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Why does my tank smell?

Discussion in 'Tropical Aquarium Advice' started by Lunaakita93, Dec 12, 2018.


  1. Lunaakita93

    Lunaakita93 PetForums Newbie

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    A9317EB8-B702-4C89-8DA3-6421DD241E4A.jpeg Hi,

    I have 420 litre tank that has not long been set up and will still be cycling(if it’s started). It’s had water in for about 2 weeks.

    I have been adding fish food but am very confused as the api test is showing 0.25ppm ammonia I think it’s hard to tell between that and 0. (It’s not quite light yellow or as green as 0.25ppm) Nitrites and nitrates are as you may expect 0. Why is the ammonia not rising?

    Also there is a very strong smell kind of like ammonia and stagnant water although the filter has been running at all times.

    Lastly even though I washed the sand thoroughly and the water was running very clear the next day the tank was cloudy and has been cloudy for 6 days. Any advice would be great and if you have any questions please ask.

    Thanks, Laura.
     
  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Great that you're doing a fishless cycle. I would personally recommend cycling with pure ammonia rather than fish food, as it's much easier to work out how much you're adding. The fish food takes a while to break down and produce ammonia, which is probably why your levels haven't risen much yet. It might also be the rotting fish food causing the cloudiness and the smell. I'd suggest getting hold of some pure ammonia (make sure there's no surfactants or anything else in it apart from ammonia and water; Jeyes Kleenoff is the brand most of us use), then doing a couple of large water changes and starting cycling with the ammonia.
     
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  3. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    Any luck with your tank yet?
    Looks to me as if you just need a little patience and to not add any more food till It clears!
     
  4. Lunaakita93

    Lunaakita93 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, yes thanks the tank fully cycled but now with 5 mollies and 6 neon tetras I have 0 ammonia 0 nitrites but only about 5/10 nitrates and they don’t seem to be rising. Is this normal? it seems low to me.
     
  5. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    Not quite sure of the level scale your using but this sounds fine to me.
    The ammonia is the one to keep as low as possible or the tank will smell and your fish will die of ammonia poisoning.
    As far as I remember fish produce nitrates when they eat which should decay via good microbes in your filter and sand/gravel into nitrites which in turn decay into ammonia which will evaporate from surface of tank and/or be physically removed with monthly water change (normally about 20 percent of tank).
    To keep all levels as low as possible is the goal, so not having excessive numbers of fish and not to overfeed them is the best way to control levels.
    Nitrites can be also kept in check by having live plants to use them.
    Its been awhile since I've kept fish but I hope this will be some help.

    James
     
  6. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    It's the other way around - fish produce ammonia, which is broken down by the filter bacteria into nitrites, which are further broken down into nitrates :) You're right, ammonia and nitrites are the particularly harmful ones. Nitrate is less harmful, but too high levels should be avoided. Tap water contains varying levels of nitrate, from 0-50 PPM. @Lunaakita93 it sounds like your tap nitrates are very low, which is good. So long as you're doing regular water changes, you shouldn't see nitrates rise too much. So it sounds like you've got a good balance in your tank! :) As @Mr James Lee says, if you have live plants, especially floating plants, they will also help to keep the levels low :)
     
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  7. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    Just reread your first post, 420 litre tank is some tank. I'm what you might call old school, but isn't that a five foot tank?
    If so its no wonder your waste chemical levels are so low with only 11 inches of fish. But starting with low numbers and in creasing slowly is textbook methods.
    I think the recommended amount of fish is to work out roughly how long each fish will be when full grown add the lengths together; so as mollies don't get much more than 1.5 inches and neon tetras are about an inch that's say 14 inches less ornaments and filter in a five foot tank you could have about another 25 inches of adult fishes.
     
  8. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the heads up.
    Did say it had been awhile, I knew someone who had a tank with nearly no nitrites or ammonia but harmful levels of nitrates. When I asked him how I found he was feeding his plastic plants.
     
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  9. Lunaakita93

    Lunaakita93 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the advice. I know I want a snowball or golden nugget plec but I was told to put all the smaller fish in first and slowly only a few at a time. So far all seems to be going well although I have a molly I’m concerned about. Il start another thread to see if anyone can help with her.

    Thanks again,
    Laura.
     
  10. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    Hello Laura, what's your concern with your molly? I had a sail fin plec (George) for around twelve years. He started at about an inch and ended up about 10 inches long and the only fish I could keep in my tank. He would slap his tail like a mini whale and I'm sure the slaps killed the other small fish.
     
  11. Lunaakita93

    Lunaakita93 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, I started another thread about my molly, she has a large dark mark not sure if it’s a gravid spot or if there’s something wrong. Do you suggest I don’t get a plec in that size of tank?
     
  12. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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    I only had a 2 foot tank, that's about ten gallons or 45 litres I think, and my plec made nearly a foot in length. I'm sure if I'd had a bigger tank he'd grown bigger, I had him years (I say him but he could have been a girl, how do you tell?) and grew with my knowledge of fish. He started in a tank of untreated tap water and so much weed you wouldn't have known he was in there. He was a year or two until I found out about treatment of water and filters I guess I was just lucky I didn't kill him in those first years.
    I feel with that knowledge I shouldn't advise you about getting a plec.
    All I can say I loved watching him grow and splash around.
    There was a Chinese restaurant I used to go to that had three or four in a tank that ran the length of the restaurant and the only other fish they had in there was a couple of silver shark, all these fish where about a foot so they where well matched.
    I suggest getting a book on plecs or googling them, sorry I'm not much help here!

    James
     
  13. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    The catfish family contains a large number of species. Plec is often used as a generic term to describe bottom dwelling catfish rather than just descibe the fish in the Plectostomus genus.

    Plecs come in all sorts of sizes and have an equally wide range of tank set up requirements. The most common plecs sold in many pet shops are the bristlenose catfish (Ancistrus) and the common plec (Hypostomus plecostomus). The former grows to about 4 inches and is suitable for tanks over 25 gallons and community tanks.

    Hypostomus plecostomus, the common plec is often sold to unwary new fishkeepers as an algae eater when it is about an inch or so long. It will rapidly grow to its full size of up to 2 foot. It will knock over decor uoroot plants and scare small fish just due to its sheer size. I inheruted one for my neighbour and it outgrew my 4 foot tank in about 8 months.

    Other plecs can be suitable for the aquarium but most have very specific requirements and many are too specialist in their needs for life in a community aquarium. They also are generally not just algae eaters and need specific diets.

    Have a look at this site for fish profiles.
    Here is the one for the Golden nugget (Baryancistrus sp.)

    https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/baryancistrus-sp-cf-xanthellus/
     
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  14. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Just to add to kittih's excellent post, another useful site is aqadvisor.com, where you can enter your tank dimensions and the fish you want to stock and it will flag up potential issues with size, compatibility, stocking levels etc. It's not 100% foolproof so it's best to also check sites such as seriouslyfish as linked to by kittih, but it's very useful as a starting point to give a general idea of any potential issues.
     
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  15. Mr James Lee

    Mr James Lee PetForums Newbie

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  16. Lunaakita93

    Lunaakita93 PetForums Newbie

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    Great, thanks for all your advice I have read the article you provided and as I have sand not rocks/gravel they may not suit my tank ,

    I have always wanted a plec I just love the look of them. Is there any types of plec you would recommend? I would prefer something with colour although il look into any suggestions while researching myself as well l.
     
  17. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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