Healthy Water, Healthy Fish

VetShopAustralia’s resident vet Dr Mark answers your pet medical questions. This week’s question is from a reader seeking advice on how to keep their fish bowl clean.

Hi Dr Mark, I have a pet fish and I can’t seem to keep the bowl clean! I change a third of the water every week, like you’re supposed to, but it still looks really cloudy and gross. I use an aquarium cleaner too. Do you have any advice?



Hi Tim, the most important thing in keeping fish is having healthy water. The saying goes “Healthy water equals healthy fish!” Healthy water is not necessarily crystal-clear water, which can still have toxins in it and be a death trap for fish.

Uneaten food, decaying plants and fish waste break down to form a dangerous and toxic chemical, ammonia, which can accumulate in a tank to lethal levels for your fish. Fortunately, over time, beneficial bacteria can grow in the aquarium, breaking down this lethal chemical into products that are safe for fish. This process, called the nitrogen cycle, takes time – about six to seven weeks to occur. Water testing and partial water changes will help to keep your fish healthy while this process is happening.

Once your tank is established, a filtration system is an easy and effective way to keep the water clean. Filter cartridges remove impurities, odours and discolouration from the water but must be regularly changed every three to four weeks. Use an algae pad to remove algae from the sides of the aquarium. Make sure that any pad you use hasn’t come into contact with any chemicals or detergent.
A siphon hose or pump can then be used to remove waste and debris from the gravel, rocks, decorations and plants. If algae are a problem, consider introducing algae-eating fish, shrimp or snails into your aquarium.

If you clean your tank regularly and your fish are healthy, changing 10 to 20 per cent of the water once a week should be plenty. A small amount of maintenance each week should keep your fish happy and heathy and your tank looking good.

All the best,
Dr Mark.

Do you have a question or need some advice from VetShopAustralia’s resident vet, Dr Mark? Post your questions in the comments below!

You Might Also Like