Clearing brown water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Clearing brown water?

Ive had this tank setup for 9 months now and it has always been cloudy with dirt. I cant for the life of me figure out how to get the water white again. I do weekly 10% water changes. My soil is miracle grow organic soil capped with eco complete and gravel. I didnt mix the soil with clay which is the reason why i think the dirt is leaching into the water column? I dont have a filter running right now because the canister filter would get clogged in a day with just dirt in the filters.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:16 PM
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I think there may be 2 things going on.
1) Debris in the water
2) Tannins staining the water.

Here is how I would handle this:
Very large water change, as close to 100% as possible.
Dig down into a corner of the substrate and get the siphon down to the bottom of the tank, while holding the substrate back so you do not lose too much through the siphon.

Refill only partially while siphoning. Do the refill over the rest of the substrate so the water washes through the substrate and out the siphon. Keep on doing this until the water is a lot clearer.

To refill:
Put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and pour the water in slowly, allowing it to seep over the edge of the plate.

I would get a filter that is easier to clean, such as the Aquaclear, and stuff it full of fairly fine media. It comes with a coarse sponge, and that is OK. On top of that add finer media, ending with polyester floss. You may have to rinse this media daily if the crud keeps coming up. The activated carbon will help remove the tannins, but it is active for only a few days. Large water changes are really the best way to get rid of the tannins. Keep this filter on the front of the tank and deal with the crud as often as you can. As long as the crud stays in the system (and the filter is still part of the system!) it can still stain the water with tannins. The more often you can clean the filter the faster you will get rid of it.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion Diana! I guess having MTS in dirted tank doesn't help because they constantly mix the dirt up to the top . If I am doing a 100% water change it may be a good time to just mix it with clay to save me the trouble down the line as I don't think this will ever be cleaned while having MTS in my tank without clay holding the dirt in.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 06:02 PM
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Wow you have incredibly brown water. If you cut the water flow does it settle at all? How deep is your dirt and the substrate cap on it? How fine an Eco Complete did you use? Maybe a layer of sand or peat on the dirt would have capped it better.
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