Safe-T-Sorb, staying cloudy
This is my second planted tank. I decided to use a Safe-T-Sorb substrate. My problem is that my water stays significantly cloudy. Here's what we did:
We emptied the STS into a plastic tub, poured in water to cover, stirred it around, and poured off. We did this 4 or more times. We also let it soak over two nights and one day, with added baking soda. Then we placed it into the tank with some water (unfortunately our water supply is limited so we did not add a large amount of water), cleared a corner and siphoned off. We did this three times. I filled the tank carefully.
However, I did some moving of the gravel. This was Thursday. By Friday morning it was still cloudy so I set up a HOB filter with quilt batting and cotton balls stretched out and laid side by side as a cartridge. I periodically changed or cleaned this cartridge. At lunchtime on Friday I did a lot of smoothing out of the uneven spots in the gravel. This made a mud soup. This was the last major disturbance of the substrate. It has not been touched at all since Friday evening. (I even turned the filter off on Friday evening.) It is now Sunday morning and the water remains cloudy
So, my questions are: I notice from much googling that not all have had such a messy time with STS. However, are there some who have, and did it turn out all right? Is the cloudy water likely to eventually settle, or will it take weeks? Is this some kind of colloidal clay that is likely to stay in suspension for days after every disturbance? Am I likely to make mud soup every time I replant a few stem cuttings, or will this improve over weeks or months? I won't be adding fish for at least a month, but when I eventually do, this would obviously be a problem for them. I'm also thinking I'll have to remove most of the water to plant my plant order tomorrow; otherwise after a few plants are in I will not be able to see a thing or know what I'm doing! Does it sound like this particular bag of STS is hopeless, or should I press ahead and still use it? I really don't want to have to go to the work/expense of changing to a new substrate, but I do not want to set myself up for failure either (my last tank was an algae disaster so I consider myself still a newbie.)
Thank you so much for your help!