How To Get Rid Of Bacterial Bloom In An Aquarium

Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by Marco C.

Bacterial bloom can often become so intense that you can’t see clearly, which is why many people wonder how to get rid of bacterial bloom in an aquarium. This is a problem that many aquarium owners and enthusiasts have to face at least once! Luckily, there is a solution. Bacterial bloom can affect the look of your aquarium, but you can take care of it easily!

What Is Bacterial Bloom?

Bacterial bloom is, firstly, a common problem with aquariums. It’s basically an increase in the number of bacterial colonies in the aquarium. When this sudden growth happens, the bacteria can make the water murky, even to the naked eye.

Bacterial bloom, or bacterial blossom, can become so advanced that it’s difficult to see the fish!

This problem mostly occurs in new aquariums, but it’s not uncommon to occur with seasoned enthusiasts! It can happen because dead fish haven’t been taken out or because you’ve been overfeeding the fish. Whatever the actual cause, bacterial bloom in your aquarium usually occurs because of an increase of nitrites and phosphates.

Bacterial Bloom and The Nitrogen Cycle

The creation of bacteria or the bacterial bloom in an aquarium is part of the nitrogen cycle.

The bacteria that actually bloom in this cycle are usually heterotrophic bacteria. This type of bacteria needs to break down organic debris (food, dead fish, etc.) to feed. These bacteria can reproduce incredibly quickly (15-20 minutes) and they start reproducing almost immediately in a new aquarium.

Almost all bacterial bloom is caused by a buildup of organic waste in the substrate. The best way to prevent this is to keep your aquarium clean!

Cleaning aquarium with sponge

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The bloom isn’t all that dangerous for the fish – the only way the bacteria can harm the fish is if the bloom gets to an advanced stage. In that case, it can start producing ammonia and restricting oxygen. Ammonia is dangerous to fish, which is why it’s needed to get rid of the bacterial bloom in your aquarium quick!

Treatment Of Bacterial Bloom In An Aquarium

So, how do you get rid of bacterial bloom in an aquarium?

Firstly, you need to change your filter. It’s your filter’s job to clean water. If your aquarium is murky because of the bacterial bloom, that means that your filter is clogged! Make sure to regularly clean your filter and this won’t be a problem.

Secondly, you should change the water in the aquarium. Not only should you do this every now and then as part of regular maintenance, but you should also do it in case of a bacterial bloom. The best way to get rid of the bacteria is to throw it out! It also isn’t only because of the bacteria, but also because of the nutrients. Keep in mind that bacteria need nutrients to feed – if you clear them out of the water, the bacteria will die out.

Following that, you can add beneficial bacteria. There are products that are made to fight these bacterial blooms. These beneficial bacteria will take the bacterial bloom in a showdown and reduce the nitrogen cycle!

How To Prevent Bacterial Bloom In An Aquarium?

What’s even better than fixing your problem is avoiding it completely! There are a few things that you can do to make sure that bacterial bloom doesn’t occur in your aquarium.

As mentioned before, make sure that you clean your water filter regularly. It would also be hugely beneficial if you changed your water from time to time.

However, the most likely cause of the bacterial bloom is the amount of food debris in the aquarium. To avoid this, stop overfeeding your fish! Fish can’t eat a lot of food, and while being afraid that they’re hungry is understandable, overfeeding them is a waste of food. That food turns into prime nutrients for bacteria and a bacterial bloom becomes imminent!

It’d also be smart not to overpopulate your aquarium! Too many fish in the same aquarium means more food, which leads to higher chances of a bacterial bloom occurring.

It’s crucial to clean up any dead fish, plants, and/or uneaten food. All of this becomes nutrients for the bacteria if left unattended.

Another tip regarding your water filter is using active carbon! Adding active carbon (available at almost every pet shop) to a water filter will help with the water cleaning.

Some experts also suggest adding gravel from another, healthy aquarium to propagate the growth of beneficial bacteria. You should do this if you’re certain that the other tank is healthy.

Bacterial Bloom In An Established Tank

It’s more rare for bacterial bloom to occur in an established aquarium, but it’s still possible. This usually happens because of overfeeding and the best way to prevent it is to control the amount of food!

This can cause much larger issues because a bacterial bloom will cause a spike in ammonia! Ammonia is lethal to fishes and it usually doesn’t take much for a fish to die from ammonia poisoning! That’s why it’s important to take care of a bacterial bloom as soon as possible.

It’s likely that a piece of food or a dead fish got stuck somewhere and are providing nutrients for the bacteria. Follow the steps above to take care of this! However, it really is more likely for bacterial bloom to occur in a new aquarium, rather than in an established tank, so it’s likely that you won’t have to worry about this anytime soon.

In conclusion, a bacterial bloom is a common issue with new tanks, but it’s more rare with established aquariums. This is basically a buildup of heterotrophic bacteria that occurs because there’s a new organic nutrient in the environment. This nutrient can be anything from rotting food to a rotting fish. A bacterial bloom can cause the water to get murky and it can even cause health problems with your fish.

It’s important to prevent bacterial bloom by regular maintenance, but if it does occur, you can take care of it by cleaning your tank.

Read more about: What Makes Aquarium Water Cloudy?

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