Cloudy water from plant substrate Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by yukoandk, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. yukoandkValued MemberMember

    I just started a new tank with Seachem Flourite Sand, and apparently I didn't rinse it enough. The whole tank is a cloudy muck. I can't even see the back of the tank. I'm thinking water changes are in order possibly flowed by water clarifying products, but beyond that are there any tricks to help the situation?

  2. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    DO NOT USE WATER CLARITY PRODUCTS. Regard any & all chemicals to add to aquariums with great suspicion. Many of them are harmfull to your bacteria populations. Some water changes will help & perhaps adding some activated carbon &/or fine filter floss to the filter will help. Other than that I think you will simply have to wait for it to settle on it's own.

    I think you may well have this as a continuing problem with the way Goldies like to root around in the substrate. Maybe a good idea to cover the Flourite with a 1" layer of gravel or sand to stop the Goldies stirring it up so much.

  3. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    +1 Nutter.

    I also had a similar effect, even after thoroughly rinsing my Flourite Black (not the sand).

    I'm not sure entirely, but I think some of the cloudiness is a result of the minerals in the substrate too. :;dk Nutter?

    I let mine sit and left the filter running, within 1 week, the tank was crystal clear.

    Everynow and again, I still get some cloudiness when doing my gravel cleans (which I put down to the fertiliser tabs releasing into the water from the substrate), but it clears up within an hour.

    FYI: My filter is an Eheim Classic with fine filter wool and the carbon pad as the final stages.
  4. blasto172Valued MemberMember

    I've had the same problem. My tank is 2/3 fluorite black and a 1/3 fluorite; even though I rinsed each for at least 2 hours I still got murky water. after a couple of hours to overnight it cleared up fine with my filter running. In fact I added a little more tonight, kinda cool watching the cloud flow through the water.
  5. yukoandkValued MemberMember

    Thank you for your quick responses! Ok, so no clarifier. I do agree that's a good approach to take in regards to adding any/all chemicals in tanks, and thank you for the reminder.

    The tank I'm working on is second handed and came with a simple DIY sump under the cabinet. I've been contemplating on how to use the sump, but so far it only has a few pieces of sponge, plastic balls/cylinders and a pump. No other filters. I did throw a bag of carbon in one of the slots for the muck. I hope it starts to clear up sooner than later since I'm expecting a shipment of plants next week. As for the floss, does anyone has a recommendation on products that work well and economical? I ordered a big al's floss bundle which hasn't arrived, but it's hard to tell how good of a polishing job a product may do when shopping online.

    Nutter, you've warned me about the plant substrate--tried and confirmed! Yes I'm planning on adding a top layer of gravel. I should get it done now so I don't have to deal with the second course of muck. I've read sand or finer grains of gravel will naturally shift and fall through the bigger sized gravel to the bottom over time, but do you ever find that to be true? I suppose the "dust" that clouds the water must be lighter and much easily stirred up.

    Anyways. Thanks again!
  6. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Not sure that the cloudiness is from minerals. I think it is just the material itself has lots of dust & fine particals that are very easily stirred up. I have the same thing with Eco-Complete. Any time I mess with anything in the tank a little cloud of dust comes up where I'm working. I doubt that fertiliser tabs are causing any cloudiness either. At least they shouldn't be anyway. Probably just that same very light dust being stirred up by the suction of the vac & the extra current as you move it around near the surface of the substrate. At least that's what I've always though it was in my tanks that had Flourite.

    Yes I do find the smaller substrate particles will eventually find thier own way to the bottom layers of the substrate but it takes a little time. With Flourite sand though that doesn't really apply as the grains are all pretty fine & light. If you were to layer gravel over the top you would find that over time the gravel will end up on the bottom because it is heavier than the Flourite sand is. For that reason I think you will be better off doing a top layer of sand over the Flourite. Preferably a smaller grained sand but an equal sized one will work ok to.

    I just buy bags of filter floss from my LFS or a per store. The loose fibre sort of stuff that isn't in a preformed mat or pad. It only costs $2 for a pillow sized bag stuffed full of it. I've been using the same bag for about a year now & until recently I was running in excess of 30 tanks. Many with two filters on them. So it's certainly economical.
  7. HuichoNew MemberMember

    Just yesterday I went and bought some Pool Filter Sand and spent easily 2 hrs cleaning the 50 lb bag to which I STILL got cloudy water. As Nutter mentioned, I chalked this up to there simply being some particles in there you're just not gonna get to. Although I don't have experience with the Flourite, if you didn't thoroughly clean your sand, it'll take all that much longer for your water to clear. I found that because of the 2 hours i spent, by this morning the water was fairly clear with filter running all night. I anticipate that by tomorrow morning all soot will be gone.

    As those above me mention, I'd recommend being patient and keep your water changes regular. The less you washed, the more soot there's going to be in your water.
  8. yukoandkValued MemberMember

    Yes, soot! It's already looking a lot better this morning to my relief. Good to know flourite sand is lighter--I'll keep that in mind!
  9. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Just a sidenote on the water changes. When you add your water fresh water into the tank, try and not pour it in at a rate which will disturb the substrate, otherwise, you could be faced with the same issues. [i.e. pouring it in and the flow 'digs a hole' in your substrate]

    I have, in the past, used a jug and submerged it in the existing water and just up turned the jug to release the new water in. More time consuming, but it didn't disturb the substrate. or if possible, pour the water over a saucer to disperse the flow.

    HTH :)
  10. HuichoNew MemberMember

    To spin off of ryanr up there, I did this last night. I knew that kicking up the new sand was going to be a nightmare so what I did was set up to buckets of water on a ledge above my aquarium and siphoned slowly into the tank, once my 60 gal was about 70 percent full, it was safe to pour on top of my lava rock.

    Hope that helps!
  11. yukoandkValued MemberMember

    Thank you all for your help and inputs! I successfully (so far) finished planting the tank, and it was really not as bad as I'd feared. I posted some photos here ( ) for anyone who's interested. This is the facebook page of online seller I got the plants from, and I needed IDs on some of the plants. I'll be sure to keep you updated here on my progress as well!

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