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Aquarium smells like sulfur... any ideas?

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fish n' pets

Hello,

 

I have a 75 gallon aquarium, and there have been a few strange events happening the past couple of weeks. First, all of my algae (chaeto in refugium and the little bit of hair algae in the main aquarium) started turning white and dying. I had removed all of it to make sure it didn't decompose. Then my aquarium water started smelling strongly of sulfur (the rotten egg smell). It also has taken on a greenish. None of the coral seem very happy, since all of their polyps are closed, but my two fish don't seem all that bothered. I have not tested for ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites since my aquarium has been fine for at least two years. Do these cause a sulfur smell? I used to dose Marine SAT, but stopped once the algae crashed. I dose B-Ionic two-part and magnesium supplement when needed. I have a fluidized reactor with carbon and phosphate remover. I have a rather large protein skimmer as well.

 

I don't know if this is related, but around the same time this happened we had our hardwood floor in the room with the aquarium hand-sanded and refinished with water-based product. I kept the lid closed, so I don't think anything would have entered, but it was a strange coincidence.

 

I did three 20% water changes this week, but it does not seem to have helped all that much except reduce the smell in the house a bit. I don't think any animals have died; I have seen them all move around. Has anybody had this problem before, know what caused it, and if there is anything else I can do?

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dling

Do you have a sand bottom ? I sounds like it could be dieing . I seem to remember that the smell of rotten

eggs was a sign of areas with low oxygen,like in deep sand beds. http://saltwateraquariumsupplies.org/aquar...en-sulfide.html .Gotta love Google ;)

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beefus

Perhaps some carbon would help with that?

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johnmaloney

would take more than carbon to get out the hydrogen sulfide, either leave the sand bed undisturbed and aerate it slowly, (hydrogen sulfide can be lethal to fish...), or clean up whatever decay and anoxic conditions you have in one shot with the tank's inhabitants removed for safety. shallow sand bed, or let it mature adn dont touch is what you are usually stuck with i think...

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fish n' pets

Thanks for the link. That was very helpful. Replaced the carbon and GFO, hopefully that will help some. I really can't move most of my animals to my QT tank - it's too small. My sand bend isn't incredibly deep, only about an inch, except in the refugium where its more like two inches. Do you think the chaeto died because of the sulfur in the refugium? How do you aerate the sandbed slowly? I have nassarius snails in my display...should I add them to the refugium?

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beefus

This is interesting to me, I'm curious how long the tank had been running and if he had any animals to keep the sand stirred up? like a tiger shrimp or bristleworms?

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fish n' pets

Well, I moved most of my corals to the QT tank except a zoanthid colony and montipora that were attached to huge rocks. The tank has been running since summer of 2008, and the clean up crew includes several nassarius snails, scarlet hermits, some other snails I can't remember (cerith?), and a serpent star. The refugium had nothing but chaeto and some feather dusters, so I bet that's where the problem started. I just can't believe I started having this problem after so long.

 

The aquarium looks better today, though the corals in there are still not happy. I siphoned up some of the sand in the refugium. It was quite impressive what came out of the sand. Right underneath the white surface, I pulled up lots of black, foul-smelling gunk. Hopefully that was the source of the problem. The sand in the display looks good, so I didn't see any reason to mess with it. Hopefully, if I keep up water changes and cleaning the sand, the problem will resolve!

Edited by fish n' pets

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BROWN

MHello! Today was a devastating day, I've been in this hobby for well under just abt two yrs. I started with a 55g tank(for one whole) than upgraded to a 75g with a 20g sump. Tuis been running for just abt four months. I change out my sand bed once upgrading. 

The last week or so my  corals started to die off. Not sure what could have been this lose so i started testing my perimeters for any sign..   NOTHING TO MY UNDERSTANDING CAME UP.. TODAY AFTER COMING FROM WORK I NOTICE A VERY BAD SMELL (EGG). THREE FISH DEAD & ONE FIGHTING TO SWIM. ANY IDEAS ON THIS SITUATION WILL BE HELPFUL... THANKSS

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TatorTaco

@BROWN, welcome to NR!  You'll want to post a new thread instead of a replying to a very old one to get more attention.  However, the sulfur/rotten egg smell is likely hydrogen sulfide.  My guess is something died, which increased your ammonia levels, which then started killing everything else.  Check your water parameters, do a large water change (and continue doing it until the ammonia is down and the smell is gone.  Running carbon may help too.  Good luck. 

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Tamberav

Test ammonia

 

Water changes 

 

Dose prime

 

Remove dead stuff 

 

Replacing the sand was a good idea but if the rock was dirty with debris or such you can still get some sort of cycle.

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