What does your tank smell like?

Viriam Karo

So I have this memory from when I was younger of what "tank water" smells like. It's what my tank smelled like for a while after I got it started here. However, in the last week or so, it's started to smell like "pond water," or at least what my family's half acre pond water smells like. I hadn't realized that I had two separate memories stored for these two bodies of water XD I did all my test-tubing, nearly scooping a guppy up along the way, and the readings are all the same so I don't think that's the difference. I did start up a FWDSB though, perhaps that's changing the chemistry in there a little...

I guess this is what they mean when they say your water shouldn't smell bad? But I don't know, maybe tank water smells bad to other people. Or maybe "tank water" isn't supposed to smell like anything at all XD it sure doesn't smell like the water out of the tap, which mostly smells like chlorine!

Do your tanks have specific smells? Anybody have a FWDSB vs. a shallow one with different smells?
 

horsin1787

I have a mature FWDSB and my tank smells like a greenhouse to me. Albeit a very wet one I have quite a few plants in there right now though.
 

Bluebone

every once in awhile my small tank will have a day that it doesn't smell to good then it just goes away as quick as it came. haven't really had that problem with the 55 tho.
 

Paintcraze

I think a healthy tank smells "earthy", if that makes any sense
 

JustKeepSwimming

Sometimes fishy, sometimes earthy. Depends on the day I guess.
 

Sturty

My tropical one soesnt really have a smell, but after emptying my saltwater last night the house smelt like the ocean died!
 

Arden0208

Fish.


....lol.... no but really.... Earthy is a nice way to put it... like warm damp earth...
 

GradSchoolZombie87

Mine smells like frustration... the kind I experience when I try to get the pH correct!!!!
 

Lucy

The only tanks that have a smell are the ones that have a lot of java moss.
I guess it could be described as those above. 'Earthy'
Other than that, the others don't smell.
 

Junne

I had to go over and "smell" it as I have really never noticed it before.....

Consensus? Smells like RAIN or maybe a woodsy scent??????? Not at all bad and not really obvious either.
 

Arden0208

Salt tanks have a smell that is sometimes a bit foul smelling to my notion but I belive it relates to a combination of the salinity and a particular bacteria that ia natural to the Salt enviroment... I acctually recall reading about it when studying perfumary.... something to do with synthetically reprodicing "ocean" smells... the artical I'm thinking of in particular joked that if people knew the origin of the smell they might not consider it so pleasing... lol
 

Mint

How my water smells is actually how I "test" my water for my established tanks. It should smell like wet clean dirty or wet wood if it's a heavy driftwood tank or like very little at all if it's not. Rain is a good descriptive word. If it smells fishy or too much like pond or Caesars creek then I know it's water change time. Usually I notice when feeding my fish. Works well for me so far! I do chemical tests every once in a while for other reasons.
 

Viriam Karo

Hmm, earthy, like a greenhouse, I think that's what mine smells like too. I've got several plants in there, not "heavily" planted but I'm working towards it.

I have to stick my nose right next to the surface of the water to really smell it and my guppies probably think their food goddess has stopped functioning correctly XD
 

ryanr

Like those above, a healthy tank smells.... healthy.

My Freshwater planted has an earthy/mossy smell to it. My reef tank smells like the beach.

IMO, a healthy tank shouldn't be over-powering, and certainly shouldn't be offensive to the nose.

For some reason, I seem to recall that the smell is actually the smell of nitrate, and the higher the nitrate, the greater the smell.
 

lance danio

It smells like a fish tank period.
 

Mamajin

Like freshly tilled soil, earthy.
 

Bluebone

yeah, I pretty much gotta concur with the earthy smell. i've noticed that if I empty a tank it gets pretty rank tho.
 

Randyk47

I'd have to go with earthy as the best description. Forty-five years ago, during the dark ages of under gravel filters when a large tank was 20 gallons, the smell of a tank was a great indicator of tank health. Other than ph tests there weren't a lot of test kits or if there were I certainly couldn't afford one. My LFS guy....we only had one real LFS in a city of close to probably 500,000 back then.....said you'd know when your tank was healthy because it would smell healthy. Living in the Pacific Northwest with it's beautiful streams and lakes, if you spent anytime outside in the wilds, you just knew what smelled good or at least right. Today I test my tanks and the numbers are all good, spot on to the recommendations, and interestingly they have that earthy healthy smell I remember from years and years ago.
 

AquaLady

Mine smells like . I also have a memory of what my tank smelled like as a child.
 

mrHDpants

My heavily planted tank smells like a greenhouse but my lightly planted tank smells more earthy. I had never noticed that they smelled differently until I gave each of them a sniff just now. Haha!
 

psalm18.2

Nothing, no smell.
 

Junne

Nothing, no smell.

My betta tank is like that. I wonder if it has anything to do with the sand substrate vs gravel?

My main tank has gravel and while it doesn't "smell" per se, it does have a earthy "just rained" kind of smell
 

psalm18.2

My betta tank is like that. I wonder if it has anything to do with the sand substrate vs gravel?

My main tank has gravel and while it doesn't "smell" per se, it does have a earthy "just rained" kind of smell

My experience has been sand doesn't smell, gravel does.
 

miss tropical

My tank smells mostly like fish, esspecialy when I clean it or do a water change
 

Lisalisa

This is interesting. Mine also has a smell that I would say is earthy or like fresh tilled soil....
 

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