My room STINKS!! Is it normal?

  • #1
Ok, so... I had just set up and started cycling my two saltwater tanks. Then I left for vacation. I came home, went to my room, and about got knocked to the ground. IT STINKS. This room smells like a mix of low tide, dirty sweaty socks, a landfill, and like someone let a chicken rot in a garbage can for a week in 90F weather.

My room smelled great before I left... the only thing that changed in the room were my saltwater tanks. I went around and smelled all my freshwater tanks and they smell normal, but I can't really figure out if this is my saltwater tanks smelling or not. It's the only possible explanation though... I even searched every square inch for dead animals that's how bad it smells.

I'm about to seal off my saltwater tanks with foil and clean every tiny inch of this room with clorox and lysol... I have migraines every day to begin with and this smell has really made them that much worse. Plus, putting that aside, it's just gross having a room that stinks. :s So is it normal for saltwater tanks to stink? They've probably been cycling for a week now. I turned the powerheads off and the smell got a bit better... turned them back on, and it got worse immediately. So I think it's the tanks? I just don't know... all I know is I need to figure out what to do because it smells so bad in here.
  • #2
Open your window.

Did you use the method of adding fish food or some type of meat? If so, the scent is rotting food. Give the tank a vac once in a while and add fresh food after and/or give it a real good vacuum and switch to pure ammonia.

If you're using the ammonia method, it may be a buildup of ammonia fumes in the room. Air your room out real good and it should abate.
  • #3
Welcome to SW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait, that's not helping (I'm sorry but it's funny - to me anyway)

Yes, it's absolutely normal and very common. Especially if using "old" live rock to cycle the tank, and no skimmer. Get used to that smell, that's what skim-mate will smell like! And yours is probably the best description of the smell too When I open my cabinet, occasionally I get a whiff of it, and immediately think "is the skimmer going"

When you turn the power heads off, it slows the flow, and the smell settles a little.

Oooh, not much you can really do, normally I'd say open a window and get a fan going, but if it's winter and freezing outside, maybe not an option.

Have you got matches?

Seriously though:
Where are your parameters? If you're close to cycled, a water change won't hurt, which will help dilute some of the concentrations.
If you've got a skimmer, get it going. Where a Freshwater system smells earthy, a Saltwater system smells like, well, low-tide. But not offensive when cycled. To quote Kramer, it smells like the beach!

Oh, and please take the laughing a fun-poking in the spirit it is intended - all of us in Saltwater have experienced that smell in one degree or another, but the way you described it just made me laugh.
  • #4
Haha, I have to admit to a severe lack of Saltwater experience.
  • #5
I only have one Saltwater reef tank that I've had about 6 mo to a year now. It's my first Saltwater tank and ,apparently luckily from the way you describe it lol, never experienced that smell in my room. Only smell I've gotten a whiff of was when I dump my skimmer lol
  • #6
Haha, I have to admit to a severe lack of Saltwater experience.

By the sounds of it I will never have Saltwater experience....
  • #7
Live rock does reek! There is no doubt about that. I ordered my live rock and when I opened the box I threw up in my mouth. (okay not literally) but wow to stink up a whole room like that I find interesting. I have to say I have never heard of it being that bad and I had a 125 Saltwater at one time LFLR. I assume you have good filtration on the system and good circulation. You know you can buy a product made by API... I am trying to think of the name of it. It removes odors from the water and toxins. Its in a mesh bag and you lay it in the path of the water flow and is good for a month. You could always try something like this while it is cycling to help the odor. Like mentioned above a skimmer is needed too... it collects all that nasty stuff so it can be dumped down the drain.
  • #8
Get an air freshiner
  • #9
Welcome to the wonderful aromatic world of saltwater.
  • #10
My skimmer collection cup stinks, but it's supposed too since that is where all the smelly stuff goes. The tank itself doesn't stink at all though. Run some activated carbon in your filters and do some partial water changes and the smell will go away.

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