Tank ODOR!!!!

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OFL replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

The nitrogen cycle is quite simple to understand. Fish produce ammonia, the bacteria consume ammonia and turn it into nitrite, more bacteria consume nitrites and you end up with nitrate. So in order to have nitrate, you have to do have microfine bacteria that are consuming ammonia and nitrite. It is important however if your tank has been set up for a while and you are seeing zero nitrate to make sure that you are carrying out the nitrate test properly. We've seen this countless times, people don't read the instructions properly, they then get is there a reading of nitrate. With the liquid tests, especially the API, must shake the second bottle for about 30 seconds, and then it is absolutely important that you shake the vile for 1 min and no less.

Obviously a lot of people make the mistake of constantly changing the biological media every couple of weeks, basically they are taking away the food for their bacteria and the whole process starts from scratch.

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

Okay thanks a lot for the information and help. I will retest everything again today since I haven't don't so yet and see if I can get anything different than what I have previously seen. I use the little instruction book every time because I cant remember which ones to shake and for how long. So I always have to use it. Also 2 questions pertaining to testing accuracy. Does it throw off the accuracy if the water in the little tube cools off a few degrees prior to me testing it? I usually fill all 4 up to the line prior to beginning any testing and by the time I get to the last one the temp might have dropped a little. Also, is accuracy offset if a PWC has been performed within the past 24-48 hours?
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OFL replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

No, it won't really make any difference regarding the water temperature cooling off slightly, you will still get an accurate reading of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or pH. Like I said before, the temperature of the water combined with the pH can have a big effect on how toxic the ammonia is to the fish. So if you do run into water quality problems, it's always a good idea to drop your temperature down slowly to around 25°C, that's around 78°F. The hotter the water, the more toxic the ammonia will be. Also, the lower the pH, that will also be beneficial if you ever run into water quality problems. That's why people who keep African cichlids that live in extremely high pH have to be extremely cautious with their water because any ammonia is extremely toxic.

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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

Also meant to make a point to say this. I only changed the carbon filters in my canister to try to fix the odor problem.. I wish I had known a lot of you all do not even utilize carbon which I find impressive. That and it was time to clean and inspect everything in my canister according to the owners manual. I just emptied the water in the canister into a bucket and just used the aquarium water. I then used my hands to brush off in large visible debris off of the filters. As far as my biological filtration and mechanical, I was going to replace the biological after 5-8 months depending on how black it gets and replace the mechanical foam pads as little as possible. I planned to replace them when you just know it's warn out and time for a new one.. I also planned to stagger replacement and NEVER change multiple filters at the same time.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

OH!!! Yeah that is a very good point. I actually completely understand that! I keep my water at 78-79 degrees. With a pH remaining pretty neutral where would you try to aim temp wise?? Also, isn't my driftwood still leeching some tannins into the water lowering my pH some? Which would therefor help make my water containing 0.25ppm safer and less toxic? Please correct me if I am wrong as I am trying to get a better understanding of this, but I am pretty sure I am starting to get it!
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Tank ODOR!!!!

I just tested my water again today. I know without a doubt in my mind I did it properly. I used a stopwatch again so that I would know I shook the 2nd test solution long enough and used it for the 5 minute wait time. The photos below are what I have got. They're accurate as far as how they look in person. I got them in the proper lighting to where the pictures look true to what my eye sees color wise. Tell me what you think. Both are hard to say to me. The ammonia looks like 0.25 and the nitrate looks closer to 0 to me. The nitrite was dead on 0ppm without a doubt in my mind so I didn't see the need to post a picture of it. The first photo is ammonia. The second is nitrate. Again, I cannot stress enough that it was preformed properly. What does everybody think??



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UNC-CH replied the topic: Tank ODOR!!!!

You're definitely getting a nitrate reading. It's under 5ppm. I've gotten readings like that after very large changes.

I still think that your ammonia kit reads like mine. That is, it reads around .25 for everything ... even distilled water. I've heard of other kits like this. If I'm right about this, just consider that color your 0ppm for ammonia. That's how I use mine.

I suspect your tank is already cycled. You'll know if what I suspect is true if you wait 3 days without performing a water change and retest. If your ammonia and nitite readings are the same, .25 and 0, and your nitrate is higher, your tank has cycled.

The odor from your tank is likely caused by the use of the bottled bacteria to get the cycle started. It was introduced quickly and there is likely more there than food to feed it. So much of it has died. Be sure not to add any more bacteria.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Tank ODOR!!!!

Okay thank you so so much for your advice!!! That's a relief to hear because I keep thinking I'm in the clear and cycled but then random weird problems I haven't ever experienced keep happening and I don't know how to compensate for them. So, wait till Wednesday afternoon without any water change and recheck it? And if the ammonia still shows 0.25 ppm, nitrite shows 0ppm, and nitrate is higher than I am cycled? And if nitrite is higher than I am not cycled yet correct?? At that point, assuming nitrite remains at 0ppm and nitrate is slightly higher, do I carry on my normal 30-40% water change?
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Tank ODOR!!!!

Right. Wait 3 days, maybe 2, and if nitrate is higher while nitrite and ammonia remain the same, you're cycled. If nitrite and/or ammonia are higher then you're not cycled. I'm pretty sure you're cycled though. You've just been doing a very good job performing water changes, keeping nitrate very low.

Yes, after that I'd go back to your regular water change schedule.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Tank ODOR!!!!

Okay great! Thanks again for the advice everybody! I will let you all know if it's cycled or not within the next 2-3 days!
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