3 Common Aquarium Water Issues

Plus, clear, simple solutions for clean, sparkling water.

There’s a lot that can affect the water quality in your aquarium. If you’re experiencing an issue, don’t worry. It happens to even the most seasoned fish owners. Below are three of the most common problems and how you can easily correct them.

CLOUDY WATER


Cloudiness usually results from one of three things:

    CAUSES

  • Overfeeding: Uneaten food decomposes, which can cloud your water. Feed your fish two to three times a day but no more than what your fish can eat in one to two minutes.

  • Overstocking: When you have too many fish in your tank, excess waste gives off ammonia and nitrites, which can also cloud your water.

    We recommend one inch of (mature) tropical fish per gallon of water and one inch of (mature) goldfish for every three gallons. So a 10-gallon tank should have only 10 tropical fish that are one inch each, or one 3-inch goldfish.

  • New Tank Syndrome: An inexperienced fish owner may not realize they have to prepare their new aquarium’s filter to handle fish waste through a process called “cycling.” An ineffective filter creates elevated levels of ammonia, which can harm the fish and result in cloudy water. So when you first set up your tank, be sure to condition and cycle your aquarium right away with SafeStart®.

    SOLUTIONS

    Cloudiness can usually be resolved by one or more of the following:

  • Be sure your filter is properly rated for the size of your aquarium.

  • Monitor and change your filter cartridge on a regular basis––ideally, at least once a month. Twice a month if you have a lot of fish, or if you have fish that produce more waste, such as goldfish or cichlids.

  • Clean your filter of any sludge, particularly if it has an impeller, every other month.

  • Do a 25% water change once a month.

  • Reduce the amount of food you feed your fish.

  • Have a pet store test your water, or use Tetra® EasyStrips. High ammonia and nitrites would indicate excess food or waste. A 25% water change will bring down these levels until you can fix the problem.

CAUSES

GREEN WATER


Green water is the result of excess algae, which can be caused by:

    SOLUTIONS

    Simple steps to solve your green water problem:

  • Do a 50% water change. Then, scrub down the insides of the glass with a magnet scrubber or scraper (but please, no soap!).

  • Remove any artificial plants and ornaments, and clean them with a distilled white vinegar solution, a 1:1 ratio or less.

  • Cut back on your feeding––only once or twice a day in small doses.

  • If your water has high phosphates, find a new water supply, use bottled water or perform smaller, more frequent water changes.

  • Dose with Tetra® AlgaeControl for freshwater aquariums.

BAD-SMELLING WATER


A bad smell is usually a sign of excess waste, and usually excess food.

    SOLUTIONS

    Here are a few steps you can take to breathe easier:

  • Test your water for high ammonia and nitrite levels. To correct this problem, change out 50% of the water, wait a day, and then change out 25% more.

  • Cut back on your feeding.

  • Make sure you have the proper-sized filter for the size of your aquarium.

  • Don’t overstock your tank.

  • We recommend one inch of (mature) tropical fish per gallon of water and one inch of (mature) goldfish for every three gallons. So a 10-gallon tank should have only 10 tropical fish that are one inch each, or one 3-inch goldfish.

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