36 gallon bow front tank smell

  • #1
hello so I have a 36 gal bowl front fish tank with 3 sword tails two snails 5 neon tetras and 11 guppies (pet store said all where male) and one sucker fish..... any ways I got the tank about 2 months ago now. I had asked when I could put fish in and I was told at the pet store about a week and to bring the water in and get it tested so I did and they said it was fine so I got some fish and put them in the tank... but about 2 weeks ago I noticed this odd smell coming from it .... its not a good smell also its a bad smell and makes me whole room smell to. I do 25% water change and I do the gravel vac every Sat. I have had koi fish in a 75 gal tank (yeah I know it is a big no no now) and it never smelled so I am kind of lost I went and tested the water and here is everything that came up on the test strip and I have no clue what is goo and what is bad GH (general hardness) is 30 KH(carbonate hardness) is 80 PH is 6.5 NO2 is 0 and NO3 is 0 .. I am kind of at a lost here what I am doing wrong or what I need to do I changed the filter and cleaned it out also but that didn't help at all :/ thank you
  • #2
Did you have your ammonia tested? It is likely through the roof and that's what's causing the smell. The LFS employee gave you really had advice. Just letting the tank sit for a week does not cause any beneficial bacteria to grow unless you're adding an ammonia source. So your tank was not cycled when you added the fish.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
this is a photo of my tank and the water is clean and clear ... I have no clue why it smells

how would I test the ammonia ? is that on a different test strip I was told at the store that the strips I have would test for that, because I had seen on here about ammonia and I think that is what it is also :/

how would I get the ammonia under control?
  • #4
get the master test kit much more accurate. API makes a good one.to make sure it's ammonia. also do a head count make sure everyone is there. there are additives that will put the nitrifing bacteria in the tank most LFS should carry it. (i.e. smart start)
  • #5
just rinse filter cartridges under old tank water . I only replace mine when they fall apart witch is about 2 year mark. personally I would do a 50% water change and do another the next day. If you want to add carbon or something get a filter sock and add in your filter that way
  • #6
this is a photo of my tank and the water is clean and clear ... I have no clue why it smells?

Water can be crystal-clear, and still be toxic to fish. The smell may not mean the water looks dirty.

When I was cycling my tank (using bottled bacteria and ammonia) by the time it was cycled, there was a layer of brown biofilm on the inside of my lid. It smelled really bad. I have an aerator which kicks up small bits of water, so the inside of the lid can get wet. I had to clean it before I put fish in.

To get ammonia under control you will have to do daily partial water changes. You can (and is recommended to) use Seachem Prime, a water conditioner. When used in a minimum of a double-dose (it's safe up to 5X overdose) it will bind ammonia for 24-48 hours. It will not interfere with your cycling.
hopeful fish
  • #7
I see in your profile that you do not know the Nitrogen Cycle. This is why there is ammonia in the tank, why you need the test kit (get API master liquid--strips are not reliable), and what is causing the smell. It is IMPERATIVE that every fish keeper knows this.

Basically, the fish poop and make ammonia, which kills fish. The filter builds up a bacteria that eats this and turns it into nitrite, which also kills fish. Another colony builds up and converts nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate is toxic at high levels, so weekly water changes lower them. All this bacteria is called "beneficial bacteria", and it's all in the filter, so never change your filter media or wash it in chlorinated water (tap water).

You will have to do a fish-in cycle. After reading up on the nitrogen cycle, I highly recommend purchasing a bottle of Tetra SafeStart (TSS) to help you out.

If you have any questions, please ask. You are in for a steep learning curve, but we want to see you succeed!
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
thank you every one tomorrow I will be heading out to get some new testing supply and hopefully can get my tank in good running order
  • #9
You got a lot of good advice so all I want to say is...Welcome to FishLore!
April R
  • #10
Fortunately, your stocking sounds fine for your tank size. I hope all your fishies to make it through your cycle. Please use Prime with all of your water changes. The link below will take you to an example of what Prime is and what it looks like.
hopeful fish
  • #11
My only concern for your stocking is the sucker fish. What kind is it? I am guessing it is a pleco, but do you know if it is common? Bristlenose? Some plecos get huge, others might be OK.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I is a pleco...he is black with spots.... :/ and I use water conditioner and salt when I do water changes I also went and got my water tested my ammonia was threw the sky!!!!!! so I got a few moss balls to help it. hopefully it works well all my swordtails are now just staying in the same spot I did pick up some ammonia stuff to help it be safe for the fish but I kind of want to wait to see if the moss helps first before I add more chemicals and I have a ammonia scale in my tank now to make sure I can see it at all times so lets hope for the best
hopeful fish
  • #13
The best way to get ammonia down is through water changes. Don't wait for the moss to work. It would have to be growing super fast to eat all the ammonia in a tank with a pleco.

Do large water changes with a conditioner like prime until the ammonia is below .25 ppm, and don't let it get higher than that.

Also, salt is not necessary in water changes unless you are treating something. Salt can to damage if used over a long period of time, and can also lose it's effectiveness if it is used regularly.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I just did a 50% water change as we speak and I didn't know that about salt I was told to add it when ever I do a water change to help the fish with stress but good to know now I do a 25% water change every Friday or sat just depends on what I am doing that day... I added water conditioner and some ammonia helping stuff I got it so I just fig what the heck any other good advice you could give me? to help me out I feel like everything I have been told was way wrong my poor fish :[

I feel like my tank is just slowing going down the drain I now have 3 fish just laying in the plants they came out to eat but one is swimming sideways I feel like that's not a good thing.... I know fish tanks can take a little to get right but I feel so bad for my fish! I am hoping with the water change and what not it will help it and they will seem better in the morning ;/
Claire Bear
  • #15
HI and sorry the fish are not doing so good. Do you know the name of the chemicals you are adding?
If the fish is swimming sideways, well it could be in serious trouble-which one is it and the ones laying in the plants-also not so good.
hopeful fish
  • #16
Here's a checklist for you to do:

1) Do a water change. A major factor in the fish's health is probably the ammonia. Be sure to use a water conditioner.

2) Go to the petstore. Generally, pet store employees do not know too much, so run any advice they give you through the people here. At the petstore, buy Prime water conditioner by Seachem (it will help detox any toxins) and the API master liquid test kit (strips are not reliable).

3) As soon as you get home, test the water parameters. Be sure to wait 5 mins for the color to develop, and be sure to shake that #2 nitrate bottle.

4) If the ammonia and/or nitrite is above .25 PPM, do a water change using Prime. If there is a TON of ammonia or nitrite, you can use up to 5 times a normal dose, as this conditioner will help detoxify these toxins.

5) Post your results and what you've been up to on here.
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
well I woke up this morning and they all look good my ammonia level is still a tad high but its getting down fast so I may do another water change tomorrow and see how much it goes down than also
hopeful fish
  • #18
What about nitrites?
  • #19
Good afternoon,

I would suggest daily water changes of at least 50% and add a water conditioner, such as Prime, to detox your levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate if they read anything other than 0,0 under 20 (under 40 not so bad). This will keep your fish safe for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change. Keep up with the daily water changes until you have the readings I just posted.

Too, if you are not using Activated Carbon in your filter, I would suggest that you add some. It will remove the smell but it will not aid in the cycling process. Activated Carbon should be replaced for fresh every 3 to 4 weeks. If you are using it and it and it is more than 3 weeks old, replace it for fresh.

Best wishes for your fish! Hang in there!

  • Thread Starter
  • #20
I did another water change and got prime and added just prime
  • #21
There's two ways to dose Prime.

If you're doing water changes via buckets, you dose the water in the bucket. If you have a 5 gallon bucket and add 4 gallons of tap water, you add 2 drops of Prime per gallon. You would treat 4 gallons of water with 8 drops of Prime.

If you're doing water changes with a Python Water Changer then you dose Prime for the entire amount of water in the tank. This is when you would use the lines in the cap to guage the amount you use.

You cannot use the API Ammonia Liquid Test kit within 24 hours after dosing with Prime. You will get false readings. It takes Prime 24 hours to dissipate from the water column. For this type of emergency when you need to test right away after using Seachem Prime, you can use the Seachem Ammonia Test Kit or the more accurate Salifert Ammonia Liquid Test Kit.

Yes, Prime can be dosed up to 5 times the amount to temporarily detoxify dangerous levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate in the tank. Be advised though that this only works for 24 hours. It's not meant to be a permanent cure.

The only way to get ammonia or nitrite to safe levels in the tank are back to back water changes while using either a Salifert test kit or a Seachem test kit to test the water chemistry.

Let us know how things go!
  • #22
Vacuum your gravel along with the water changes.

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