Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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gilfish 08-26-2007 11:00 AM

Smelly 55G!
Hi all. Well the tank has been up and running for about 6 months but for some reason it is only now beginning to stink a bit. The whole room doesn't smell, but when I open the top it's stinks bad and if I leave it open the room smells. I change 40% water via vacuum every 10 days. Any products out there to offset the smell? Thanks. :roll:

Andyandsue 08-26-2007 11:39 AM

Dare I ask, what does it smell like?

Also, is there the possibility of anything dead in the tank? Someone once said fish food got stuck under the top mounted filter and that was causing the smell.

Is the aquarium planted or have artificial plants?

Is the tank overstocked? I vacuum and water change every 7 days since I am slightly overstocked and if I let it go more it's gets stinky.

Have you cleaned the filter and intake, etc?

I use a product called Algone, available only at LFS, it's a plant based natural product. Works great for everyday aquarium health, but I wouldn't use it to cover up a problem, which the smell might be indicitive of.

gilfish 08-26-2007 12:18 PM

It smells and stuff. :wink: Ironically, I just did a full vacuum and 50% water change Fri night and cleaned my eheim filter which I do every 3 months. I even took all the decorations out and rinsed in hot water. This is my "big" cleaning every 3 months. Only artificial plants. The only thing I've never done is cleaned my impeller, because I don't understand the directions for my Eheim 2213. :roll: I also scrub the algae with every water change. Algae has never been a big issue. :?:

Andyandsue 08-26-2007 06:28 PM

I looked at the Eheim website and they didn't show any instruction manuals, which is too bad. Do the instructions give a suggested cleaning schedule for the filter? I have a top mounted with BioWheel and I change my filter media every-other week, and rinse it on the other weeks.

My aquarium after about 4 months or so developed what I will call an "earthy" smell but this is normal. Tt almost smells like a clean lake or stream-sort of like really good potting soil.

If it smells rancid or bad, I would start taking a look at that impellor (mine gets really gunky if I don't clean it monthly). All it takes is one piece of rotting food to get in there and P-U! Take an inventory to make sure nobody is deceased, and check for anything rotting, like food stuck somewhere. Other than that you can try Algone, but I have a feeling if it smells that bad Algone isn't going to help.

jones57742 08-27-2007 04:08 AM


I have not posted in this thread because I am not familiar with cannister filters but
AaS's comments are very valid: there is something wrong here.

In physics "you always get back to the basics" (I know: I know: I have worn everyone out with this assertion but it is true).

1) start 25% weekly WC's;
2) as AaS recommended check all the mechanical and biological media for the possibility of this media not functioning as well as the cannister filter active mechanisms;
3) do not know your "bottom treatment" but is there "anyway" to "check it out" in order to determine the efficacy of your vacuuming (ie. stirring the gravel, etc.)


Mating Slinkys 08-27-2007 05:39 AM

What's your substrate, and does it get stirred?

If you have a fine substrate it might have compacted and had some anerobic spots which grow a differnt kind of bacteria which produce methane(?) which can make your tank smell and the fish die! Just need to keep it stirred regularly to avoid dead spots.

If you got a large grained substrate like gravel, ignore this post!

Hope you get it sorted soon, no one like smelly things!

tommy3492 09-02-2007 08:24 PM

must be the filter power, try getting and underwater filter, sucks all the poo from fish its great!!!!

Lupin 09-02-2007 08:54 PM


Originally Posted by tommy3492
must be the filter power, try getting and underwater filter, sucks all the poo from fish its great!!!!

Not out of the tank but out of sight. Unless the substrate is large enough, the UGF will just become clogged.

I agree with Ron and Susan. Weekly water changes to start with. Twice or thrice a week is even better.

fish_4_all 09-02-2007 11:47 PM

O, I think it might be another issue that might just be a thing. As stated earlier, a healthy cycled established tank will eventually smell like a stream, creek or lake. Althought most people do not see this as aproblem, if you have never been exposed to it this can be very disconcerning. I actually have a very clean watery lake smell to all of my tanks and enjoy it but I have had someone come over and ask what the "smell" was that was like they only got when on the river. I never notice it now unless I am doing a water change.

But just to be on the safe side, try this. Take a stick or your hand and slowly move it through the substrate to see if any air bubbles are released. If the bubbles are released and smell like a strong river smell then things are ok but more gravel vacs are needed to combat it. If it smells like rotten eggs, please stir up all your gravel and do at least a 35% water change while stirring the gravel very well. Also, if it is very strong of a rotten egg smell, do not inhale too much! It can actually make you light headed if you have an sulfer allergies or sensitivity. I have only had it happen once, when I got my last batch of Malaysian trumpet snails that all died in the substrate and I about passed out and my eyes burned. The gas is sulfur gas if it has a rotten egg smell and means that food, waste and other things are collecting and rotting instead of being digested by beneficial bacteria.

I also would not recommend UGF unless you want to tear down the tank once a year and do a lot of extra maintenance. That is unless you want to try reverse flow in which case someone will have to explain it a lot better than I understand it.

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