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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all. I am fairly new to this-only started with a 10 gallon in January-but up to 3 tanks now and I'm having problems with one of them, my 55 gallon. We have had no sick fish (stocked with 4 bichirs, snakeskin gourami, pleco, pictus, red-tailed shark, and 2 clown loaches), but our sand has went bad, I guess.
We have pool filter sand in it, it was in the tank for about 6 months and one whole end of the tank started turning grey-not just the lower level of sand-the top too. So, we did a complete substrate change last week-fish are all fine-no problems there.
But only a week later we are starting to see the black spots come back again and I (only me, no one else in the house) can smell the tank, and it's not the normal "earthy" smell a tank has.
I don't know what to do. I have looked and looked on the internet, but all I see is about it being below the surface and being the anerobic bateria, if that's spelled right, but this is starting on the top too.
I can't afford to change to gravel, so that would be my last resort, but tough at Christmas atm, so I am looking for any advice. Thanks in advance.




 

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Not sure what's going on but if you're looking into switching to gravel and worried about price... look at your local hardware stores for "pea gravel". It's really cheap, comes in different brownish colors and looks nice. What you would spend 100+ dollars at the pet store would run you $10-15 for pea gravel. The only downside is that it needs to be washed thoroughly over and over to get the sand out of it.
 

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have you done any water tests?.... Nitrates in particular?..... is the smell a "sulfur" smell... also do you do regular water changes... it may be bacterial ( I cant tell from the pictures), because usually if sulfur gas is released (in the case of stirring a deep sand bed) you loose fish.. which in your situation does not seem to be the case... there are some sharp minded people on this site ( better qualified than I when it comes to water chemistry ) that can most likely tell you what it is... I'm sure they will chime in eventually...
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I do weekly if not bi weekly water changes-and I just have test strips atm (I know-that's the only thing that has held me back from posting-I'm going tonight to get an API master kit)
Our red-tailed shark is like an "in-tank" sensor- if he starts looking grey or his tail loses color I know something is wrong with the water or he's stressed-and he hasn't done that since being in this tank.
The smell isn't a sulfur smell-it's weird-I cleaned the tank really good yesterday and stirred up the sand and vaccumed out the "bad" sand-it turned back to the normal color, so maybe it was just excess food-the bichirs are pretty messy eaters.
I'm hoping if I just slow down on the feedings (despite their puppy dog eyes) and keep an eye on the sand I can get this cleared up.
I'm afraid if I can't get it under control if I switch to gravel it will just keep coming.
Thank you both for your help :)
 
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