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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm new to the planted tank, but I've been stalking it for a while and blame you folks for finally prompting me to go ahead and get a big aquarium. I'm not new to fish-keeping, so when I saw a 75 gallon with all the fixings for $500 from a LFS because they wanted to get rid of all their freshwater equipment, I thought I was set.

The tank is still pretty awesome, but EVERYTHING associated with it reeks, which I didn't notice because most LFSs have a certain aroma but my apartment doesn't. This swampy, pungent smell that's half canal, half outhouse. I'm removing the gravel, and I'm almost ready to write the two Aqueon 55 filters off as a loss because I can't seem to get them clean short of bathing them in bleach. The smell has also soaked into the wooden canopy. Aside from nuking the whole thing from orbit, is there any way to salvage this thing? I've googled all over for smelly tank issues, but the solution is "water change." Given that there's no water in it except for a bit of wet gravel I'm trying to scoop out, I don't think that's going to help....

I'm also a bit worried that, once I clean everything up, this is just how the tank is going to smell. Has anyone had this issue before with second hand aquariums? Is this just how freshwater smells? I'm pretty sure my old 20 gallon wasn't this rank.

Then I have to figure out how to get rid of the 100 some odd pounds of rocks that came with the aquarium.....
 

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Glass and silicone don't smell at all. Use a very weak bleach solution to clean the inside of the tank, and that is taken care of. Discard the substrate and replace it, or spend the time to do a thorough washing of the substrate in small batches, until the wash water runs clear and clean each batch. Use a weak bleach solution on the filters too. (When you use bleach be sure to thoroughly rinse it, and even use a bit of Prime in the last rinse bath.)

The wood canopy can be cleaned with a damp cloth, allowed to dry thoroughly, then given a coat of urethane to seal it.

You can put the rocks outdoors in the sun and rain for a year and any smell should be long gone. If you want to use some of them now, use bleach water solution again, and an old toothbrush to thoroughly scrub them. When you get all of this done, it is highly unlikely that it will stink at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ahhh, that is awesome to know, thank you! I'll definitely do that, and see about rescuing the flourite I used under the gravel. Didn't realize how awful it was until *after* I'd washed the gravel once.
 

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Agreed with the above. Bleach covers a multitude of sins.


Be sure to put an extra dose of Prime or similar dechlorinator in your tank once you set it up and get it ready for fish, this will totally neutralize any residual chlorine from the bleach.


As for the stand having a bad odor, Hoppy is right that you can coat the inside with some poly. Really you can use almost any clear finish to seal it up. If the stink is REALLY bad, look for Shellac (Zinsser sells a shellac you can buy at Lowes)---- shellac is the most effective odor-sealant commonly available.


If you want to paint the inside, just use some Kilz primer followed by any white gloss paint (laytex or oil, doesn't matter)
 
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