How To Fix Weird White Flakes In Fish Tank:

One morning when i went to feed my goldfish, i saw quite lot of white floating particles in the aquarium. I have had no clue where they all came from as there was no sign of any white flakes in my aquarium the day before. It looked like colorless white flakes of skin that comes off after sunburn. I quickly jumped on internet and typed in white flakes like particle in my fish tank and found out that a lot of aquarist have had the same issue but there was real cause or solution posted on the internet. Some people suggested that it could be bacterial infection and others thought fungus could be the issue.

In video below I will show you how to fix white flakes in fish tank:

How to fix white flakes in aquarium

Using Fish Food to Cycle Tank:

White flake in aquarium
White flakes in aquarium

It was mentioned that if fish food is used as a source of ammonia to cycle the tank then rotten food can potentially develop fungus in the tank. It is a common by-product of cycling a tank this way and not highly recommended unless it is a small tank or fish food is contained in a bag so it can be easily removed. The solution is to rinse all the filter media in cycled tank water, vacuum the gravel, clean the decoration and aquarium pump and do a 90% water change if there is no fish added to the tank.


Filter sock is covered in fine foam to remove white flakes
Filter sock is covered in fine foam to remove white flakes

White flakes looks like detritus which could come from outside through few different ways such as using water from another tank and moving gravel to cycle the tank fast. Again the solution is to give gravel a good vacuum and use fine foam in your filter to capture all the tiny particles and debris and a massive water change is recommended.

Calcium Buildup:

I have experienced in the past that over time calcium builds up and accumulate on the insides of the hoses for aquarium filter or canisters. These buildups usually breaks down every now and then and is distributed through out the tank. The same can happen due to hard water build up on the inside of the canopy or top of the glass which can fall in to the tank. Anyways in my case, it was none of the above but how would i know at that time. I did a 50 percent water change and clean my overhead sump filter because these white flakes were everywhere in my aquarium. I came across the same problem the following week and had to use the same approach.

How I Fixed Weird White Flakes in my Tank: 

White flakes around hose
White flakes around hose

I bought a sponge filter online and was waiting for it to be delivered. In the interim, i made a diy sponge filter using a plastic bottle, piece of hose and some fine foam and was using it for over a week. Later on the same day when i did water change, i received my online parcel and went to remove my home built sponge filter. When i was removing the sponge filter, i noticed white flakes started to float around in the 2nd tank too. On paying close attention i found out that it was all around the hose. I used the same hose as an outlet for my diy overhead sump filter in the goldfish tank. After sliding my finger over the hose of overhead sump, i noticed all the weird white flake was coming off the hose. I came to a conclusion that it wasn't bacterial growth or fungus development because of left over food. It was coming off the plastic hose which i used as part of my filter. 

It was a big relief for me, at last i found out the cause of these white flakes in my tank. I did another 50% water change and clean the filter box again as i couldn't stand these white particles anymore. I removed the hose from the filter box and since then never ever had any white flakes issue in any of my tanks.

Appreciate your time reading this article, if you are having the same issue and came to this website to find the solution then i would suggest looking into your plumbing or any other plastic material used in the tank. If you have had this experience in the past then please share it in the comment section below for rest of the community.


  1. I'm getting the same flakes, can i clean the entire filter. Or leave some water inside. Its coming from the filter.

  2. Examine plumbing in your filter and fix it stop the flakes. I would suggest adding a sponge to the output so it doesn't spread in the tank. Once you know the cause and it is fixed then quickly rinse bio media in aquarium water and rinse the filter and place it back. I hope it has helped you. Have a good day

  3. I am having this happen to my tank currently, last weekend I full cleaned everything and replaced the filter and media. Not more than a week later the flakes are back, I don't understand where they come from or why they came back so fast. I’m not sure how to prevent them, any advice would be great.

  4. I’ve had same problem, it looks like dandruff but notice that it only happens here when fish are in their breeding cycles, could it be eggs not fertilized?


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