If your tank smells then something is not right - over feeding or buildup of waste could be the cause but tanks should not smell. Charcoal (aka carbon) just covers over a problem and does not cure it. Carbon can be used for a lot of reasons but removing smell is a dangerous one since something is wrong and not being addressed.
I assume the tap water does not smell and is not the source of the issue. If so, then charcoal IS a good idea - for both the fish and you!
I assume your tank is cycled and ammonia/nitrIte levels are zero. Also, you vacuum the gravel/sand well and stir it as you vacuum? If so, then unless over feeding is an issue, the aquarium shouldn't have any strong smells.
Undergravel filters work by trapping food/waste in the sand were it is broken down by some bacteria. They are not as effective as even a HOB but do work. They can make the water look very clean but at a cost - junk gets trapped in the top layer of sand/gravel that will break down creating lots of nitrAtes in the tank. This requires large and more frequent water changes.
The problem with UGF is that they can kill off the fish if they are stoped for eight or more hours. Also, junk builds up in the sand/gravel unless you do deep cleaning - so the work issue is there. These work but are outdated. I am NOT saying they dont work but they do require careful use and extra work.
If you note, I too have a UGF's but I run them in reverse flow and they have large and fine filter intakes to prevent anything from getting down under the gravel/sand system. That is, the water flows up through my gravel/sand and prevents debris from getting into the top sand layer. This 'stirs' my gravel/sand system without me using a vacuum or disturbing the top layer at all. This allows me to have dense plant roots and still keep my gravel/sand clean. My real filtering is a canister but that is $$$ and not for most users due to tank size nor right unless one knows what they are after ... .
Knowledge is fun(damental)
A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is fifteen Sterba's Corys. Filters: canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber that removes phosphates and nitrates! Also, a highly dangerous commercial nitrate removal unit from hell
For Stocking Questions see: http://aqadvisor.com/AqAdvisor.php?
For Fishless cycling:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
my tank doesn't smell. and i like to keep it that way. and i wish to keep the carbon so it doesn't. my brother had an aquarium when we were younger and his always smelled and awfully, from his room into the hallway. i do not want that. algae smells also on that list of things and it is the issue i have.
and yes around here some does the tap does smell, of all things like fish bowl water. and we don't drink it or use it on those days. my college science teacher believed it to be when the nitrates were high in the city water supply.
yes my tank is cycled.
i don't seem to understand your comment about it killing the fish? how does that even work? and my undergravel filter is working injunction to an hob. currently 2 hobs. that keep getting clogged, with algae.
when i do water changes i do clean the gravel heavily, including removing large quantities on occasion and rinsing them off. because my filters don't run at full capiticy for more than a day after i clean them out. so i already have a build up of crap in the gravel.
i have no live plants in my tank nor do i want any. only my turtle tank has live plants and thats food items.
live plants would clear your problem, i understand you dont want any.
replacing media so often probly isint a great idea tbh. you are barely giving your bacteria time to stableize before removing it.
carbon doesnt remove as much odor as you think it does. and a tank will only smell will not taken care of. i've never used carbon and i've never had a smell issue. i had a tank with 2 oscars in it for quite awhile when i had a small efficeincy and i never had any issues.
for algae to grow like that, im assuming you must be doing something wrong, it shouldnt just grow like that especially with all the work you are doing to get rid of it.
im not sure how the algae is growing when there is limited light and so much flow. its quite possible your carbon is leaching nutrients into the filter and is promoting algae growth. do you test your water regularly? just curious what your water params are. i have a feeling something in your water chem is unbalanced.
we tried live plants, they just get eaten. the duckweed was all eaten before it could even spread.
it only is replaced once a month. how is that to often? as it's per the box.
i'm not sure how it's growing either, cause i couldn't get it to grow in the tank when i tried. when i had an algae eater, we had to feed him sinking wafers. it is seriously only in the filters, it doesn't even hang off the filter out feed into the water.
i test the water when fish act weird. (not eating or swimming weird) or we've had a floater. usually the floaters we get are someone the shrimps been eating on. but i like to make sure.
and the two filters are different brands so if it's ones bad carbon or the white rocks in the one why is it in both? should i run my turtles filter in the tank to see if it gets it? cause i doesn't have the algae in it. and that tank has it because of the heat lamp.
you should be testing water regularly, not just when something is "weird".
replacing media once per month is a sham to sell more products. i only rinse mine out. the reason you have to change it so often is because they contain carbon which is only good for a short period of time. every time you change the media you are sending your tank into a mini cycle, and if you are changing both at the same time, or like 2 weeks in a row, then probably even worse then that. this will lead your system to not be bale to process nutrients like a cycled tank could and the excess will help grow the algae. duck weed is considered a "tasty snack" by most fish. if you have herbivore fish then you need more hardy plants that arent readily eaten. putting duck weed in a tank of herbivore fish is basically feeding them.
i'm not changing them at the same time, they are off each other by 1 weeks, so one keeps running while i do clean out and changing of media.
i only replace it once a month NOT every 2 weeks. where do you get that? did i miss type something and need to go back and fix it?
i knew they'd eat some of it it when i got it, but was hoping it'd spread a bit before being eaten. or atleast sustain the same amount. but i've also had other larger plants prior. the duckweed was a more recent one, (and the only one i know the name of it.) and was purchased more so to get my turtles to eat more green matter.
taking the white rocks out of the aquaclear filter helped alot. it was also moved to my turtle tank. there is some small amounts of algae growth, but nowhere near the same amount as before. and i'm sum that up to the body is clear, and it now has a heat lamp on it.
my uv sterilizer should be here today as well.