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Most Common Reasons Why Your Aquarium Smells Bad

Owning an underwater ecosystem should be a fun and exciting adventure that grants you an opportunity to observe another world. If your fish tank smells bad, this is a sure sign that something has gone awry and is in need of your immediate attention. There are many different reasons behind the odorous scent that your aquarium can put off. To help you diagnose the troubles, here is a handy round-up of the most common reasons why a tank can smell strange and what to do about it.

Rot
A decaying critter (fish, snail, other invertebrate) that has been trapped behind part of your tank décor, a plant, or even stuck in your filter system, a dying plant or sickly creature can put off a terrible odor. The first thing to do is check to make sure that your fishy family is happy and healthy. Next examine any nooks and crannies to ensure that all fish are accounted for. Another source of unpleasant odor stems from any plant life that has not been properly taken care of. Parts of plants can rot underwater contributing to a nasty and lingering smell. Lastly, uneaten food from overfeeding that goes uneaten by your tank’s population is often left to rot in the water and can be a third source of unpleasant odors.

Water Causes
The next category of reasons why your fish tank smells is due to issues with your water quality. Insufficient filter maintenance or adding unnecessary chemicals are two main reasons why you could have an odor. Be sure to perform routine tank maintenance that includes checking your filter system and cartridges, cleaning as necessary and adjusting your chemical additives to prevent unnecessary or undesired odors by changing approximately 10-15% of your tank’s water weekly. Be sure to avoid water conditioners that are high in sulfur (smell like rotten eggs).

Improper Cleaning
Just like your house, keeping a clean environment is part of maintaining a thriving environment. When it comes to your aquarium, a stink-free tank can be counted on when you perform regular maintenance care and conduct the proper cleaning tasks. Don’t forget to wipe down the small places that can accumulate waste and bacteria for a clean, smell-free fish world!

Feeding A Pellet Or Flake That Is Too Large For Your Fish To Properly Eat
Remember you want your aquatic friends to digest as much of the food you feed as possible. This means picking the proper sized pellet or flake is as important as choosing the proper nutritional offering. Pellets or flakes that are too large tend to be blown out the gills during meal time and this residual food can cause odor issues as it decays. Smaller pellets and flakes are easier, for even the largest fish to digest and take in and also easier for your fish to enjoy. Remember, smaller more frequent feedings are also better for the health of your fish population.

If you still can’t locate the source of a nasty smell, contact your local fish professional and have them help identify the issues in your aquarium so you can get back to enjoying this amazing hobby and reveling in the beauty of your fish!