By | November 23, 2017
how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water

Many aquarium owners often struggle with how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water. Cloudy fish tank water is a common phenomenon for every aquarium owner. It can be a very persistent and bothersome problem. In this article, I’ll provide you all the ways to get rid of cloudy fish tank water right now!

To get a solution, we always need to find the root of the problem. Similar is the situation for cloudy fish tank water. Several causes can trigger cloudy water in fish tank. You need to identify at first what is causing cloudiness in your fish tank. Only by eliminating the cause of the problem, we can get to a solution.
Here are some causes behind cloudy fish tank water:

What Are the Causes of Cloudy Fish Tank Water?

Cloudy fish tank water is a baffling phenomenon for many aquarium owners. There is no single cause behind this problem. Consequently, there is no single answer to the question why your fish tank water is cloudy. However, depending on the color and the situation of the cloudy water, we can pinpoint some basic causes.


Causes of White/Grayish Water


Residue of Gravel: 

It is one of the most common causes of whitish cloudy water. If the aquarium water seems cloudy immediate after filling with water, it is due to poorly washed gravel. Gravels can contain a lot of dust with them. If not washed properly, these dust make the water cloudy. Normally, the dust clears up within a couple of hours. If it doesn’t, you need to drain the aquarium, wash all the gravels thoroughly again and refill the tank.

Dissolved minerals: 

The next probable cause of cloudy water in a newly filled aquarium is high amount of dissolved minerals. The minerals can be Phosphate, silicates as well as other heavy metals. To be sure, test the pH of the water. In such cases, the pH becomes higher than neutral (Alkaline). If you are facing this situation, you need to treat the water with conditioners to solve the problem. More on this topic is described later on. Another option to bypass this problem is using Reverse Osmosis (RO) water instead of regular water.

Bacteria Bloom:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, bacteria bloom
If your fish tank water becomes cloudy days, weeks or even months after setting it, the probable cause is bacteria bloom. If the bacterial colony in your aquarium is disrupted or not formed well, bacteria bloom may occur. Access amount of uneaten fish food or decaying live aquarium plants may also trigger the bacteria bloom. Solving bacteria bloom isn’t that hard. You just need to follow some basic guidelines such as always keeping the aquarium clean, siphoning out debris and uneaten foods from the gravel, making regular water changes etc. if there are debris in the fish tank that you can’t get out by siphoning, you may need to use water conditioner. It lets all these debris to clump together so that they can be siphoned out easily.

Causes of Green Water



It doesn’t need Einstein to figure out that the main reason behind green water is excess algae growth. There is no fish tank without algae. A limited amount of algae is even better for aquariums. But it becomes a problem when the growth rate increases out of control. Controlling algae can be a bit tough. But with the right approach, you can control the growth rate and hence, get rid of green water.

Excess Light:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, excess light
The most probable reason for algae bloom is excess amount of light. If the aquarium has direct access to sunlight or if you keep aquarium light on for an excess amount of time, algae will grow. If you observe excess algae growth, immediately reduce the time when light is on.

Too much nutrient: 

Some nutrient such as nitrate, phosphate etc. also help to grow algae. Too much of these can cause algae bloom. You need to control the amount of these nutrient for battling against algae. You can do a water change as a temporary solution. But to get rid of the problem permanently, try to find to root of excess nitrate and phosphate. Refrain from using too much aquarium plant fertilizers.


Phosphates is a chemical compound that comes from two sources in an aquarium: from the water itself and decaying organic materials such as fish food, plant leaves etc. Too much phosphate encourage the growth of algae. Test your water for the amount of phosphate in it. If it contains excess amount of phosphate, use RO water or a water conditioner. You should also consider reducing the amount of food to fishes.


Nitrate is a byproduct of fish waste. It generally builds up in an aquarium over time. The only way to deal with it is to perform regular water changes. There are also some precautions you should take. Make sure that the filter in your aquarium is perfect for your tank size. Also ensure you are not overstocking your aquarium otherwise you’ll have to deal with nitrate constantly.

With this water test kit, you can easily check the parameter of your aquarium water within seconds.



How to Avoid Cloudy Fish Tank Water?


Start off with Good Bacteria: 

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, good bacteria

The first thing you need to do is start off the tank with a base of good bacteria to kick off the nitrogen cycle. High-quality prepackaged bacterial cultures are sold online which works amazing. There are also gravels that are pre-seeded with bacteria. Another economic option is getting gravel or decorations from an already established tank and using them in the new one. These gravel already contain bacteria and kick start the nitrogen cycle. You may also use pre-seeded filter pads for this purpose.


how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, filter maintenance

Regular Filter Maintenance: 

One of the most underrated aquarium task is regularly maintaining the filter. Filters are the life support machine of your aquarium. Your entire livestock depends on it. That’s why it is crucial for the filter to perform flawlessly. For this, you need to perform regular filter maintenance. Even the smallest error of filter can prove to be fatal and result in cloudy water. At worse, fishes can die.

Regular Water Change: 

This one task pretty much sums up if you are going to be successful in this hobby. Aquarium owners who are too lazy to do regular water changes inevitably fail with their fish tank. Regular water change is a must for keeping your fish tank healthy. No matter what problem arises in your tank, the immediate step should be doing a water change. A water change also brings back balance to the water parameter. You should at least do 25% water change every week. If you are too lazy like me, then this tool will surely help you a lot. It saves a ton of time and energy. Every aquarium owner should invest in this handy tool.


Don’t go over the limit: 

The one problem many aquarium owners do is going over the line. This may be over feeding your fish or even overstocking your aquarium. Overstocking an aquarium simply means that there is more fish in the aquarium than it can handle. Both are extremely dangerous for aquarium and may result in cloudy fish tank water. Keep in mind that fishes are not human. They don’t need breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. Only feed them lightly once a day. It is a good practice to make them fast once or twice a week.



Prepare your mentality: 

Always remember that aquarium is not a machine, it is a glass box full of live animals. You can’t expect everything to run super quickly. It takes time to establish a natural balance to aquarium. Don’t rush it and start adding low quality products. Even a single chemical may break the balance of the water parameter and result in cloudy water. That’s why, always be patient when dealing with aquarium. Before adding anything, do a thorough research on it and check if the product is legit. Remember, the lives of your fishes depend on it.


How to Treat Cloudy Fish Tank Water?

A number of culprits are responsible for cloudy fish tank water. Here are some ways to treat cloudy fish tank water:

Changing the aquarium water regularly:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, aquarium water change
·         At first, disconnect all the power sources to the tank. It will eliminate the risk of electrifying the fishes. Don’t take out the electrical devices however.
·         Take out all the decorations, rubber plants from the tank. Put them on a clean towel.
·         Using an algae scrubber, scrub all the sides of the glass tank. It will remove algae sticking to glass.
·         Now its time to take out the filter. You can put it with the decorations on the paper towel.
·         Get some warm water. Clean all the decorations, rubber plants and filter with the water thoroughly. Do this step properly. Repeat until every item is properly cleaned.
·         Now get a water siphon. If you don’t know, it is a plastic tube with siphon with one end connected to a bucket. Take the end with the siphon and push it to the gravel. All the debris, uneaten fish food and other materials will get siphoned out of the aquarium. It is a crucial step for cleaning your aquarium. Continue doing this until one third of the water is drained from the aquarium.
·         Using an aquarium thermometer, measure the temperature of the fish tank water. You need to supply water of the same temperature. If not, the fishes may go through a shock. The normal temperature range is 23 to 28 degree Celsius.
·         Turn on the faucet pump to refill water in the aquarium. At this stage, you may add any de-chlorinator if you need. You can also use a bucket to fill out the tank. After the tank is filled, place the decorations, plastic plants and filters back inside the aquarium. You may re-scape the design a bit if you wish.
·         Plug in all the power devices and check if all are working perfectly. Double check the filter. It is one of the most crucial elements in a fish tank.



Maintaining the filter:

·         If you have a canister filter, then use a screwdriver to remove the top of the filter and get access to the filter pad. Take out the sponge pad or filter pad and rinse it thoroughly under warm water for a couple of minutes. If the pad is too bad to use, you can replace with a new one. Amazon have hundreds of high quality filter pads for sale.
·         Chemical filters generally have granules of pellets in them. It is generally placed between a mechanical filter and biological filter. Chemical filters contain activated carbons in them. It absorbs odor and other organic particles form the aquarium. If the water is cloudy, it is time to change the activated carbon.
·         A biological filter is a must for every aquarium. It holds the nitrifying bacteria that causes nitrogen cycle to happen. It removes nitrate and phosphate from the water, making it safe for the fishes. If the biological filter is clogged, rinse it properly with aquarium water. It is important to use aquarium water otherwise the bacteria colony may die. Only replace the biological filter if it is physically damaged.
·         If your filter contains any rotating part, check the impeller if it is working properly. If not, you may need to clean it. Carefully read the manufactures instruction before attempting to clean the impeller. It is better if you can watch any video of cleaning impeller beforehand.
·         This step is an extra precaution for maintain the filter. When you take out the filter from the aquarium, carefully rinse the main housing, intake and outtake pipe. If there are any moving parts, use a safe aquarium lubricant. These extra few steps will help you a lot in the long run.



It is Time to Treat the Source:

·         One of the main source for cloudy fish tank water is overfeeding the fish. If you saw cloudy water, immediately the reduce the amount of feeding to your fish. Remove every bit of uneaten foods after 10 minutes. This step is a must for knowing how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water.
·         You may add aquarium salt to the water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to every 19 litters of aquarium water. Check beforehand if the fish in your tank can handle salt or not.
·         You may consider adding any chemical aka water conditioner to get rid of excess chlorine, ammonia, chloramine and nitrate. These are responsible for cloudy water. Always use the water conditioner carefully. Never forget to follow the instructions from package. You should only perform this method if all other fails.



These Products Will Help You to Get Rid of Cloudy Fish Tank Water


1. API ACCU-CLEAR Water Clarifier:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, api water clarifier

API ACCU-CLEAR water clarifier lets you safely get rid of cloudy or green fish tank water which is caused by floating particles. Sometimes, tiny debris that floats in the water are difficult to get rid of. API water clarifier clumps these small debris into a big chunk. This big chunk falls onto the gravel and easy to get rid of from the tank. Within several hours of dosing, the water will start to get clear. If water still remains cloudy, perform a second dose after 24 hours. You can also dose it weekly as a regular maintenance. This water clarifier also improves the performance of your aquarium filter.

API water clarifier helps to make safe, hospitable environment in the aquarium for fish and other livestock. With this product at your hand, you shall spend more time with your fish, less time cleaning the tank. Use the product as directed on the bottle for the best result.


·         The bottle is 8-ounce size.
·         Clears cloudy fish tank water.
·         Clumps floating debris into a larger cluster. Thus, making it easier to clean the tank.
·         Improves the efficiency of filter.
·         You can use on a weekly basis for regular maintenance.

If you want to know more about the product, check the link below!

 2. Acurel Water Clarifier:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, acurel water clarifier

Acurel Water Clarifier is very popular among aquarium owners. It is a green product meaning that it is made of renewable green natural ingredients. There is no harmful chemical in it, so, your fishes are perfectly safe with it. Acurel is a flocculent meaning that it clusters all the microscopic particles in a larger clump making it easier to be absorbed in the filter. Acurel promises that after dosing this, you shall get crystal clear water within 24 hours.


·         Efficiently clarifies green, cloudy aquarium water. It also treats polluted water.
·         It is a green product made of natural ingredients.
·         Perfectly safe for fishes.
·         Get crystal clear water with minimum effort and less time.
·         Can provide you clear water within 24 hours of dosing.
·         One bottle can treat 250 gallons of water.

Click on the link below to learn more about this water clarifier.


3. Tetra Water Clarifier Treatment:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, tetra water clarifier
Tetra Water Clarifier cluster together tiny particle that make fish tank water cloudy. These clusters are easily removed by filter. Thus, water turns crystal clear in a short time. It works really fast. The clarifier won’t harm your fishes and plants if used following the directions on the package.
Tetra Water Clarifier is best for getting rid of cloudy fish tank water. Fish tank water becomes cloudy due to microscopic particles that the filter is unable to remove. These microscopic particles form due to over feeding, gravel dust and other reasons. Tetra water clarifier clumps these particles together and helps the filter to remove them.
Tetra water conditioner is free from any harmful chemicals such as phosphates. It will in no way possess any harm to your fish. You should dose following the instructions. It won’t affect the pH of the aquarium water either.


·         Removes cloudy fish tank water in short time
·         Phosphate free
·         Doesn’t alter the pH of water
·         Highly effective against cloudy water.

To know more about Tetra Water Clarifier, simply click on the link below:


4. Eco Bio Block Stone:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, eco bio stone


Eco Bio stones are special type of volcanic rock where nitrifying bacteria can make their colony easily. This colony effectively battles against cloudy fish tank water. The bacteria reduce the amount of floating particles that cause cloudy water. It is great for regular aquarium maintenance too. This rock helps to keep your aquarium water healthy and safe for fish.
The surface of the stone is pretty rough but your fishes won’t get hurt with it.


·         It is a volcanic rock that contains a colony of beneficial bacteria. It disperses about every half an hour. Highly effective against cloudy fish tank water. It also eliminates odor.
·         Increases the speed of nitrogen cycle in aquarium.
·         Continues to replenish beneficial bacteria for up to two years.
·         Perfectly safe for fish, shrimp and snails.

Learn more about Eco Bio block stone below:


5. Algone Aquarium Water Clarifier:

how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water, algone water clarifier

Algone Water clarifier protects aquarium water from all kinds of harmful chemicals. It increases the amount of trace elements in water. It also decreases inorganic and organic pollutants, toxic particles and other microscopic debris that make the aquarium water cloudy. Algone Aquarium Water Clarifier is great for restoring balance in the aquarium.

It is safe for all types of fish, invertebrates, snail, algae eaters and other livestock. It also makes a hospitable environment for the nitrifying bacteria. As a result, the amount of dissolved oxygen in aquarium water increases.


·         Makes aquarium water crystal clear within a very short time.
·         Safe for all types of fish and aquarium plants.
·         Not only makes water clear but also treats it from various pollutants.
·         One pack can treat up to 330 gallons of water.

To learn more about Algone water clarifier, click on the link below:


SO, this is my guide on how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water. I have tried to write about every factors that are responsible for cloudy fish tank water. I also showed you how to get rid of cloudy fish tank water manually. At last, I provided a list of 5 products that are very good in making aquarium water crystal clear. I hope this article will come in handy to you.
Comment below if you have any question. I will get to you as soon as I can.

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