Why Does My Fish Tank Get Dirty So Fast? (Causes & Solutions)


What could best ruin a good day than finding out your newly cleaned goldfish tank is filled with dirt all over again? You may start to wonder why it happens so quickly!

Why does my fish tank get dirty so fast? There are various factors that may cause such a problem.

Getting algae so fast may mean your aquarium wasn’t cleaned in the best possible conditions. It can be due to faulty filters or overfeeding, etc. Read on to discover the reasons and find suitable solutions to maintain a clean tank.

List of Reasons Why Your Fish Tank Gets Dirty Fast

1. Reasons for fish water

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]01[/su_highlight]Overfeeding


A fish can only eat so much; overfeeding your fish could lead to a dirty fishtank. Oftentimes, this can clog your filtering system, causing a much bigger problem and a messier clean-up for you.

Furthermore, left-over food can be the source of nutrients for algae to grow faster, making the water dirty within 1 – 3 days.

That is why keeping the diet proportions in check can save you a lot of trouble.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]02[/su_highlight]Faulty filtering system


A problematic filtering system can give you headaches for weeks, even costing you more money. Instead of helping clean the excess dirt in the tank, your filters are adding to its accumulation.

After a week, a faulty filtering system can turn your aquarium from clear white to muddy brown.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]03[/su_highlight]Bacterial bloom


The overgrowth of bacteria is one of the main reasons why fish tank gets dirty quickly. Bacterial bloom usually gives off a hazy white or gray color. It differs from the yellow, green, and brown color that any organic debris produces.

Notably, if you do partial water change , it gets cloudy just after 1 day, which means the water only provides new nutrients for the bacteria to grow even more quickly.

Initial bacterial bloom doesn’t necessarily have to be addressed, as it usually goes away in a few days. If it persists for days, it’s best to call your local tank specialist.

2. Reasons for fish tank

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]01[/su_highlight]Direct Sun Rays


Positioning your aquarium in an area where it receives direct sunlight can contribute to algae growth and this often causes the walls to go brown or greenish. To avoid a dirty fish bowl, move it in a different corner, far enough where sun rays won’t touch it.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]02[/su_highlight]Introducing foreign materials

Jampacking your aquarium with stones may introduce more dirt to your tank than you should allow. There is calcium in some rocks and stones, and over time, this calcium will react with the water and deposit lime on the glass.

This is also one of the common reasons why betta fish tank get dirty fast.

On the other hand, it is also advisable to clean a betta fish bowl with rocks as they scrape the lime and debris on the tank walls easier.

How to Stop This Problem?

Every tank functions as its own habitat. Your aquarium will be almost entirely self-sustaining if the proper balance is achieved and with it, you can get fish tank water crystal clear. You’ll have to put in more effort to maintain a clean tank and avoid turning your aquarium dirty the further the environment of your tank deviates from this equilibrium.

The following are tips and tricks on how to avoid fish tank getting dirty so fast:

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]01[/su_highlight]Have a regular water clean-up

Cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean changing the whole fill of the aquarium itself. You can take up to 10 – 20% every two weeks and replace it with a new fill. It’s easier to maintain that way.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]02[/su_highlight]Avoid using chemicals to wipe your aquarium glass.


You should always use a clean rag every time you clean the glasses, as it can contribute to the haze and debris that may soil the waters later on.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]03[/su_highlight]Keep an eye on dirty filters


The fish tank filter gets dirty quickly with faulty filters, so always be mindful of it. Put on gloves and clean all the sides of the filter before you put it back again. Using this trick, you can keep fish tank clean without changing water too frequently.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]04[/su_highlight]Clean additional decorations and gravel inside the tank


Dirty aquarium water can also be the result of too much waste accumulation on tank decorations. It is best to clean them regularly as well.

Also, make sure you vacuum your tank to remove debris and dirt from the gravel.

[su_highlight background=”#c2ecfa” class=”nbhl”]01[/su_highlight]Avoid overfeeding your fish

Sort out the right proportions to feed your fish, and avoid adding excess fish food that can cloud the waters in your tank. This food can accumulate and may even hamper your filter system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even though maintaining an aquarium is never the most enjoyable task, it is crucial to clean your tank frequently and keep it in good shape for many reasons. The following are FAQs on keeping fish tanks clean and ready.

How long can a fish live in a dirty tank?

Fish can live without a filter for up to six or seven days and for no less than three days. In order to prevent the dirt in the water from accumulating down, a filter helps clean the water repeatedly.

How often should you clean your aquarium?

Most fish tanks need to be cleaned once every two weeks, depending on how many you have and how nasty they are.

Do you empty the tank when you clean it?

No, it depends on how dirty the tank is. Your tank will be emptied if it is excessively dirty, or if there are dead lizards, birds, earthworms, or other creatures.


“Why does my fish tank get dirty so fast?” The next time you ask yourself this question, you’ll be sure to have checked the filters, accents, and amount of fish food given by the day to keep fish tanks clean.

Maintaining the task is the best and simplest technique to maintain your fish tank clean. It will be simpler to clean a small bit every day than to wait until the entire tank requires a comprehensive clean.