I'm wondering if you're reading the hydrometer scale wrong? Ferments can be ugly looking,so that's likely fine.
The long lines on the scale are marked 10,20,30,40,etc Below the "1.000" line. The small lines in between the numbered ones are 2,4,6,8. Try it again & make sure you're reading it correctly.
Everything works if ya let it-Roady(meatloaf)