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Old 11-01-2009, 09:27 PM   #1 
Sunnyfish
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mouldy smelling water

Hi all, I have had my little guy Sunshine for about 2 months now, this is my first post. I have become quite nervous over the past week, the water in his tank has developed a mouldy smell. I know the water itself smells because it smelled in a clean cup when I was changing his water last night. Sorry for the long post, I am trying to list any relevant info! I have been very good about changing his water-about 1/3 every 2 to 3 days and a complete change including gravel rinse about every 1 1/2 weeks. He has been very happy. He has a 2.5 gallon hexagonal tank with live plants. I did a partial change last night which temporarily helped, but now it's back. There is no visible algae. He gets natural sunlight for about 4 hours a day, then he just gets the light from the room. THe temperature has not changed drastically-gone down by about 3 degrees since the weather in Boston has gotten colder. I use a water conditioner each time, and let the water sit out at least over night. He gets fed usually once a day (except when he looks particularly cute in the morning I give in to his gluttonous demands), blood worms and a betta pellet. He does not seem physically or emotionally affected-he has no spots of any kind on him and has remained active and social. I have had several fish before, and never this problem. He is my first betta. I have fallen in love with the little dude, I am very afraid for him now! Any suggestions? Thank you!
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:31 PM   #2 
7103
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Hmmm... If he is acting normally and shows no sign of stress or illness, then hopefully all is well. My tank also has an unusual smell (I personally think that it smells like carrots), but I have not had any problems so far. Sorry I am not more helpful. The only other thing I could think of is that if it is the water itself that smells, then perhaps the water conditioner gives it the scent.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:56 PM   #3 
kelly528
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Hmm the water change regimen is a little wonky. Hmm how shall I explain...

All fish secrete a byproduct called toxic substance ammonia/NH3 (aka Fish Pee). This is why we perform water changes: to prevent the ammonia from reaching lethal levels. There are two ways of managing ammonia:

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1) UNCYCLED TANK: Frequent 100% changes are carried out to ensure that the ammonia is reasonably close to 0ppm. For this method of ammonia management you will need an ammonia test kit so that you can monitor ammonia levels and make sure they are nice and low.

2) CYCLED TANK: You let the nitrogen cycle take care of your ammonia for you. When ammonia is allowed to build up in the water, a type of nitrifying bacteria start breeding in the water. They eat the ammonia and what comes out the other end is a less-harmful oxide of ammonia called nitrIte (NO2-). These bacteria live predominantly in the filter, with a good chunk of them also being found in the gravel.

When you get enough nitrite floating around the tank (by now your ammonia should be zero since all the bacteria are hogging it), a second type of bacteria starts proliferating. They eat the nitrIte and what comes out the other end is a compound called nitrAte (NO3-). Nitrate is only harmful in high amounts. The nitrate is then removed through weekly water changes of about 25%, via a gravel vacuum or siphon hose. Plants can also use the nitrate as fertilizer.
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So since you have not chosen whether to leave your tank cycled or uncycled, what is happening is that the ammonia level is gradually reaching a peak, ten just before bacteria can kick in, you rinse the gravel and away they go. If you go with one of the two you should find that the tank remains odorless.

Either way, I strongly recommend a test kit. Stay away from strips or indicator dials; they are quite inaccurate.For uncycled, grab an ammonia test kit and a pH test kit. If you go with cycled, go whole hog and pick up kits for ammonia, pH, nitrite and nitrate. API makes a good one that tests all four of those-- just picked one up for myself! Good price, too.

You can get more info by looking aroundthe site or googling 'aquarium cycle'.

Last edited by kelly528; 11-01-2009 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:05 AM   #4 
bluebettafish
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I'm having the same problem and I'm really confused as to what I'm supposed to do. Some people tell me I shouldn't need 100% water change and others say I should. I thought I was keeping the water clean but one of my bettas developed fin rot. I'm starting to regret getting bigger tanks because I might have been better off with a smaller bowl and not worrying about live plants because I think I would have been better at keeping the water clean.

One thing I realized today is that i neglected to change the filter. For some reason I thought they last 2 months but it's really 2-4 weeks. I hope this makes a difference...good luck with your tank because I apparently suck with mine :(
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:29 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebettafish View Post
I'm having the same problem and I'm really confused as to what I'm supposed to do. Some people tell me I shouldn't need 100% water change and others say I should. I thought I was keeping the water clean but one of my bettas developed fin rot. I'm starting to regret getting bigger tanks because I might have been better off with a smaller bowl and not worrying about live plants because I think I would have been better at keeping the water clean.

One thing I realized today is that i neglected to change the filter. For some reason I thought they last 2 months but it's really 2-4 weeks. I hope this makes a difference...good luck with your tank because I apparently suck with mine :(
You need to read up on cycling as well. Although your don't have to cycle your tank, cycling your tank will be particularly beneficial to your plants because they can soak up all the nitrates produced as a byproduct.

Also, you don't really have to change your filter until it's falling apart. Giving it a swish in a bucket of tankwater at every cleaning will suffice to dislodge any debris.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:42 AM   #6 
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Like kelly said, you need to rinse the gravel every once and awhile with really hot water, the smell is probably due to bacteria growth. I rinse my tanks rocks whenever I do a full water change.

I have an un-cycled tank and live plants really helped the overall health of my tank. If you buy some live plants they can help with keeping CO2 and ammonia levels down as well. I have an aquatic fern in my 2.5 gallon tank and it is amazing my betta loves it! and it reduces algal growth and surprisingly any water smell. You'll have to buy supplemental nutrients if you only have one fish in your tank as the CO2 and feces from only one fish could not keep plants alive. Ferns are a great starter plant if you don't have a tank light or a lot of natural light in the room the tank is held. Just some nice additives to a non-cycled tank :) BUT you should still do your weekly partial water changes to further keep harmful levels of ammonia from building up.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:03 AM   #7 
ChristinaRoss
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great advice!
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:03 PM   #8 
kelly528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieTron View Post
Like kelly said, you need to rinse the gravel every once and awhile with really hot water, the smell is probably due to bacteria growth. I rinse my tanks rocks whenever I do a full water change.

I have an un-cycled tank and live plants really helped the overall health of my tank. If you buy some live plants they can help with keeping CO2 and ammonia levels down as well. I have an aquatic fern in my 2.5 gallon tank and it is amazing my betta loves it! and it reduces algal growth and surprisingly any water smell. You'll have to buy supplemental nutrients if you only have one fish in your tank as the CO2 and feces from only one fish could not keep plants alive. Ferns are a great starter plant if you don't have a tank light or a lot of natural light in the room the tank is held. Just some nice additives to a non-cycled tank :) BUT you should still do your weekly partial water changes to further keep harmful levels of ammonia from building up.
Whoo just to clear something up, rinsing the gravel is not necessary if you cycle the tank. And if you go uncycled, you should be rinsing the gravel more than once in a while to clear the debris out. The smell is most likely ammonia, since the bacterial growth is discouraged by 100% water changes.

I don't believe that a plant can absorb waste in an uncycled tank... they consume the final product of the nitrifying bacteria, nitrAtes, not the actual ammonia.

So basically, everything should clear up once you pick one or the other (cycle or uncycle) and go with it.
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:41 PM   #9 
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If I was to do a cycled tank, how frequent is 'frequent 100% water changes'? I don't have a filter system, so I guess this is the best way to go right now. I feel like I've read so much contradictory info. And I do have several live plants already.
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:43 PM   #10 
dramaqueen
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You'll need a filter if you cycle. Beneficial bacteria grows in the filter media.You wouldn't be doing 100% changes in a cycled tank.
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