By Stacey Blood
Director Of Operations
Blue Shark Trading Company

So you just started your tank and your water is cloudy.  Welcome to the world of bacteria blooms!

These blooms are commonplace in aquaria and are characterized by a white, diffused blur throughout the water column.  Bacteria blooms can happen in later stages of aquarium keeping but are rare and typically the result of some major change in the ecosystem balance or nutrient levels.

The reason we see bacteria blooms most commonly in new aquaria is simply because it is usually the only time your tank has 100% new water in it.  Subsequently, your water changes will be in the 10-20% range, meaning up to 80% of your tank is your established aquarium water volume.

Main Factors

The two factors that allow a bacteria bloom to happen in new tanks are:

  • Gauss’ Law Of Competitive Exclusion
  • Nutrient load

When a full tank of water is introduced, it brings with it microbes that have survived the journey from your water utility or well as well as a treasure trove of nutrients on which to feed.  These microbes flourish, uncontested by other established biological activity, to win Gauss’ game of competitive exclusion. 

Over time, however, these microbes begin to deplete the high, maximum nutrient load of a newly filled aquarium and begin to die off.  That is why water changes will only perpetuate your bloom.  Simply wait it out and the cloudiness will dissipate and reveal a crystal clear tank!


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