Will Cloudy Water From Sand Hurt Fish

Having a fish tank beautifies your environment and brightens it up. However, understanding specific topics are essential.

This article gives you comprehensive knowledge about cloudy water, its causes, and its effect on fish.

Will Cloudy Water From Sand Hurt Fish?

Adding sand to your aquarium is an excellent idea and a nice step up from artificial gravel. But,

The cloudy water from the sand can hurt the fish. Although it won’t kill them, you won’t want your fish in such an environment.

That cloudy fog you see when you want to add new sand to a water-filled aquarium is tiny particles of sand and dust that need time to settle out of the water column.

Will Sand Dust Harm My Fish?

A bed of sand can serve a multitude of purposes in your aquarium. It can aid food digestion in fish and make cleaning more approachable. Sand dust patently has no harmful effect on your fish.

Sand is an excellent addition to your aquarium, but adding sand will invite dust into the aquarium. Even though it has no harmful effect on the fish, it has to be eliminated, as it discredits the good look of the aquarium.

In most cases, the specks of dust in the aquarium can be caused by a dirty tank or algae. Aside from the fact that it creates a cloudy look, excess sand dust can upset the aquarium’s oxygenation.

To get rid of this, you fill a bucket with water, add the sand, stir up, and pour out the cloudy water. Repeat this until the water is more apparent. This process will extract the dust and fine particles which you reprobate.

Once you extract, you may need to siphon off dust and debris from time to time. A small tube about the size of a garden hose will work well and fine for siphoning. Hold this about an inch above the sand as well as the dust.

You may want to rinse the sand each time you clean the aquarium, but always ensure it’s returned to the tank at room temperature to avoid shocking your fin friends.

Will Cloudy Water Kill Fish?

Cloudy water, synonymously known as Bacteria Bloom, occurs 2 to 4 days after you put the fish in the tank. The cloudy water cannot harm or kill fish in as much as they aren’t gasping at the surface.

After starting an aquarium, it is not a peculiar scenario for the aquarium to become cloudy. This cloudiness results from the nitrogen-converting bacteria colonizing to oxidize ammonia and nitrites.

The appearance of cloudy water in an aquarium is not harmful to a fish. However, it is a sign of imbalance in some vital aspects of your fish tank.

Overfeeding your fish can make the water cloudy as the uneaten food is allowed to decompose. Per feeding, you should not feed more than what your fish can eat in one to three minutes.

Suppose you have any bacteria or microscopic life in your aquarium. In that case, this leftover or uneaten food means they now have a source to feed on, multiplying rapidly and quickly.

When bacteria is of high level and effective in your aquarium, it can result in the creation of a cloudy effect in it.

How To Get Rid Of Cloudy Water In Fish Tank

The best way to get rid of the initial burst of cloudy water is to let it go. Although it seems counterintuitive, it helps to prevent the consistent occurrence of cloudiness in water.

If you let the natural cycle complete, the cloudiness will go away in a few days to a week. The fish will be fine if they are not gasping at the surface.

Cleaning the filter doesn’t affect the cloudiness in the water, but it only disrupts the few beneficial bacteria that have had a chance to get established. Letting nature take its course is the best option for you.

If you have changed your tank’s water, that can be a big reason for bacteria bloom. To get rid of this, wait for a week or two.

The cloudiness of your water tank should start to gradually clear up as soon as the bacteria in the tank reestablish again, thus forming a perfect aquatic system. Avoid persistently changing your water or UV sterilization as it can further increase the bacteria bloom.

However, if you think the bacteria bloom is caused by other factors like substrates, excess waste, or decaying food, perform a partial water change. One can also use a gravel vacuum to eliminate the tiny particles floating in your tank.

Partial water change is the key here, as it won’t damage the bacterial culture which has already been existing.

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How Long Does It Take For Sand To Clear In Tank

Sand is a light substance that will float around in the water. The cloudy problem after adding sand is that the sand contains some dust.

Some people report that it can take up to 7 days for the sand to settle, depending on how fine the sand is. Rinsing the sand well to take out extras is a way of making the sand settle.

Another thing to do is to give it a little bit more time. It tends to settle by a time when you leave the sand for a few days.

How To Make Sand Settle Quicker In Tank

It’s going to take time for the sand to settle. There’s no doubt about that. However, there is a way in which you accelerate the process.

What you can do to speed up the rate at which the sand in your aquarium settles is to perform daily water changes. Although you will lose a bit of sand this way, if you do daily water changes of about 50%, you can cut the time it takes the sand to settle in half. Ensure you don’t agitate the water and sand too much when doing these 50% water changes daily.

The gentler and smoother you can be when doing this, the better off you will be and the faster the sand will settle.

Performing daily water changes for a few days should allow the sand that has already settled to stay there, and it will remove a lot of the sand floating in the water.


You are sure to know what to do when your tank appears cloudy. You need to ensure optimum living parameters for your aquarium animals and carry out the necessary maintenance routine to prevent them from any harm.

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.

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