Keeping That Water Clean and Most of All, Clear! Water Clarity

What Is Possible
“Clean” water is usualy also clear water, but there are exceptions. You can have very “healthy” water which is so green with suspended algae that you cannot see through it. You can also have very “clear” water which is uninhabitable by fish because of the accumulation of nitrogen wastes. (See discussion of the Cycle).

However, cloudy water is almost never clean, and cloudy water is absolutely never good for fish. If your water has a haze in it, you have an immediate action item: Clear that haze!

It is possible (and entirely practical) to have water which is “gin” clear down to eight feet deep. I have always enjoyed water which is this clear. I have filtered water in numerous different ways and I have accumulated considerable experience with the things which work, and the things which do not.

There are numerous things which contribute to, and take away from, water clarity. What follows is a listing of the most common causes.

The most common cause of poor clarity in the water is the over-growth of bacteria. Most often, this is caused by overfeeding. Excessive numbers of bacteria can grow in an overfed system, causing a whitish or tan colored haze in the water. These are the worst possible hazes to subject your fish to.

Sometimes a person will have a poor filtration system which allows particles of a very fine nature to remain in suspension. This is another common source of hazing in water and is completely unhealthful for the fish. Improvements in filtration are sometimes easy to make simply by using a more refined filter media. For example, if you use a extremely fine sponge material in the last “phase” of water filtration, you may tend to get a more “polished” effect in terms of water clarity. Many people have discovered that the use of bead filtration also affords excellent clarity, but filtration is not “everything” as we will soon discuss.

My tanks at the office have sponge filtration which does a great job in clarity, especially if I use a pond flocculating agent.

Sometimes the source-water used to fill a facility or pond will have a lot of minerals and other dissolved solids in it. This is not uncommon with rural wells. This water should be passed through a water purifier before use. There are quite a few of these water purifiers on the market, including a “reverse osmosis” unit which uses a series of extremely thin membranes to remove solids from the water. Reverse osmosis can make crystal clear water out of most any fluid source.

The final cause of water hazing which needs to be discussed is the overgrowth of suspended green algae, also known as “greenwater”. The algal bloom can be “minor” permitting the fish to be viewed through a pale green haze, or it may be severe, obscuring your view of all objects below the surface. Green algal blooms (greenwater) is almost entirely harmless to fish. In fact, the Japanese, and many American ornamental fish growers believe that green water is the healthiest water to rear fish in.

One consideration of green water is that during the day, the suspended algae will produce prodigious amounts of dissolved oxygen.

There are several things which can clear hazey water

  1. Strong aeration
  2. Coagulants with Sponge or other fine filtration
  3. Increasing the size of the filter
  4. Reducing the Fish population and or size
  5. Suspending feeding til the haze clears
  6. Live plants flocc haze with plant agglutinins
  7. Increase the alkalinity and hardness of the water where feasible.

Enter your email address for a free PDF of this article including its images.

Enter your Email Address

My Favorite Amazon Recommendations

Items and content will not show in "Reader View" check your browser.

This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

Antimicrobial
If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.