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Old 11-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #1
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New tank smells (Long post alert)

Hi guys!

Set up new tank on 27th Oct 13. Tank is Interpet FishBox and is 120 litres, brand new, and regrettably from Pets at Home ( Have now found a new aquatic shop to go to!)

Anyhow, set up the tank on the Sunday - washed gravel and other ornaments and added them into the tank and filled it. The tank came with Interpet Tapesafe and Interpet FilterStart so added the required amounts into the new set up.

Tank was clear until 2 days later when it started going a little cloudy. I added live plants to the tank (moss balls and a couple of other smalls ones). The moss balls were from an established tank in P@H which I thought would be ideal as it would have some sort of established bacteria in it. The following day the tank went proper cloudy, and hasn't cleared since. The tank has the most HORRENDOUS smell which hits you when you walk through the front door. Water changes don't clear either of the 2 problems as they both come back within a day.

The readings on the tank are normal ( I have an API Master Kit ), I was hoping something would be off in the readings as I would have something to work on!

I did a 50% water change on Saturday, which helped then the smell came back and it went cloudier again.
I also put in a "Arcadia Poly Filter Disc" under the advice from the guy at the proper aquatic shop, as he thought there might be something in the water. The disc went really brown in 4 days so it pulled out a lot of organic stuff in the water.

I stupidly added fish a week after setting the tank up ( P@H said it would speed things up) and the fish ( 4 glowlight tetras ) all died in 10 minutes ( after this I went to the aquatic shop for proper advice!! ).

My tanks readings are still normal, no spikes or anything.

To add, I have kept fish as a teenager from fancy goldfish up to a 3ft tropical tank, and have never had any problems like this, so am at a loss!

Any help would be much appreciated, the smell is getting quite annoying!

Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:30 PM   #2
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If the fish all died within 10 minutes there can be a few problems. First, I have to ask is what kind of test kit did you use to test your water parameters? Ammonia is generally not something that is tested for on the test strips while the liquid tests are more accurate.

Can you try to define the smell in any way?

My 3 guesses as to why the fish died are:

1 - Chemical contaminant
This could be anything from soap to glass cleaner to bleach. This could account for the cloudiness. Has there ever been any cleaning chemicals on any of the things that went in the tank?

2 - Ammonia
You would have to have an absurdly high ammonia level to kill a fish within 10 minutes but it's a possibility. High ammonia levels would account for the cloudiness and possibly the smell in the water.

3 - pH
The most acceptable way to acclimate fish is to match both the temperature and the pH before adding in fish. Sadly, people don't always do this and it can send fish into a pH shock which can kill them.

Honestly, if I were in your shoes if the ammonia levels weren't out of control I would drain the tank, bleach everything, rinse THOROUGHLY, refill the tank adding all the decorations back in, dose 10x dose of prime, let it sit a day, do a 90% water change, and start over with a fishless cycle. This may seem like overkill but it would be my personal choice of action with which other people will probably disagree with.

Some other options could be a series of massive water changes 75% along with running carbon in a tank. The carbon should help remove any potential contaminants.

I would also try to have the water tested with a different test kit if the tests are liquid based. Sometimes the test kits can become outdated which can give errant readings.

Bad smells in a tank are usually caused by decaying organic material which in an uncycled tank can cause bacterial blooms as well. Again, this would show up on an ammonia test though.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:52 PM   #3
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Hi Mebbid.

Tested with a liquid kit, have never used the test strips as have heard about the inaccuracy.

No Cleaning products have been near the tank, all the stuff I have used for anything fish tank was brought brand new and specifically for the purpose.

Ammonia wasn't high, was no spike or anything out of the ordinary.

I left the bag floating for 15-20 minutes to help acclimatise the temperature, then added some water from my tank into the bag and left them for a little longer.

I was thinking of doing massive water changes (50%) for the next 3 days to see if that helps, then leave for 2 days to see what happens?

The polyfilter pad which is in the tank removes: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Medications (Copper, antibiotics), Phosphates, proteins, toxic metals, phenols and other insecticides. It changes colour to indicate what it is taking out.

I thought Bacterial bloom for the cloudiness, but the ammonia reading hasn't changed.

I took some water to the aquatic shop in a container, and the guy said there were bubbles in the water which indicate there is protein in the water as they should "pop like lemonade bubbles"

I remember setting up previous tanks, leaving them for a week then adding a couple of fish and the water going through the nitrite cycle but no cloudy water and the fish all cam through it.

I'm certainly puzzled, but wont put fish in until I can eradicate the problem.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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Could you post a picture of the cloudiness of the tank? It is possible that the cloudiness is from micro bubbles.

I've never heard of "protein in the water" and I am wondering if he is just spouting some regurgitated information from filter companies trying to sell products.

Could you post a link to some of the additives you used in the aquarium as well as that polyfilter pad?
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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I have a picture on my iPad, I will see if I can post it. It's from when it was at its cloudiness.

It is white cloudiness, if I sit and watch it, you an see the white going around with the filter flow, and it also coated the moss balls.

I put in Interpet Tapsafe and Interpet Filter Start when I first set the tank up. The filter Aid said to put in every 2 days for a week which I did.

I brought API Stress Coat and Stress Zyme, which I have now resorted to using rather than the interpet ones. I have used the Stress coat for every water change.

The Guy didnt try to get me to put anything else in, other than the Polyfilter pad, as he thought that copper pipes in my house might be a factor.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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I'm a total newbie, but one thing did occur to me when reading your post. I made the mistake of buying some semi-aquatic plants as they were located right with the aquatic ones at petsmart. Luckily I realized this before putting them in my tank as I've heard they will rot and cause a lot of trouble. I'm not sure how this would affect ammonia, but I'd think it could be smelly and possibly cause cloudy water.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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Definitely Aquatic plants.

3 moss balls, a Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Green", and Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Tropica"
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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The white cloudiness is a bacterial bloom. By chance is there anything in the tank that looks like this.... (check out the picture) Blue Green Algae Control in Freshwater Aquarium | Aquariums Life. Bad cyanobacterial infections can smell aweful and they will produce bubbles. I'm not saying this is your problem but it fits in with what your saying. Also cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae can be a variety of different colors, just so you know.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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I can't see any of the algae in the tank. I have kept the lights off any way so I don't encourage any algae where possible.

If there was a cyanobacterial infection, would the water changes clear it?

I will test the water again tomorrow before I do another water change so will post what the readings are.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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You'd see the cyano if there was any. Have you tried to remove the polyfilter and just add some carbon since it removes odors from water?
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:55 PM   #11
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No, the poly Filter pad is floating on the surface taking anything out which is in the water.

I Haven't used carbon before, any hints/ tips for best uses?
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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Just found this on the net " A severe overgrowth of Cyanobacteria can gather into foamy scum at the surface of the water" I had some sort of layer on the surface of the water, I thought It was just dust from the gravel, but now I am wondering.....
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #13
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Put it in a media bag or I use women's knee high panty hose, and put it in your filter. It only lasts 2-4 weeks.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:27 PM   #14
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I have been looking more in Diatoms and Cyanobacteria infections. The description matches my tank on some parts, the smell and stuff clumping on the top of the water, I also just looked properly and my live plants have algae on them. If I can get a picture on I will so you can see.

If It is either of these, will the Carbon help control it?
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:59 PM   #15
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Diatoms are brown to golden brown and are found in most all new tank setups. They are self limiting and will go away once excess silicates are used up. They don't smell. Carbon will not help with them but limiting lighting to 6 hours max daily will slow their growth down. Diatoms easily rub off with your fingers.

Cyano bacteria grows in sheets and literally covers everything. Carbon won't do anything. Cyano is best treated with Erythromycin.

Your going to have to post a picture.
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