How Long Does It Take for Fish Poop to Decompose? – Best Aqua Facts

Hi, this is your friend Clifton Ervin, the founder and chief editor of this site, Aquariumwolf. I completed my graduation in marine biology and became...Read more

The prime pillar of this answer to the following question is the condition of the water. When you have a general aquarium with gravel, it takes 12 to 40 days to decompose the fish poop in the water. As a result, the amount of nitrate in the water surges. The fact is that nitrate is pretty toxic to the fish in the aquarium.

There are some other equations regarding the decomposition part according to aquarium types. Stay with us to learn the fundamental factors.

How Long Does It Take For Fish Poop To Decompose – Condition The Water

There are plenty of types of aquariums, and in different aquariums, the fish poop decomposes differently.

How Long Does It Take for Fish Poop to Decompose

In A Aquarium With Gravel

The most frequent aquarium that we all see in homes is the aquarium with gravel. And you must notice a filter inside it. Some filters can suck the poops and condition the water, or some can make the poops stuck in a particular area.

In A Aquarium With Gravel

What Happens To The Poops?

When you do not clean the water for such an extended period, like 2 to 3 months, you will notice that the water will become cloudy. And it is formed by the decomposition of the fish poop. However, the gravels have no capabilities to suck the poops.

So, you can say it will take a maximum of 2 weeks to start the decomposition process of decomposition in the aquarium with gravel.

In A Aquarium With Plant And Soil

In the planted tank, the case is a bit different here. The filter inside the tank will help the poop to expand and make the water cloudy. Around 2% to 3% of the total poop will be dissolved in the soil. And the rest of the poops will be sucked by the filter.

In A Aquarium With Plant And Soil

What Happens To The Poops?

After the dissolving process of 2% to 3% of the total poop, within an extended period, like 12 to 30 days, the decomposition process will start. The water will become cloudy and toxic for the fish due to the existence of nitrate in heavy amounts.

In A Reservoir Tiles Surface

The explanation of the reservoir with tiles on the surface is similar to the aquarium with gravel. After not cleaning the water for such an extended period, like 2 to 3 months, you will notice that the water will become cloudy because of the fish poop.

In A Reservoir Tiles Surface

And the utterly condition is formed by the decomposition of the fish poop.

In A Reservoir With Soil

About the reservoir with soil as the surface, the open air automatically helps the water to condition. Again some poops become dissolved in the soil and surge the soil’s nutrients.

Eventually, the plants receive the poop as fertilizers. The fish poop becomes the food of various animals inside the reservoirs, like shrimps, crabs, etc.

If the reservoir size is medium, like 100 cubic feet, it is enough to soak the poops in the soil. Eventually, no poop remains to dissolve.

Yet, it is ideal to check the value of the nitrates inside the reservoir with an interval of 1 month and manually condition the water if the nitrate value goes high.

FAQ’s

Some aquarists face mystification regarding several factors. Some of the most frequent questions are,

What happens to fish poop in aquariums?

Fish poop is a prevalent problem that all people who pet fish face. Generally, we need to keep our aquarium conditioned. Conditioned means all the elements in the right portion.

The fish poop dissolves by a small percentage if your tank has soil and the rest of the poop becomes ammonia and eventually creates the toxic element called nitrates.

Will plants break down fish poop?

If you have a planted aquarium, the fish poop will be dissolved in the soil. But the amount is meager. Therefore, you need a filter to remove the poop and clean it with an interval of 15 to 30 days.

Eventually, plants help to dissolve the poop, but the amount is less. For example, a betta fish waste can be dissolved by plants if your tank size is 2 cubic feet and is full of plants. Other than this, plants don’t fight against the fish poop.

What breaks down fish waste?

In the case of a planted aquarium, the fish poop will be dissolved with the soil. But the amount is meager. Therefore, you need a filter to remove the poop and clean it with an interval of 15 to 30 days.

Again plants help to dissolve the toxic elements of the poop, but the amount is pretty low. For example, a betta fish waste can be dissolved by plants if your tank size is 2 cubic feet and is full of plants.

How long does fish poop turn into ammonia?

When fish releases poop in the water, it takes several days to decompose. Though it ultimately depends on the fish and the food habit, a rough estimation is 12 to 40 days.

Some fish poop may take longer to start being ammonia and release nitrate. However, nitrate is enormously toxic for the fishes, but significant for the plants.

Conclusion

Fish poops are beneficial for the soil if you have a planted tank. And if it is your prime concern that how long it take for fish poop to decompose, it ultimately depends on the poop and fish type.

This article covers the duration of the decomposition of the poop. We also explained the effects of this process. However, if you want to properly keep your fish healthy, clean water.

Hi, this is your friend Clifton Ervin, the founder and chief editor of this site, Aquariumwolf. I completed my graduation in marine biology and became an Ichthyologist. One of my favorite hobbies is aquarium keeping; therefore, I love to talk about fish keeping, breeding, food behavior, etc., and much more relevant to aquarium maintenance. I have created this site Aquariumwolf, to share my 20 years+ of experience and knowledge with all new to this journey.

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