Caring for a home aquarium involves more than general maintenance. In fact, part of ensuring your marine life’s health is frequently monitoring them for any signs of distress. Most potentially lethal problems won’t be apparent at first glance; being able to identify when there may be something wrong with your tank’s ecosystem takes a keen eye. These are some key warning signs of an unhealthy aquarium and what you can do to mitigate these issues.
Changes in How Your Fish Behave
Fish react to falling ill in a variety of ways—some will be visibly lethargic, while others may appear overly energetic. You may even find your fish are often gasping for breath at the surface of the water. Regardless, these noticeable changes mean you must take immediate action to save your fish’s life. Make sure to check all the tank diagnostics, including water chemical saturation, temperature, and oxygen levels. Any of these things can cause a reaction in your fish, and finding out which one is creating the issue is up to you.
Unusual Water Appearance
Unbalanced chemical levels can also affect how your aquarium’s water looks. Depending on the circumstances, the water can turn a series of different colors, including white and an alarming reddish-brown. White or cloudy water could be a sign the tank is experiencing bacterial growth from an abundance of waste products. But red alludes to something much different: an insufficient amount of oxygen in the water. Once again, it’s essential that you perform the appropriate water tests to find out the exact source of the problem.
Dullness in Specimen Color
Another crucial warning sign of an unhealthy aquarium is when your marine organisms seem to change color. This can happen to fish, plants, and, especially, saltwater corals if their environment isn’t properly sustaining them. In some cases, your specimens may just appear less vibrant, but in others, they may develop a different hue entirely. As such, it’s vital that you’re familiar with the reasons why your fish or corals might lose color and that you diagnose the cause before permanent harm can be done.
Excessive Algae Growth
It will be ultimately clear you have an issue with your tank when you start noticing an abundance of algae. Algae blooms occur when an aquarium contains more nutrients than its inhabitants are going to use. An increased amount of phosphorus and nitrogen, particularly, lead to the overrun of plants and other greenery. Eventually, these new plants snuff out the older ones, and the tank becomes uninhabitable. Therefore, it’s important that while you’re making sure your organisms have what they need, you aren’t giving them too much.