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Page 2 about
Testing Aquarium Water
Quality with Your Eyes, Nose and Finger Tips.


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This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about testing aquarium water. Click here to go back to the first page in this discussion.


Customer Comments

I really enjoy your website, have learned so much going over it again and again.
I have fancy goldfish and a penguin filter system in a 29 gallon tank. I have very little gravel, just enuf to hold the plants in place, but I think I may have too many fish for the tank.
I have a problem with fishy smelling water and brown algae on the silk plants. I have been doing 20% water changes 2-3 times a week, clean the gravel every 10 days or so and have changed filters once a week as well as adding some ammo carb to the filter system.
I even went and bought a second filter, a whisper, to have two filters trying to get rid of the odor. I am tired of my living room smelling like a pond.
Help? I have 6 gold fish med to large sized, the largest without fins is about 3 1/2 inches body size. I have reduced feeding from 2 times a day to once a day, switching to only pelleted foods so there is less getting lost in the gravel.
What else can I do or what am I doing wrong? I have tested the water, ammonia levels are fine, ph is very hard, no heater in the tank, a large airstone is used and the fish are growing like crazy and healthy looking.
Deb J.
Reply. Hello Deb. Thank you for your complimentary comments. We're glad to know that you're making good use of the information on

I think your smelly water is caused by too many fish. Each Goldfish under 3" requires about 5-gallons of water, and your Goldfish over 3" require about 10-gallons of aquarium

Three goldfish at 3" or bigger is usually all a 29 gallon aquarium can handle. Here are four things you can do.

(1) Be sure to feed Tetra's TetraFin Goldfish food or Tetra's pellet for stick-shaped food to your Goldfish. Tetra's foods are more digestible and so leave less residue for the filters to eliminate.

(2) Also feed freeze dried blood worms to your Goldfish. This food is even more digestible, and leaves even less residue for the filter to deal with, and your Goldfish will love these treats.

(3) I have a feeling that your gravel is more than 1/4" thick. Reducing it to at most 1/4" will help improve the water quality. You can replant your aquatic plants in small brand-new clean terra cotta or plastic pots.

(4) It would have been much better to get a Penguin 330 for your aquarium than adding the Whisper, because the 330 has two BIO-Wheels, and the BIO-Wheels are by far the most important factor in keeping your aquarium smelling good. Click here for more information about BIO-Wheels.

Incidentally, you can usually get the foods that I mentioned in stores that sell pet fish. The terra cotta pots are available in most places that sell potted plants.
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Customer Comments

hi i was reading your how to test your water with your finger tips, nose and eyes i just tested the water in my 20-gallon smells fine passed the finger test but its yellow
im gonna test the other tanks rigt noe and the results will be bellow
tank 1 with tinfoil barbs and a gold fish and 1 shark and an alb paradise gourami size 10-gallon color: yellow-green, finger test: pass, smell: puuuuuuw weeeeee
tank 2 with 1 blue lobster size 2.0 gallons color: just the slightest bit yellow, finger test: pass, smell: shuuuu weee
tank 3 includeing 3 african cichleds color: clear, finger test: pass, smell: not pleasent tank
tank 4 includeing to many to list size 10-gallon color: clear, finger test:cant get down there to tell, smell: cant get down there to tell
tank 5 includeing to many to list 10-gallon color: clear, finger test: pass, smell: shu wee
tank 6 with 1 gallon feeder tank color: yellow finger test: pass smell: fine
what will help?
Reply. Hello Montana. Thank you for testing your aquariums using your fingers, eyes, and nose.

The water in your aquariums passes the finger test, but most of the water in your aquariums is tinted with a color and is smelly. Smelly tinted water is not good for fish.

Since your water is tinted, you should start doing a partial water change of 20% of the water in each aquarium every day, until the water is clear and has no color.

This process of changing 20% of the water each day will probably also lessen the smell of your aquariums. But if the water still smells, after the tint is gone, here are some ways to eliminate the smell.

(1) Carefully clean your aquariums. Click here for more information about how to clean your aquarium.

(2) Add an Aquarium Filter with a BIO-Wheel. Click here for more about BIO-Wheel filters.

(3) Be sure your gravel is at most 1/4" thick and clean your gravel at least once a week with a gravel cleaner. Click here for more about gravel.

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