Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
I do not pre-rinse.
Dampen it so the dust is not a problem when you put it in the tank.
Add enough water so it wets the substrate better, but is not even as deep as the substrate.
Make mounds, add rocks, driftwood... whatever you want. Note that mounds won't stay in place by themselves. Even a gentle slope will flatten out.
Plant, misting the plants.
Put a plastic bag or a plate over the substrate and pour the water in slowly, so it seeps over the edges of the plastic. About 1 gallon per minute max.
This will minimize the clouding.