My water is cloudy. How can I clear the water?

The cloudiness you are experiencing is probably one of two things.
First, overfeeding your fish can cloud your water as the uneaten food is allowed to decompose. At each feeding you should feed no more than what your fish can eat in one to two minutes. Overstocking the tank (too many fish) also can cause cloudy water. Excess waste, like excess food, gives off ammonia and nitrites. You should have 1 gallon of water per one inch of (mature) tropical fish. Have three gallons of water per one inch of goldfish. It is best to buy the largest aquarium you can afford. The larger the aquarium, the more waste your aquarium can handle before it becomes a problem to your fish.

Second, your aquarium could be experiencing what is known as “new tank syndrome.” When you set up a new aquarium or when you carry out a large water change, it is very natural for your water to become cloudy as part of the system’s normal biological cycle. The reasons for this are fluctuations in the nitrogen cycle, and the release of gases in solution as the result of an increase in water temperature. A water change of 50% or more will help by restarting the cycle. Also, be sure to monitor and change your filter cartridge on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is at least once a month, or twice a month if you have a heavy fish load or if you have fish that produce more waste such as Goldfish or Cichlids.

Have a pet store test your water, or you can purchase Tetra EasyStrips™. High ammonia and nitrites would indicate excess food or waste. A 25% water change will bring down these levels until you can fix the problem.

Also, be sure your filter is properly rated for the size of your aquarium.