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Re: Rotten Substrate/gravel vacuuming
I have a 55 gallon tank, not fully planted. I vacuum religiously when
changing water. I figure if it's sitting on top of the substrate, it's not
fertilizing, it's polluting. I also have a tendency to feed well.
I've been dealing with part of the tank going anaerobic for a while. While
observing the tank, I noticed that a bubble would emerge now and then and go
to the surface. While vacuuming, I plunged the cleaner through the substrate
to the glass bottom, and tons of bubbles appeared (in the vacuum). The water
was disgustingly smelly. I rooted around a bit and discovered other areas
were also smelly, though the gaseous bubbles were in one area particularly.
I pondered what to do. It's a low light tank, and quick-rooting plants didn't
seem to be an option (as they wouldn't grow). One thought was to put heating
pads on the bottom to increase circulation. I ran an air wand on that side of
the tank at night for a while to create a water current (though a very
low-power air pump). Checking from time to time, I noticed that it did help
diminish the area, but there were still rotten spots, and gas. I'd actually
go in and dig with my hands and feel the gas pressure. I finally got a power
head for that side of the tank. I toyed with the idea of connecting a hose on
the output and sticking it directly in the gravel (isn't that what they make
undergravel filters for?), but decided to just try running it as is, to see
if the current alone would solve the problem. After a cleaning today, the
smell and gas appear to be entirely gone.
<< >Does anyone have any input into my earlier question about whether to
>vac planted tank substrate? I have an area of the tank that gets dirty and
>when gravel vacuumed pulls up some nasty smelling stuff. Should I leave it
>in there for the plants? All advice appreciated.
I wouldn't leave it.
Not good. H2S is a bad sign(rotten egg smell ?). Black color is very bad
too. Vac the effected area well. Add fast growing rooty plants to see how
they do. Watch closely for signs of poor growth. Consider adding larger or
more porous gravel topped with regular sand that your using.
The area is going anaerobic and need something to get more O2 down there.
Roots from faster growing plants might be a way. Adding small pieces of lava
or SeaChem's Matrix to the mix will help or some Turface etc will help too.
Adding a small airline tube with some water flow through it will solve this
too if you place it down into the effected area. This can help a trouble
spot but I think the plants or/and the gravel changing will help the most
for the long term. Also consider lowering the depth of gravel in this area
or adjusting the flow so water current goes into to it more.
Mulm is great for tanks but black stinky stuff is bad. I leave the mulm but
would take care of the black nasty stuff fast. Check archives for more info.