Brown Water In Fish-less Aquarium After Less Than 24 Hours?

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Ela

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Hello!

I spent a couple of days setting up an aquarium for a betta, who will be joining the tank once I get things put into place. Here's what I have so far:
  • 3.5 gallon tank
  • filter
  • 4 lbs of gravel
  • small bridge accessory
  • plants (an Anubias frazeri, an Anubias nana, an el Niño Fern [Bolbitas heteroclita], and a Telanthera cardinalis)
  • heater
  • thermometer
The substrate was thoroughly rinsed, the plants were rinsed, and the decoration was rinsed. I buried two plant fertilizers in the gravel before putting in anything, added water halfway, positioned the plants and decoration, and filled it up the rest of the way. I turned on the filter and had it run overnight.

This was all done by 6pm yesterday, and by this morning at around 5am when I woke up, I noticed the water had turned a light, clear brown. My first guess is tannins, but I have no driftwood nor any sort of wood. I read that tannins can actually be beneficial for some fish species, especially tropical ones, but I just wanted to throw some pictures onto the internet to get some second opinions.

Here's what it looked like when I first set it up versus the next day.

IMG_7597.JPG

1/24/18 6pm
IMG_1792.JPG

1/25/18 7pm

What's going on? Where have I gone wrong?
 

Hepting_3000

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Do you have high iron or magnesium in the water? I know if either of them oxidizes it will turn water brownish. If you don't know call your closest pool or hot tub store and they should know if your area suffers from any of the two. They oxidize real fast when you add chlorine to the water.
 

KiwiEnthusiast

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It doesn't look like it in the photo, but are any of your plants are decaying?
 

Ela

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Do you have high iron or magnesium in the water? I know if either of them oxidizes it will turn water brownish. If you don't know call your closest pool or hot tub store and they should know if your area suffers from any of the two. They oxidize real fast when you add chlorine to the water.
No clue. I do live in Brooklyn, if that's any indication.

Did you rinse all of the filter media before putting the filter into use? And are you by chance using an ammonia remover (in the filter)?
You know, I will be perfectly honest. Of all the things I thought/hope I did right, I did neglect to rinse the filter cartridges before putting them in and turning it on. I was too excited to see it in action.
 
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Aspiration82

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You know, I will be perfectly honest. Of all the things I thought/hope I did right, I did neglect to rinse the filter cartridges before putting them in and turning it on. I was too excited to see it in action.
I did the same, which is why I asked lol. It might clear up in a day or so, like mine did. But I'm new too, so please keep answering everyone's questions so you're covered
 
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Ela

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It doesn't look like it in the photo, but are any of your plants are decaying?
None of them looked like they were. I tried to pick the healthiest-looking ones. I will say that the Telanthera leaves weren't all completely red/pink as some were more on the greenish side, but I thought that was normal.
 

mattgirl

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You know, I will be perfectly honest. Of all the things I thought/hope I did right, I did neglect to rinse the filter cartridges before putting them in and turning it on. I was too excited to see it in action.
I am pretty sure you just found the reason for your water color change. It was just an honest mistake that I think most of us have made at one time or another. Your water should clear up fairly quickly though.
 
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varmint

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My guess would be, there is leaching from the fert tabs that you buried in the gravel, depending on what brand you use. Just a thought.
 
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Ela

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I did the same, which is why I asked lol. It might clear up in a day or so, like mine did. But I'm new too, so please keep answering everyone's questions so you're covered
I will let you know what happens over the next couple of days!

I am pretty sure you just found the reason for your water color change. It was just an honest mistake that I think most of us have made at one time or another. Your water should clear up fairly quickly though.
Thank you! I hope this is it. I'll see what happens over the next couple of days

IMG_1816.JPG


In case anyone is curious, the water has totally cleared! This was taken today. Thanks again for all the help. I think it was a combination of introducing plant matter to the tank, the fert tabs, and failing to rinse the filter media before turning it on. Lesson learned!
 
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