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Coffee Like Smell Coming From Tank Water

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Homer_Simpson, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Has anyone experienced anything like this. I just set up a 15 gallon high tank with ADA Aquasoil Amazonia 2, 40 ppm c02, 150 HOB Aqualclear filter with poly floss, Seachem Purigen, and filter bag containing Seachem Matrix. The tank has 20 Watt Corallife Colarmax with a photperiod of 8 hours. The plants include java ferns, anubias, hygrophilia difformis, hygrophilia polysperma, ambulia, petite anubias, cardamine(for floating plants) and Hemianthus callitrichoides for carpeting plants. Sadly the plants were not the healthiest to begin with as I had soaked them for 3 days in Alum and water to get rid of snails and snail eggs. I am doing partial water changes daily, dosing with Fluorish Excel with each water change and fertilizing with EI adjusted for 15 gallon. A few days after the tank was set up, I noticed what looked like Saprolegnia fungus on some dieing Hemianthus callitrichoides. Of couse this has me concerned and the coffee like smell coming from the tank. Right now, I don't have any fish in the tank. The 40 ppm c02 was to try and jump start plant growth and then reduce to 30 ppm after one month before adding fish/shrimp.

    Has anyone experienced anything like this and is this reason to be concerned. I know that this is not the same, but the last time one of my tanks had a musty old closet like smell, it was preceded a Blue Green Algae breakout. I don't know what else to do but to stay on daily partial water changes for at least a few more days as recommended for Aquasoil. I beginning to wonder if there is not a chain reaction of decaying plant roots in the substrate that is contributing to the smell. The leaves of the plants are dieing, crypt leaves have all melted, but I think that due to acclimitization of new plants this would not be unexpected. Should I just tear the tank down and start over or patiently wait and hope for the best?

    Any feedback or suggestions would be most welcomed. Thank you.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Not really coffee, peaty perhaps.

    Naw, I'd not worry.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Have you tested ammonia lately? I seem to remember getting a smell like that one time when ammonia was way out of whack....it didn't exactly smell LIKE ammonia, it was kind of a weird smell and I haven't had it since even when I've had higher ammonia levels so I'm not totally sure what it was really. But this wasn't a nice coffee, this was like bad rancid coffee that's been sitting in the coffeepot all day.
     
  4. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Many thanks Tom and Carissa. Yeah, the smell is like bad rancid coffee that has been sitting in the coffeepot all day. Also, a bit like that smell when you go into a hair salon and are waiting for a haircut and they are perming someone's hair and you get that strong pugnent smell from the chemicals they use for the perm. Lol, my coworker told me that perhaps Amano is using coffegrinds in the Aquasoil and that is why there is the coffee smell.

    I have not tested ammonia as I suspect the levels will be high. This is what they say about aquasoil I and II and state that you need to do frequent water changes and not add fish for a month as the ammonia is supposed to take that long to level off. So far, it has only been about 4 days since I set up the tank. On the positive side, I am beginning to notice some new growth with some plants while others continue to die off. My biggest concern was the Saprolegnia fungus as this can spread to fish and cause problems if it takes root in the tank. I manually removed the dead plant matter and as much of the fungus as I could. This stuff scares me. Just out of curiosity, I hit it with some Hydrogen Peroxide to see what would happen. With the first dose, I got some bubbling, but the stuff was still intact and not phased one bit by the peroxide. After 2 days, it had not changed and was still alive. Then, I gave it a second shot of hydrogen peroxide. This time nothing, not even any bubbling, the stuff was not phased at all. After a month and before I add fish, the plan was to add a UV sterilizer. I did not want to put a UV Sterilizer in this soon as I did not want to intefere with natural bacterial colonization. Hopefully once the UV sterilzer is running, it will kill the Saprolegnia fungus spores and keep them from spreading or targeting my fish.

    By the way, here is the tank as it looks now.
    Picture122-1.jpg
    Hopefully, the plants will grow and fill in. I added some more floating cardamine as I had no fast growing stem plants other than the ambulia and hygrophilia polysperma to put in.
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Neat looking tank, I've always wanted to go with some kind of ruins or archaeological theme, statues are neat too, I never thought of doing that but it looks nice.

    If that hygro is anything like mine it will take off with the co2 but it really sucks up nitrates too.... I can cut all mine down to half the tank's height (tank is 18" tall) and within a week I have to prune again because it's blocking light from the other plants because it's grown to more than the height of the tank again and all bunching up around the surface.
     
  6. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Thanks :)

    Lol, I always wanted to go with a Buddha Theme and just finding the Buddha was like finding a needle in a haystack. Rocks big or small don't appeal to me a lot and too many people use Rocks in their scapes as it stands. I just wanted a different look, not the same look that 1/2 a dozen others have. Other themes I considered were Egyptian(Sphinx or Pyramid) or Inca(Pyramid), or the Indian Totem Pole theme. Lol, since my strength in scaping seems to be the Jungle Look, I thought such theme would blend in nicely with the jungle look and give it some character.
    Yeah, that is hygrophilia polysperma and it has already grown to the surface of the tank in a matter of 4 days. I will have to trim it this weekend. One of the reasons I got a 15 gallon high was in the hopes of giving the hygro enough room so it would not take over the surface too quickly. Unfortunately, that is not working. I think that the hygro is probably best reserved for a low light tech where the growth is slow enough that it would take it weeks if not months to overtake the surface. In my low light tank, the hygro is growing at a snail's pace but I don't mind.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    In my 10g non-co2, the hygro grows at a nice pace, not too fast but not really slow. In the co2 tank it grows several inches a week even though the lighting is low. Boy, I can't imagine how fast it would actually grow with both high lighting and co2! I think it's illegal in some states because it's considered a threat and you can see why.
     
  8. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Interesting.....faster growth in low light c02 tank. I always heard that plants would grow faster in a low light c02 tank and have always wanted to experiment. How are your other plants growing and how are your fish doing? The only thing that I wondered about and was not sure about was if an excess of c02 would more likely be created in a low light c02 vs high light c02 tank. Higher light would cause plants to use up more c02 but what happens when there is lowere light, do c02 levels increase because the plants cannot use as much of the c02, or are light levels and c02 levels independent when it comes to plants. I guess it also depends on total plant density in the tank,

    Yeah, I can see why hygo would be banned. I don't know if this is true or not, but I read that in the 70's in Washington, people who got tired of their aquariums with egera densa(another plant that grows like a weed) dumped the water with the plants down the toilet. The egera densa made its way to some lakes in Washington, grow like weeds pretty much choking out everything in the lakes and creating problems with boating and the ecology. It is said that in an attempt to control the egera from spreading and multiplying, several meaures were attempted but none worked as the egera is proving so hardy. There was talk of introducing a type of carp fish known to eat the egera, but it is said that introducing a fish not part of the natural ecosystem would lead to other problems. Needless to say due to problems created by egera densa being dumped down the toilet, it is banned from the aquarium trade in Washington and considered an invasive species.
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Well what you end up with is a light limiting environment which is usually the best anyway especially for algae growth. Since I have diy co2 I think it works well, if one of my bottles stops producing it's no big deal, algae doesn't run rampant like I imagine it would in a higher light tank. CO2 has never gotten too high, my drop checker is usually varying shades of green. It's a 32g tank, I'm running 2 x 20w T8's odno so that comes out to around 60 watts of light. Before I did the overdriving I had co2 as well, I haven't noticed a major difference in plant growth rates since I increased lighting but I am growing algae faster (which is great for my pleco, he keeps the tank clean anyway so I don't care). One thing I have noticed since I went from 40 to 60 watts is that the hygro grows more leaves near the bottom, which is good. The 40 watts of light would grow it fine, but it would be pretty spindly looking and always try to grow towards the middle of the light. It's a great tank, low maintanance (ferts 1 - 2x/week) other than the hygro pruning. I think that if the particular species of plants you have can handle it, lower light is easier and safer, things don't happen as fast or go wrong as fast but with co2 you still get the nice growth.
     
  10. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    That is really cool.

    The next tank that I set up(lol, when I can find the room and space, may have to do another tear down to make room) will likely be a low tech 10 gallon with 20 watts light, DIY c02, and Soil Master Select over a layer of laterite clay with some fluorish gravel tabs. Plants will be crypts, a sword or two, hygro, anubias, java fern, and perhaps some dwarf sag. I do have enough leonardite, and Seachem Onyx/Tahitian Moon/Pool Filter Sand to setup another low light, but I really want to test the Soil Master Select over laterite clay and Seachem gravel fert tabs. With ferts, I may test the Yamato Green, I read that 1 teaspoon a week does wonders for a low light tank, and am curious to test.

    This person who set up a low tech non c02 tank swears by Yamatoo green and her plants look absolutely beautiful. I know that EI reduced for such a setup would work just as well, but I am more curious about testing the Yamato green.
    Getting Started with Plants
     
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