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What is going on in my tank.


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Hi all, 

So this is the first time I've come across this. I'm getting close to 6 months in my planted tank and it's brought me a lot of joy. Anyways, as of last week I noticed that my water had went from being like looking through a window, to being foggy with particles floating everywhere. I did a water change last week (20%) and gravel vacc'd. With still no change this week. I dose Easy Green once to twice a week and Easy Iron 2-3 times per week. My tank is a 55 gallon and I didn't realize my PH had lowered so much, my water is always a little brown because of the drift wood in my tank. I normally keep it at 7.0. So I'm going to add some PH up. My question is, is this normal and healthy for the water to go from so clear to being foggy? Also I added a second light to my tank so that the foreground plants as well as the background plants are all getting equal lighting. At first I thought that I had started to make green water. But as I stated before this is still new to me and I have a lot to learn. I have a myriad of snails, shrimp, and fish. I also last week cleaned my filters with tank water and the actual filter unit itself with tap water. I'm guessing that's ok seeing as how the beneficial bacteria are all in the sponges. My filters are two Tidal 55's with a very large course sponge, the normal sponge that comes with it. I also added a Fluval fine canister filter sponge today at the top to get varying degrees of coarseness throughout the filter. With the Tidal Bio rocks in the mesh bag at the top. I also have a small sponge filter hidden in the back of my tank. I got that about 3 weeks ago now, simply because I've never tried one and wanted to learn how to use it. WAYYYYYYYY easier to use than was made out to me at first by other people haha. Lastly, here are my current water parameters that I tested just before making this post. The Nitrite being 0.25 and the Nitrate being 0 confused me as well. Is this also a normal thing? Also the ammonia usually is 0-0.25, which I don't mind because I've read that the plants essentially "eat" it. If I'm also wrong about that, please educate me. Thanks Y'all!

The bottom of the post has pictures of my tank currently. You can see at the edges of the tank the fogginess that I speak of. As with all pictures, it's easier to see in person. 


Ammonia- 0.25

Nitrite- 0.25

Nitrate- 0

Aquarium .jpeg

Aquarium 2.jpeg

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Foggy water can be a few things, usually the easiest way to tell if it is a green water bloom is to put some into a white cup and see if it has a green tint to it. Adding a second light may have caused a green water bloom, but if the cup of water looks white it may be a bacterial bloom. These can happen anytime the bacterial colony surges. There are a lot of things that can cause to a bacterial bloom, and though I personally haven't seen a Ph drop cause one it certainly would not surprise me it it did.

Instead of something like PH Up I tend to prefer "slow and steady/always on" for buffering PH. For me that is crushed coral in the tank mixed into the substrate. Some folks will put crushed coral in either a HOB or canister filter as a Ph buffer, but I like the look of it (and use sponge filters) so I don't have any first hand experience using it in a filter.

Hope that helps, and as always take any and all internet advice with a grain of salt. We all learn what works for us and that may not suit your style of fish keeping or your local water.


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hmmm, interesting problem.

Given the parameters you have posted, it seems to me, somehow you lost your cycle. You mentioned you cleaned your filter with tap water. This is usually a no-no as it will kill the bacteria in there. You know this as you stated you cleaned some of your filtration in tanks water. You should clean all of your filtration in tank water.

I noticed a commonality in your post, just after your 'cleaning' is when your 'problem' happened. To me, this is just too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Your description mentioned 2x tidal 55s a sponge filter and a canister filter. Did I read that right? Do you have that many fish where you need that much filtration?

One good thing about the amount of filtration you have is you can alternate your filter cleanings.

I wish I could help you more with your tank, but we need a little more info to help you out. What are your stocking levels? What Kind of light(s) are you running? Are they on a timer? How much light per day are they on?

The more information you can provide, the more we can help.

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I would say with the parameters you listed of having some ammonia and nitrite and no nitrates in the water that you lost your cycle when you cleaned the filters. I would leave it be for the time being, you could add a product that has some bacteria in it such as Fritz Zyme 7 to help, if you wanted. I would not go chasing the pH, it is much better to just go for steady water parameters at this point. When you clean your filters, alternate cleaning them, clean one, then next week or two weeks clean the other. You can even alternate water changes and filter cleaning, not doing all of them at the same time to help. 

Other than the cloudy water, your tank looks great, I'm sure you will get it taken care of and it will be good looking.

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Hey guys, sorry I've been very busy with work. Well I think you guys were right, I lost my cycle. I've never done that before so that wasn't something that I thought was happening. I work insanely early in the morning and I just came home to a pristine; like looking through a window, clear tank haha. Sooooo I guess it just kind of took care of itself once the cycle re-established itself. I'm thankful for all the advice given, I never thought about rotating cleaning my filters. Of course I wash the sponges in my HOB filter with tank water. I struggle however cleaning the the HOB unit itself with tank water, simply because it just gets so mucky over time. I was beginning to think that maybe I was overdosing ferts and it was causing problems. But lesson learned, thanks for all the patience with me, as I stated previously. I'm still relatively new to the hobby, and I giggle sometimes at my knowledge with things going on inside my tank. Where as when I first began, I would have been internally panicking. As to now, I can just be like, "yup! its fine, just let this ride and it will do what nature does and balance itself."

Anyways, cheers guys, thanks for all the sound advice! Especially with dosing ferts and talking to me about range values. Lastly, thanks for walking me through another learning experience in the hobby!

Here's a picture of the tank today, the water is crystal clear, there's just a glare from the window. 

Clean tank.jpeg

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