brown-yellow-water-fish-tank

How to Fix Brown or Yellow Fish Tank Water?

Brown or yellow fish tank water is a very unpleasant sight not only to you but also to your fish. This is a common sight that nearly every seasoned aquarium hobbyist has encountered on several occasions.

Perhaps, you may have seen it, read about it or just heard someone talking about it but have no idea how it comes about let alone fixing it.

If you have enough experience in the field of keeping fish as pets, you must have an idea of how brown or yellow fish tank water comes about. But if you are new to this phenomenon, then it is time you did your research on the subject matter. And in the course of your research, you are likely to come across some interesting facts regarding the formation of brown or yellow color in the fish tank.

Basically, your fish tank might turn brown or yellow when there is something in the tank causing it to undergo such a tremendous transformation. More often than not, this change in color is brought about by the presence of wood in your fish tank. The wood turns the water into brown or yellow color by releasing tannin.

There are other underlying causes of yellow or brown fish water tank such as materials from the substrate and waste of dying plants among others. All these are possible causes of color change in the tank water.

No one loves the idea of seeing a dirty fish tank in their homes or offices. The same case is true with the fish living in such deplorable conditions. That is why there is a need to find the source of the problem and fix it once and for all.

If you don’t have any idea of how to solve this problem, read on to find the best solution that will guide you accordingly on your quest to keep your fish tank clean and in good condition. But first, let’s start with what might be causing your fish tank water to turn yellow or brown in color.

What causes Brown or Yellow Fish Tank?

Before you start fixing the brown or yellow water fish tank, you need to know what is the cause. Below I listed some of the most common reasons why aquarium water turns brown or yellow.

Wood in the Fish Tank

It goes without saying that wood makes your fish tank environment complete and appealing. In fact, wood is one of the few popular decorations you cannot miss out in your aquarium. Wood has a reputation for bringing liveliness and providing a safe haven for less aggressive fish to swim and hide.

Despite all those positive attributes, wood in the aquarium is the real cause of brown or yellow fish water tank. These findings might have taken you by surprise but that is the reality of the matter. Why is it that wood is responsible for changing the color of your fish tank water?

Naturally, wood is made up of different organic materials and chemicals such as tannin and others. When left in the tank for some time, wood is likely to release tannins into the water. The released tannin turns water into a color that looks like urine. In its powder form, tannin appears brown in color that turns out to be very strong and when it comes into contact with water, it changes the whole appearance of the aquarium setup.

In addition, tannins can stain other sections of the tank besides water. For instance, the rocks or gravel in the tank may look brown or yellow as a result of staining from tannins. It seems that tannins are too powerful to the point of decoloring nearly everything they come into contact within the tank.

Besides changing fish tank water brown or yellow, tannins can also have an effect on the pH. This is due to the fact that tannins lower the pH levels of the tank water thus affecting the lives of fish in the tank.

As you know the pH plays a crucial role in the overall well-being of the aquarium and fish in particular. In case of any changes in the pH, it is likely that the environment within the fish tank will become unfavorable for the fish. So, how do you fix this problem?

Tannins in the Fish Tank Water

Fixing this problem should be as easy as taking a walk in the park. To begin with, remove the wood that is releasing tannins from the tank before doing a water change. Changing water is necessary and equally important such that it helps in getting rid of nearly all the wood materials from the tank.

Sometimes you may wish to remove the tannins and keep the wood in the tank to continue serving its purpose. You can achieve this feat by using a simple method. The method, however, involves taking the piece of wood from the affected tank and placing it in separate water while changing your tank water. Expect this method to take some time but in the end, it will be worth your effort. Let the piece of wood stay in the separate water until the water changes its color. Once you realize that water has changed to brown or yellow color, discard it and repeat the process until you get clear water. After you are done with this process, you may place your wood back in the tank.

Another method involves taking activated carbon and filling it in your filter. The method takes much of your effort and time, but it is very effective in removing tannins from the tank water. Use one teaspoon of the activated carbon for every gallon of water in the tank if you want to achieve better results.

Fish Waste

Waste materials come in different forms. For instance, the fish releases waste materials in the form of poop that makes the tank dirty. This type of waste can also become harmful to the tank and the fish. There is another form of waste from sources such as excess food that is left by the fish once they are satisfied. Leftover food is a major source of waste in aquarium setup. This is because it starts to decay as soon as it is left in the tank.

It is a good idea to clean your tank on a regular basis. This way, you will help in getting rid of all agents that change your fish tank water into brown or yellow color.

You need to start by cleaning your tank thoroughly and on a regular basis. Cleaning can be done in a number of different ways. But the easiest one is to carry out frequent water changes. Ensure that you change the water in your tank at least twice a week for best results.

In addition to that, don’t give your fish excess food that they cannot finish. Instead, keep an eye on the quantity of food your fish can finish as a way of reducing waste materials in the fish tank.

Decaying Plants

Decaying plants can also be a source of brown or yellow fish tank water. During the decaying process, the plants turn the water in the aquarium into yellow or brown color. Most importantly, you should be able to tell when the plants in the fish tank are dying. This becomes apparent when you see leaves or pieces of plants falling off. Also, you can tell the dying plants when you see them changing from green to yellow color. These changes are an indication that their time is up.

Decaying of plants has always become a bigger problem when you have a lot of plants in your tank whereby you will not be able to see the decaying ones. These plants can also increase levels of nitrates in the fish tank and make the conditions worse for your fish.

The most effective and easiest ways of fixing this problem are to remove the plants from the tank in time before they turn yellow. On the other hand, you may turn to creatures such as snails to help you remove decaying plants when they feed on them.

Other Causes of Brown or Yellow Fish Tank Water

Sometimes water in the tank can turn to brown color without necessarily having a cause. This is a common thing when water turns slightly brown in color although such changes should not be overlooked.

If the brown color in water becomes strong and makes it hard to see anything in the tank, then that is a big problem. A quick solution will be necessary to save the situation in time. Otherwise, the fish water tank is known to change colors from time to time and this can be fixed by simply making a water change. Therefore, any slight change in the tank water should be treated with caution to keep your fish out of harm’s way.

Final Thought

Brown or yellow fish tank water is an indication that there’s something wrong with your fish tank. This means you need to find where the problem lies and fix it as soon as you possibly can. These changes in the tank water can become a major problem especially to the well-being of your fish. Therefore, finding a timely solution is necessary to ensure that your fish is living in the best aquatic environment ever.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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