Hi, I read your section
on bubbles at the top of
the aquarium and have a
question. I have an airstone
which produces large bubbles
on the water surface. These
stay at the surface and
generally don't pop.
When the airstone is turned
off, the bubbles burst in
a few minutes. When the
air stone is kept off, there
are no bubbles on the water
surface. Is this situation
OK? Also, there seems to
be foam when I run the diatom
filter, and when I turn
the filter off, this foam
goes away. Maybe I have
a surplus of oxygen?
Hello Mike. The bubbles and the foam are not
really the problem, but the bubbles and foam indicate
that your water quality is not good.
is a very simple test. Make sure your hand is clean,
then dip just the tips of your fingers into the
water in your aquarium and rapidly move your fingers
back forth in the water to create bubbles. If the
bubbles don't pop instantly, your water quality
is not good. Click
here for more about using your eyes, nose, and
fingers to test your water.
The bubbles indicate there is waste in your aquarium
water. This waste is a combination of lots of stuff
including oily molecules, protein-like molecules,
ammonia, etc. Good water doesn't have these waste
molecules in it. Why? Because the so called "beneficial
bacteria" have digested these waste molecules.
the "beneficial bacteria" that biologically filter
the water and make it safe for fish. Click
here for more information about biological filtration
Your diatom filter is a mechanical filter not a
biological filter. The diatom filter will remove
particles, including bacteria, and make the water
clear, but it won't remove the waste molecules,
mentioned above, because those molecules are too
small for a diatom filter to remove, and it's those
molecules that are the most important waste to remove!
The ad below links to this advertiser.
power filters with BIO-Wheels because they are the
best bio-filter for most freshwater aquariums. Click
to read more about filters. Proper filtration is
the key to having good water, and good water is
the key to having healthy fish.
Hey. I read your comment
to another question about
bubbles on top of the water.
You said it was caused partly
by ammonia. I tested my
water, and it was high in
ammonia. (I don't exactly
know why because I've only
had fish in it for about
a week and a half).
I didn't have bubbles on
top. I bought some
to lower my ammonia, and
now I have bubbles on the
top. Why is this? Also,
the water we have in our
house comes from our well.
The well water has a high
ph (about 9.0). I know this
isn't acidic, but is it
still harmful to the fish?
Thanks in advance,
Hello Scott. The bubbles on the surface of your
aquarium's water are actually composed of fish waste
that is dissolved in the water.
Fish normally produce
waste that contains ammonia, plus some fats, oils,
and pieces of broken up proteins. Ammonia is not
a good chemical to make bubbles, but the the fats,
oils, and pieces of protein are effective chemicals
for making bubbles.
When you have one
type of fish waste you usually have the others.
So we rarely test for ammonia. We just use our finger
tips to test for waste in the water. Click
here for the details about how to do that.
Your test results
indicate that your water contains ammonia, and the
bubbles indicate that your water also has other
types of fish waste. So now we know that your water
contains fish waste, and this is very bad for your
Your aquarium has
contained fish for only one and a half weeks. Usually
a new aquarium will have problems with ammonia and
other fish waste for the first few weeks, because
the so-called beneficial bacteria have not had enough
time to multiply in the filter, where they digest
the fish waste from the water. Click
for more details about aquarium filtration.
Since your water has bubbles
you should immediately take steps to get rid of
the bubbles. Click
for the details about how to do that.
Water with a pH of
9.0 is too high for most fish. A range of pH from
7.2 to 7.8 is good for most of the fish that we
now offer on this website. Water in pH range comes
from the faucets in most people homes in the U.S.
Even water with a pH as high as 8.2 is not too bad,
but 9.0 is too high. You should try to find another
source of water for your fish.
I have a 2 week old 50-gallon
aquarium and the water absolutely
STINKS! I have checked
all levels of PH, Nitrates,
Ammonia, etc. ... and everything
reads fine. The water
is SLIGHTLY cloudy but I
was told that is typical
of a new tank. Any
idea what could be causing
the water to smell like
Thanks so much!
Hello Kris. Bacteria are growing in your aquarium.
These bacteria are digesting something from your
aquarium water and producing a combination of chemicals
that have a peculiar aroma. Click
to read more about these bacteria.
Strange aromas are
very common in new aquariums. Quite often I have
smelled aromas like cigar smoke or garlic. Click
here for more about using your nose to test
for information about why your aquarium is cloudy,
and how to get rid of the cloudiness, which should
also eliminate the aroma.
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