Substrate Gas Burping - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Question Substrate Gas Burping

I have a tank with an organic soil base about 1 or 1-1/2" deep topped with gravel, there is a little Osmocote in the substrate. It has been up and running for about 6 months and I always get some burping when I vac (pushing down) or sometimes planting...I have even seen it do it on its own right next to my betta fish and it concerned me but he was okay. The tank is healthy, so is the water chemistry as always so should I be "poking" the substrate on a regular bases to burp it or will that promote further build up of gasses?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 02:17 AM
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You need to poke it periodically. It will continue gas up as the soil is broken down. Therefore relieve it by poking it. It's common for organic potting soils to do this.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 02:19 AM
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Does it smell like rotten egg?

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, no smell that I am aware of.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:03 AM
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Could be a sign of some anaerobic bacterial activity. Sulfate release (H2S) is probably the biggest concern and can poison fish. I suggest a water change with every gravel vacuum if you can.

As flight50 mentioned, poking the sub periodically helps a lot.

It may be that your soil or gravel or both may be a little deep, creating anaerobic areas.

Are there plants near where the bubbles come from? Plants also help by oxygenating the soil, encouraging aerobic bacteria.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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My soil is shallow I think, and mainly the bubbles from from areas where there are no plants. The bubbles are huge too they displace a fairly large amount of water when they do come up, I can never seem to get my gravel clean enough on water changes I think I need to look into an air lift/vac so I can really go at it...I used to have shrimp but they slowly died for whatever the reason was.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 01:52 PM
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my new dirted tank has started to burp also. No big deal. I poke here and there to help burp the baby....lol

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 07:10 PM
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I have some plants in glass containers in a bare bottom tank. The substrate is fairly rough pool filter sand. I can clearly see bubbles trapped under less than a quarter inch of it....

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-09-2016, 12:49 PM
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What type of shrimp were you keeping? If they're hardy shrimp like cherries and they're dying off, something is wrong.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-29-2016, 03:08 PM
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I would not disturb the substrate and let the substrate do it's job of bio-filtration. There's a great article on the subject.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seove View Post
I would not disturb the substrate and let the substrate do it's job of bio-filtration. There's a great article on the subject.
yea its nature doing its job. let it burp
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
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I would not disturb the substrate and let the substrate do it's job of bio-filtration. There's a great article on the subject.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntotheWRX View Post
yea its nature doing its job. let it burp


This is really bad information!

Soil substrates (maybe other substrates as well) are known to create pockets of toxic gas (sulfur?) and anaerobic bacteria. If you dont go and periodically poke around to release these small pockets of gas they can grow and grow until they naturally rise up on their own. Often by that time the buildup of bad stuff is so great that it can cause some real problems in your tank and even kill fish.

We're not talking about a moving bed filter or live rock like in a saltwater tank. Yes the substrate in any tank will house beneficial bacteria which will in turn handle some of the bio-filtration (as will every surface in your tank). But disturbing the substrate will not have any effect on that beneficial bacteria (unless you force the beneficial bacteria into an anaerobic pocket which can/will cause the bacteria to die due to lack of oxygen).
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