Why Does My Fish Tank Stink

There is nothing worse than when it comes to feeding time and you get the stench of something not too pleasant when you lift up the flap of your aquarium. You might be thinking to yourself, what is that smell?

Usually, there are some clear reasons as to why your fish tank may stink. Making sure that you are cleaning your tank regularly and changing the water is so important when you are trying to keep your tank fresh and clean. 

Keeping your tank clean isn’t just to keep it smelling good but it is also to keep the water a healthy place for your fish to live in. If you can smell something bad in your tank, the chances are that your fish can too.

It can affect the health of your fish and surely, you want to make it the best place for them to live.

We are going to delve into what may be making your tank stink and what you can do to improve the smell. We’ll also add in a few tips to show you how to avoid this happening again in the future. Keep reading to find out more.

Decaying Food

First up, the reason your fish tank may stink could be because of decaying food. When it comes to feeding your fish, the food you sprinkle in will eventually drop to the bottom of your tank. Your fish will usually explore and dig around the stones to try and find the hidden food. However, if your tank is starting to stink, this could be an indicator that you are overfeeding your fish. 

Why do we say that? Well, feeding your fish is a frenzy. There is nothing more fish enjoy than dinner time. If there is any leftover food then it means that your fish didn’t eat it because they weren’t hungry. Alternatively, the appetite of your fish may have changed due to a health condition or preparing to spawn so it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your fish’s behavior.

Overfeeding your fish can be simply fixed. Read up on the breed of your fish and how much on average they eat. Then amend your portions. You should aim to feed your fish once per day around the same timeframe. The perfect portion size varies depending on the type of fish but normally it would be as much as the fish can eat in a thirty-second period. Not as much as you may think!

Something has died

Unfortunately, this is another reason why your fish tank could stink. When a fish dies, it doesn’t always float to the top so make sure you have a good inspection of your aquarium every couple of days. Look towards the top, bottom, and check to see if there is anything floating around. 

It can be hard to identify a fish that has died in your tank. Especially if you have a wide variety of fish and decorations in your aquarium. Always check your decorations for any trapped fish when you are carrying out your inspections as sometimes the direction of the water will push a deceased fish into a crevice where it could get trapped. 

Once you have found the body, use a net to gently capture the fish and remove it from the tank. You want to make sure that you do this with as little disruption as possible as you don’t want to frighten the remaining fish in the tank.

Fish excrement 

Yes, fish go to the toilet just like us but it is less visible than you might think. Usually grey or dull in color, the excrement can sometimes blend into the other parts of the tank. The excrement will at first rise to the top of the tank and then over time will sink to the bottom of the aquarium. 

This is why regular water changes are important to clean away any impurities that the feces may bring to the aquarium. When a fish goes to the toilet, it releases ammonia into the water. Ammonia can be extremely harmful to aquatic life so you must keep on top of your cleaning routine. If left too long in the water, ammonia will begin to burn the fish’s gills and tissue. 

Purchasing a high-quality water filter will also help you to keep your tank clean also. Ensure to carry out filter maintenance once a month at least to clear away any unwanted debris and smells. These steps will help you combat any odors left by fish excrement in your aquarium.

How to eliminate the smell

The best way to get rid of any unfavorable odors is to regularly change the water in your tank. Depending on the size of your aquarium, you will need to change the water in the tank every two to four weeks. You can do this by removing a quarter of the water from the tank. Then you will want to add freshly treated water to purify the water. 

You will also want to get a good filter. Depending on what fish and tank you have will depend on what filter you choose. We love to use a canister filter with an internal sponge to catch any large particles of debris. Filters pump oxygen into the water and absorb any bad odors which may be in the tank.

As well as the two points above, you will also want to clean your tank and any decorative items. We recommend that once a month, whilst you are changing your water, you gently remove any excess algae from the walls of your aquarium. It is a good idea to also clean the decorative items you have on display in your tank as these can also get dirty if not kept clean. 

All of the above tips will help you create a healthier environment for your fishy friends and also keep any bad smells away. We hope that you have gained some knowledge from this post and please remember that a clean tank is a happy tank!