Why do Goldfish Tanks Get Dirty Fast?

It is quite upsetting to watch your goldfish water tank become dirty. More so if you regularly spend time taking care of your goldfish. Unfortunately, this is a common phenomenon. In fact, most goldfish tanks get dirty really fast.

So, why do goldfish tanks get dirty so fast? Actually, your goldfish tank can get cloudy for a number of reasons. Often, you can guess the reason by looking at the nature of the dirtiness. For instance, greenish water is a sign of algae overgrowth. On the other hand, foggy water hints at a bacteria bloom. Likewise, slightly yellow or gray-hued water points to water pollution.

If your goldfish tank is getting dirty within days, don’t fret. Armed with the right information, you can surely keep your tank water clean for a long time. To that end, let’s delve deeper into the topic. For instance, do you know what causes bacterial bloom? Or, how you can get rid of algae overgrowth? This article aims to touch upon everything you need to know on the topic. So, continue reading.

What makes your goldfish tank cloudy?

Your goldfish tank water could get cloudy for varied reasons. For instance, your tank could get dirty due to algae growth. In fact, if you notice green water, it’s probably due to excessive algae growth. On the other hand, if the water looks cloudy but not green, it could be due to bacterial blooms. So, the first step is to know the cause of cloudiness. In fact, each cause has a different cure. Evidently, you cannot use the same treatment method for every cause.

What are the reasons for algae bloom?

First things first, check if your tank is overcrowded. Ideally, you should have 10 gallons of water per fish. So, if you overstock fish, your tank becomes a safe haven for algae growth. Also, don’t overfeed your fish. In fact, when you overfeed, your fish release more feces. Plus, more food waste will accumulate at the bottom of your tank. Eventually, this could result in a spike of nitrates and phosphates in the water. Of course, nitrates and phosphates are nutrients. However, too much of them could promote algae growth.

Typically, phosphates originate from decaying fish food. However, sometimes the water itself could have high levels of phosphates. Hence, consider testing your tap water to monitor the phosphate level. On the other hand, nitrates build naturally in the tank water over time. Often, nitrates come from excessive fish waste. So, consider changing your tank water every few weeks.

How to treat algae bloom?

If algae overgrowth is the cause, algae-eating fish could be the solution. However, when choosing an algae-eating fish for your goldfish tank, consider a few things. Firstly, do not choose an aggressive fish that can harm your goldfish. Secondly, choose an algae-eating fish that gels with your goldfish water environment. Alternatively, you can use algaecide chemicals for algae treatment. Essentially, algaecide chemicals do the hard work for your filter. That way, algaecide helps prolong the life of your goldfish tank filter.

What are the reasons for bacterial bloom?

First of all, let’s understand that not all bacteria are bad for your tank water. In fact, a goldfish aquarium can have some “good” bacteria. For instance, autotrophic bacteria can actually help remove waste from the water. However, another type of bacteria, namely heterotrophic bacteria cannot produce its own food. So, they usually rely on fish waste, uneaten food, and dead animal or plant matter. Eventually, they’ll break down the food into ammonia.

Often, heterotrophs are responsible for bacterial bloom in a goldfish tank. They breed very fast and make the water look cloudy or milky. Finally, a bacterial bloom occurs for some common reasons. For instance, this occurs when you overfeed your fish. Overfeeding often results in more fish waste and uneaten food at the bottom of your tank. Also, if you don’t remove any dead plant or animal matter instantly, it could result in a bacterial bloom.

How to treat bacterial boom in your tank water

First of all, make sure your tank water is clean. Secondly, conduct water changes at frequent intervals. Finally, ensure regular tank maintenance. In fact, these three steps should suffice to help you prevent or treat a bacterial boom in your tank water. However, if it is a new tank, consider getting your tank cycled. In general, once the nitrogen cycle hunkers down, the bacterial bloom goes away automatically.

How do metals like phosphates and silicates make the water dirty?

At times, your goldfish tank water could look cloudy even after a thorough cleaning. If that happens, consider marking the pH level of your goldfish tank water. Oftentimes, a high level of phosphates, silicates and other metals is the cause. Simply put, these metals facilitate algae growth in the tank water. As a result, your goldfish tank water may look cloudy.

Why does my goldfish tank water look yellow?

Typically, yellowish tank water is a sign that your tank water contains excessive dissolved organic materials. For instance, maybe the water has high levels of dissolved silicates, phosphates, and metals. So, if you notice yellowish or brownish water, check the pH level of your water. Often, dissolved organic compounds come from uneaten food, fish waste and decaying plant or animal matter. So, remove any residues as early as possible. Also, if your tank has untreated driftwood, it could result in yellow water. Usually, driftwood contains an organic substance called tannins. So, the tannins often lower the water’s pH level and make your tank water look yellow.

How do you clean up a cloudy goldfish tank?

First of all, choose a cleaning method depending on the cause of the cloudiness. For instance, if bacteria are the culprit, treat the tank with antibiotics. However, clean the tank with an algae scraper when you’ve algae overgrowth. In general, a few simple steps can go a long to keep your tank clean. Firstly, remove any uneaten food and fish waste. Also, do not overfeed your fishy pet. That way, you can prevent the accumulation of excessive waste in the first place. Secondly, conduct partial water changes every few months. Thirdly, check the water’s pH level frequently. Finally, treat your tank water if needed.

How often should you conduct water changes?

In general, you should change your tank water once every week. However, do not change 100% of the tank water at once. Instead, change around 30% of your tank water once every week. Also, clean your dirty goldfish aquarium every so often. Importantly, you should know the right technique for tank cleaning. For instance, do not use tap water when washing the filter, gravel, and sponges of your goldfish aquarium. Otherwise, you may end up eliminating the good bacterial from there. Instead, use the tank water itself for washing the tank. Also, make sure you treat your tap water before adding it to your aquarium.

When does a goldfish tank smell bad?

Typically, a goldfish tank stinks when it accumulates a lot of decaying matter inside it. For instance, the fish feces and eaten foods can cause a spike in ammonia levels of the tank water. As a result, your goldfish tank can emit a strong, unpleasant smell. If your tank reeks, it is a sign that your filtration system is not working properly. So, get it checked as soon as possible.

However, try not to replace the entire filtration system at once. Otherwise, you may remove the good bacterial colonies with your filter. So, replace one part at a time if that works for you. Interestingly, excessive cleaning can cause bad smells as well. For instance, frequent cleaning can wash out all of the good bacteria, causing your goldfish tank to stink. In fact, good bacteria help break down any fish waste. Eventually, this helps the tank water to cycle properly.

How does cycling help keep your goldfish tank from getting dirty?

Essentially, cycling is the process of establishing good bacteria colonies in a new tank. In other words, a properly cycled goldfish tank has enough beneficial bacteria to help turn the harmful nitrite into nitrate. Importantly, nitrate is still harmful but not as much as ammonia and nitrite. In fact, low quantities of nitrate do not harm your fish at all. Also, cycling helps break down the fish feces and uneaten foods in your tank. That way, it keeps your goldfish aquarium from getting dirty and smelling bad.

How to properly cycle a goldfish tank?

Thankfully, you can easily cycle your goldfish tank at home. First, simply set up your goldfish aquarium and add water and gravel to it. Next, turn on the filtration system. After that, add one drop of ammonia per gallon of water. Repeat this daily for a few days. Next, use a test kit to measure the ammonia level of your tank water. After a few days, your tank water should have a high ammonia level.

At this stage, also test the water for nitrites. Meanwhile, continue to add ammonia to the water daily. Within a few days, you should see traces of nitrite in the water. However, you are not done yet. In fact, now you should start testing the water for nitrates. Eventually, you’ll see your ammonia and nitrite levels reducing to zero. At the same time, the nitrate level should go up. With that, you have successfully cycled your tank.