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Old 06-12-2006, 12:50 PM   #1
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HELP my sons left me this tank and I dont know what to do

My two sons have just started their third marine aquarium. They have an established 55, 15 and are doing a new 10 gallon. Prior to their leaving on a trip for three weeks they began the set up of this new 10 gallon tank and left me in charge. (What a mistake). Anyway, the new tank was started with a bag of Argonite live sand and a lot of live rock (probably 20 lbs.) and began to cycle. About day 3, the tank took on a horrendous odor and lots of die off occured. The tanks amonia is spiking very high 8 and the water has taken on a black dark color. No lights are in use on the tank. This is day two of the amonia spike and day 1 of the ever darkening water. The tank has a milennium 1000 filter and a powerhead both running. The Ph is about 8, the Nitrites are 0 and the Nitrates are also 0. The temp is around 79.

Am I overly concerned, or is there something I can do to help out the process? I have noticed some slime beginning to grow on the Milennium 1000, so my thinking (and hope) is that there is just so much die off from the amount of rock that it will take some time for the nitrigication process to work. Perhaps a purchase of some active bacteria to help the process?

I could really use some expert help here. Me and the dog are having a hard time with the smell.

JustJeffy in Miami
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:59 PM   #2
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Did they throw in a raw shrimp to cycle the tank? I know that it will sometimes make an unpleasant odor as it decays (and thus cycles the tank). Or, are there any live inhabitants in the tank? At this point, the bacteria you asked about adding probably wont help much. If all that is in the tank is rock and sand, and it has only been three days, I would contact your sons and ask them what they would like to have done. If it's just the sand and rock, you could always drain, clean and rinse and start over when they return home. It almost sounds like you might have to anyway, unless the smell is a raw shrimp for cycling. Hope this helps. I am sure many more will chime in soon.
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:03 PM   #3
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you are over concernd your sons probubly intend to cycle the tank by cureing the live rock in it this takes 2-5 weeks depending on the rock and you rilly only need to keep things flowing all i do when starting a tank this way is rinse off the filter cartridge ( if useing) and pick out any rilly big pieces of die off. as for the smell you could do a water change
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:50 PM   #4
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All sounds normal for your cycle process. The smell is the die-off from the live rock. It's bad, i know, but it is quite normal.

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Did they throw in a raw shrimp to cycle the tank? I know that it will sometimes make an unpleasant odor as it decays (and thus cycles the tank).
There is no need at all for a raw shrimp when using 2 lbs per gal of uncured LR. That is PLENTY of ammonia production on its own.

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as for the smell you could do a water change
I wouldn't do a water change either....it will just prolong the cycle.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-12-2006, 02:09 PM   #5
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as for the smell you could do a water change



I wouldn't do a water change either....it will just prolong the cycle.
Would some carbon sheets help? I put some in my sump when curing/cycling with live rock and it seemed to help the smell a lot.
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Old 06-12-2006, 02:59 PM   #6
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Sounds like the process is going as it should, but I need to move out of my office. Do you think the little bastards knew what they were doing and figured that the best way to cycle a smelly tank was when they were gone? Would lights help along the process or make it worse?
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:04 PM   #7
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knew what they were doing and figured that the best way to cycle a smelly tank was when they were gone?
Uh huh.
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Old 06-12-2006, 04:42 PM   #8
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Would lights help along the process or make it worse?
I wouldn't recommend it for a long daily duration. It won't help the smell. If your kids gave you directions not to turn them on, then I would stick with that. I do, however, think a little daily light is good to keep any photosynthetic life that may have a chance of pulling through the cycle, somewhat nourished. Too much light will just cause an early uphill battle against unwanted algaes. It's a fine line, so I would just keep them off if that was your kids intentions.
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