Something Stanks In My Aqarium! Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by SoftlyHaired, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. SoftlyHaired

    SoftlyHairedNew MemberMember

    I bought some plants and drift wood from an aquarium shop. I put both plants in the aquarium and after about a week, a white moss grew on one of them. I pull it out, and I could smell it strong. Oh man. Smells like Seachem Prime x 10. Which I use. I thought it might be that, but there is no way 3 drops of Seachem in my 5 gallon caused THAT horrid of a smell.

    I have been soaking the drift wood for about 2 weeks now, and today I took a look. Removed the lid on my bucket and RETCH. OVERWHELMING Seachem smell. I did put a few drops in the water I used to soak the wood to dechlorinate it, but there's no way it caused that smell. That white algae is everywhere too. What is it? Why does it smell so bad? Does anyone know? How do I get rid of it?
  2. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogTooWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds like bacteria to me, not algae.
  3. ValerieAdams

    ValerieAdamsWell Known MemberMember

    From what I've read, that's pretty much inevitable with driftwood, it just happens and then somehow goes away on its own

  4. OP

    SoftlyHairedNew MemberMember

    Is it normal for it to stink so bad?
  5. FishGirl38

    FishGirl38Valued MemberMember

    So...that happened to me as I was soaking my mopani wood. I left it in a bucket of water for about 3 days...(yuck)...meaning to change it every-day but just didn't get around to it. When I did finally change the water, it was pretty gross and the wood was a bit slimy...Washed it off in scalding water and re-soaked. It's no biggy and is bound to happen, especially when you're leaving water in a container to sit. and the longer you let it sit, the worse it's going to smell.

    Now, in terms of the driftwood smelling while IN your aquarium, what kind of filter do you have on your 5G? If you don't have adequate water-flow, it's possible that the water is becoming stagnant and allowing this bacteria to grow. Did you block the filter/water flow at all with where you place the wood in the aquarium?

    I have probably 15lbs of mopani wood and 5lbs of vine wood in my aquariums, the vine wood does it worse than mopani because it's not as dense, but I've never had any of them smelling gross in my aquarium. In the bucket yeah...but not in my tank.

    Edit: in terms of the white stuff on drift wood, that is normal, and it will go away on it's own, some algae eaters actually eat it. But I'm still not sure it should be making the aquarium smell.
  6. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    If you will add an airstone to the bucket you are soaking the wood in it will help keep the smell down. Stagnant water sours and that is what causes most of the bad smell.
  7. OP

    SoftlyHairedNew MemberMember

    I haven't put the driftwood in my aquarium yet. What I had that smelled was a aponogeton boivinianus bulb. The bulb had split in half, which I ended up throwing away after a while, but before I did, the white part of the bulb developed the white algae in the aquarium, and when I took it out, it stank like seachem prime. Not the bulb - the algae that was on it. Important distinction I think! It's the same smell as what I'm smelling on the drift wood that I've been soaking. I never even thought to change the water in the bucket while I was soaking it. lol I don't know why not. It's been in there for like 2 weeks! Still, it's the same algae and same smell from the aponogeton bulb I had. I want to make sure it's not dangerous, and I'd like to know what it is.

    I'm not sure if that's it. Read the last reply I gave to someone else; it's the same smell from something that was in my aquarium which has a filter and regular water changes. I bought all these things from the same store.
  8. FishGirl38

    FishGirl38Valued MemberMember

    Okay, so, no it's not normal for (I've unfamiliar with that plant) bulbs to smell (bad per se)...At our store, we get moss in that smells a bit- swampy. Did the plants stay strong? or were they melting with the white stuff on them? I'm really thinking w/e you're dealing with is not photosynthetic.

    But...I'm still curious what kind of filter is on your 5G.

    Was the 'white moss/algae/bacteria' only on the bulb (in the tank)/aquarium wood (in the bucket)?
    Is the smell still in the tank even after removing the bulb?
  9. OP

    SoftlyHairedNew MemberMember

    My tank has a Whisper pF10. I don't actually care for it, the current is too strong for a betta, but it's doing it's job! I'll be getting a new one soon. From the beginning; what had happened was I bought the plant, along with some spider wood and some monte carlos. The monte carlos and aponogeton shared an aquatic tank, while the driftwood was on a separate shelf. I had accidentally split the bulb in half before it had ever gone in my tank. I really couldn't find any information about how to care for aponogeton, and I was worried I might have "killed" it, but I put both halves in the tank anyway. Here's a picture that I posted on reddit of it at the time;   I wasn't able to completely bury it in my substrate either, so it was sorta just... in the tank. lol

    About a week went by when I noticed that there was white algae growing on the white part of the bulb. No where else. I heard that white algae can grow in aquariums so I wasn't too worried about it, until a few days later when I removed the bulb to do a water change, I got a good wiff of the algae and it stank to high heaven. Again; like seachim prime. The aquarium didn't smell, the decor nor my moss balls smelled (nor did they have the white algae), the leaves on the aponogeton seemed healthy, didn't have algae on them, the monte carlos seemed healthy and smelled fine, and since I wasn't doing well with the aponogeton from the very beginning anyway, I just threw it away.

    My aquarium has been doing fine since. My betta is doing well too. The monte carlos never developed the algae, and nothing ever smelled again. All parameters were great too.

    Now to the drift wood; I boiled it for a few hours hoping it would make it sink, but it didn't. So I put in it a bucket (about 5 gallons of water) with a few drops of seachim, anchored it down with a heavy plate, covered it, and it's been stewing in there for a few weeks. Honestly I completely forgot about it until this morning. lol So when I removed the cover and picked up the plate, it was overwhelmingly smelly. The same seachim smell. Same white algae, but a lot more of it. I haven't fished it out yet because I wanted to see if I could figure out what it is before I stick my hands in there.
  10. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Prime smells like a rotten egg to me. When I was soaking driftwood I got the same rotten egg smell until I added the airstone. If the bulb was rotting it would explain that prime (rotten egg) smell. There are a lot of threads here on the forum with folks wondering why their new driftwood gets covered in some type of fungus. I would be willing to bet if they pulled it out and smelled it it would smell really bad.

    Just an example of what I am talking about .... I was attempting to grow some ferns I found growing along the bank of a creek. They weren't doing well so I removed them. They had that rotten egg smell because the roots were in fact rotting. Most folks call it melting when talking about aquarium plants.

    Fungus tends to grow on almost anything and fairly quickly if it is soaking in water. There is bacteria on just about everything and when you mix still water/rotting material with it you are going to get fungus and usually along with the fungus you are going to get very bad smells.

    I can't say why your bulb didn't make it but since it was dying fungus was doing its job of cleaning it up. Rot and fungus will smell bad. (I just read your latest reply. Splitting the bulb could very well be the reason)

    I am not a scientist so can't explain exactly how it all plays out but some fungus's play a very big role in our world as a clean up crew.

    I personally would have no problem with handling the driftwood but would want to wash my hands very well after I did.
  11. OP

    SoftlyHairedNew MemberMember

    I think you're right. Thanks. :) I'll boil the drift wood before I put it in the tank, just to be safe.

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