Dirt Subtrate Aquarium Water Turned Black!

  1. LWormy Member Member

    Hello! I just set up a 6.6 gallon aquarium with 2 inches of dirt and a thin layer of gravel on top as substrate. I am planning on keeping 2 african dwarf frogs, malaysian trumpet snails, California blackworms, and trapdoor snails in that tank. I already have the animals I wanted in a QT. Even though I did about 6 water changes, the water is still a very dark brown, almost black. I can barely see anything in the water. The filter doesn't seems to be doing much to remove whatever's dying the water. (It is a Fluval Chi tank) I am leaving for vacation after 1 week and I am bringing my grandmother back with me to check out my house, so I don't want to the tank to look terrible at that time. Is there anyway to make the water clear again? I don't mind a bit of tannin from the soil, but I do mind not being able to see anything and basicly having a tub of mud. I used NatureGro Potting Soil so it have no chemical fert and such. It is all "aged pine bark", moss, "forest compost", sand, and some perlite that float out. Please help!
     
  2. smee82 Well Known Member Member

    Could you gravel cap be too thin and the soil leaching into the water?
     

  3. junebug Fishlore Legend Member

    ^ that.

    First off, that dirt layer is probably too thick. You can have two inches at the back, but it should taper down to one inch or 3/4 inch at the front of the tank. You need a rather heavy gravel layer to hold the soil in place.

    Sadly, at this point, the only thing for you to do is empty the tank and start over. With more gravel this time.
     

  4. AquaticBrandon Well Known Member Member

    You probably but a thin layer of gravel, so that makes dirt leech out in the tank. For my tank I did about 1 inch if dirt and 1 1/2 inch of gravel. The tank did good.


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  5. LWormy Member Member

    Well, the dirt all settled down and I am planning on putting more gravel on top because unfortunately, I don't have time to start over. I plan on putting 1/2"-1" of gravel on top. The dirt is leeching tannin like crazy and turn the water into a dark brown so the visibility is REALLY low. I didn't introduce my plants yet. Should I do it or should I wait until the water clears up? What is a good way to remove the tannins in the water? When will it stop releasing tannin? Will it hurt my frogs/plant?
     
  6. AquaticBrandon Well Known Member Member

    Yes I think adding a thicker cap of gravel would help. Doing water changes will help get rid of the tannins. It won't affect your plants or your frogs


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  7. FluffNStuff Initiate Member

    I intentionally keep one of my tanks a murky sorta tan color by doing this on purpose. It has had no ill effect on the health of my fish or shrimp, but I would test it first and more every few days for the first week. That pine bark makes me wary, because most of the time I see people suggesting you removes fibrous materials (sticks and twigs, etc) as they rot and create ammonia.

    I learned this one the hard way through a coconut fiber incident with my first planted tank. 》.》
     
  8. fishlee Member Member

    Have you got carbon in your filter? it helps to remove tannings
     
  9. LWormy Member Member

    OK, after a few water changes yesterday all my tannin is gone. It didn't come back today and I added the frogs and a guppy. The dirt is pretty thick, it is about 1 1/2" at some place and 2" at the other. I have 1" of gravel to cap it. If I have lots of malaysian trumpet snails and blackworms, can I avoid having toxic gas building up? At this point starting over is not really an option for me, so what are some good animals that I can keep to turn the substrate other than that? (no loach or catfish for me, my tank is too small. :()
     
  10. LWormy Member Member

    Any ideas? My trumpet snails doesn't seems to be burrowing somehow. Is the gravel bothering them?
     
  11. reddbelly Member Member

    I had a tank that did this. Dirted and a cap of gravel. Water looked like coffee. I drained the water and carefully removed the gravel. Then placed a thin layer of play sand over dirt, then placed gravel back in. The problem is that the dirt has very fine particles that make their way up through the gravel. The sand is fine but heavy enough to keep all the other stuff under it. It not exactly starting over, but close. I would steer away from any bottom feeders that have the tendency to dig. I had plecos in a 125 dirted and could never keep the water clean and had a ton of algeal issues. Hope this helps.
     
  12. LWormy Member Member

    My water's fine now, all I need to know right now is whether or not my dirt will build up toxic gas (2" dirt, 1" gravel) and if having Malaysian trumpet snails and blackworm will prevent this.
     
  13. valau Member Member

    Less dirt, more gravel. It'll settle over time and clear up by itself as well. And you can try using carbon in your filter.

    Yes, getting some MTS to help aerate the soil can help prevent anaerobic populations of bacteria from building up in your substrate.
     
  14. LWormy Member Member

    The trouble is that my snails aren't burrowing. What is causing that?
     
  15. LWormy Member Member

    Any ideas? Hello?