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will gravel substrate help smelly water

finfayce

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hi
i have a 20 gallon tank of about 16 guppies. i recently put a UV sterilizer inside in hopes of stopping smelly water. this is in addition to frequent water changes. this week i changed the filter media to a combo of zeolite and charcoal. 4 guppies have died this week. all large females. i don’t have any substrate after a horrible gravel bottom stinky turtle tank problem. frustrated.
 

Colin_T

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Smelly water is caused by things rotting in the tank. Gravel/ substrate won't make any difference.

If you are changing the filter media/ materials, that will be a contributing factor. When you replace filter media, you get rid of the beneficial filter bacteria that break down fish food and waste and help keep the water clean.

Filter materials should be washed in a bucket of tank water and re-used. Only replace them if they fall apart. Then swap them for sponges.

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A U/V steriliser won't do anything to improve water quality. Ultra violet sterilisers kill microscopic organisms that pass through them. It does nothing to control water quality or smells.

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Zeolite can be recharged by soaking in salt water. However, Zeolite should only be added to a filter in an emergency to help reduce ammonia levels when you can't do water changes.

Having Zeolite in a filter will prevent the beneficial filter bacteria from developing because the Zeolite removes the ammonia from the water before the bacteria can.

If you have Zeolite, it needs to be replaced or recharged at least once a week. However, you are better off not using it and just letting the filter establish naturally so good bacteria keep the water clean.

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If you have any water quality issues in an aquarium (sick fish, smelly or cloudy water, etc), do a 75% water change and gravel clean the bottom every day until it is good. Use ammonia and nitrite test kits to monitor the levels in the water and keep them at 0.

Reduce your feeding.

Post pictures of the sick fish.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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Smelly water is caused by things rotting in the tank. Gravel/ substrate won't make any difference.

If you are changing the filter media/ materials, that will be a contributing factor. When you replace filter media, you get rid of the beneficial filter bacteria that break down fish food and waste and help keep the water clean.

Filter materials should be washed in a bucket of tank water and re-used. Only replace them if they fall apart. Then swap them for sponges.

------------------
A U/V steriliser won't do anything to improve water quality. Ultra violet sterilisers kill microscopic organisms that pass through them. It does nothing to control water quality or smells.

------------------
Zeolite can be recharged by soaking in salt water. However, Zeolite should only be added to a filter in an emergency to help reduce ammonia levels when you can't do water changes.

Having Zeolite in a filter will prevent the beneficial filter bacteria from developing because the Zeolite removes the ammonia from the water before the bacteria can.

If you have Zeolite, it needs to be replaced or recharged at least once a week. However, you are better off not using it and just letting the filter establish naturally so good bacteria keep the water clean.

------------------

If you have any water quality issues in an aquarium (sick fish, smelly or cloudy water, etc), do a 75% water change and gravel clean the bottom every day until it is good. Use ammonia and nitrite test kits to monitor the levels in the water and keep them at 0.



Reduce your feeding.



Post pictures of the sick fish.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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thanks Colin. i have an internal filter - how many times can i rinse and reuse charcoal?
i don’t have sick fish to post- the dead ones were disposed of. can i feed fish once a day? i have tried decreasing amount of food i feed. the males eat the new fry so i guess i was trying to keep them fed well. i need the fry to replace dead fish- or should i just cut back on total number to guppies? thanks.
 

AbbeysDad

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It's pointless to rinse activated charcoal - it adsorbs impurities very quickly and is most often exhausted in just a few days. It needs to be discarded/replaced about weekly or whenever you service the filter.
As mentioned, the smell is resulting from decaying organics, so water changes, reduced feeding, tank and filter maintenance is the road to resolution.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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thanks- when i change the water and filter media, the water is not fresh smelling and the sponge has picked up debris. that’s why i replace charcoal and rinse sponge in clear water. i see my fish are more active after water changes and “activated charcoal “ makes a slzzling sound which tells me it’s working? lol activated. i think i over feed. 20 gallons for 16 fish plus bottom cleaner fish is a pretty small amount of water. i need to change my habits as well as he water
 

Retired Viking

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I only use the charcoal for removing medications from the water, I have a box of new, still in the bag charcoal cartridges. Better to add more sponge to your filter if you can. I agree with others above do more tank maintenance, vacuum your tank completely every week the smell will go away. :) enjoy your fish:fish:
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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I only use the charcoal for removing medications from the water, I have a box of new, still in the bag charcoal cartridges. Better to add more sponge to your filter if you can. I agree with others above do more tank maintenance, vacuum your tank completely every week the smell will go away. :) enjoy your fish:fish:
 

Byron

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Not having a substrate willonly make this problem worse because you are losing the primary bacteria bed. There are more bacteria, and more species of necessary bacteria, in the substrate than in any filter (s). A healthy aquarium needs a good substrate. The only exception are fry grow-out tanks that get aone or multiple water changes every day.

Never use turtle substrates in a fish tank, by which I mean a substrate from a turtle tank. Not sure if that was the implication in post #1, but mentioning it just in case.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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Not having a substrate willonly make this problem worse because you are losing the primary bacteria bed. There are more bacteria, and more species of necessary bacteria, in the substrate than in any filter (s). A healthy aquarium needs a good substrate. The only exception are fry grow-out tanks that get aone or multiple water changes every day.

Never use turtle substrates in a fish tank, by which I mean a substrate from a turtle tank. Not sure if that was the implication in post #1, but mentioning it just in case.
thanks. my turtle doesn’t have substrate anymore. the stinky gravel episode in the turtle tank was a couple years ago and i threw it all out.
does the fish substrate have to be gravel? can it be glass stones etc?
 

Byron

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thanks. my turtle doesn’t have substrate anymore. the stinky gravel episode in the turtle tank was a couple years ago and i threw it all out.
does the fish substrate have to be gravel? can it be glass stones etc?
Substrate in a fish tank musty be small-grained, and pea gravel is as large as you want to have it. Sand works very well, but fine gravel up to pea gravel can work, depending upon the fish. Some fish like substrate feeders need sand.

Having larger-grain substrate means that bits of food can get down and cause problems because it takes longer for the various bacteria to do their work. This is unhealthy for fish. Every particle of sand or gravel is a surface for bacteria and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live there.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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Substrate in a fish tank musty be small-grained, and pea gravel is as large as you want to have it. Sand works very well, but fine gravel up to pea gravel can work, depending upon the fish. Some fish like substrate feeders need sand.

Having larger-grain substrate means that bits of food can get down and cause problems because it takes longer for the various bacteria to do their work. This is unhealthy for fish. Every particle of sand or gravel is a surface for bacteria and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live there.
thank you, but i’m confused. the big pieces of substrate cause problems and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live. so what size is ideal?
 

Byron

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thank you, but i’m confused. the big pieces of substrate cause problems and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live. so what size is ideal?
It really doesn't matter, there is no one "ideal" size. Sand is as small a grain size as you can get, and fine gravel works much the same.
 
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finfayce

finfayce

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It really doesn't matter, there is no one "ideal" size. Sand is as small a grain size as you can get, and fine gravel works much the same.
thanks again :)
 
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