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Basic Advice

Watch Out for These 4 Subtle Signs of Trouble In Your Aquarium

While some problems in an aquarium are obvious, such as cloudy or discolored water, others may be more subtle and hard to notice at first. Look for these not-so-obvious signs that something is not right in your aquarium.

pH Levels

If your pH levels in your aquarium begin to show a steady decline, you may have an abundance of acidic decaying organic material. This may be caused by an inoperable or declining filter, which should be the first thing you clean or replace. You may need to do additional water changes here, but of no more than 50% in order to retain the beneficial bacteria living in the tank.

Freshwater Worms

If you begin to notice a lot of white or tan worms in your freshwater aquarium, you may have a population boom of planarian. This can be caused by overfeeding your fish or by excessive organic debris. A malfunctioning filter may also cause the additional debris. Check to make sure your filter is in working order. Avoid overfeeding and remove uneaten food if possible. Improve the water quality and the worms will decrease.


If you notice fuzzy white clumps forming on your substrate, the material on the bottom of the aquarium, it’s possible you have fungus growth. This, as with the worms, is caused by uneaten food and poor water quality. Remove uneaten food, and cut back on the amount you are feeding the fish. Check your automatic feeder, if you have one, to adjust the settings. Change some of the water to improve the overall water quality.


Not always easy to spot, but parasites and ich may cause your fish to behave differently. Ich starts as small white spots on fins. These external parasites may result in excessive gill movement, scratching against rocks, or listlessness in your fish. Generally, you can cure these with daily medicine treatment and raising the temperature of the water.
If you spot something you don’t recognize or are unsure how to fix, contact us for a routine check up to return your aquarium to its healthiest state!

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.

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