New tank, fishless cycle (just starting), sour smell? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 1,286
New tank, fishless cycle (just starting), sour smell?

New large tank, fishless cycling, filled for less than a week, with a few plants added in the last 2 days.

It has a large driftwood stump (2nd hand from a prior freshwater tank), sand substrate (about 3"), a small amount of Osmocote+ under the substrate (one of the little cubs that came in it, probably about a tablespoon).

No fish or other animals at all. Had a thick white bacteria bloom at first, which just cleared up over the last 24 hours.

And over the last 24 hours I am getting a really stale, musty smell. It's not the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfides, it's a source smell, like old wet laundry.

I was dosing ammonia, first does (24ml 10%, in 220 G) was mostly gone in a day (for reasons unclear), added another 20ml several days ago, and that's all. Now Ammonia is 8ppm or more (pretty dark green). I suspect that is from the Osmocote+, and/or the dying bacteria.

But the smell... do ending bacterial blooms stink?

I am not presently running carbon or purigen in the tank, I do have two filters running and good surface agitation. The recently planted items have not changed appearance. Water is slightly yellow (driftwood I think). Zero nitrites, no cycling yet despite some jump start with old media.

Any idea what the smell might be? Wait it out? Add carbon or purigen?

Linwood

Latest tank build:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Linwood is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:26 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Merriam, Ks
Posts: 1,949
like stagnant water smell or more sulfuric?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Italionstallion888 is offline  
post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 1,286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italionstallion888 View Post
like stagnant water smell or more sulfuric?
More stagnant, definitely not sulfide.

And not just "wet" stagnant, it's very sour, like mold or mildew (but clearly not that simple). New tank by the way, new filters, etc. Nothing old that might be stinking as it hydrates.

No signs of algae in the water or rocks, etc.

The driftwood is a possibility, it's completely submerged. It was reported to be in another freshwater tank for years. It has a few crumbly areas inside the stumb but generally it's hard and bark free.

Linwood

Latest tank build:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Linwood is offline  
 
post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:38 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Merriam, Ks
Posts: 1,949
driftwood or you have some areas of the tank not getting enough flow. My mopani smelled terribad for a few weeks and then it went away.

do a few water changes if you are not and see if it helps.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Italionstallion888 is offline  
post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 1,286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italionstallion888 View Post
driftwood or you have some areas of the tank not getting enough flow. My mopani smelled terribad for a few weeks and then it went away.

do a few water changes if you are not and see if it helps.
Yeah, "a few water changes" at this size is a bit of a pain.

I think I'll give it a day or two, and throw a bag of carbon in one filter, see what comes of it. I'm hoping it is dead bacteria from the initial bloom.

Linwood

Latest tank build:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Linwood is offline  
post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 09:16 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,425
I know the smell your talking about...I wouldn't worry its probably the driftwood. Some of my driftwood had that odd smell to it. Add some carbon, carbon is meant to adsorb meds, discoloration and odor.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
greaser84 is offline  
post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 1,286
Quote:
Originally Posted by greaser84 View Post
I know the smell your talking about...I wouldn't worry its probably the driftwood. Some of my driftwood had that odd smell to it. Add some carbon, carbon is meant to adsorb meds, discoloration and odor.
Thanks. I had one spare bag of carbon, and just ordered 3 purigen, been meaning to try that for some time, this seems like a good time.

Linwood

Latest tank build:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Linwood is offline  
post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 09:45 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
greaser84's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 1,425
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
Thanks. I had one spare bag of carbon, and just ordered 3 purigen, been meaning to try that for some time, this seems like a good time.
Don't use the purigen until the cycle is over.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
greaser84 is offline  
post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 10:01 PM
Plant Whisperer
 
Zapins's Avatar
 
PTrader: (28/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Harrogate, TN
Posts: 2,537
Why did you add so much ammonia?

Water changes are probably the way to go. Buy a python hose to make the changes easy.
Zapins is offline  
post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 10:31 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Northbay, California
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
Yeah, "a few water changes" at this size is a bit of a pain.

I think I'll give it a day or two, and throw a bag of carbon in one filter, see what comes of it. I'm hoping it is dead bacteria from the initial bloom.


I too cringe every single time when someone says "do a 30% water change" or "50% water change" or "change 10% water every day for a few days" and I have only a 100 gallons. I can relate to you completely. however, most of the time, that's the only way out. I guess you can wait it out since there are no fish in it yet.
ashokjr is offline  
post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 11:17 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Merriam, Ks
Posts: 1,949
Water changes just come with the territory of owning a tank, small or large. Has to be done, especially during the initial stages.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Italionstallion888 is offline  
post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 11:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
8 ppm ammonia is too high. The bacteria do not do so well when it is over 5 ppm.

Do a 50% water change. Or else run some ammonia removing media. Get it down under 5 ppm.

Ammonia can also make the tank smell. Not usually musty. Most people think of it as cat urine odor.
Diana is offline  
post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
Posts: 1,286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapins View Post
Why did you add so much ammonia?

Water changes are probably the way to go. Buy a python hose to make the changes easy.
I THOUGHT I added the proper amount for the tank size. The real issue is why I had a near zero reading a day after the initial dose.

But I should have, with the dose I added, around 5ppm even if none has been consumed/converted.

I just did a diluted test (50% distilled water, 50% tank) and got 4ppm, maybe a bit under, so it is probably in the 7-8ppm range.

Are the plants going to reduce this by themselves if I'm patient? I have no animals in the tank at all.

From what I've read, this extra ammonia may have come from the osmocote+ I used. There are numerous stories of a sharp rise in ammonia from it. Hopefully it's a one time thing.

Anyway... as to the smell -- I was perhaps just impatient there. I just came back from a trip into town for a couple hours, and no longer smell the tank in the room. If I stick my face right on top of the tank I smell it slightly. So it seems to have been only a half-day +/- event, at least apparently.

My theory still is that it was the dying bacteria -- the smell came as the water cleared. Well, "theory" is a bit strong, as I have no basis for it, other than one happened then the other.

As to the python, our tap water is awful, and I am using RODI water for the tank, so it's a slightly bigger deal. My main hesitation is I used all my DI media with the first fill and am waiting for more to come in. I figured I had a couple weeks at least before I needed massive quantities again, plus I haven't rigged up the long siphon I need.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by greaser84 View Post
Don't use the purigen until the cycle is over.
That's good to know, can you elaborate on why, does it interfer with the cycle or... ?

Linwood

Latest tank build:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Linwood is offline  
post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 03:02 AM
Plant Whisperer
 
Zapins's Avatar
 
PTrader: (28/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Harrogate, TN
Posts: 2,537
High ammonia readings like you have will kill many species of plants. Even lower amounts of ammonia of 1-2 ppm will severely damage certain species of plants. If I were you I'd do a 90% water change as soon as possible, a pain I know, but necessary.
Zapins is offline  
post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 03:08 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
Ditto Zapins.
Most plants cannot handle 8 ppm ammonia.
1 ppm is generally safe for most, see the notes at the end of my fishless cycle.

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
Diana is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome