The green water could be down to bacterial bloom due to interrupted filter bacteria caused by full water changes, or high phosphates in your tap water along with additional long periods of direct or indirect sun light.
When you get your test kit I would also invest in the API phosphate kit too, no one ever said fish keeping was cheap
Too much natural light (do you have a dark backing on the back and side of the tank?), too many nutrients (left over food most likely) best feeding twice a day, adding a little more gradually, but only what is consumed within the first two minutes or so and check tap water phosphate levels. Most people have covered off these issues already though
Green water tends to be algae suspended in the water. More live plants will help with the nutrient issue too, but they'll need lighting to thrive. Most of us here run lights for 4 hours with a siesta inbetween, then a further 4 hour lighting period for evening viewing.
I'd definitely remove the sandstone too. Some sandstones tend to act like sponges in an aquatic environment, soaking up minerals, toxins and biological matter you wouldn't want released back into the tank. They are generally considered unsafe for aquaria.
Good to hear you are adding a heater, it it required
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I had my suspicions about the sandstone. I added it because it is decoratively carved and matches our mullioned windows and other decorative stone trim on out house (our chimney fell down a couple of years ago which is where its from). It also adds a lost city ambiance to the tank and is lovely focal point (no good if you can't see It through the green water tho! I will remove it on the next water change.
The tank has no black back and is against a white wall so for the cost of a sheet of thin MDF I'll try that too.
I currently don't have lamps but between this forum and the PFK forum I's becoming apparent that I need them along with a heater, both of which I'm going to purchase this week along with a test kit.
What started as a cheap (tank - ?5, filter ?30) way to get some fish for my daughter and get her used to caring for something has already passed ?80 with the fish, plants, substrate and conditioner and look set to reach ?150 by the time I've purchased everything else! Good job I've got a sense of humor and a private bank account as the misses who be going loopy as she wanted to get her a ?10 Rabbit and get me to make a run/hutch!!!
Anyway thanks for the advice and I'll let you know how I get on.
These fish are surprisingly expensive! But totally worth it. We spend far more time watching the fish than the TV and they are fascinating. It's giving my 4 year old daughter a real sense of responsibility and something to get excited about!
For the backing we currently have an old pillowcase which we cut open and attached to the tank using bent kirby grips as clips. It actually looks pretty cool and doesn't cost anything - everyone has an old pillowcase hanging around somewhere!
Your quite right, expensive!!! I haven't even spent ?150 on my wife in the last year! - Don't judge me tho. that a discussion for another forum!
I purchased a heater this morning along with new carbon pellets along with a water change I prepared yesterday. I won't know the success with the green water issue but from what I can see of the heater installation it all looks good. Both shoals (danio's/platy's) seem to be less secretive
I think I may have missed a fundamental issue... My filter has a section that contains carbon pellets which I haven't changed since I set the tank up. My pond set-up doesn't have a carbon element so I missed that one. Having just bought new carbon pellets today It advises that they should be changed every 4-5 weeks which would have been 8 weeks ago!!! I think I may feel a little silly over the coming days if the water stays clear.
Anyway as I write, [looking at the tank] the fish are so much more alive so the heater must be the answer to addressing their shyness.
I'll let you know how the water is in couple of days...
I think I may have cracked it! (I say that cautiously as I may be yet eat my words)
I had a eureka moment last night and realised that I hadn't changed the carbon pellets in my filter since I set-up the tank 12 weeks ago. Having never used carbon as a filter medium in my pond filter it just didn't occur to me - doh!!! I purchased new pellets this morning and changed the ones in the filter.
I also carried out a full water change today and the results look to be good as it's still gin clear after 6hrs which wasn't the case before.
I also purchased a heater and whilst that probably won't have an impact on the water clarity it has had a dramatic affect on the fish. Both shoals (danios/platys) have completely come out of themselves and are freely swimming around the tank regardless of how close you are to the tank. Its amazing the difference 3deg makes!!!
So thanks to you all for the advice about the heater, you've made a few fish very happy and me feel like a numpty!