Skip to Content

Why Is My Cichlid Tank Cloudy? (7 Possible Causes)

Why Is My Cichlid Tank Cloudy? (7 Possible Causes)

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You know how important it is to take care of the basic needs of your fish. The cichlids in your tank rely on you to keep them healthy.

They’re hardy fish that shouldn’t die easily. Even so, they will have health issues if you don’t do a good job maintaining the tank.

If you notice that the tank is cloudy, that’s certainly a reason to worry. Why would the water in the tank become cloudy?

Below, you’ll get information about what causes the water in the fish tank to become cloudy. You’ll also learn what you need to do to change things before it’s too late.

1 – Do You Have a New Tank

If your tank is still very new, it might be perfectly normal for it to be cloudy. When you’re cycling a new tank, beneficial bacteria are going to cause the cloudiness in the water.

This is normal and it’s not something that should cause you worry. Generally, it’s best to cycle a new tank before you add fish to it.

Sometimes people do this a bit too fast and they add fish early. This can cause an imbalance in the tank due to the sudden presence of waste.

The bacteria will create a cloud that will make the water look murky. Stop adding new fish to the tank and things should go back to normal before too long.

It’s not something that you need to worry about harming the fish. Everything should be okay if the tank is still new.

2 – Way Too Much Fish Poop

Have you thought about whether there’s too much fish poop in the tank? It might sound funny at first, but the presence of a lot of fish poop can cause the water in the tank to become cloudy.

If your tank is established, it’s best to suspect issues with fish poop first. You might have made the mistake of feeding your cichlids too much food.

It’s not wise to overfeed cichlids since it can be bad for their health. It might cause them to become constipated and this can lead to swim bladder issues.

Be mindful of how much you’re feeding the fish. Only give them as much food as they need to stay healthy.

Most cichlids should be fed three to four times per day. You’re meant to feed them as much as they can eat in thirty seconds each time.

3 – Overcrowded Tank

Putting too many fish in the tank can cause similar problems. When the fish tank is too small for the number of fish that you have, it’s going to make things dirty fast.

The fish poop in the tank and other organic debris will cause the water to become cloudy. This is certainly something that you should avoid.

Cichlids won’t do well in overcrowded aquariums. It’ll cause the fish stress and it might make them get sick, too.

Be sure to buy fish tanks that are more than big enough for your cichlids. If you plan to put other fish in the tank to live with the cichlids, you’ll need to take the extra space that those fish need into account.

Cichlids will fight over territory in aquariums. You don’t want the cichlids to become overly aggressive and territorial.

4 – Problems with Your Filter

Is your filter good enough for the fish tank that you’re using? Perhaps you’re using a weak filter that is meant for a much smaller tank.

When using an inadequate filter, it’ll cause the tank to become cloudy. The filter simply won’t be able to handle the aquarium properly.

Keeping the water clean and clear is of paramount importance. When you want to keep cichlids in your home, it’s best to buy a powerful filter.

Spend a bit of extra cash to get a very good filter. It’ll be well worth it since it’ll make keeping the tank clean much easier.

Before buying fish, it’s best to save up so you can buy everything that you need. Determine how much all of the equipment will cost so you won’t wind up using something inexpensive that won’t work well.

5 – Issues with Decaying Matter

Sometimes cloudy water in the tank can be blamed on issues with decaying matter. You might have decaying matter in the tank that’s causing the water to get cloudy fast.

For example, you could have dead fish in the water. When fish die in the aquarium, you’re supposed to scoop them out and get rid of them.

There could be other types of organic debris as well. Plant debris can cause problems in your tank when you have decaying plants.

Leaving leftover food in the tank also qualifies. Don’t feed your fish so much that they won’t even eat all of what you give them.

If there’s ever any leftover food in the tank, scoop it out and dispose of it. It’s only negative to leave old food in the tank.

6 – Substrate

The substrate could cause cloudy water, too. It’s important to wash the substrate before you put it in the aquarium.

If you don’t do this, it might cause the water to become cloudy. It’s also possible for substrate that is already in the tank to get stirred up.

When it’s stirred up, it might make the water cloudy. Try not to do this unless you’re using a gravel vacuum so you can get rid of the debris.

7 – Sometimes the Glass Is to Blame

Occasionally, the glass will be to blame for the cloudy water. This happens due to the presence of bacterial biofilm.

It’s a type of bacteria that will grow on your grass as well as pieces of driftwood. Some types of aquariums such as acrylic tanks don’t have such problems.

You might want to try buying an acrylic tank. Otherwise, you can just clean the tank well to get rid of the biofilm that forms over time.

Final Thoughts

Now you know various reasons why the water can become cloudy in the fish tank. It might be due to the presence of too much fish poop.

It could be that the tank is overcrowded or it might be related to debris in the tank. Either way, you should be able to turn things around by taking care of the tank.