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Old 02-23-2012, 4:50 PM   #1
Eggfong Eggfong is offline
 
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Smelly Tanks

Even I can notice it now. The whole house smells like Beaufort SC at low tide. (Actually an odor I love but it puts guest off).
Yes I have salt creep but that's about it, what to do?

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Old 02-23-2012, 4:53 PM   #2
Thanh386 Thanh386 is offline
 
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Did you just add in new rock ?

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Old 02-23-2012, 4:54 PM   #3
JennM JennM is offline
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A healthy tank shouldn't smell. What are your parameters?

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Old 02-23-2012, 5:29 PM   #4
Miami Dolfan Miami Dolfan is offline
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Clean your skimmer more often if it's already green. I added an exhaust fan drawing air outside to help.

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Old 02-23-2012, 5:39 PM   #5
126 reef 126 reef is offline
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My first tank smelled like that for awhile eight before it crashed. A ton of h2s in the sand beds. If it smells like rotten eggs there is a good chance that's it

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Old 02-23-2012, 7:22 PM   #6
Eggfong Eggfong is offline
 
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Oh, not good.

Getting ready to crash? Not good. The sand in the 125 and the 49 (they share a sump, one tank on one side of a wall and one on the other) came from Tampa Bay Salt Water about 8 years ago. The 90 has 3 to 4 year old sand and rock. I don't want to crash, perhaps mega water changes for a few weeks.

Thank you all for the prompt answers.

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Old 02-23-2012, 7:33 PM   #7
JennM JennM is offline
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Deep sand or shallow sand? If shallow, do you vacuum it?

Have you checked your parameters?

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Old 02-23-2012, 7:52 PM   #8
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Are you running carbon? If yes, when did you last change it?
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Old 02-23-2012, 8:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggfong View Post
Getting ready to crash? Not good. The sand in the 125 and the 49 (they share a sump, one tank on one side of a wall and one on the other) came from Tampa Bay Salt Water about 8 years ago. The 90 has 3 to 4 year old sand and rock. I don't want to crash, perhaps mega water changes for a few weeks.

Thank you all for the prompt answers.

Old Tank Syndrome? Some say it doesn't really exist, but others say it happens...... Maybe a tank upgrade?

Try a massive waterchange and running lots of high quality carbon....

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Old 02-23-2012, 8:44 PM   #10
Eggfong Eggfong is offline
 
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JennM, deep and shallow depending on where the critters move it. It's never been vacuumed. Check parameters? I don't even know where the kit is anymore.
DawgFace, no carbon since the last time the sea hare went all black out purple dye squirting on me, a year or so ago in the 90.
Dakota9, Old Tank Syndrome... I'll look into that. Massive water changes and carbon for a week or so, that's the plan.

You all are the best to jump in and help like this. Thank you.

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Old 02-23-2012, 9:27 PM   #11
PAINDOCC PAINDOCC is offline
 
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Vacuuming sand? What's that about? Actually my sand does look kind of Grunchy

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Old 02-23-2012, 9:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggfong View Post
JennM, deep and shallow depending on where the critters move it. It's never been vacuumed. Check parameters? I don't even know where the kit is anymore.
DawgFace, no carbon since the last time the sea hare went all black out purple dye squirting on me, a year or so ago in the 90.
Dakota9, Old Tank Syndrome... I'll look into that. Massive water changes and carbon for a week or so, that's the plan.

You all are the best to jump in and help like this. Thank you.
If you haven't checked your parameters so long ago you don't know where the test kits are, you have more problems on the horizon (IMHO). I test the major parameters of my 125 once a week to be sure all is well. SG, AK, MG, PO4, NO3, PH, Ca, Mg (just to name a few).
When you do your water change, I would also suggest you syphon out some of the deep sand parts of the tank (from the bottom layer using a 1"-1.5" hose) and vacuum the sand, this will get a lot of Nitrates and detritus out of your tank and help some of your parameters. Just my opinion to help you out.

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
JennM JennM is offline
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Old Tank Syndrome does not exist. Lazy Aquarist Syndrome DOES exist. We have tanks we've maintained for 10-11 years now - params are perfect. My shop systems have been running 10 years. No issues. There is no mystery to this - it's just consistent maintenance. If you don't keep on the maintenance, bad stuff happens, period.

No offense intended to OP, but by your own admission you haven't been monitoring parameters so a problem has arisen right under your nose (pardon the pun).

Test the water for starters - that will likely be a real eye-opener. I'd bet nitrates are high, for starters. Probably phosphates too. If the substrate has 8 years of poop in it that has never been vacuumed, that's the source of the smell. The decomposition of all the dirt in the substrate will stink for sure - and disturbing it now might cause an even larger set of problems when hydrogen sulfide is released.

I'd remove any fish, corals and inverts FIRST, then give the system a good overhaul and discard the putrid sand, and put a shallow layer of new, live sand.

Jenn

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:26 PM   #14
JBDreefs JBDreefs is offline
 
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I have read somewhere about breaking the "bubble" in the sand and crashing a tank. Essentially, a lot of bad stuff builds up under the sand over time. Then one day it releases, by disturbing it or other means, and poof. Everything dies. I'm no expert, but thought I'd share what I read somewhere.

I agree with Jenn. Remove the goods and get rid of the bad. Since you have two tanks on the same system, it would be nice to isolate one tank for overhauling. Is that a possibility?

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Old 02-24-2012, 6:21 AM   #15
Eggfong Eggfong is offline
 
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JBDreefs, yes I can isolate one from the other for overhauling. This is not going to be fun but I do intend to post the results, good or bad. Thanks all.

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Old 02-24-2012, 6:40 AM   #16
126 reef 126 reef is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennM View Post
Old Tank Syndrome does not exist. Lazy Aquarist Syndrome DOES exist. We have tanks we've maintained for 10-11 years now - params are perfect. My shop systems have been running 10 years. No issues. There is no mystery to this - it's just consistent maintenance. If you don't keep on the maintenance, bad stuff happens, period.

No offense intended to OP, but by your own admission you haven't been monitoring parameters so a problem has arisen right under your nose (pardon the pun).

Test the water for starters - that will likely be a real eye-opener. I'd bet nitrates are high, for starters. Probably phosphates too. If the substrate has 8 years of poop in it that has never been vacuumed, that's the source of the smell. The decomposition of all the dirt in the substrate will stink for sure - and disturbing it now might cause an even larger set of problems when hydrogen sulfide is released.

I'd remove any fish, corals and inverts FIRST, then give the system a good overhaul and discard the putrid sand, and put a shallow layer of new, live sand.

Jenn
I would agree. You will be fighting a losing battle and spend more time and money in the long run if you try to fix the problem by doing water changes and adding carbon at this point. Get rid of the sand bed! IMO you would be wasting your money on live sand if you have a tank that is already established. I would by cheaper dry sand. It will self populate quickly with any beneficial critters from your live rock, and live sand also has a lot of dead stuff in it adding additional nitrates and phosphate to your system.

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Old 02-24-2012, 9:23 AM   #17
Edulover Edulover is offline
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I added a MP40 to my tank and when I came home the next day my tank had a fishy smell. All inhabitants are fine. Parameters are normal. I'm assuming the pump just stirred up a lot of crud on the rocks and sand.

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Old 02-24-2012, 9:35 AM   #18
JennM JennM is offline
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There is a 'convenience factor' in the bagged live sand when adding it to an existing tank. Biological factors aside, (which I know folks will argue, so that's not my main point) - if you get dry sand, it needs to be rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and even after much rinsing, you'll still get a "dust bowl" in your tank for a while. The moist, live sand, goes straight into the tank - no washing, and very little clouding - water should be clear again within an hour. Either way is an option - just offering up a bit of a time/work saver there.

I'd suggest having a depth of only about 3/4" to 1" and keeping it vacuumed going forward. I'm not a fan of the deep sand bed, but for those that do use it, it does need to be replaced every few years - it eventually gets saturated with crud and ceases to work properly. Deep Sand Beds are 4-6" in depth so OP doesn't really have that although it may be behaving as one that has reached its saturation point and is starting to cause problems.

I've always done the shallow sand method - keep it vacuumed, and like I said, we have tanks we've been maintaining for 10 and more years, without any issues. Consistency is the key.

Jenn

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Old 02-24-2012, 9:43 AM   #19
cr500_af cr500_af is offline
 
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Jenn, interested in your input here... I know you can't draw a hard line, but generally speaking, at what point in the "I never vacuumed my sand" timeline would you say it is still OK to start doing it?
Not so much for me, because I'll be switching tanks soon... but for example, when I started in the hobby I really did make a diligent effort to read all I could. I read that I should not disturb the sand on an established tank, and I didn't. Now it's almost 3 years later, and this thread made me wonder... if I were staying "in" this tank, would I be OK to start vacuuming in small sections, or would it be reset time? Somebody else has to be in the same boat...

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Old 02-24-2012, 9:50 AM   #20
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It's a tough call, Barry. Before I'd make that determination I'd be asking a lot of questions. It also depends on the depth of the sand too, and the parameters and usually whatever problem may be occurring at that time. If it's a fairly new tank, normally there would be nothing to fear, but an old tank that may have all kinds of rotting crud (and SMELL) would be a huge red flag to me, to remove the livestock first, if at all possible.

I should also mention that removing the livestock without disturbing the sand also bears hazards. If there's lots of rock, that may need to be removed before it's even possible to remove the fish... and moving the rock can potentially open up a pocket.

It's a catch-22, really.

The best way to not find oneself in this precarious situation, is not to let things go in the first place, unfortunately. In this instance, that ship has sailed - so being aware of the hazards and making a plan, are the best ways to deal with it.

Jenn

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