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Old 04-07-2006, 02:14 AM   #1
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QT tank - horrible sulfer smell

Long story short, I'm using a 10g QT to house some fish intended to cycle my 75g tank. Daily PWC's have kept the 3 important toxins down to a minimal.

This afternoon I noticed an awful sulfer-ish smell coming from the QT and that 4 of the 5 damsels were dead.

I move the survivor to a temporary bucket (kept on hand for water changes) with the same tank water, mixed up 10g of new salt water, let it settling out, and then drip-acclimated the damsel to the freshly made water.

I rinsed the tank out thoroughly, scrubbed down with my cleaning brush, rinsed in some of the new water, rinsed again, and filled it up.

There are 3 decorations in the tank, the fake rock-like things you get at the LFS. They all smelled awful when I was cleaning the tank.

I also soaked and scrubbed down the 3 decorations really well in near-boiling water, then let them dry (and cool) before going back in the tank. Rinsed them off with more pre-mixed water first.

The damsel is fine, snapped back from a coma-like state pretty quickly, but the sulfer-ish smell is back. Really bad. I can smell it from 4 or 5 feet away.

My 75g tank (which is at its peak nitrite level right now) never smelled like this.

Is this a filtering issue? I have a small 10g air-powered filter, 2 stage, with sponge/foam at the bottom and charcoal above. There's also an air stone, if for anything, is in there for better circulation.

I'm worried I'm going to wake up to find my last little blue guy gone...
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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Grab a sample of water if it smells like that again and test it. You should be testing for ammonia every day in a 10 gallon holding tank. How much water do you remove per change and how much food is being fed?

Keep in mind a 10 gallon tank is going to foul much quicker than a 75 gallon.
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Old 04-07-2006, 11:59 AM   #3
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Re: QT tank - horrible sulfer smell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoot
Is this a filtering issue? I have a small 10g air-powered filter, 2 stage, with sponge/foam at the bottom and charcoal above. There's also an air stone, if for anything, is in there for better circulation.
The sulfur smell will be most likely due to lack of aeration/stagnant. You should also be rinsing the sponge/foam on a semi weekly basis in SW to keep it free of debris. Remove the airstone being used for circulation and add a small velocity powerhead instead. It will greatly increase overall water movement and better aerate the water.

Cheers
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:14 PM   #4
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I'm doing daily changes, about 50%.

Ammonia is tested daily on it, and ammonia has never gone up from the 0.5 that is what comes out of my tap.

I do have an airstone - there seems to be quite a bit of airflow.

I think I'm going to look for a small HOB filter that should add quite a bit of movement and aeration, but I'll look for a small power head too.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:02 PM   #5
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A HOB filter would be a great option, with a biowheel preferabley. The sponge filters are okay, but the HOB is a scale higher.

As far as the airstone, don't bother. You'd be surprised how little they actually help. With a small powerhead and the HOB (at opposite ends), you'll be just fine.

As far as the ammonia from the tap, get the LFS to verify it incase its' a false reading. If true, a simple DI resin filter would do what you need. Just be sure if you use a dechlor product in the make up water, you do not use copper meds in the QT unless you run carbon for a full day in the filter before hand.

Cheers
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
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Tap water

Re: LFS verifying tap water ammonia levels, did that about a month ago. My tap water treatment (can't think of the brand) seems to knock it out pretty well. It's (ammonia) at zero right now in the QT tank, and there's no cycle going on there.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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I think I've found the cause for this, which caused the loss of 4 damsels overnight.

I had 2 "decorations" in the QT tank. They were both hollow - ceramic rock-like decorations that gave the fish a place to hide.

The water that filled inside them wasn't being circulated. I'd put the QT tank back in use, and after a few days, when I was done, I removed everything to put stuff away, and the water that was inside those decorations was awful. Clearly, this was the source of such quick water stagnation, even though I had plenty of circulation going on. The stagnant water would probably slow creep out from under them, and mix with the aerated water from the rest of the tank.

I'm sure this is a no-brainer for some people, but hollow decorations seem like a very, very bad idea, because of how they hold un-circulated water inside them.
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Old 05-10-2006, 06:18 PM   #8
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Glad you got 'er figured out. It will go along way to a healthy future.

Cheers
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Old 05-10-2006, 06:30 PM   #9
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That makes me wonder if I should remove the plastic rock that I have in my tank. It is hollow on the inside and of course for it to stand up you have to force water to go into it. It has been like that since around April 9th I believe. I have not had any trouble with my fish or crabs and snail. Do you think I ought to leave well enough alone or remove it and take the chance of the water that is in it causing a problem when I remove it?
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:40 PM   #10
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I'm no expert - but if there's water inside that rock that isn't circulating, but might be leeching out into the tank slowly, I'd think its not a good thing. Maybe take it out and let new water fill it up once in awhile might help.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
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250 pounds LR
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Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
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