Getting SMS Clean? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Getting SMS Clean?

With all the fish spawning projects and my love for the planted aquarium I found it necessary to set up more tanks.

I traded for some SMS thinking that it would be a good plant substrate.
I rinsed it thoroughly using a colander (same method I used successfully for Flourite)
I put some in a 10gal and installed a seeded AC 20.
This stuff is full of muck.
I've done five 100% WCs and gravel vacs, and rinsed the sponges.
I still can't get it clean. My next step is to take it all out and rinse it again using an old pillow case and fill the HOB with filter floss.

Who has experience with this stuff?
What else can I do? (short of a Hot Magnum)
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 10:42 PM
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It needs really a good cleaning. Possibly the colander was not enough.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 10:54 PM
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I made a DIY screen using scraps I found at Home Depot and regular screen (like for windows or porch doors). I screwed it togther in the shape of a square with a small opening to pour out the rinsed substrate. I set it up outside using my plastic porch chairs for legs and went to work spraying it with the hose. I still ended up with a minor dust cloud that I used my diatom filter to clean up.

After all that, I'm still not satisfied with this stuff as a substrate. I find it hard to clean due to the light weight and certain plants don't grow as well. I had it in 4 40 gal breeders, and I've already changed out 2 of the tanks to some used Flourite I had left over when I changed substrate in my 75 gal.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 12:18 AM
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I never could get mine totally clean. I think particles break off and cloud the water if you're too rough with it. God knows how many times I rinsed this stuff. It clouded the water every time. I'm sure it will help if you let it completely dry out before soaking it again.

I capped mine with black flourite. I am only growing plants emersed right now, but I have high hopes it will keep the dust and plants down when I fill it.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 02:58 AM
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Actually, I just did some oil-dri (I think it's similar) and I let it soak overnight, then rinsed it. Try to use a larger holed colander with the hose on higher pressure, a scoop at a time.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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Well I dumped it out and tried the pillow case thing with a high pressure hose.
Flattened it out and left it outside to dry.
I'll put water to it again tomorrow, if it looks like dirt water again.
It's going in the flower bed!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 05:24 AM
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I have it in one of my tanks and a way to reduce the particles from picking up is by adding an inch of regular black gravel to the top, really helped and kept my water crystal clear.

Right now i added more sms, just let it sit in the bucket with the water running until it got as clear as it can be. Then just use extra filter floss in your filter to get it nice and clean.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 11:57 AM
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I have SMS in a few tanks. I've found that a light rinsing, just two washes is all you should do. Try not to rub it together, this just breaks up the pieces and prolongs the clouding. You are also rinsing away your SMS. Once you put it in the tank, run a filter w/ some floss in it to remove the finest dust in the water column. The medium size dust particles will migrate to the lowest level of SMS. (Kind of like layering a dusting of peatmoss underneath your substrate to help kick start it.) It does settle down.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 09:03 PM
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The first time I used it in a tank I did 4 - 100% WC and it was still cloudy but manageable. The second time I used it, I used a flower sieve and 2 5 gallon buckets. 2 hours later it wasn't any cleaner than when I started.

But when I put the second batch into the tank, the clouding was much less and didn't take as long to clear.

Thanks,
AndrewH


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies and sharing your experiences.

Another concern is during maintenance won't it just be all cloudy again, kicking dust up on the plants?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2008, 05:56 PM
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i also did the the one scoop at a time with a colander , it took me all day and when i did fill my 110g tank , i use about 80 pounds of my 2 50lb bags and it was cloudy for a couple of weeks during the cycling , i also got a lot of diatom {brown algae} an now 4 weeks 3 50% water changes it is starting to look clear, i think my cycle is almost over {i also add Bio Sipar?? and fish} once it clears up it doesn't look bad
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well the verdict is in, I've been as diligent as possible with this stuff.
No amount of rinsing will keep this stuff from dusting up.
It's getting mixed with potting soil.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:17 PM
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I filled my tank last night very very slowly. It's not cloudy at all. I wouldn't toss it if I were you. At least use it to grow emersed plants.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah the water will clear using filter floss. But, it still kicks up dust if I touch it. That's not for me!
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