Help! Smelly fish tank - Aquarium Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Help! Smelly fish tank

Hi everyone. I need some help. I recently started up my first 50 gal. fish tank. Everything seemed to be going well until a few days ago. On Monday, the water was very foamy on top (white) and it smelled funny, not like anything in particular, but just pretty gross. That day, I ran to the pet store to talk to someone. I got the gravel cleaner pump that removes water and did a 20% water change. The woman recommended since we were changing the water to use prime, the chlorine/ammonia remover. After we did the change, the next day the house smelled like rotten eggs and there was foam on the top again. Assuming that we didn't clean it enough and the smell came back, we did another 20% water change and use prime on our new water. Well, this morning the rotten egg odor was even worse. After reading the prime bottle and doing some research, I discovered that prime smells like sulfur. However, I do not know what to do. The smell is terrible and I am afraid it is going to get worse. Will the sulfur smell eventually go away? Is there anything I can do? Also, there is some more foam on the water this morning, is this bad?

Please help!

P.S I checked all my water levels this morning and everything seems to be normal!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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Talking Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

the tank is going thought a cycle. live it alone stop the water changes and it will level off in a couple of days. hope this helps..

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 09:36 AM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Are there fish in the tank? If so, how long have they been in there?

When you say you checked your water levels, I assume you mean ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? If you are testing, how are you doing that - through what method?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 12:26 PM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

When I cycle my tank with fish or fishless I never have any unusual odors. I would try to find out with the problem is. Do you have driftwood that is rotten in there? Dead fish? What all do you have in your tank? Just gravel and water?

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Hi everyone! Thanks for the replies. I have 4 fish in the tank, an oscar, two jack dempseys and a green terror. They all seem to be doing well. I test the water with the test strips. I have gravel, driftwood, and plants in there. However, last night I took the plants out. The smell has gone away some, I think it definetely was caused by the prime chlorine/ammonia remover since, when I read the bottle, it says a sulfur smell was normal, I just didn't realize it would make my whole house smell! Never using that again. The water still smells, I am not sure if it is due to the prime or if it just smells in general. There is still foam on the top of the tank, just not as much as before. Should I leave it be or do you think I should keep doing partial water changes? I am new to this so any advice would help!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 03:05 PM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Isn't that like one capful for that sized tank? I use prime and never smell anything from the tank. How long have your fish been in there?

Do yourself a favor and ditch the strips, they are not very accurate. Sounds like your tank is still cycling, you'll want accurate numbers with those expensive fish you have.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

its 2 drops per 10 gallons, so i do 100 drops. The odor was awful. I will probably bring my water over to petsmart and get it checked. I need to get a pleco but I don't want to until my water issue is resolved. Unfortunately, some of the people there don't know what they are talking about so I don't know what else to do at this point other than water changes.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

First tank.....50gal tank....home to an Oscar, 2 Jacks and a Green Terror. All young at this point I assume......

I'm getting flashbacks from my own experiences with my 'inherited' tank......I wish you LOTS of LUCK with this tank.

Aside from that, the foam is probably a sign of ammonia. I can't comment on the smell. I don't use anything to condition my tap water with before use. Keep doing partial water changes. Leave the water out for 24 hours before putting it in the tank if possible and let the tap run for about 10 minutes before filling a bucket with water. What substrate do you have? My tank with silica sand smells more then my other tanks. Oscars are messy messy eaters and the extra debris that they leave around could help account for some extra smell. They require much maintenance.

10gal fry tank planted with Wisteria, Java Moss, Anuabis and Anacharis
35gal Sponge Bob tank with live bearing tropicals (daughters tank)
15gal planted with Swords, Java Fern, Wisteria and Red Rubin housing 10 fry and 2 bladder snails
55 gal with Oscar (future planted tank with angels and flowerhorns)
55 gal Community tank (platys, mollys, guppys, glass catfish, angels, phantom tetra, red eye tetra and swordtails)

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Thanks Amie. I have learned that Oscars are mess, along with the others. When I was cleaning it the other day I found a lot of food int he back of the tank. I cleaned that, but there is still food/waste floating around. Since I only do partial water changes, it's hard to get everything out. When I test ammonia, it says 0, but like others are saying, that could be due to the test strips. What can I do to get rid of ammonia?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 05:07 PM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Forego the pleco for now and try to pick up an API master test kit. It has ph, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test kits inside. Most people never need anything more than that.

I'd be doing 25-30% water changes everyday until that smell went away. If you think it is the Prime, get a bottle of Aquasafe.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt1128 View Post
its 2 drops per 10 gallons, so i do 100 drops.
At 2 drops per 10 gallons, you should only be adding 10 drops if treating the entire tank (My bottle says 2 drops per 1 gallon, maybe you mistyped). A 30% water change is 15 gallons so, using 2 drops per gallon, you should be adding 30 drops per 30% water change. You don't need to treat the entire tank each time, only the new water.

I don't use Prime in my 80 gallon tank. But, in my 6.6 gallon, I've never noticed any smell.

I think most of the problem is overfeeding of your fish in addition to being a new tank. I would do a 50% water change and then not feed for a few days.

Regarding the ammonia:
This thread has some good info for those new to aquariums.

Last edited by Cole; 10-27-2010 at 05:35 PM.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 05:46 PM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

I use prime all the time and the smell was never that bad. Maybe when I open the bottle, but when I close it the smell is gone. There is no lingering smell. I dont believe its the plants, even dead plants dont stink. I think it is something else.

55gallon
Light - 6500K CFL, 23wattsx5 5hr/day
Substrate - Red Mexican Clay, Sphagnum Peat moss, Eco-Complete
Misc- Pressurized CO2, EI Dose KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM-B
Plants -Limnophila Aromatica, Stargrass, Dwarf Hair Grass, Christmas Moss, Baby Tears (HM), Dwarf Baby Tears(HC), Rotala Rotundifolia, Ludwigia Glandulosa, Riccia Fluitans


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Sorry, meant 2 drops per gallon! not per 10 gallons. Anyway, I don't know why it smelt so bad but the rotten egg smell didn't happen until the day after I used the drops. Who knows, but the smell is gone now. Still a little foamy, the water does smell a little but not like rotten eggs (Thank god!)
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

that thread was very helpful cole, thanks!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-30-2010, 05:56 AM
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

Left over food is really bad news in a tank. It sounds like you have been feeding way too much, or the fish don't like some of the food you have been giving them. I think some one mentioned, but I'd stop feeding for a couple of days as well as doing water changes.

I think you can use prime safely in future without having to worry about the smell, it has some smell but once you put it in the water it is faint at most (when you put your nose close and sniff it). Don't ever use water straight from the tap. A dechlorinator like prime is the safest but if you don't use one leave the water to sit for at least 24hrs before use.
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

It is probably not that they don't like the food. They are messy period. I feed my Oscar 1 pellet at a time. He eats that one (minus the half that he spits back out) and I feed hi another one. I won't feed him more then 3 or 4 due to the waste and then come back maybe an hour or so later and clean it with the gravel cleaner. He doesn't like the cleaner so I give him a little time to digest first. I also don't feed him everyday either. When I skip a day I do feed him more but still one at a time.

The general consensus is that a full grown Oscar requires a 55gal all by himself. I purchased a 55gal that came with some full grown fish in it: an Oscar, a Black Shark, Pleco, Tinfoil Barb and a Convict. In the matter of about 3 weeks or less all the rest died and the Oscar has hole in the head disease from his poor conditions. He is doing better now but after what I tried to do to keep them and all the problems I won't put anything else in with this Oscar. I think they are right and at that size there is really only room for 1 fish especially one that is that messy.

10gal fry tank planted with Wisteria, Java Moss, Anuabis and Anacharis
35gal Sponge Bob tank with live bearing tropicals (daughters tank)
15gal planted with Swords, Java Fern, Wisteria and Red Rubin housing 10 fry and 2 bladder snails
55 gal with Oscar (future planted tank with angels and flowerhorns)
55 gal Community tank (platys, mollys, guppys, glass catfish, angels, phantom tetra, red eye tetra and swordtails)

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 06:08 AM
 
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

is there a solution or something that one can mix with the fish and fish tanks water to prevent it from getting smelly? how many times in a week should one clean a tank? i just have to mention, i have hermit crabs in it.

Last edited by archdunk; 03-14-2011 at 08:49 AM.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 11:19 AM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

I believe is't the active carbon in your filter that helps to eliminate the smell. Other than that change the water more frequently. My 30G seems to gather more alge and carries a slight smell that you don't even notice until you open the lid.
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 01:44 PM
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Re: Help! Smelly fish tank

This is probably a moot point and blatantly obvious to most people here, but activated carbon inserts in a filter are specifically designed to filter out odor-causing particulates in the water. You could double the carbon in your filter (if possible), or fabricate your own carbon inserts using media bags and raw carbon allowing you to "overload" them, so to speak.

And in the absence of using Prime, I really hope you are using some other sort of dechlorinator, elsewise you might be poisoning your fish with chlorine from the tap.

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