Anoxic Substrate!?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Anoxic Substrate!?!

My substrate is anoxic!... Every now and then, perhaps a few times a day, it lets out a little fart of hydrogen sulfide smelling gas. I'd heard that is poisonous, but my fish all seem perfectly fine and happy.

My tank has 2" of black flourite sand, and a fully planted substrate of dense planing. The tank has been set up for about 5 months now, and I had put in some Sera root tabs which I broke into quarters after I'd finished my planting. With a fully planted substrate, I hadn't planned to and can't readily do gravel vacuuming, but had been told that the plant's root would keep the substrate from getting anoxic.

Should I worry about these anoxic conditions? And should I do anything about it? My waterflow had been quite low previously, so I've substantially upped that but haven't seen yet whether that makes a difference. I'd heard Malaysian Trumpet Snails help, but would they disrupt my plant roots and dwarf hairgrass foreground carpet? And I've also heard people complaining about infestations of these, and I kind of hate snails anyway.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 12:56 AM
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It could be a problem. Poke the affected area with a stick everyday. It should clear up.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 01:24 AM
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If it's letting out H2S then it is anaerobic, not anoxic.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Could be a problem how exactly? I'd read through this page, but it wasn't altogether conclusive for me. http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/doc.../sulfint.shtml
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhunt View Post
If it's letting out H2S then it is anaerobic, not anoxic.
Is it? I thought anaerobic would have been okay, that would I think mean that bacteria in the substrate were reducing nitrates to harmless nitrogen gas. But the gas does have a slightly sulfurous smell to it.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 01:59 PM
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Anoxic & anaerobic means the same thing, low oxygen, therefore causing certain anaerobic bacteria to thrive. They produce the sulfur smell (H2S). H2S can be toxic to fish and plants.

Like mentioned, just poke (multiple pokes) it daily to release the gas and introduce O2 into that area.

Aerobic bacteria converts harmful chemicals like Ammonium and Nitrite to harmless Nitrate.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 12:19 AM
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Anaerobic and anoxic are not the same things. Anaerobic means no free dissolved oxygen. Anaerobic environments are also called septic. They promote the growth of sulfide fixing bacteria which produce hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses. Anoxic environments are environments when the free dissolved oxygen is between 0.01 and 0.5 PPM. Certain filamentous bacteria and facultative bacteria thrive in anoxic conditions. In anoxic environments, denitrifying bacteria will grow which will convert nitrate into dinotrogen gas.

Also, nitrate is not harmless, it is just less harmful than ammonia and nitrite.
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