Hydrogen Sulfide in Deep Sand Bed - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Hydrogen Sulfide in Deep Sand Bed

Hello! I have very fine sand in my freshwater aquarium - about 2-3 inches deep and I have a large fish that frequently burrows in the sand and disturbs it regularly. I had someone in another forum state that at some point hydrogen sulfide built up in the sand will kill my fish (guy was jerk but brought up a potentially serious issue). I can’t seem to find information on a how to prevent this from being an issue and it seems most people aren’t even sure this is a thing. Is this something I should worry about or be addressing in my tank? The most common solution is to not disturb the substrate - but what if I have a fish that digs deep all the time? Thank you for your help!

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 07:14 AM
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I would not worry about it as your fish will prevent hydrogenfrom building up.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 03:58 PM
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H2S (bad thing) may build up where O2 is depleted.. but so will N2(good thing, removes Nitrates).


fish disturbing it will release any/all gasses relatively slowly (good thing)
sand is more permeable than say real "dirt" so gas exchange is better.
Plant roots add it as well (o2)

Seems you could add Malaysian Trumpet snails (borrowers) if you are really worried..

Good little discussion on it:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...substrate.html

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 04:12 PM
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@jeffkrol beat me to it. I just got a few Malaysian Trumpet Snails(MTS) for my sand substrate 10 gallon. They'll keep the substrate stirred up, but if you overfeed the tank, they'll reproduce pretty quick.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
@jeffkrol beat me to it. I just got a few Malaysian Trumpet Snails(MTS) for my sand substrate 10 gallon. They'll keep the substrate stirred up, but if you overfeed the tank, they'll reproduce pretty quick.
Which is a good thing too. This way you have a visible proof you're overfeeding and you can just feed less. MTS are great!


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the quick responses!! I didn’t think it would be an issue but I kept getting conflicting answers! I’d love to toss in some MTS (I have them in all the other tanks) but derpy fish in this one would eat them and break his teeth. So I’ll just keep an eye on it - thank you again!!!

Also my derpy fish does a great job of keeping the sand agitated and he has 11 plants (two of them so large and wild I’ve had to cut them back considerably) to keep the sand healthy! It seemed like the HS was a possible issue but in rare occasions. The stories I came across seemed to be “a friend of a friend” had this happen or “my roomate’s sister’s cousin” had it happen etc. While I let my little piggy puffer rule the tank, I make sure he has plenty of sand and plants and a highly rated canister filter to keep up with his bioload. While it’s a “fish-centered” tank, he lives in a mini jungle

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Everglade Lagoon: 60gal, heavily planted with CO2 system, EI dosing, and a variety of freshwater fish.
Congo Cove: 40gal, medium planted, low tech, one Congo Puffer (
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The Puddle: 5gal nano, heavily planted, low tech, one male betta
Baby Tank: 10gal, lightly planted, low tech, three snails, Amano and Cherry shrimp, and a ton of Molly fish fry
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-10-2018 at 04:14 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 03:47 PM
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If you have plants rooted in the substrate there's nothing to worry for sure! They're aerating the substrate too.


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