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What to Do If Your Fish Tank Is Cloudy

By J W Chase

If you have an aquarium, then you may have experienced cloudy water. Here are some causes of cloudy water and what you can do to stop it.

Causes Of Cloudy Water

One cause of cloudy water that you may experience is a good cause. Shortly after putting water in your new aquarium, you may experience cloudy water. This is good because it is caused by the bacteria in your tank blooming.

This should be left alone because after several days or weeks it will clear up and you will have a batch of bacteria that is good for your fish.

Other causes of cloudy water could be caused by feeding your fish too much, to many fish and algae growth.

Curing Cloudy Water

Curing this problem is quite easy. Here are some suggestions on clearing up the problem:

Algae – If your cloudy water is being caused by algae growth then the first thing you need to do is figure out where it is coming from and then replace the water. There are a couple of reasons why you have algae growth:


  • Excess Light – Is your aquarium next to a window. Could be your aquarium is getting excess amounts of sunlight, especially during the summer. Another source of excess light could be from your aquarium lights. I have mine on a timer that only allows 12 hours of light a day which appears to work well in not allowing algae to grow.
  • Excess Phosphates – Feeding your fish too much produces phosphates that will encourage algae growth. Only feed your fish the amount they can eat in three minutes, this will reduce the excess food at the bottom of your aquarium and reduce the formation of phosphates.
  • Nitrates – This is one chemical you should measure for on a weekly basis. The maximum concentration you should have is less than 20 ppm. To reduce nitrates, ensure you do not have to many fish. You should only have five inches of mature fish for every five gallons of water you have in your aquarium. Another source of nitrates is fish waste. You should clean at least 10 per cent of your aquarium weekly.


Substrate – If you are using gravel as your substrate and you notice that your aquarium water is cloudy after putting the water in, the source of this cloudiness is probably because you did not clean the substrate before you put it in the aquarium.

If this is the case, empty your aquarium and wash the substrate with warm water.

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