroalgae there, RDP lighting... a DSB... to aid in biological processes that will ultimately "settle", precipitate a good deal of this floating floc... Please read here re:
the second tray down... Alternatively, you could invest in a mechanical filter with something like Diatom filter/size/type capacity... and sieve out the particles... while waiting for other processes to catch up. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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