Troubleshooting for Green & Cloudy Water

Have you been struggling with green or discolored aquarium water? Maybe you’ve tested your parameters and they appear to fall within the correct ranges. If this is the case, the good news is that this green water is likely harmless to your aquarium inhabitants. However, green or murky water is certainly unsightly, and can aesthetically have the opposite effect of a beautifully-maintained aquarium. You probably would like to take action to eliminate this coloration or staining from your water, and are wondering what you can do to make your water clean and clear.

The first and most obvious cause of green aquarium water is algae growth, which may or may not appear on your aquarium walls. Algae forms in brightly-lit conditions, and also in aquariums with high phosphate levels. Test your water parameters to ensure that your levels fall within acceptable ranges for your fish, and if phosphate tests high, consider using a filtration media to specifically target phosphate in your aquarium, such as API® PHOS-ZORB. This product will eliminate phosphate and silicate, which commonly contribute to water murkiness. Algae, of course, may also be visible on the walls of your aquarium. If this is the case, use the API® ALGAE SCRAPER or API® ALGAE PAD to wipe away the visible traces.

One solution for keeping algae at bay – therefore reducing water coloration – is to keep live plants in your aquarium, assuming plants are conducive to the type of fish and tank you keep. Plants will contribute to the natural aquarium cycle, and consume many of the nutrients that algae need for growth. You might also consider keeping algae-eating fish, such as Otocinclus or Plecostomus species, which will greatly aid in algae reduction.

The single best way you can ensure algae doesn’t build up in your aquarium is to perform frequent partial water changes, which will keep nutrients in your water low. This will also help to eliminate some of the water with conditions that were more conducive to algae growth and replace it with fresh water that is not. You might also try keeping your aquarium away from direct sunlight, or simply keeping your aquarium lighting off for a few days to see whether algae blooms improve or disappear.

Being proactive is extremely important in fish keeping, so be sure to test your water regularly to stay ahead of any potential issues. Green water is all too common in aquariums, but by taking the right steps, your aquarium water should be clear again in no time!

Aquarium Tips
Need help button