Complete Tank Teardown, Will Use Activ-Flora as new Substrate
I just did a complete tank tear down today. Removed my MTS capped with Azoo Plant Grower Bed and will replace this with new MTS capped with Activ-Flora "Lake Gems" this weekend. I found that after 3 years the Azoo disintegrated and compacted creating an anaerobic layer in the MTS which started leading to my problems with cyanobacteria.
I originally got the Azoo because it was supposed to remove tannins from the water caused by driftwood which it did and it was supposed to maintain the water's pH between 6.5 and 7.0 which it also did.
I've since invested in an RO/DI system for my water so I'm not worried about this any more. I'm going to use some Seiryu stones so the water isn't too soft. The Activ-Flora won't disintegrate or compact like the Azoo did so hopefully I won't have to go through this again.
I figured I'd remove my one large piece of driftwood and two large plants to make catching my fish easier. What a mess, as soon as I started removing my mature plants, a huge Aponogeton madagascariensis, and a large Crinum calamistratum the MTS turned the water into mud. I waited for it to settle but after several hours there was no change so I got some Caribsea Biomagnet and Seachem Clarity from the LFS. Of the two the Clarity worked and the Biomagnet didn't seem to do anything. But as soon as I started chasing fish the tank just got stirred up again and I was back to the same muddy water and couldn't see a thing. So I ended up removing all the substrate and siphoned off most of the water through a net in case I accidentally sucked any fish up until the tank only had about 6" of water left in the bottom so that I could actually see the fish to catch them. Took me all day to do this. What a nightmare!
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