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Smelly Water Is This Normal?


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I have just recently setup a 25gallon fish tank, there are two gold fish in it currently, each about the size of 1 inch ( tail included). The tank is new and the benificial bateria is just starting to become established. i have had the tank running for about 4 or 5 days, and i am noticing that a certain smell is starting to get stronger and stronger by the day, and bubbles start accumilating at the waters surface where the filter is putting the water back into the tank..almost making foam type of bubbles. I know that my tank is probably cycling right now. the ammonia levels are at 0, and p.h is 7.6 ( or possiblly lower because my test kit only goes up to 7.6).. i do not have a nitrite and nitrate test kit yet so i am not sure what the reading is.. the water is SLIGHTLY cloudy, but you can still see the backround behind the aquarium. its pretty much 80-90% clearity.. i have changed the water 10% yesturday and today it seemd that it smelled alot stronger so i did a 30% change from the bottom using those aquarium vacums. i am really curious why this smell is starting to become apartent? and why there is a foam of bubbles just hanging around the surface area? and is it something that is perminent and/or normal when housing goldfish?

could this smell possibly be because the tank is going through its cycling stage? everything in the aquarium is new, filter, gravel, ornaments,fish. its not a strong scent, atleast not presently.. but when you open the lid its very humid stink and foul, but not to the extent that the smell is protruding outside of the aquarium. i always keep the lid closed, maybe that has someething to do with it? but im afraid if i keep it open that my whole bedroom will smell.. what is going on here? anyone have any ideas?

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My tank doesn't have a noticeable smell... or at most a faint fishy-smell. The main causes of bad smells that I know of are anaerobic activity (stagnant water or insufficient oxygen) and dead stuff decaying. Perhaps somebody else will have more input for this.

When you put new water in the tank, are you treating with a dechlorinator (water conditioner)? You didn't mention it, so I thought I'd ask. Tap water will have been treated with chlorine to keep it clean, and this is bad for aquariums. Also, acquiring a Freshwater Master Test Kit from API is recommended (buying each of the tests separately is more expensive than buying the Master kit, and the Master kit also has a low-range pH test), and it isn't terribly expensive if you purchase it online from an aquarium supplier such as BigAlsOnline.

When you suspect a water quality issue, water changes are the best tool. Don't be afraid to do very large water changes if you feel they are necessary: as long as the temperature and pH are the same, there should be no ill effects.

Edited by A Penguin
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Depends on the smell. Is it an ammonia smell? Or an earthy smell. My tanks have the earthy dirt like smell to them but I'm used to it and only smell it when I put my nose close to the tanks. Like Penguin mentioned testing the water also gives you an idea of the water quality. If you can't afford a test kit yet, take a water sample to your LFS and ask them to test it. Most do it for free. Ask them for actual numbers of ammonia,nitrites,nitrates, and ph.

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For a new tank, cycling with fish, 10% and 30% water changes are not nearly enough. You need to change at the very least, 50% and preferably, around 70%-90%. And this should be done daily while the tank is cycling. Once it's cycled, 50% weekly is what should be changed with a 100% once a month.

You must have test kits. Drop test kits are much more reliable. You just can't monitor a proper and healthy cycle without them.

Chances are, once you increase the amount and frequency of water you change, the smell will go away.

Edited by Lynda Von G
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When you put new water in the tank, are you treating with a dechlorinator (water conditioner)?

yes i am using a dechlorinator for the water.. i did not know how much to water to chance while it is cycling i thought that mybe 50%+ could be harmfull for the good bateria im hoping to establish.. the bubbles at the top ( kinda look like foam) do get smaller or go away when i do change the water, however they seem to come back with the smell.. the smell is not quite uric smelling ( im studying to be a nurse so i know what uric smell is like.. belive me!) it smells more like when you go in a fish store.. that moist aromatic smell.. its hard to explain.. it does get very faint when i do water changes, but it happens to come back again either by the end of the night or the next morning. im just curious what could this be? can my fish be already muking up the water? their sooo tiny in comparison to my aquarium.. i thought it would take maybe a month or so to dirty up my tank..also my water is starting to become more clearer.. also.. what is a drop test kit? the two kits i have come with these bottles and test tubes.. the bottles has a dropper on each end ( similar looking to eye drops for humans)

Edited by Bambi
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Your kit is a 'drop' test kit: it uses aqueous reagents out of a dropper bottle, rather than disposable test strips (strip tests) or an electronic probe (really cool and expensive). As long as the instructions are followed correctly, drop tests are much more accurate and reliable than test strips, and are preferred by most of us.

The vast majority of the beneficial bacteria (BBs) will be living in the filter media, so you aren't removing them by changing the water, and you won't be harming them unless there's something terribly wrong... just don't wash your filter media in untreated tap water.

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oh i see.. so i guess im on the right path by chance anyways hehe.. i will buy the complete test kit today from pets mart.. i saw that they had one for $60.. not sure how many tests it has.. but if its 100 then each test averages at about 60 cents or so.. not too bad, especially if it keeps my bedroom smelling like a swamp

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oh i see.. so i guess im on the right path by chance anyways hehe.. i will buy the complete test kit today from pets mart.. i saw that they had one for $60.. not sure how many tests it has.. but if its 100 then each test averages at about 60 cents or so.. not too bad, especially if it keeps my bedroom smelling like a swamp

Print out the pets*mart ad with the price showing, the manager will match the price to whatever your printout says

www.pets mart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754034

Right now a master kit is $30

Edited by Nenn
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That's the perfect test kit! Just what you need! :thumbup2:

Well, by your own experience, water changes reduce the smell, so, you need to keep up with the water changes, not only for smell, but to reduce ammonia and bad bacteria as well.

Beneficial bacteria, in studies, has been determined to be sticky. Thus, it cannot remain free-floating in water. It can't help but get stuck to filters and filter media and gravel and decorations. This is why we're not supposed to clean these things squeaky clean. Just a good rinse and maybe a light hand rub in old tank water will do. So, the amount of the water changed will not harm the beneficial bacteria so long as the things the bb's are stuck to are not allowed to dry out. Detrimental bacteria, however, isn't sticky and is free-floating, which, in addition to the need to remove ammonia, is the reason large water changes are important as well.

Trust me, goldies are little poopers! lol! They are definitely, completely capable of mucking up the water in 24 hours easily! Don't let those cute little faces and bodies fool you! :gfish: lol!

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doesn't a quick drop in ph make the water a bit cloudy and give off a "weird" smell. Hopefully it will just be needing water changes! Once you get the kit you can check the ph for sure.

Good luck with your new tank...it is a crazy, exciting, adventure.

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