Aquarium Cycle

How to Tell If You Have Aquarium Dead Spots.

5 min read

Every fish enthusiast likes having a beautiful, clean, and presentable aquarium to decorate their home and proudly show off to their friends and family.

Maintaining a fish tank, however, takes dedication, time, effort, and a good amount of knowledge on how to take care of the internal environment.

One of the most annoying and unpleasant occurrences is aquarium dead spots.

You can tell your aquarium has dead spots if you notice small, dark circles appearing on the walls of the aquarium or debris piling up in areas where the water movement is missing.

In cases where the intensity of the water flow in the tank is decreased, nooks and crannies can also become dead spots, collecting food remnants, unwanted algae, and dirt.

Make sure you keep the aquarium circulation at good levels at all times to avoid such unpleasant occurrences. An aquarium powerhead can help you with that.

What Are Aquarium Dead Spots?

Aquarium dead spots are small piles of dirt, debris, waste, etc., occurring when the water movement in the tank is insufficient or the filter is not strong enough to clean the water well. 

Aquarium Filter

Usually, they are small brown formations on the walls of the aquarium. They can also be found on the gravel at the bottom, or in the holes, nooks, and crannies where your fish like to hide.

In most cases, they should be obvious and easily noticeable – not the most pleasant thing to see inside your aquarium.

Uneaten food, fish waste, and algae gradually begin to pile up thus causing uncleanliness, and it eventually begins to decay.

Decomposition releases ammonia into the water, which can kill your fish in large concentrations. It can also reduce the amount of oxygen available to the fish.

Dead spots can also become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria.

It is important to keep an eye on your aquarium and take measures immediately after noticing dead spots.

If the dirt remains in the fish tank for too long it can be poisonous for its inhabitants and even deadly for the aquatic animals inside.

Are All Brown Spots Dead Spots?

Ever wondered why your fish tank has brown spots?

Not all brown spots are necessarily dead spots, especially when you first set up your aquarium.

If you are just starting out, your fish tank may have brown spots forming on the sides of the tank. Brown algae – also known as diatoms – are a natural phenomenon when setting up a new aquarium as the system needs time to mature. It takes between 4 and 6 weeks to achieve a healthy balance within the tank’s system and to establish its bacteria and nitrogen cycle.

Nevertheless, remember that this is a natural occurrence only when you are at the very beginning of setting up a tank. Such spots appearing later should be a sign that something in the system is not working right.

How Do I Get Rid of Dead Spots in My Aquarium?

There are several measures you can take to fight dead spots. Let’s take a closer look.

Steps to Get Rid of Dead Spots

1. Increase the water flow – as mentioned, dead spots are most likely to occur when there isn’t enough water circulation in the tank. Make sure the powerhead of the filter is strong enough for the size of your tank for proper aquarium circulation. If it’s not, purchase an additional powerhead or install a bigger filter.

2. Add more plantsaquarium plants have the ability to absorb unwanted algae and food remnants.

3. Keep up the maintenance – make sure your tank is cleaned regularly and the water is filtered properly. Use a gravel vacuum to remove dirt from the dead spots, including those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

4. Feed your fauna less – give your fish the exact amount of food they need and no more. Providing more food than necessary may lead to the fish not eating it, thus remnants get stuck in stones, holes, pebbles, and the tank’s walls.

5. Maintain proper aquarium lighting – sufficient access to light helps keep the healthy balance of the aquarium’s environment, thus preventing algae from forming.

Is a Fish Tank Supposed to Have Bubbles on the Glass?

A well-maintained tank is supposed to have bubbles on the glass and this is not a cause for concern.

When you are first setting up a new aquarium, water agitation causes bubbles and even slight foam on the surface. Filtration and aeration can also create bubbles that are completely normal.

In fact, bubbles are a sign of good aeration of the aquarium. They show that the aquatic inhabitants get enough oxygen. Since pumps are usually installed close to the glass, it’s normal for bubbles to appear on the glass.

Air bubbles can also appear during a water change or when adding new water to the existing one.

How Do I Increase Circulation in My Aquarium?

Good water circulation is important for your aquarium – it keeps the tank clean and fresh, preventing dead spots and algae from forming.

Aqua Clear power head

You can increase the aquarium circulation by adding a Powerhead. Position it to pump water from the back of the tank so the water hits the front glass. Thus the water flow from the filter will be complemented, helping keep the aquarium clean.

The aquarium powerhead outflow should be as far as possible from its inflow for the best circulation. For instance, the inflow should be at the bottom while the outflow is at the top, at the other end. This will create a good circulation in the tank.

Closely watch where the dead spots are and place the powerhead close to them to get rid of them. But don’t keep the powerhead near the bottom as the water flow can disturb the substrate.

Keeping the powerhead near the surface can prevent the formation of biofilm there and can also help with gas exchange.

Using an air pump will also help with water flow to some extent.

What are Dead Zones? Can Fish Live There?

Dead zones in water are areas with low–oxygen conditions also known as hypoxia.

Since the oxygen levels are below normal for plants and fish to survive, fish cannot live in such zones for a long time and the environment forces them to move away.

Improving water circulation is the best way to oxygenate your tank. Air pumps and live aquarium plants can also help.

Final Thoughts

From aquarium dead spots to dead zones with no oxygen, aquatic animals cannot live for too long in dirty and toxic environments that result from insufficient water flow.

Uneaten food, fish waste, and unwanted algae can collect in these dead spots and eventually start to decay, causing poisonous waters that can be fatal to your aquatic pets.

Keep your fish tank clean by ensuring enough water circulation and oxygen supply, and performing regular water changes – your fish will be grateful for it.

Thanks for reading.

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

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