Aquarium Setup • Fish tank smells really bad.

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Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby austings » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:15 pm

I noticed today that my 55 gallon fish tank smells really bad. It really smells like dead rotten fish. I just did a water change two days ago. I do them once a week. I vaccuum the sand, I also stir it up, so that I dont get gas pockets. I have 10 fish in it. I have a fluval 305 and a fluval 303 with a spray bar. I did a head count all of my fish are there, so I know I dont have dead fish. I use Prime when doing a water change. My fish are acting normal, but theirs this really bad smell. The tank has been set up for 8 months now.

Not sure if it matters, but I also have a 20 gallon, that I did a water change on two days ago, it doesnt smell. I used the same buckets, hoses, prime, etc.

Any ideas? I tried to give as much info as possible. I've never had this problem before. Ill do a water change again today. Probably 50%.
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby metricliman » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:22 pm

Try using carbon.
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

-Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby Deeda » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:55 pm

Check that there isn't any spoiled fish food accumulated on the tank lid or rim, as that is a common reason for the bad smell.

Does it smell like the bottle of Prime or is it different?
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby austings » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:52 pm

Deeda wrote:Check that there isn't any spoiled fish food accumulated on the tank lid or rim, as that is a common reason for the bad smell.

Does it smell like the bottle of Prime or is it different?

There wasnt any food build up. But i wiped it down anyways. It doesnt smell like prime. Prime reaks. I've never had this problem in the 4 years I've had a tank. I just hope its not harming my fish. Ill replace my carbon. See if that works. Any other thoughts?
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby Deeda » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:24 pm

Have you changed fish food brands lately? Some really do smell nasty.

Carbon should get rid of the smell but you really need to find out what is causing it.
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby austings » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:59 pm

I bought Omega One Cichlid pellets about a month ago. I also use the same food in my 20 gallon tank, and it doesn't smell bad.

I agree that I need to find the cause. I'm worried its going to harm my fish.

One thing that I can think of, I walked in my room the other day, and I think my fish were breeding. I called my girlfriend in to watch, said her named kind of loud, and it scared the fish. When i walked in, it appeared that she was laying eggs on a rock. Would the eggs be rotting? Maybe she didnt pick them back up? I cant see the eggs, but i'm curious if theyre there.
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby cichlid-gal » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:18 pm

Have you checked your water parameters, ammonia/nitrite/nitrates? Could be something is off. I can almost tell when something is out of balance with my tanks...I can smell it...the water "smells" different, sour instead of just "fishy"...I don't know how else to explain it. When did you last do filter maintenance? Maybe you have something going wrong in one of your canisters. What do you have in your canisters? Maybe they are plugged and not cleaning like they should.
125g Limbochromis robertsi, P. mulitcolor victoriae, P. pulcher
125g Metriaclima sp. zebra gold (Lions Cove) WC, P. polit
75g Xystichromis sp. Kyoga Flameback
and smaller tanks with livebearers, Bettas, tetras, other
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby austings » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:50 pm

cichlid-gal wrote:Have you checked your water parameters, ammonia/nitrite/nitrates? Could be something is off. I can almost tell when something is out of balance with my tanks...I can smell it...the water "smells" different, sour instead of just "fishy"...I don't know how else to explain it. When did you last do filter maintenance? Maybe you have something going wrong in one of your canisters. What do you have in your canisters? Maybe they are plugged and not cleaning like they should.


Did a small water change last night. 5 gallons or so. Didnt have enough Prime. Got nore today. Parameters are fine. Nitrite/ammonia is 0. Nitrate is 10. Going to change water again today. Probably 75% or so.

In my 305 i have foam blocks, carbon (needs changed) and biomax. The 303 has foam and two full trays of biomax. Last cleaned them last week.
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Re: Fish tank smells really bad.

Postby cichlid-gal » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:20 pm

austings wrote:Did a small water change last night. 5 gallons or so. Didnt have enough Prime. Got nore today. Parameters are fine. Nitrite/ammonia is 0. Nitrate is 10. Going to change water again today. Probably 75% or so.

In my 305 i have foam blocks, carbon (needs changed) and biomax. The 303 has foam and two full trays of biomax. Last cleaned them last week.


Water change sounds good...if smell returns you might check your canisters and make sure everything is OK in them (i.e. no air bubbles trapped and turning bad or anything else going on that could be a problem)
125g Limbochromis robertsi, P. mulitcolor victoriae, P. pulcher
125g Metriaclima sp. zebra gold (Lions Cove) WC, P. polit
75g Xystichromis sp. Kyoga Flameback
and smaller tanks with livebearers, Bettas, tetras, other
C.A.R.E.S
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Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:40 am
Location: Washington State


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