Dusty water help!

RL2021

Help! I have taken my gravel out because I thought it was causing dust in my aquarium. Fish are fine but dust isn’t going away! Done a few water changes. Bought a surface skimmer but it’s only doing half the tank! Could it be the knock-off Eheim sponges? What should I do? It seems more dusty around the Eheim filter - I cleaned and did a water change only yesterday afternoon! You can see the dust is already layered on the side of the filter.
EDIT: Just tested the water and my nitrates and chlorine were high. I added Prime and Clarity, together. Was this okay? Should I do another water change?
EDIT: I’ve just noticed some of the white dust on the side of the filter is starting to go green! It’s less than 12 hours since I cleaned the equipment and changed the water.
 

StarGirl

How long ago did you remove the gravel? It may just be the junk from the gravel. Did you vacuum it regularly? Those fish are pretty big for that small tank and small filter, it just may not be able to keep up. How long has it been running?
 
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RL2021

Really, is the tank too small? . I just got it last summer. It’s a Rio 125 and I added a Eheim 160 filter. I removed the gravel probably about a week ago. I am now doing water changes every few days, and adding Prime and Clarity. Trying to get the last remaining bits of sand from the bottom by swishing up the water after adding Clarity and tonight my turkey baster arrived! Did a reading tonight (before adding Seachem stuff and the KH (what is this?) was high, along with the nitrates.
 
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StarGirl

The nitrates are high even with the water changes? Thats strange. The KH is carbonate hardness. It regulates your pH in your water.
 
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RL2021

Yes, water change on Sunday and tested this evening? What to do?
 
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StarGirl

Is there room for some filter floss in the filter? That will help polish the water some more for you. What are the readings for your tap water?
 
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RL2021

I put some at the top where the water comes in last night after dosing the Seachem stuff. Still dusty this morning - white dust over filter and glass etc after cleaning last night! Snail tracks on the glass dust so is it algae? Nitrates still high, nitrites also now.

Readings from tap water are fine, apart from KH, which is off the charts high!
EDIT: Actually, now the strip has dried it looks like the NO3 is close to the “water change” level on my test strips!
 
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RL2021

EDIT: My matrix arrived yesterday so filter is now set up as it should be but I STILL have particulate floating around! I just can’t get it out. I might have to drain the whole tank and use my turkey baster.

My Purigen and Phosguard also doesn’t seem enough - could this be what it is? The bag the Purigen came in was oblong and didn’t fit properly in my square filter chamber. I bought bags but they are too big and it’s hard to get the substances to sit tight and flat in the canister. The sides of the bag are scrunched up and the substances just seem to float around in there. Does anyone else put these in a Juwel canister?
 
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StarGirl

I bet that's what it is.
 
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RL2021

How do I put the stuff in a Juwel canister? I’m ready to give up ... :-(
 
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StarGirl

Do you have the seachem bag? That holds it all in securely. I don't know about jewel canisters. If there isn't enough room maybe not put as much in there.
 
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RL2021

I got that originally but it was oblong! I’ve given up and put the sponges back in, with Matrix at the bottom.
 
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FishDin

If you are seeing Nitrites too, you may have crashed your biofilter when you removed the substrate. A lot of your denitrifying bacteria were on the gravel. After removing it, the remaining bacteria may not be able to keep up. Don't clean your filter, and stay on top of testing for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Use water changes to keep your fish safe.
 
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StarGirl

Taking the stuff in and out of your filter could cause spikes too.
 
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Sez

Help! I have taken my gravel out because I thought it was causing dust in my aquarium. Fish are fine but dust isn’t going away! Done a few water changes. Bought a surface skimmer but it’s only doing half the tank! Could it be the knock-off Eheim sponges? What should I do? It seems more dusty around the Eheim filter - I cleaned and did a water change only yesterday afternoon! You can see the dust is already layered on the side of the filter.
EDIT: Just tested the water and my nitrates and chlorine were high. I added Prime and Clarity, together. Was this okay? Should I do another water change?
EDIT: I’ve just noticed some of the white dust on the side of the filter is starting to go green! It’s less than 12 hours since I cleaned the equipment and changed the water.
You need to read up on the nitrogen cycle,I'm assuming the tank hasn't been cycled as you stated no on the question about understanding it.get some hornwort and frogbit in there and some substrate ,lava rock gravel offers good filtration. The good bacteria need some substrate to breed on aside from in the filter.I'd thrown in bottled bacteria as an extra ,not sure how much of a gimmick that really is.can the fish go elsewhere until the tank has cycled? If you have cycled it then its possible you have uncycled it.id take the phosphate bag out for now and try seachem stability.
You need to read up on the nitrogen cycle,I'm assuming the tank hasn't been cycled as you stated no on the question about understanding it.get some hornwort and frogbit in there and some substrate ,lava rock gravel offers good filtration. The good bacteria need some substrate to breed on aside from in the filter.I'd thrown in bottled bacteria as an extra ,not sure how much of a gimmick that really is.can the fish go elsewhere until the tank has cycled? If you have cycled it then its possible you have uncycled it.id take the phosphate bag out for now and try seachem stability.Im assuming its cycled coz I've just re-read your post ,deffo get the hornwort and frogbit they will certainly help you
 
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RL2021

I have been reading up on the nitrogen cycle but really my priority is clearing the particulate/dust from the water ... my fish are pretty hardy, they were in a smaller and less maintained tank for years before I got my Rio 125 last summer. I think it’s either sand or dust from the gravel I had in. I am doing regular water changes and trying to suck the sand that sinks to the bottom of the tank with a siphon with the bell removed, but it just keeps re-appearing! I have tried Clarity with filter floss. I bought a surface skimmer, upgraded my imprellor, sorted out the filter media, changed the fish’s food, removed the second pump (think it was just causing the water to swirl in the middle of the tank and not reach either filter very well).

I thought I had a breakthrough yesterday when I added a carbon sponge in. I had removed it when I put the Purigen and Phosguard in and thought it was only needed if the fish were being given medication. The water started to clear more quickly than I have seen with anything else (and stopped smelling as much!). So I bought Carbax, which is meant to be better, and swapped that last night for the carbon sponge. The water was back to looking a mess this morning, so I put both in (and removed my second medium sponge). To be fair my pump was juddering again so that might have had something to do with it. Waiting to see how it goes today, but I do think it’s sand/dust and not a bacterial bloom. When I rinse the sponges and push them back into the canister, I often see a load of white dusty water shooting out of the pump (and it settles on the top of the tank and the glass). It’s like there’s a load of dust trapped somewhere. I have tried siphoning in the canister when it’s empty. If this doesn’t work I have an aquarium consultation planned! It’s been going on for months now :-(
EDIT: I don’t want to get into plants at this stage, I did have one at one point and managed to kill it within a few weeks!
Taking the stuff in and out of your filter could cause spikes too.
Yes, the water definitely gets worse for a bit when I rinse the sponges. And I get the white dust shooting out of the pump when I push them back down into the canister. The sponges always seem filthy though, I don’t think I am over-cleaning.
EDIT: For info, the tank now has no substrate in as it’s easier for me to see what’s going on, and to rule it out as the cause of the problem.

I now have Matrix in the bottom chamber. In the top (from top-down) I have coarse sponge, medium sponge, BioPad, carbon sponge, Carbax box.
 
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RL2021

EDIT: I did some more research, and bought some Symec Micro, and a different water clarifier (Fluval). Seems to be helping (about 7 hours in, and I changed it already once), in that it has removed the particles but the water is still cloudy. Should I just leave the tank and check tomorrow morning? It says 12-24 hours, but the Fluval says 3. Should I replace the pad again? And is it in the right place - it says it should be the last thing so I put it at the bottom of the first chamber but could put it at the bottom of the biomedia in the bottom chamber?
 
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