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Old 01/11/2008, 04:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 839
Question Ok, so my water is solid black, now what?

To make a long story short: I put ~30lb. of marcorocks (drilled and picked clean of large debris) in my new 50G bare bottom tank and added water. Didn't rinse the rocks like I should have because I had the aquascape the way I liked it and I didn't want to change it. I added water (including a couple of gallons from my established tank), the water was kind of cloudy with rock dust from the drilling. Annoying but no biggie. I put in a small piece of live rock. Then I added a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of ammonia to kick off the cycle, added powerheads and cranked the heater to 84. Overnight the tank went white and cloudy with a distinct "dirty rock" smell, then the rocks started to turn grey, then black, and over the following night the water turned black. It got even darker over the last 24 hours, visibility is down to about an inch and reeks of rotten eggs. If it weren't so grim looking it might be funny (ok, it's still kind of funny).


One day after adding water:


The status is definitely somewhere between "dire" and "hilarious". The smell is solidly in the "dire" category.

I've added a phosphate reactor and I did one 5 gallon water change last night (all I had handy), no response. What I'm assuming happened is the initial white bloom was due to aerobic bacteria, which used up all the oxygen (the sump isn't running yet, so the water surface isn't broken) so the entire tank went anaerobic, causing a bloom of the black anaerobic bacteria.

The question now is, what do I do about it? I don't have a skimmer yet, so that's out. I'm going to do a 20G water change tonight, and another over the weekend. I think it's safe to assume the rocks are now thoroughly inoculated with anaerobic bacteria. Aerating might help kill off the anaerobes but might have the side effect of killing me with the stench. Any ideas?

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