Rightly or wrongly, I decided to start cycling my tank as I was filling it. It took 12 days to fill in in total, but as soon as there was enough water in there to cover a powerhead and a heater, I started the cycle. As a result, I had “new tank syndrome”, which is essentially a bacteria bloom.

Without getting too sciency, there are two types of bacteria in our tanks. One is the good stuff (autotrophic bacteria), the other is the bacteria that mineralises the waste in our aquariums into things like ammonia (heterotrophic bacteria).

The heterotrophic bacteria cannot attach itself to hard surfaces as easily as the autotrophic bacteria so it is more readily seen in the water column, the heterotrophic also reproduces a lot faster than the autotrophic.

What this basically means is that in order for your bloom to go away, the autotrophic bacteria need to multiply enough to catch up with the heterotrophic bacteria. You can encourage autotrophic bacteria to multiply by oxygenating your water.

Clear water after a bacteria bloom

So how did I clear the bloom in my tank? Simple, I pointed my biggest powerhead at the surface of the water to break the water and help oxygenate the water. I had also read that activated carbon can help clear cloudy water, so I added a small bag of carbon to the water too.

Within 3 days, water that I couldn’t see through turned crystal clear. If you are battling with a bloom, point a powerhead at the surface and wait. Don’t rush in to buy the first chemical fix you find, give it a little bit of time!