Does Your Marine Aquarium Pass the Smell Test?

Your senses play as important a role in maintaining your aquarium as test kits and monitoring devicesWe marine aquarists depend heavily on store-bought test kits and devices for monitoring water quality and parameters (like the FishBit monitor we discussed here recently), but we’re actually born with some of the best tools available for figuring out what’s going on with our tanks—our innate human senses. With the possible exception of taste (I’d recommend observing the general admonition that you shouldn’t put your tongue on anything related to your aquarium), our senses can tell us quite a bit about the health and well-being of our systems—if we pay them heed, that is. Here are some examples of how:Sight Obviously, our eyes give us the most comprehensive information about our tanks, so we’ll start there. They reassure us that our livestock is healthy and behaving normally, getting enough to eat, and interacting peacefully; that there’s ample water movement in the system (evidenced by swaying corals, particulates kept in suspension, etc.); that the lighting system is fully functional with no burned out bulbs/tubes/LEDs; and so forth. But sight isn’t the only sense that’s helpful to the marine aquarium hobbyist. There’s also… Hearing Unusual or louder-than-normal sounds often indicate that something is wrong in an aquarium system. For example, a rattling sound coming from a submersible pump or HOB filter could indicate a broken or cracked impeller.