eco-complete and cloudy water

shannon66

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Hello. I switched one of my 10gal tanks from gravel to eco-complete about a month ago. I have it already in my 55 and another 10 so I know how good it is. My problem is that the day after I added it the water looked cloudy. It looks like gray ash floating in it. If the bottom goes undisturbed it just settles on everything. It's killing my plants by covering all the leaves. I vacuumed the bottom which got a lot of it out and washed down the plants and put them back in. The water I had vacuumed out looked green because of this "ashy" looking stuff. The filter is also cleaning it out but there always seems to be more. It really seems to be coming from the surstrate. It also sticks to the glass, but is easily wiped off. Anyone else ever have this problem before or even hear of it?
 

pepetj

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Looks like you have either bacterial and/or algae bloom there. I doubt it comes from the substrate unless it became contaminated.

Was the Eco-complete bag sealed?

Keep in mind that small tanks can easily go awry due to their fragile water parameters' stability.

Did you change (added, replaced or removed) any other thing(s) when you upgraded this particular 10gal tank to Eco-Complete?

What's that tank lighting?
Does it receive light from the sun?

Are you dosing bio-available carbon (Flourish Excel and/or CO2)?

Are you dosing nutrients for the plants just after the substrate upgrade?

A probable reason from plants die off could be that the water GH and/or KH went way too high... Most alkaline-hard water plants adapt to soft/acidic but not the other way around. Do you know how both variables were affected by the upgrade?

Pepetj
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shannon66

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As far as I remember the bag was sealed fine.

I didn't change anything else except the gravel for the eco-complete.

It has a 15w light in it and no direct sun light hits it.

I do add flourish excel every2 or 3 days. Just a few drops though.

I actually don't check the KH in my 2 smaller tanks. I've never had a problem with the plants growing and the Ph has always been stable. On the plants that are having a problem, only the leaves with the ash looking stuff on them are dying.
 

catsma_97504

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Can you post a picture? Without it we are only guessing.

What are your readings? pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate? Much bacteria lives in your substrate and your tank may be going through a mini-cycle. Or, you could have simply stirred up something that was in the gravel you replaced that needs to precipitate out or get trapped by the filter.
 

pepetj

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Could you post pics of the "ash-like" stuff?

15W (I figure from a T-8 Normal Output lamp) provides too little light to a 10gal (the guideline of 2WPG dosen't work well in smaller than 20gal tanks).

I figure the lower than ideal lighting with more bio-available carbon (Flourish Excell) as well as the increase in nutrients availability due to the Eco-Complete are keeping your tank "out of balance".

I've read that 70W in a 10gal is equivalent to 220W in a 55gal.

You can check that concept in this article:


I use 30W for my 5.5gal tanks and around double of that for my 10gals.

Until you decide what to do, I suggest stop using Flourish Excell and go for a water change with at least half of it from RO processed water (better if RO/DI but the difference is minimal for FW) and half of treated tap water. Remove as much of the "ash looking" stuff as you can (at least from the leaves since it's killing your plants). A thorough aquarium wall cleaning (if glass consider using a razor blade but be careful).

I had a brown like algae growing all around my 40gal community heavy planted tank when I added DIY CO2 a few weeks after upgrading with Eco-Complete. That put me in the direction of checking the balance of tank temp-lighting-CO2-nutrients (e.g. chelated iron). I ended at one point quadruplicating the light (from 40W to 160W) and once the problem was solved (within 3 to 4 weeks) I downgrade it to twice as originally the lighting was (80W, where it is today). I dose that tank with Flourish Excell (it's already a soft/acidic tank so injected CO2 is a risk I don't want to take).

Hope this helps.

Pepetj
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ryanr

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I'm going to go for the obvious question.... Did you wash/rinse the substrate prior to putting it in the tank?

Loose 'dust' in the substrate will cause problems similar to this.

Just a thought?
 

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You don't rinse Eco-Complete before use Ryan. Just open the bag & pour it in. I love that about it.

Eco-Complete gives the suspended ash effect when it is being stirred up alot. Is the fish list in your aquarium info current & is there an airstone or filter outlet close to the substrate that could be causing the Eco-Complete to be constantly disturbed?
 

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I never rinsed my Eco-Complete (nor other soil based substrates I have). I don't do substrate vacuum either. No need to.

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ryanr

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Nutter said:
You don't rinse Eco-Complete before use Ryan. Just open the bag & pour it in. I love that about it.
Well there you go then
Another + over Flourite (price being the other)

I had to ask the question , and glad I did, I got to learn something new.
 
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shannon66

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I am at work so I can't take new readings right now. I'll post them in the morning when I get home.

My readings last week were 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 nitrates.

I don't have an airstone in the tank or anything to really stir up the water. I have a couple extra fish in that tank while my new 40gal in cycling. I know there is too many right now but it's only been about a week with all of them in there together and hopefully only another week or even less.
The permenant residents are
-3 female bettas ( 1 in her own section with tank divider because she can't play nice)
The temporary residents are
-1 black molly ( juvenile )
-3 corys ( also young )
-4 ottos ( again...young )

I had to move the filter from the bigger side over to the divided area for the night because that's where most of the ashy stuff is. It seemed to be cleaning it up very nicely before I left for work.

Nutter- If it's the stuff you were talkin about suspended in the water will this be a continous issue or once it clears should it be gone for good? Maybe jusy get stirred up during water changes and vacuuming the bottom, hopefully?
 

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If there is little or no current to stir the Eco-Complete up, & there are no vigorous bottom sifters like Yoyo Loaches, then your cloudy water is probably from something other than the substrate. If the cloudiness is coming from the substrate, then there should be distinctly more cloudiness in the first 1" immediately above the substrate. The cloudiness should also settle over a few days. You would need to wipe your plants down a few times over a week while it settles, but it should settle.

Have you tried adding activated carbon into the filter to see if that clears it for you? This could be a bacterial bloom from the change in substrate to. If you keep the water conditions really good, a bacterial bloom should run it's course in two weeks or so.
 

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