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Old 01-21-2008, 06:00 PM   #1
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smelly stench

Ok. Yesterday I removed my whisper power filter and replaced it with a penguin biowheel 150(I wanted the biowheel in case I needed to quarantine) and the Marineland 150 is much smaller. I put 2 pouches of Purigen and 1 pouch of Carbon in it with some liveRock rubble to hold it down the pouches. When you smell it it smells of Ammonia.

Also my Turboflotor Multi. Is gathering some dark black sludge that stinks like rotten moldy fungus(my experience with skimmer sludge stench is limited to my 3weeks experience with a skimmer)

when I smell my tanks water I don't really smell anything.

I tested my water as I am doing weekly with my API testkit NH3/NH4(0) NO2(0) NO3(0) PH(8.4) CA2+(360) Hagen test KH(140) Po4(0)
I want more accurate testing and was looking at Salifert test kits(I hear there the best but they are not cheap) I am thinking if I get the Salifert Nitrate/Magnesium/Calcium/Alkalinity I should be ok(like 80bucks)for 50 tests And still use the API for PH/Ammonia/Nitrite

Does the biowheel filter smell of ammonia because it is removing it from my tank. And I figured the Skimmer sludge wouldn't smell like roses or anything but should it stink up the kitchen..
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:54 PM   #2
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I don't know of anything that smells worse than skimmate. The smell is all the disolved organic compounds the skimmer pulled out of the water.
I don't know why you would get an ammonia smell from the powerfilter.
Salifert test kits are very good. I use the ca, alk and mag kits.
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:21 AM   #3
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I run a biowheel 100, and haven't noticed any foul smell from it ever. Was the live rock rubble you put in your biowheel 150 from your main? If it wasn't cured and had anything to die off on it, that could be where your stench is coming from. Maybe try taking some water directly from the filter and testing it for ammonia. If it reads zero, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

And the skimmate... yeah... that's just gonna stink. Better there than in your tank!
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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Totally agree. Test the water from the filter and see what happens. I would say that you just got a wif of something nasty and it's nothing to worry about. I gag every time I clean out the collection cup on my skimmer. YUCK!
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Old 01-22-2008, 11:56 AM   #5
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I tested my filter and no ammonia. I guess I just have a sensative nose. Sometimes I will be standing 10feet away from the aquarium and i can smell the skimmate. I worry that the water got under my wood floor during an overflow and is rotting away causing the stench but the floor doesn't smell when I smell it(yes I smelled my floor)lol .

Also with my turboflotor multi skimmer if I have the flow caps all the way open it fills the collection cup about 1/3 of the way daily. If I turn the caps about 1" It fills the collection cup about 3/4 of the way daily. I understand that the skimmate is dissolved organics but how does it produce so much consistently wouldn't the skimmer eventually pull most of it out and stop producing skimmate after time. Especially since I have such a large skimmer on a small 46g tank. Its great that it is working but how are the dissolved organics originated in the tank.
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:51 PM   #6
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DOCs come from fish waste, uneaten food and anything that is dead a/o decaying in the tank. Remove all livestock, don't put any food in the tank and eventually the skimmer will stop producing skimmate.

You want to turn the caps so you are getting a dark 'tea' looking skimmate. You should need to empty the cup once a week or possibly more, depending on the load. Sound like full open is about right for your tank.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:59 PM   #7
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So if a snail dies from not being turned over and I can't reach it without totally undoing all of my aquascape and having to rearrange my tank. say I leave the snail in the tank dead. This will produce waste that will be removed by the skimmer as DOCs But will not foul the tank since it is a small amount of dead decaying matter. But if a fish dies it produces a lot more of decaying matter causing massive skimmate and possible changing the chemistry of the tank. Does this sound right or wrong??

I am thinking that the stench I am smelling and the amount of skimmate that is produced(Dark Tea looking like a light motor oil) Is because of the Rocks I got from Inland Aquatics. I Cycled them for a week and scrubbed them really well Before I put them in the tank but still they had dead sponges and worms attached to them and upon arrival they stunk really bad right out of the box. The exact smell I am smelling in the skimmate. so Maybe I didn't cycle my rocks long enough or scrub them good enough I did watch the ammonia spike drop in the garbage can I cycled them in. So hopefully the awfull stench in the skimmate wont smell as bad after a couple of weeks I can smell it now and I am 20feet away(Yet my tank water does not stink really and levels are fine)
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Old 01-23-2008, 02:26 AM   #8
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Your thinking on DOCs sounds right to me. The bigger the decaying thing, the bigger the change in nasties in the water. (And you will, at some point, not see that snail overturned! No need to tear your tank apart though... a long piece of tubing makes for a good "snail poker" if your arm can't reach. And even if you can't reach it then, well... your crabs will thank you.)

You could be smelling stuff dieing off your live rocks. Cycling rocks for a week doesn't sound long enough. Regardless, you're seeing 0 ammonia in your tank, so all seems well. If your water doesn't stink, then it sounds like things are as they should be. Skimmate just stinks - period - but it sounds like you're getting some "good quality" skimmate from your rocks. Hopefully it'll mellow out. Or you'll get used to it!
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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I agree with Kurt. It appears that the tank is not fully cycled yet. The die off from the rock is causing the skimmer to go crazy, which is a good thing.
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:17 PM   #10
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Sounds great thanks for the help
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