Dirt - does the water ever clear up? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Dirt - does the water ever clear up?

I have been soaking my topsoil in the aquarium for a couple weeks, and the water is black. I have drained the water, and I am refilling the aquarium now. I should be getting some plants in tomorrow. Will the water eventually clear up, or will I have to do several 100% water changes? This is my first time trying soil.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 03:21 AM
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Why didn't you soak it before putting it in the aquarium?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 05:21 AM
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Do you have the dirt capped with anything like gravel or sand? if not you need to, cause keeping a clear tank will be impossible :p

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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It is capped with about an inch of sand. I soaked it using the aquarium because it was a HUGE amount of dirt. I anticipated that the water would be cloudy in this process, I just didn't realize how dense the cloudiness would be. I guess we'll just see how it goes...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:59 AM
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mine clears up with-in the first week, granted i did do a few big wc's first 3 days or so

i filled dry dirt into my tank and put just enough water in it to make "mud" not too loose and not to dry

i let it sit for as long as possible. once for 24 hours, once for as little as 20 mins

then i capped it with my pre-washed top layer

fill over a pan or bag too fill softly

a few big water changes and im in the game

It is better to travel well than to arrive.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 02:16 PM
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Usually it will clear up in a 24-48 hours. I would recommend doing a LARGE water change, and use a bowl to to protect the substrate sand, so it doesn't allow the dirt to cloud the water.

If you already have done this, what type of filter are you using? That could be another issue - not enough draw power and filter pads to clear up the water
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 02:41 PM
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Something is not right if you have black water leaching up through a 1" sand cap.

Some more details might help:

>Foot print of the tank
>What kind of Dirt did you use
>How deep it the Dirt layer
> What kind of sand
> Are you running a filter
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 04:40 PM
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Hello!

I have not very long experience with dirt tanks, just a few months, but i have been running fresh and saltwater tanks with no dirt for a long time My experience with dirt does seem to be somewhat similar to yours:

I started my first dirt tank with soil without any fertilizers, this soil was very black in color and had a high amount of organic labeled on the bag, it looked like a perfect soil to use. But this soon showed to be wrong, this soil colored my water very mutch. I used 2-3mm gravel as cap just as recommended in the Walstad book and elswhere on the internet. I did 90% waterchanges over several weeks, 3-4 waterchanges every week. At last i gave up and tried another soil, this soil was just the opposit, it contained what was not recommended: 30% cow dung . This soil was lighter in color and did not color the water the same way as the first soil, after a couple of months the water get a yellow tint, but it is not combareble to the first soil. I also did change another factor in my substrate when using this cow dung soil that also maybe could have an effect on color/soil leaking to the water column, i change the cap to fine sand.

Dont know if this help, but i hope you sort it out.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2013, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambone870 View Post
mine clears up with-in the first week, granted i did do a few big wc's first 3 days or so

i filled dry dirt into my tank and put just enough water in it to make "mud" not too loose and not to dry

i let it sit for as long as possible. once for 24 hours, once for as little as 20 mins

then i capped it with my pre-washed top layer

fill over a pan or bag too fill softly

a few big water changes and im in the game
This is how I did mine, but my water was only yellowish and hazy. I used a plate when I filled it with water very slowly.

It sounds like you either put the soil, fill with water then capped it, giving you the black water


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 07:05 AM
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I had the same problem with my first two dirt'd tanks. To this day both thanks slowly darken the water, and only weekly water changes seem to (temporarily) fix the problem.

The problem I discovered, is the wood matter in the organic potting soil. Potting soil is filled with wood, that will leaches tannin into the water over time.

I used a $3 kitchen strainer to filter out a bag of MGO potting soil. About 2/3 of the bag wood or unusable! I would suggest that you bake the soil at 350 degrees until dry to speed the straining - but you don't have to. It took me hours, but the water in my big tank is clear.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 08:34 PM
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Dirt - does the water ever clear up?

Oddly enough, tannins haven't been a huge issue for me at all.

I just dumped the whole bag of miracle grow in wood and all.

All my tanks after the first few weeks are crystal clear...

It is better to travel well than to arrive.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 11:23 PM
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Use a thinner layer and cap it well. Then water change every day and it'll clear up eventually. I tried dirt for a month and hated how uprooting brought dirt on ny white sand.
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