Why is water quality such a big issue when it comes to fishkeeping?

Posted 28 Sep 2015

As all fish keepers know (or should know), poor water quality is almost always the cause of ill health in fish. Maintaining good water quality is the most important aspect of fish keeping. Fish are completely dependent on their surrounding water, so it is our responsibility to make sure that their water is in perfect condition. Poor water quality is almost always a precursor to disease.

Poor water quality causes fish to become very stressed, and diseases and parasites can attack fish more easily when they are stressed. Stress in fish causes the natural defence mechanism, the immune system, to work less efficiently, thus making your fish very vulnerable to disease.

If your fish have any damage to the skin or fins (which can be quite common) then healthy fish in good water quality will usually just heal naturally. However, if your water quality is poor, then the chances of infection are much higher.

Poor water quality usually means a build-up of toxins, such as ammonia or nitrite. These are toxic to fish, which causes stress and even death. Poor water quality often means that the dissolved oxygen level is very low, which makes recovery even more difficult for fish.

If you discover that you water quality is poor, then you should:

  1. Increase the aeration immediately
  2. Carry out a series of daily 10% water changes - use water test strips to monitor levels
  3. Clean the gravel (use a siphon gravel cleaner)
  4. Check your fish daily for signs of infection or disease
  5. Check the water quality parameters daily to monitor the changes (test for dissolved oxygen, ammonia and nitrite).
  6. Limit the amount of food you give your fish. Poor water quality is often caused by over feeding

Tagged by topic: Fish Health