How to deal with a smelly tank.

Zeon

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We had an accident which caused electricity to go out in my area. It came back in a few days and now two of my tanks (a tank and a large bucket actually) stink. I did not plug out the filters and the inside of the filters smelled like death. When electricity came back on, they poured all that smell in the tanks. I removed the smelly filter media from the two smelly tanks but it was too late. I did two water changes on the bucket and it seems fine. The tank though smells like death. Will I have to wait for the smell to subside? I only did one water change in the tank because when I took the filter media out, it smelled so bad that I started to foam at the mouth. ( It was that bad. Who knew I could foam like a rabid animal? )
Do I just continue doing water changes for the smelly tank or what? . The tank normally smells earthy, I assume all the bacteria in the filter died. The fish seem fine though.
 

RyanC14

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Are you sure none of the fish (or inverts if you have any) died? You could add carbon to help remove the smell. Multiple water changes could also help.
 

Momgoose56

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Zeon said:
We had an accident which caused electricity to go out in my area. It came back in a few days and now two of my tanks (a tank and a large bucket actually) stink. I did not plug out the filters and the inside of the filters smelled like death. When electricity came back on, they poured all that smell in the tanks. I removed the smelly filter media from the two smelly tanks but it was too late. I did two water changes on the bucket and it seems fine. The tank though smells like death. Will I have to wait for the smell to subside? I only did one water change in the tank because when I took the filter media out, it smelled so bad that I started to foam at the mouth. ( It was that bad. Who knew I could foam like a rabid animal? )
Do I just continue doing water changes for the smelly tank or what? . The tank normally smells earthy, I assume all the bacteria in the filter died. The fish seem fine though.
The fish will seem fine in rotten water for awhile. I'd suggest testing your water a couple times a week for a couple of weeks just to make sure ypu haven't had a die off of bacteria.
 

saltwater60

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Water change and carbon. Next time clean your filter boxes before you’re power comes back on. That’s stuff is bad for the tank.
 

CaptainAquatics

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I’ve got the awnser! Just spray febreeze in the water for at least 5 mins, the can should be empty. That should solve your problem :)
I’m just kidding and I agree with what has been said above. Put some carbon in your filter and do water changes and it should go away in time. Good luck!
 

DuaneV

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Do you have something rotting somewhere? We have power outages for a few days and up to 5 once a year here and Ive NEVER had a bad smell afterwards. The only thing I can think of is maybe you had a death or your filter was REALLY dirty and a bunch of the water emptied out of it when the power went out?
 

Cichlidude

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No your bacteria didn't die as long as the media stays wet. Will last for weeks that way. Smell, yes. Smell doesn't hurt anything but your nose as the fish don't care. You could put in some carbon in your filter for a week or so to help.
 

Momgoose56

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Bacteria in filter media will begin to die within 8 hours if there is no circulating oxygen getting to them (even in enclosed HOB's with their tiny surface area and no water movement). I have always taken media out of my HOB's and canisters and placed them in a large, shallow container with just enough dechlorinated water in it to completely cover them (large surface area, better gas exchange) If the power outage is projected to last more than 24 hours. I also empty and rinse the HOB's and canisters (so there's no gunk or detritus in them that could possibly decay during an extended outage, and have them ready to restart immediately when power resumes.
 

jpm995

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Yes keep on eye on water params as you cycle may have been disrupted. Adding carbon and doing large water changes until the smell is gone is the easy solution.
 

SaltyPhone

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+1 what Momgoose56 said I maintain a battery powered air pump for each of my aquariums as well as a 5 gallon bucket. Around the 7+ hour mark without power this is my routine. 1. Get air going on all aquariums. 2. Unplug all filters and heaters; drain tank water from largest aquarium into bucket. 3. Remove filter media to bucket add an air stone to the bucket. 4. If in winter time cove aquariums with heavy blankets.
 

Cichlidude

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Momgoose56 said:
Bacteria in filter media will begin to die within 8 hours if there is no circulating oxygen getting to them (even in enclosed HOB's with their tiny surface area and no water movement).
If that were true then millions of tanks every month, around the world, that lose power for hours, days and weeks would die off. Hundred of millions of fish would die. As you know, that just does not happen.

Think You Know Filter Bacteria… think again:

Nitrifying Bacteria | Aquarium Basics | Columns |



https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ficial-bacteria-survive-for-in-a-tank.214384/

Think you know filter bacteria? Dream on

The Shocking Truth About Nitrifying Bacteria Products - Acrylic Tank Manufacturing "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.”

New: Nitrifying Bacteria Facts

Ask yourself this, how can Dr. Tim’s One and Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria in a Bottle, last 6-12 months on the shelf and still be perfectly good?

Heck, Rinsing Biomedia In Tap Water doesn’t kill bacteria.
 

kallililly1973

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When I lost power last year for about 36 hours I also had a battery airpump and was walking from tank to tank to help with surface agitation. I also took the ceramic media out of my HOB's and rinsed them in tank water and just dropped them into the bottom of each tank and when power was restored I put the Ceramic media back in the filters and everything was good again.
 

jpm995

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Cichlidude said:
If that were true then millions of tanks every month, around the world, that lose power for hours, days and weeks would die off. Hundred of millions of fish would die. As you know, that just does not happen.

Think You Know Filter Bacteria… think again:

Nitrifying Bacteria | Aquarium Basics | Columns |



https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ficial-bacteria-survive-for-in-a-tank.214384/

Think you know filter bacteria? Dream on

The Shocking Truth About Nitrifying Bacteria Products - Acrylic Tank Manufacturing "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.”

New: Nitrifying Bacteria Facts

Ask yourself this, how can Dr. Tim’s One and Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria in a Bottle, last 6-12 months on the shelf and still be perfectly good?

Heck, Rinsing Biomedia In Tap Water doesn’t kill bacteria.
I will read through this later but hopefully it will answer many questions I have about the cycle. Too many people post their theroys without facts only personal aneticdotes to back them up. This is confusing and potentially harmful to newbys trying not to kill their fish. The fact that we connect see or feel bacteria makes it a mystery to most of us. I always wondered how effective the 'bottled bacteria' was after sitting on a stores shelf for months. I always rinsed my filter media in tap water and see many here say that kills bacteria or even the running water could wash off the bacteria. I never really believed this but would like to know for sure. Thanks for the info op.
 
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Zeon

Zeon

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yeahsure said:
I would do a lot of large water changes and see if that helps
Actually, this worked. Two additional water changes and everything went back to normal. So three water changes in total between loss of electricity to normal aquarium smell. Most of my tank media was removed though (the media in the hobs). I am sure I had bacteria die off and if not. I did throw out the media. Shetland man.

Momgoose56 said:
Bacteria in filter media will begin to die within 8 hours if there is no circulating oxygen getting to them (even in enclosed HOB's with their tiny surface area and no water movement). I have always taken media out of my HOB's and canisters and placed them in a large, shallow container with just enough dechlorinated water in it to completely cover them (large surface area, better gas exchange) If the power outage is projected to last more than 24 hours. I also empty and rinse the HOB's and canisters (so there's no gunk or detritus in them that could possibly decay during an extended outage, and have them ready to restart immediately when power resumes.
Taking the media out and putting them in buckets sounds like a great idea. Thank you. I normally put the media in mesh bags and throw them in the tank after rinsing then out with tank water but not that time. Then I put battery airlines in the tanks since I also use corner filters and sponge filters in addition to hobs. Power outages are very normal where I live. We had another one that ended yesterday. I ended up doing two more water changes to get a normal smell. I have no idea how all the fish were fine despite that.

Cichlidude said:
If that were true then millions of tanks every month, around the world, that lose power for hours, days and weeks would die off. Hundred of millions of fish would die. As you know, that just does not happen.

Think You Know Filter Bacteria… think again:

Nitrifying Bacteria | Aquarium Basics | Columns |



https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ficial-bacteria-survive-for-in-a-tank.214384/

Think you know filter bacteria? Dream on

The Shocking Truth About Nitrifying Bacteria Products - Acrylic Tank Manufacturing "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.”

New: Nitrifying Bacteria Facts

Ask yourself this, how can Dr. Tim’s One and Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria in a Bottle, last 6-12 months on the shelf and still be perfectly good?

Heck, Rinsing Biomedia In Tap Water doesn’t kill bacteria.
I have been reading some of your links about the bacteria living for months if it dark and the bacteria adjusting to little food. It is interesting but I threw out the media except for two pieces of sponge that I left in a bleach solution. Then I rinsed them and soaked them in water before putting them back in the tank with some media. It just smelled too bad at that point. I still have a sponge filter running on an air pump in the tank so I hope my bacteria is ok.
 

Momgoose56

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Cichlidude I never claimed to be an expert but this kinda looks like what I said?
"Likewise, a drop in oxygen—which can occur if the water becomes too warm or a power outage disrupts its circulation—can destroy some of the bacteria."
Nitrifying Bacteria | Aquarium Basics | Columns |

The article link you provided in Practical Fishkeeping
Think you know filter bacteria? Dream on
continually (and only) refers to nitrosomonas europea (a nitrosomonas that is tolerant of low oxygen levels and starvation) as the 'toughie' among the nitrosomonas. N. Europa evidently (at least in this study) only plays a significant role in nitrification in saltwater aquarium environments.


"...millions of tanks every month, around the world, that lose power for hours, days and weeks would die off. Hundred of millions of fish would die. As you know, that just does not happen.
I agree, we both know that doesn't happen.
 

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