Maintaining good water quality in your aquarium is one of the most important maintenance task you can do to protect the health and well-being of your fish. Luckily, maintaining good water quality in tanks has gotten easier thanks to improved filtration systems, lighting, and test kits. Yet, despite all of these improvements that can make our lives easier, solving water quality issues can still be a challenge for many aquarium enthusiast. The purpose of this article is to help aquarist learn how to solve some of the most common water quality issues they might face.
Poor water quality is an aquarist’s worst nightmare. One second everything looks clean, and then all of sudden you come home from work and the water is a different color. Some common problems that can damage the integrity of your aquarium’s water are excess nutrients, high ammonia levels, and low dissolved oxygen content. If you find the water inside your aquarium to be in a white, cloudy state; it’s likely that bacteria is blooming due to high levels of ammonia in the water. When nitrifying bacteria consumes ammonia, they begin to reproduce at a rapid rate to the point that they are visible. This occurrence is often triggered by adding too many fish at one time, overfeeding, or a general lack of biological filtration. To solve this issue, use an air pump to introduce additional oxygen in the water to help release the toxic gasses from within the water. You can also use bacterial additives to reestablish healthy bacteria into the tank that help keep ammonia levels low. Another common water issue you may discover is red or rust colored water due to the oxidization of dissolved iron particles and other minerals that are present in the water. High levels of minerals can also cause a nutrient imbalance within the tank which can spark the excessive growth of algae and other bacteria. If you find your tank in this state, use a poly filter or another chemical filter media to remove specific pollutants. In most cases a filter or water softening chemical media will do the trick. However, if the mineral level of your tank is excessively high, you will need to purchase a reverse osmosis unit to stable the hard water conditions and return your tank back to a normal state. Another water quality issue to be mindful of is white fuzzy clumps that appear in your tank. These are most likely pieces of fungal growth due to food that decayed from overfeeding the fish. Organic waste materials and food are among the most common sources of nutrients in your tank. Nevertheless, if these nutrients are not filtered or removed, they breakdown and release nitrogenous byproducts that can spike algae growth, feed parasites, and enable fungus growth. There are a couple solutions to this problem. The first is to introduce an automatic feeder so that your fish are no longer overfed. These devices are easy to use and programmable to fit your lifestyle. The second one is to perform regular aquarium maintenance and replace filter media. Both of these solutions will help keep your nutrient levels in check so that both your water and fish are healthy.
Solving water quality issues is not rocket science, but it does require some dedication and attention to detail. Most of it is about finding balance in your feeding, filtration, and cleanings. Always be mindful of not only what you are removing, but also what you’re adding to your aquarium. Follow these tips and remedies to maintain a healthy aquatic environment.