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Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help

This is a discussion on Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Clearly (no pun intended) I'm doing something wrong to have such consistently cloudy water. See attached pictures for proof of ...

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Old 1st August 2017   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help

Clearly (no pun intended) I'm doing something wrong to have such consistently cloudy water. See attached pictures for proof of my ongoing, miserable failure and my poor Trent's living environment.

Here are my current parameters:

Species: Leucistic Male Axolotl
Age: ~2 years
Temp: 68.4 F
Size: 20 gal filled to about 13
Filtration system: Ovation 700
Substrate: Roofing slate
pH: greater than or equal to 7.6 so tested High pH which is...
High pH: 8.0-8.2
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrates: 0 ppm (probably due to the water changes)
Nitrites: 0 ppm
Phosphates: 0.25-0.5 ppm

The water also feels somewhat slimy. When I put the drops in to get the parameters, they disperse more slowly so I'm pretty confident the viscosity is different from normal water.

My initial thought was bacterial bloom, but it seems the phosphates should be higher. The water literally looks like someone dumped milk into it and you can sort of see clouds moving with the current from the filter. Other than bacteria, I'm not sure what else it could be.

Trent has also started standing in a weird way where he arches his back up. I know axolotls get in weird positions all the time but I'm paranoid because of his water conditions that this might indicate something bad. One of the pictures attached shows him doing it.

Any advice? At this point I'm about to drain the whole tank and put him in an isolation tank and start over. This will require re-cycling the entire set up, though, plus nearly daily water changes in his isolation tank. As of a few days ago, I'm doing about 20-30% water changes every other day or so but I'm seeing little to no improvement.

TL;DR Help! It looks like I dumped milk in my axolotl's water and I don't know what to do.
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Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help-img_0580.jpg   Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help-img_0579-1-.jpg   Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help-img_0578.jpg  



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Old 2nd August 2017   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help

If this has been an issue from the beginning, my guess is it's the roofing slate (as I can't see anything else besides PVC pipe and a plant). I have a similar issue, but mine is caused by a biofilm/fungus on driftwood that is slowly dissipating. I got a much better filter (Fluval internal to replace a HOB), which cleared the cloudiness in a couple of days, but I have to keep up on the water changes to keep it clear (roughly every 3 days). My tank is also cycling.
Like I said, it's only a guess that it's the slate, but the only way I know of to figure it out is to drain, clean and start over, adding ONE element back in at a time, waiting a bit to add the next. (i.e. just water and filter, then add slate, then add hides, etc. until you see the issue come back or it's all back together and you're good.)



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Old 2nd August 2017   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help

Water started getting cloudy a little before adding the slate but it got significantly worse after adding. I think I will do what you're suggesting, though, because this is getting ridiculous. I can't even see my poor angel across the room unless he's at the very front! It's that bad.

When I drain and restart, do you suggest keeping anything from this set up as-is? Like should I also replace the filters and carbon? Doing a total drain like this will mean that I have to cycle the tank again while he's in his one gallon pet carrier, so I'd like to speed up the cycling process as much as possible. Also, I've never cycled a tank before adding species before; I was a noob when I got him and dumped him right in the aquarium. How exactly should I cycle it without him in there?

Thanks for your reply; I really appreciate it. Last time I posted and no one answered.



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Old 2nd August 2017   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cloudy Tank For Months-- Please Help

I'm not getting many (or any) answers to my questions, either, but I've been reading old posts and getting a lot of info! I also have had many fish species in the past and worked at a pet store, so I have some idea about the actual aquatics and cycling parts. Just new on the species specific care.
I'd replace the carbon as it really only works a short period of time, or look into putting a different type of filtration medium in there. I can't say what as I have no idea what your filter takes (I've never heard of it before). There's a post on here somewhere about cycling with regular household ammonia that is supposed to work well, and I wish I had found it before I went the old fashioned route. You can also add beneficial bacterial culture products to the water to help. I've been using Stability by SeaChem, and it seemed to be working until I forgot to add it daily. Personally, I'd clean everything with super hot water or boil it if possible. Use a new scrubby pad if you need it. Nothing with any soap or chemicals on/in it. Discard anything you can't sanitize. You can also use a very mild bleach solution to sanitize, but google it to get the right amount. Then set up just the water and filter for a couple of days and go from there. The slate would be the first thing I would add after the plain water and then whatever else you think might be the issue. I've had similar issues in the past, and never figured out what the problem was. A complete tear-down, cleaning and set-up has always worked to pinpoint the problem items or fix the issue.



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