Stinky tank


My tank smells NASTY. I just changed the sand out and the sand was nasty. I put my fish into my QT and they seem okay, as do my mushroom, GSP and we'll see on the Zoos. I'm actually thinking of just leaving the 5 gallon up for a few months and then getting a 29 or something and staying nano. Thinking of doing a rift reef with my 56 :)
Anyway, if I keep the 56 up, what is this smell? How do I eliminate it... Its so bad you can smell it throughout the house and when you walk it its sickening.
Also A-0, Nitrite-0, nitrate 5, alk 11, pH 8.3


Well-Known Member

Your tank should smell like the ocean, clean and salty.
If the sand smells bad than maybe you need a sand sifter to keep it oxygenated, I’m not sure if that’s the right term. The critters in it must have died and created a bad smell…have you checked for ammonia?


Active Member
Smelly tanks are usually due to dieoff in a general sense, critters, excess food, etc. My tank had a slight smell to it for about 3 months. A protein skimmer helps remove some of this stuff. If you have no means to remove waste be it skimmer or water changes.


Active Member
Did it smell before or after you changed the sand?
Sandbeds can develop packts of hydrogen sulfide that smell like rotten eggs. If you disturbed or changed out the sand, that could easily explain this. It'll probably clear up in a few days.


It smelled enough before the sand change to warrant a good look at the water parameters, which as above were in good shape, no ammonia no trite, and only 5 trate.
The sand was disgusting, i seriously almost puked pulling it out. The sand was quikrete, nice tan "beach" color, but below the first inch it was grey and stinky. Some of the rocks had some stink too...
What I've decided for the time being is that I'm going to take down the 56 and start over when I've got more $$ so I can do things the right way instead of cutting corners, learnt the hard way there is no cutting corners in reef-dom.
My fish are mostly happy in the 5 gallon nano I had up before, the 2 damsels will be fine there (YTBD). The engineer goby is going back to the LFS.
I'm not giving up, just doing what I did better... I'm going to be looking into a 29 gallon later down the road.


What type of filtration do you have? If you have a carbon filter you should replace the carbon. It may help remove the odor a little quicker. It should help to keep the water clear as well.