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Discussion Starter #1
I did my usual 25% water change on my 20 gallon long last night after work. This morning my tank smells quite strongly. Kind of like it's regular earthy smell, only WAY stronger, maybe a little foul. I checked all my fish and snails, everyone is present and accounted for. Checked my water last night and this morning: 0 0 5ish. The only thing that's different is that I put a slice of zucchini in last night after the water change. Could that be causing the smell? I've only had the tank up and running for four months. Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.
 

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Tank Smaells

Hello hach...

A 25 percent water change still leaves 75 percent of the water that contains fish wastes, this is likely what you smell. If you're getting out the gear for a water change, it would be better for the fish if you just took a couple of more minutes and started removing a little more water each time you change it. Work up to the point you're removing half. You'll remove twice the amount of dissolved fish waste and the tank will smell better. The tank inhabitants would appreciate the improved water conditions.

B

Moderator edit: unless you know you need to do 50% water changes, don't do 50% water changes. That's not good advice to give every member in every situation.
 

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As mentioned above, change more water. Planted tanks will start to smell like wet grass and dirt after awhile. The best answer is to change 50% of the water each week. The good news is that plants and fish love water changes and algae and disease do not.

You could just run a fairly large amount of activated carbon in your filter but it needs to be changed regularly and has no real benefit to the tank other than removing the odors. Your water is still old it just smells better.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Was it a pickled zucchini?
Lol! No, it was a slice of organic raw zucchini that I cut the skin off of.

Hello hach...

A 25 percent water change still leaves 75 percent of the water that contains fish wastes, this is likely what you smell. If you're getting out the gear for a water change, it would be better for the fish if you just took a couple of more minutes and started removing a little more water each time you change it. Work up to the point you're removing half. You'll remove twice the amount of dissolved fish waste and the tank will smell better. The tank inhabitants would appreciate the improved water conditions.

B
I had been doing two water changes a week when I first started the tank, but I kept getting outbreaks of cyanobacteria and was told to cut back on the water changes to try to get my nitrates higher. I am dosing dry fertilizers as well.

As mentioned above, change more water. Planted tanks will start to smell like wet grass and dirt after awhile. The best answer is to change 50% of the water each week. The good news is that plants and fish love water changes and algae and disease do not.

You could just run a fairly large amount of activated carbon in your filter but it needs to be changed regularly and has no real benefit to the tank other than removing the odors. Your water is still old it just smells better.
I did a second water change today, but there hasn't been any improvement in smell.
 

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What brand water conditioner are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What brand water conditioner are you using?
Seachem Prime. Same bottle I've had since I started the tank four months ago. It's about half empty.

I should also mention that when I changed my water today I didn't notice any smell from the fresh water.
 

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hach...

The water change will only remove the dissolved wastes. The solid waste material builds up on the bottom material too. The next step would be to thoroughly vacuum the substrate. Be careful around the plants though. You don't want to damage the roots.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hach...

The water change will only remove the dissolved wastes. The solid waste material builds up on the bottom material too. The next step would be to thoroughly vacuum the substrate. Be careful around the plants though. You don't want to damage the roots.

B
I did vacuum the sand both times. Didn't even get anything the second time, really.

Could be cyanobacteria, aka Blue-Green Algae, or BGA. They typically emit a strong, earthy smell. Do you see any blue/green stuff covering your substrate/decorations/plants?
Is the tank overstocked?
That's what my tank smells like right now, kind of swampy, almost. I don't see any right now, but it's pretty heavily planted, so there could be some in there that I can't see. My nitrates are less than five right now, so it's possible there is some in there. I did add fertilizers today.
 

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The smell you describe makes me think of BGA, too. Earthy, but stronger, and not as pleasant as the natural, earthy smell that I find in my tanks. I need to get really close to smell it, too. The smell from BGA is stronger, easier to notice.

I would get the NO3 up closer to at least 10 ppm.
 

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BGA is the first thing to look for. It has the worst smell for an aquarium. Second thing - I haven't noticed this yet but heard from a few, Seachem prime needs to be refrigerated after like 3 months else there is a bad smell for the conditioner itself. So check that too to be sure. This will not affect the quality of the conditioner though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The smell you describe makes me think of BGA, too. Earthy, but stronger, and not as pleasant as the natural, earthy smell that I find in my tanks. I need to get really close to smell it, too. The smell from BGA is stronger, easier to notice.

I would get the NO3 up closer to at least 10 ppm.
Yeah, that's exactly how it smells right now. Usually my tank smells like wet grass and mud, but it's almost sour right now. I added more of the NO3 than I usually do today to try to get it up.

BGA is the first thing to look for. It has the worst smell for an aquarium. Second thing - I haven't noticed this yet but heard from a few, Seachem prime needs to be refrigerated after like 3 months else there is a bad smell for the conditioner itself. So check that too to be sure. This will not affect the quality of the conditioner though.
Yeah, my bottle of Prime definitely smells bad, but this isn't the same smell as my aquariums is giving off right now. I did some more up close searching and I found one plant with BGA on one leaf. Hopefully the extra ferts I added will help with that soon.

Thanks for all the help everyone. I'm still pretty new to this.
 

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Yeah, that's exactly how it smells right now. Usually my tank smells like wet grass and mud, but it's almost sour right now. I added more of the NO3 than I usually do today to try to get it up.



Yeah, my bottle of Prime definitely smells bad, but this isn't the same smell as my aquariums is giving off right now. I did some more up close searching and I found one plant with BGA on one leaf. Hopefully the extra ferts I added will help with that soon.

Thanks for all the help everyone. I'm still pretty new to this.
I too am going with the smell being made by the bba. Use the antibiotic erythromycin to kill this bba.

What's with the zucchini?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I too am going with the smell being made by the bba. Use the antibiotic erythromycin to kill this bba.

What's with the zucchini?
It was for the snails and otos. Tank is still stinking it up. :/
 

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I had a gorgeous hunk of driftwood in my tank once that turned out to not be driftwood. Oops! It started to smell as it rotted away. Good thing I hadn't added any fish yet!
 

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I've fought BGA several times. One of it's most distinctive features is it's strong scent, exactly like what you're getting. I've used UltraLife "Blue-Green Slime Stain Remover" in the past to kill it. It's not erythromycin (or so they say) so it doesn't affect your nitrogen cycle, and typically takes only one dose to do it (wait a few days). Amazon sells it. Be sure to up your water changes and clean your filters, BGA WILL clog them if you don't stay ontop of it as it dies. Especially if you have a lot in your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've fought BGA several times. One of it's most distinctive features is it's strong scent, exactly like what you're getting. I've used UltraLife "Blue-Green Slime Stain Remover" in the past to kill it. It's not erythromycin (or so they say) so it doesn't affect your nitrogen cycle, and typically takes only one dose to do it (wait a few days). Amazon sells it. Be sure to up your water changes and clean your filters, BGA WILL clog them if you don't stay ontop of it as it dies. Especially if you have a lot in your tank.
I can't find much of it. There is a little on the glass and a few leaves. I'm just shocked that even that small amount reeks so much.

Thank for the tip on the slime remover. I'll give that a try if it doesn't clear up soon. Thanks again.
 

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I can't find much of it. There is a little on the glass and a few leaves. I'm just shocked that even that small amount reeks so much.

Thank for the tip on the slime remover. I'll give that a try if it doesn't clear up soon. Thanks again.
If you don't have much of it, it might be better to let your plants out compete it. Is there enough phosphate and nitrate in your tank? Do you have sufficient lighting?
 
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