Does your aquarium have a smell? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Does your aquarium have a smell?

I'm not talking about a strong stench I mean when you open the hood what does it smell like? I have three planted tanks and 2 have a take-it-or-leave-it fish smell, but the other one smells like a forest after a rain. Sometimes I take a whiff when I walk by because it's so pleasant. Any way I got to wondering what could be the cause of this. the tank that smells good is the most established having been nearly untouched for 6 years while the others were set up a year ago. Also this tank has duckweed and the others do not so maybe there is a blanket of oxygen between the hood and the water line from that? Please share your experiences.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 07:49 PM
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My main 40 gallon is topless and I liken the smell to wet earth, like what the ground smells like after it rains. (also I do not use carbon in this tank, it contains 2 fancy goldfish and plants )

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 09:38 PM
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Wet earth is a good way to describe it, organic-y is what I would say. Not the most pleasant thing but not overwhelming usually.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 10:01 PM
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my newer 40g also have an earthy smell, but after a water change theres considerably less of it. does anyone knows if this is caused by lacking filtration?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 10:09 PM
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I would assume it has more to do with all the organics and biological activity going on in the tank. So if you're diluting with new water is would decrease in smell. Just a guess though.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 11:09 PM
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It has a fish tank smell. I can't really describe it. Like a small percentage of what the LFS smells like when you walk in.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 04:12 PM
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I cleaned my 50 gallon 2 weeks ago. I always turn the filter off/low (fluval 305) while cleaning. I had to rush out of the house right after and forgot to turn the filter back up. 3 hours gone and I came home to a very very stinky tank. 30 min of the filter back to it's normal flow and it went away. I've found the amount of water movement in the tank really affects the smell I get. I would say check you filters on the ones that stink. Make sure you have enough movement around the tank. Especially if you have driftwood in it. I have two smells I look for

wet earth (what I strive for)

and

stagnant hell
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italionstallion888 View Post
I cleaned my 50 gallon 2 weeks ago. I always turn the filter off/low (fluval 305) while cleaning. I had to rush out of the house right after and forgot to turn the filter back up. 3 hours gone and I came home to a very very stinky tank. 30 min of the filter back to it's normal flow and it went away. I've found the amount of water movement in the tank really affects the smell I get. I would say check you filters on the ones that stink. Make sure you have enough movement around the tank. Especially if you have driftwood in it. I have two smells I look for

wet earth (what I strive for)

and

stagnant hell
You might have an issue with something in your tank. I left the filters off on my 55g for about 5 days when I went on vacation. Cleaned the tank right before leaving and forgot to turn the master kill back on. Came back and it was like nothing was wrong. Slightly stronger wet earth, but that was it.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by gSTiTcH View Post
You might have an issue with something in your tank. I left the filters off on my 55g for about 5 days when I went on vacation. Cleaned the tank right before leaving and forgot to turn the master kill back on. Came back and it was like nothing was wrong. Slightly stronger wet earth, but that was it.
I have a lot of drift wood in the tank. When the water isn't moving, the driftwood starts to stink up the tank. Filter on and the water is fine.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 07:16 PM
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same here - nice potting soil, wet forest, growing plant smell. Nothing fishy or approaching a LFS smell (you can instantly tell when it is a not-so-nice store)

If it is every stronger than that it is time for an instant water change. Only had to do this once, never did find out why or what made it smell a little fish-tanky that day. It had been less than a week since regular WC day, and I've gone longer than 3 weeks at times with no issues (normally every 1 to 2 weeks)


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 10:27 PM
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do you happen to have BGA? that particular algae leave a very horrid smell
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 11:17 PM
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If I take a few plants out and leave them outside, while still wet, they smell earthy. Really cool. The water itself has little smell but its the same. My assumption is its due to EI dosing. Lots of nutrients = earthy smell.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 05:46 PM
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I get this nice smell when I have a established heavily planted tank or with alot of floating plants like frogbit. Smells very earthy, like after a rain in your outside gardens. When I lose that smell is when the tank becomes unbalanced and starts to smell off/fishy. I know to up water changes, test that tank more frequently and increase plants. It's saved me some fatalities in the past.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:27 AM
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The best way to describe the way my tank smells would be that it smells like a lake. It's that earthy slightly musty with a tiny hint of fish and plant smell. It isn't very strong, but doing a water change will make the room smell like a lake. I've had times where it got really really strong and I knew something was up with my tank and it was unbalanced.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:11 PM
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Like everyone else is saying, it should smell like wet dirt - but only up close. If the room smells like dirt i'd think its time for a WC.

I've had driftwood that got a little stinky after it was submerged but it only lasted about a month.

Limnophilia aromatica has a nice smell and can help mask other odors....but you need a fair # of stems to notice it.
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