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Why does the tank smell!?!

This is a discussion on Why does the tank smell!?! within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Recently i have noticed my tank (2ft containging 2 axis) has begun to smell . Originally i thought it was ...

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Old 8th August 2007   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Why does the tank smell!?!

Recently i have noticed my tank (2ft containging 2 axis) has begun to smell . Originally i thought it was because the sand substrate had begun to turn black. So I took all the sand out and replaced it with brand new clean sand. However the tank still smells so now i have started doing regular water changes every other day of around 15-25% to try and get rid of the pong! But none of this seems to have helped! Why is it smelling!?! and why is the sand turning black!?! Please help, Thanks!
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Old 8th August 2007   #2 (permalink)
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describe the smell mate?
Are all your levels ok?

*EDIT 2ft tank is a little cramped for 2 axys!!
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Old 8th August 2007   #3 (permalink)
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It smells kind of like mud, yeah all the levels are ok i checked this morning, it seems to smell more when the water is warmer. Could it be anything to do with the bogwood that is in there? Even though it has been in there for months and has been used previously. Can bogwood rot? Would it cause this?

The Axis aren't full grown yet and im working on getting a larger tank currently, thanks for suggestions.
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Old 8th August 2007   #4 (permalink)
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Mine go through some funny smelling stages!
What are you feeding, when i fed mine mussels the other day it smelt like the seaside for a couple of days after!!!
(bogwood wont usually rot - unless there is some form of fungus in the tank)
Is the water cloudy?
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Old 8th August 2007   #5 (permalink)
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Not long after I put my little treasures in the tank it started to pong, I was also going through a cycling spell. I ended up putting a small carbon filter in with the rest of the filter and it cleared the smell...ever since its been ok.
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Old 8th August 2007   #6 (permalink)
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If the sand is turning black itís probably because it has a type of algae growing on it and the algae will be the cause of the smell. Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) is a type of algae that has a particularly bad whiff. It normally grows in slimy dark sheets. Do you have a filter or air stone in the tank? Have you tested the ph of the water?
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Old 10th August 2007   #7 (permalink)
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Hey guys, sorry about the late reply,

I have a filter in the tank but i havent got an air stone. Would the air stone help, because I have several aeriators, one of which i could fit straight away.

The sand doesnt turn black on top which i would expect but it turns black from underneath and can grow really fast .

And also from an earlier post, in response to a question the water is completely clear it isn't cloudy at all, it is slightly tinted which i think is from the bogwood in there.

Yeah i have checked the water pH and it seems to be ok.

Any more help would be excellent. Thanks for your help so far.
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Old 10th August 2007   #8 (permalink)
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How thick is your sand? How often do you clean it with a gravel cleaner? How often do you clean up excess poop?
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Old 10th August 2007   #9 (permalink)
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I suspect that the depth of the sand is a problem. When you say the tank smells like mud, you are referring to the mud that is found in/under a body of water like a swamp or a pond right?

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Old 10th August 2007   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah the smell is of wet mud, it doesn't smell as strong as mud found at the bottom of ponds etc. but it does smell similar.

The depth of the sand is approximatly 1 and 1/2 inches shallower in some parts, as it is not evenly spread as they seem to move it round .

I clean out the excrement if i see any everyday and syphon off anything on top of the sand once a week whilst also carrying out a 10-20% water change. Overall the sand appears very clean on top although it begins to turn black underneath .

I even changed all the sand the other day and did a major clean out to try and rid this problem however it seems to have gradually come back.

Would putting an air stone in help?

Thanks guys.
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Old 10th August 2007   #11 (permalink)
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The problem is probably due to hydrogen sulphide buildup in the sand bed. There is insufficient penetration of the sand by oxygen causing anerobic zones to buildup. These areas turn the sand black and can result in the smell you are describing. It also may depend on the size of the sand grains as finer grains make it harder for the oxygen to penetrate into the sand.

Thin your sand bed to under half an inch and see if this fixes the problem. Changing the carbon in the filter should also help.

This is something you want to try and prevent as there is a chance if it is stirred (or even on its own over time) of releasing hydrogen sulphide into the water column which can cause death of the animals involved (If I remember correctly more toxic than hydrogen cyanide to aquatic animals).

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Old 10th August 2007   #12 (permalink)
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Thsi is specifically why I don't put any sand in the bottom of their tank, just leaving the bear glass so they can move around. This leads their waste to be filtered up into the fake plants, which are easily removed and cleaned when needed.
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Old 14th August 2007   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks guys with all your help I have sorted the problem out (for now at least).

A few days ago I removed the substrate entirely, added aeriation, changed the carbon filter and did a large water change and the tank doesnt smell at all!

Thanks again for all your help!
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