Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy? Here’s The Answer and Solution

The water in your turtle tank has become so cloudy that you can no longer see your turtle. And this is not an occasional problem, and it happens to you all the time. And this thing always makes you think, why is my turtle tank cloudy? So what could be the reason for this and how can you get rid of this problem.

So we will discuss the same thing in this article today and go to the root of this problem and give you very good turtle tank cleaning tips. So keep in mind that every section of this article will be very important for you, and read it without skipping.

If you are in a hurry and do not have time to read this article completely, then I have written an on-point answer for you too. But keep in mind that you have to read this article completely and thoroughly to get rid of this problem completely, believe me, it will be very important for both you and your turtle.

Why is my turtle tank cloudy? Your turtle tank is cloudy because of the buildup of ammonia from turtle wastes making it unbalanced. Bacteria, poor tank maintenance, and having a dirty tank filter are some other reasons that cause cloudiness in the tank. The cloudiness in the water mainly occurs in new tanks.

Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy?

Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy
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Turtle is a lovely and small animal that we can keep as a pet. They find it very interesting, and the best thing about them is that they live for many years.

If seen, keeping turtles is easy, but sometimes it becomes pretty messy. Turtles do most of the basking, and they like to be in it all the time. Many breeds of turtles prefer to live only in water. Therefore, whenever you think of raising a turtle in the tank, then you must pay attention to the chemistry and temperature of the water of your tank.

Since I am a turtle keeper, I would also advise you to take good care of the water in your turtle tank. If you keep your water clean, then obviously, your turtle will also be healthy.

But the topic on which we will talk today is the cloudy tank. Because I have seen this is a common problem that every aquarist has to face.

Cloudiness in a tank can be due to many different reasons. But there is one common reason that most people ignore is having a brand new tank.

Yes, you read that right. A brand-new tank does not have enough time to accumulate in the tank immediately. So the new tank needs to collect bacteria that the turtle later ingests inside the tank through its food and pooping.

When you take a new tank, you put fresh water in it, which is bacteria-free, and takes some time for bacteria to accumulate in a tank. But cloudiness starts in the tank’s water when you put the turtle in that new tank, and due to the waste or food of the turtle, ammonia and nitrate start to build up, due to which the tank water becomes unbalanced and the same thing then cloudiness later. That is the reason.

So now maybe from here, I will have to explain some things to you well so that it will take some explanation, so perhaps you feel cozy for a few minutes.

In order to understand why this happens, I have a few things that I have to put in front of you. So first of all, before knowing why this happens, we need to understand how it happens and what mistake we are making due to which this is happening.

So let’s move on to the second section, where I am telling you the reason for the cloudiness in your tank.

What Causes A Cloudy Turtle Tank?

What Causes A Cloudy Turtle Tank
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Trust me, this section of mine is going to be very important to you. As I told you above that, I will tell you the reasons for cloudiness which are very common, as well as the uncommon reasons. So just read the article and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

So let us discuss all the problems one by one, due to which you are reading this article, and also I will tell you how to get rid of them.

Well, first we also have to understand that you should know when your water looks dirty. To identify that the water is contaminated, the water of the tank gives us three signals.

The first is that your water becomes whitish in color and hazy.

The second is that due to the algae being out of control, the color of the water turns green, and it has to be removed quickly.

And the third sign is that the tank’s water turns yellowish or brownish, primarily due to the things kept in the tank.

So these were the three signs that our tank water tells us that it is dirty and needs cleaning now. And if you see any of these three signs in your tank, then I will tell you how to get rid of that thing. But before that, let us know the reason for this so that you can find a permanent solution to this problem. Let’s go.

Dirty Source Water

So the first point which is quite common and nobody even pays attention to it is your source water. Yes, from where you take water to use in your tank. Tap water, bore water, canal water, or whatever water you use from wherever. So whatever this water from wherever you are using it, always filter it and use it on your tank.

It is not necessary that you do it with extensive filters in the starting. I will recommend some filters that you use in the turtle tank. You can also try simple mechanical filtration, which would be very helpful if you do not want to use the filter. Removes the soil, the dust comes out, and the water comes out clean.

Un Cleaned Substrate/Soil

The next mistake we make is choosing the substrate for the tank. Most of us do not like to buy this and think that if it is found naturally, then it is good, and the mistake is made here.

I am not telling you that you should buy substrate. I am saying that use it properly. And if you are thinking of buying, then I have written an article for that too, definitely read it.

So we make the mistake we using river sand, silicate white sand, or black sand and nowadays there are many varieties of sand available in the market.

We brought that sand and kept it well in the tank, and filled it with water. These sands are very dusty already.

I have seen most of the fish keepers; only use construction sand in their tanks; this does not seem right. And then this dust will make our water dirty.

So whenever you sand it, wash the sand. When you clean the sand well, the water will be clear. Wash 3-4 times before you see the water clear, then go over the sand and use that sand. Wash the sand well so that there is no problem.

PRO TIP: Whenever you pour water into the regular tank or in your planted tank, pour it slowly, this will ensure that the things in the rest of the tank will not be disturbed. By running slow, the water will flow well and will go to every edge of the tank. And by this, the substrate will not be disturbed, and the water will not be dirty.

Shells In Substrate/Sand

As we talked about the substrate, soil, and sand before this, there are shells in it; look at it carefully. The shells belong to snails containing snails’ eggs or other leeches, earthworms, or small water worms.

Because today all the sources from where we can find water are contaminated, industrial waste, if all this goes into the river, then that sand can also be infected.

So it is best for river sand to keep the sand in a bucket for 2-4 days. Test the water. If there are some metals, heavy metals, or some other issue in that water, then use it wisely. Don’t bring river sand like this and put it in the tank. Many problems can come later.

Over Stocked Tanks

Now the issue that I am going to talk about is overstocking. See, if you fill your tank with more things and put a lot of fish, turtles, plants, and decorations in it, there will be very little space left in the tank, which is the chances of getting the tank dirty are high.

More fish means more food will have to be given to them, and they will also produce more waste which will make the tank water dirty. Due to excess food and garbage, ammonia, and nitrate will build up in the water, which will cause cloudiness in the water.

This is called bacteria blooming, which I will talk about in another section.

New Tank Setup

It is a common problem that very few people can notice. Because when you bring a new tank and fill it with water and keep the turtle in it, now you see that after some time cloudiness starts in it and you feel that there is some defect in the tank.

But it’s not like that; actually, a new tank takes a while to accumulate with your water. So in starting, you put water in it but leave it stable for a few days. This will ensure that the tank will have time to accumulate with the water, and the tank will understand the chemistry of water.

Bacteria Bloom

As in the section on overstocking, we talked about what is called a bacterial bloom and what causes it to be produced. If you do not pay attention, let me tell you again that it is made in the tank by pooping food and other waste materials in the tank and causing cloudiness in the tank.

This increases the amount of ammonia and nitrates in the tank water, causing water havoc and affecting the health of turtles or fish. Therefore, it would be better if we work on its solution as soon as possible. Below is the next section that has explained in detail how to fix bacteria blooming.

Poor Tank Maintenance

In poor tank maintenance, I can count many mistakes, which seven out of every ten people do. But I will talk about what is more common in this, and that is the wrong placement of the tank. Yes, incorrect order, and most of the problem with this is that you will see that the water in your tank becomes cloudy and green. Yes, it happens only because of the wrong placement.

How? Let me tell you in detail.

I have noticed that many fish keepers like to keep their tanks in a window or a sunny place. This greenness is due to this in the water. It is commonly called algae, and it smells too. This is due to the rays of the sun. In such small areas, when we keep the tanks and when the sun’s rays fall in them, which are substantial, when they fall in the tank, the heat increases in the water, and UV rays also increase which the water turns green.

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Dirty Tank Filter

As I just told you in the poor tank performance section above, if the water turns green and cloudy, there is another reason for the dirty filter. Due to excessive dirt in the filter and not cleaning it for a long time, the water will turn green. The glass of the tank will also gradually turn green. If there are no good quality media in the filter or there is no sponge in the filter, then take care of this thing and use them properly.

It may also happen that you are not doing water changes properly. If you have many fish or turtles in your tank, clean it 2-3 times a week. The more you keep the tank clean, the more it won’t be an issue.

How To Fix Cloudy Water In Turtle Tank?

How To Fix Cloudy Water In Turtle Tank
Image Source: Canva

We have come to know and understood how and for what reason the tank becomes cloudy. So what are those mistakes of ours, due to which the tank becomes cloudy?

I have discussed every reason with you, and some of them must have faced or related to the problem personally. And now it is clear that you will never think in the future why is my turtle tank cloudy.

So as we have now known the reason for this problem, why not now pay attention to its solution, now maybe one of these solutions will work for you, according to your situation.

So I have discussed some problem solutions in this section that will help you in some way or the other. So let’s see the keys now.

Solution 1: New Tank, Have Patience!

If your tank is new and water is getting cloudy in it from the beginning, you do not need to panic, and yes, there is no defect in your tank.

However, before you think any more, let me tell you that this problem often occurs in new tanks and the only solution to this problem is to give some time to the tank and wait.

Initially, the new tank takes a while for the water to accumulate, which I mentioned somewhere in the section above. You should give your tank enough time to know the chemical properties of tank water. When you bring the tank in start, clean it once. Fill water in it.

Also, add liquid to the water. And then leave the tank like this for a few days. As soon as the nature of the tank becomes balanced, you will see that the water of the tank will gradually start to look very clear and crystal clear.

Solution 2: Proper Tank Maintenance + Tips To Maintain

With proper tank maintenance, you have to take care of everything from the inside of the tank to the outside tank. So first, let’s talk about how you will be able to take care of the tank from the inside.

First of all, you have to pay attention that all your devices connected to the tank are working correctly or not, such as filters, lights, skimmers, etc. Make sure to check the devices individually once a week. Because the loss of one thing can be hefty for you going forward, it’s done inside, now let’s see what you have to keep in mind outside.

First of all, you will see whether the water you are using from outside is clean or not. Whether the substrate you are doing from outside is clean or not. I have told you many times in this article how the substrate should be. If you put some decorations from outside in the tank, then the first test is whether it is fit for water or not. These are some small thing that comes in maintenance that many turtle keepers ignore, so I have included them.

Solution 3: Clean Your Filters + Use Carbon

Keeping the filter clean is a very responsible job that fishkeepers must undertake. But, what if the device that cleans the water is dirty?

Then the water will also be messy. Because there are many bacteria and extraneous things in the water and when the filter absorbs them and then purifies the water. Because of this, the filter also becomes very dirty, and we should keep cleaning it from time to time.

If you listen to me, you should clean the filter at least twice a week. Also, make sure that the filter has good-quality media and a good sponge. And if you put carbon in the filter, then your filter will be perfect, and this thing will never allow your water to get dirty and cloudy.

Solution 4: Know the Right Balanced Techniques

Keeping your tank balanced is very important. Keep in mind that we should never give more nor less to our tank. So always keep things in balance in the tank. That’s a secret recipe which I am telling you. But it does not mean balance only. There are other things to which we have to pay attention, like placement.

If you keep the placement of your tank wrong and it does not have perfect sunlight, then the balance gets disturbed. And if there is too much light in the tank, even then, the balance of the tank gets disturbed. Therefore, I would advise you to use a UV sterilizer in your tank, which will be very beneficial for you.

Solution 5: Control Your Tank’s Algae

Controlling algae is not rocket science. However, in this, you have some important thing which is very important to understand. Look, algae are not harmful to the tank and turtles, but I can say that algae give us an excellent indication whenever our tank goes terrible.

It tells us how much we have to take care of our tank, and at the same time, it is also helpful as food for the creature lying in the tank. So we should control the algae and not remove it from the root. But how to manage it?

First of all, the correct passage of the tank, the light falling in the tank, and the water we are doing in the tank should keep in mind that all this should be at the right and equal level. I have also written a detailed article for this, you can read it.

How To Prevent Cloudy Water In The Future & Keep It Consistently Clean?

How To Prevent Cloudy Water In The Future
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Water Quality

Use Aquarium Vacuum

Add Algae Eating Fishes

Add Bacteria Supplement/ UV Sterilizer

Water Testing Kits

Concerns About Chlorine

Tank Size: The Bigger, The Better


Partial Water Changes

Skip the Substrate

Feed Outside of the Tank

Is Your Turtle Tank Cloudy Even After Cleaning?

Is Your Turtle Tank Cloudy Even After Cleaning
Image Source: Canva

Why Turtles Need a Clean Tank?

Why Turtles Need a Clean Tank
Image Source: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a cloudy turtle tank?

The best fix for your cloudy turtle tank is to add a water conditioner to your tank. The water conditioner helps the dirty tank to get balanced easily. These are small tablets you need to add to the water that gets dissolved and helps to remove ammonia and chlorine.

How do I make my turtle tank clear?

Have a suitable and clean substrate. First, get all the poop and leftover food and stuff out of the water. Then, add aqua-safe liquid to the water that turtles love. The liquid will remove chlorine and chloramine. Also, introduce bacteria in the water to help lower the ammonia and nitrate level. So, this allows the water to keep clean and clear for a very long time.

Also, we have a detailed article on how to keep your turtle water clean. Do, read that.

How long does it take for a cloudy tank to clear up?

It takes at least 1-2 days for a cloudy tank to clear up and stabilize. Because bacteria in the water mixes with the organic waste and build up as ammonia and nitrate which later turn the water dirty and hazy.

What can I put in my turtle tank to keep it clean?

Things you need to put in a turtle tank to keep it clean are a poop scooper, brush, filter, and skimmer. These devices will help you in many ways to clean. For example, a poop scooper helps pick up any organic waste manually, scooping it from the tank, making a clean environment for the turtle.

Do turtles like dirty water?

No, turtles do not like dirty water at all. Yes, it is a hardy creature, but it does not mean that it will live easily in contaminated water. As a turtle keeper, you must keep your turtle tank clean and your turtle healthy.

Is tap water safe for turtles?

No, tap water is not safe for turtles. This is because tap water contains chlorine and fluoride chemicals which can unbalance the pH of water in the tank. However, you can use tap water for turtles by making it suitable for turtle tanks.

Here is our article on how to make tap water safe for turtles.

Final Words

Why Is My Turtle Tank Cloudy - My Opinion
Image Source: Canva

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