Hello. Its been a long, long time.... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Hello. Its been a long, long time....

It's been nearly 10 years since I've kept a tank. Once upon a time, I had 9 tanks in my house, 2 salt, 1 cichlid, and 7 planted.

I remember those days....2 CO2 tanks, lines everywhere. My electric bill....


Anyway, I gave up the hobby after moving across the country, then traveling for 6 years.

Now, two children and a husband later, I have a little boy with some mild special needs. I thought a fish tank would not only soothe him, but give us something we can do together as well as a teaching tool. Nothing like a planted tank (or reef for that matter) to demonstrate biology, chemistry, mathematics, etc.

So far he would be very excited....if he could actually see anything in the tank.

Here is where we are with it....perhaps it will just take time, but, its been 10 days and we are getting nowhere.

10 gallon tank
20lb eco-complete black
DIY yeast CO2 with a silicon line running to the:
Fluval Aqua Clear 30 filter (standard set up....sponge, bag of carbon, bag of media)
Heater
Mercury in tank thermometer (78 deg F steady)
Driftwood
Using Prime to dechlorinate
Wave-Point Blade 6" 12 watt 6" 12w 8,000k Daylight Blade HO LED 12x 8,000k Daylight



Livestock

A cheap blue betta (for my boy. I tried to fishless cycle, but...ended up with this guy in the tank. He's doing fine)
Hygrophilia Corymbosa (Temple)
Rotala sp. red
Dwarf hairgrass
Dwarf baby tears


Ok....so here is what has happened so far:

10 days ago: Set up tank. Rinsed everything except the substrate, set up with good ol' Denver tap water. Added plants.
9 days ago: Woke up to slight cloudiness....was excited, thinking "oh goody! we are starting to cycle"
8 days ago: Tank looks like half milk, half water. Still thinking "eh, no big deal"
7 days ago: took water sample to LFS for a test. Water so cloudy, they commented on it in a small sample container. Tests showed 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate
Out of frustration, I did a 2/3rds water change. Water was milk white again within the hour. The water change made no difference.
6 days: added betta and fish food, hoping to help the cycle along so the water will clear
5 days: added DIY CO2 reactor, hoping to help the plants
4 days: a 1/2 tsp yeast solution backed up into the tank. Awesome. Another 1/2 vol water change. Betta is totally fine, no gasping.
3 days: Still milky white
2 days: notices everything is covered in sliminess. Still white.

Today: ready to toss the whole damn thing.

Running lights up until 3 days ago at 10 hr./day. Now down to 6 hr.

I have not started dosing ferts yet. So mad.


I've cycled countless tanks and never seen this before. This is gross and irritating. I keep telling myself to give it time. But I hate this tank so far.

BTW: the tiny yeast contamination seems to have had no effect on the issue. It was milk-white before the yeast. Only thing I've noticed since the yeast is a little, tiny bit of scum on the surface. But I *think* that scum was there before the yeast. Now it is just a little more visible. Again, if the betta is a gauge, he is just dandy.

Picture attached.

Any suggestions? I figure I'll be told "normal bacterial bloom in cycle. Wait it out"

I'll be testing water again today and will post results

TIA.

Oh, and the dosing plan is to use CO2Art Easy EI Macro and Micro. I might switch up to better dosing if/when I get a CO2 system.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 11:20 PM
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Sounds great that you're pursuing this project for your son!
I've got a few pointers that might help you out!
In my experience, Eco Complete can get annoyingly cloudy if it isn't washed thoroughly before being placed in your tank. I've never seen it quite so bad, but it has gotten pretty close in my older setups. With that said however, its only been 10 days!
Cloudiness takes time to recede, anywhere up to almost a month in the worst case.
However, I doubt that will affect your Betta, (as it is can breathe atmospheric oxygen).
So keep it going! Keep up step by step water changes going to remove excess particulates in the water column without disturbing the substrate too much. So (10-30%) water changes every 3-4 days for the first two weeks, and then a weekly 30% from then on seems to work for me.
It is also often recommended that you keep your lighting periods around 6 hours for the first three weeks to make sure algae don't get a foothold.
All should be fine!
(Except your Dwarf baby tears... it may suffer slightly form receiving less light during this period. Also, its a very hard plant to carpet well in medium light with DIY Co2. Just a heads up.)

Another little issue might be that the Hang On Back filter you're using may pose a problem to your setup. Because of the surface agitation it creates, you may be losing a significant amount of CO2 (especially considering you're going DIY) to surface diffusion. I would suggest getting a CO2 drop checker (very cheap online)(and the drop checker solution can be made at home easily) to monitor your Co2 levels. Just to make sure this isn't the case.

And a final thought,

Activated carbon seems to have become less and less popular over the last five years or so as a filter media in planted tanks. I believe this is due to their being evidence that activated carbon soaks up nutrients that some plants need (including ferts.) I would suggest removing the carbon cartridge completely and replacing it either with something like Seachem Purigen (which will also help to clear the water quicker) or simply ceramic rings to aid with more biological filtration, making sure not to begin dosing until after 3-4 weeks. (As the substrate contains a significant nutrient amount already, and you don't want an algae bloom.)

Good luck!

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:40 AM
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I am not an Eco guy but if I am not mistaking, Eco is not suppose to be washed. It comes prepackaged with bacteria to jump start the tank. Washing this, defeats the purpose of going eco. Flourite is the one that needs to be washed thoroughly. Even with that, some don't wash it because some say it washes out the little bit of goodies that it is packed with. Regardless the substrate, its all about how you let the water flood the tank. A violent fill, will get you violent water results. A very very slow and/or careful fill will get you a much less cloudy tank to perhaps no cloudiness at all. In your case, considering you used Eco, it appears to be a bacterial bloom. Most tanks have that dirty look water after a fill using other substrates. This calms down within 24hrs typically. But Eco is prepacked with bb so its milky white instead of dirty looking cloudiness. Someone that uses Eco can verify/vouch for this. Like I stated before, I am an Eco user, I am a Flourite guy so I can't give you 100% facts about Eco.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 08:39 AM
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Do you have a hookah bottle between your yeast bottle and the tank? Since you had a yeast contamination, I'm guessing not.



The tube going from the yeast bottle goes deep into the hookah bottle, near the bottom. The tube going from the hookah to the tank is as far above the hookah water level as possible. This way, contamination from the yeast bottle is trapped in the hookah.

I have Eco-Complete capped with Peace River gravel. I didn't wash the Eco. Instructions say not to. I didn't have any white cloudiness. I did have yellow (blackwater) from Mopani driftwood. Purigen removed that.

I cycled my tanks with Tetra SafeStart. It worked very quickly. I used the fishless method with ammonia in a 30g and with fish in a 10g.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
I am not an Eco guy but if I am not mistaking, Eco is not suppose to be washed. It comes prepackaged with bacteria to jump start the tank. Washing this, defeats the purpose of going eco. Flourite is the one that needs to be washed thoroughly. Even with that, some don't wash it because some say it washes out the little bit of goodies that it is packed with. Regardless the substrate, its all about how you let the water flood the tank. A violent fill, will get you violent water results. A very very slow and/or careful fill will get you a much less cloudy tank to perhaps no cloudiness at all. In your case, considering you used Eco, it appears to be a bacterial bloom. Most tanks have that dirty look water after a fill using other substrates. This calms down within 24hrs typically. But Eco is prepacked with bb so its milky white instead of dirty looking cloudiness. Someone that uses Eco can verify/vouch for this. Like I stated before, I am an Eco user, I am a Flourite guy so I can't give you 100% facts about Eco.
Whoops! Sorry about that! I'm almost guilty of spreading misinformation. I mentioned that EcoComplete needed to be washed, that is incorrect as stated above. I was thinking of Fluorite. EcoComplete is a dirted substrate not designed to be washed.
As stated on the website

"...Rinsing Eco-Complete™ Planted could harm the spored beneficial bacteria in the product."

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:09 PM
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New tank blues in capitals is what you are going through - BTW what is your water ph? Not that it is something to worry about but I would like to know for my personal satisfaction.

That active carbon in the filter will soon be just another filter media and you need not do anything about it specially. You are going to have a long cycling period with a betta in tank so as you predicted my advice would be to "Wait it out" and have patience as this is going to be a long wait.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:36 PM
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That is an awesome project for the kids to learn nature. Did you add ECO-Complete to an empty tank or the one with water? If you did that(I did and realized my mistake a day later like yours) you might have to take the fish out, and empty the tank of any water and leave it like that for a few hours and then add water back into it with a dish. I dont know why, but it worked for me. It also came with a biomagnet clarifier. But I assume you do not want to use chemicals. I didn have to use it.

Hope it is not yeast causing it.

Another suggestion is to use a clear bottle for DIY CO2 so that you can see the reaction from outside.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jirajustin View Post
Whoops! Sorry about that! I'm almost guilty of spreading misinformation. I mentioned that EcoComplete needed to be washed, that is incorrect as stated above. I was thinking of Fluorite. EcoComplete is a dirted substrate not designed to be washed.
As stated on the website

"...Rinsing Eco-Complete™ Planted could harm the spored beneficial bacteria in the product."
EcoComplete is not a dirted substrate, but it does supposedly have some "stuff" in the water in the bag, so they recommend you don't wash it. I doubt this kind of cloudiness, for that long, is just from that substrate.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:38 PM
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I know we don't usually advocate this kind of thing, but if you're really really impatient you can look into flocculants


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 03:24 PM
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I used 4 bags of Eco complete and had no cloudiness at all. I also didn't seem to have a usual cycle either. I added three platy's and checked my water for three weeks and never saw any normal cycle spikes as I had in the past. I did however use a large plate in the bottom of my tank when I added water to keep the stirring to a minimum. Good luck and hope you find an answer to your milkiness.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much, everyone!! I really appreciate it.

I definitely have "new tank blues" lol. A very impatient little boy does not help. We go to the fish store and he almost loses his mind. But this is not only great for teaching STEM, but also patience for him! And me...


ANywhoo....


Ph has been steady at 7.2

Also, I removed the driftwood, and did another small H2O change and the water has cleared up significantly. Things are much better now. I've decided to craft up my own "cairn" rock stacking sculptures to put in rather than driftwood, and I think the DW was the culprit for the cloud.

I also ordered a paintball CO2 system, some ferts from GLA and a drop checker. Hopefully we will be in better shape soon. I snap a few pics later to show how much the water has improved.

Thank you all again for the warm welcome. I was a member here years and years ago. It is nice to be back.

Bump: Here are those updated pics, plus my rock stacking inspiration. I have reef putty and epoxy. Went out and grabbed some landscaping stones from my yard. I'm rinsing them well now. (several washes in hot water)
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:39 AM
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I like that - it looks unnatural but decorative - and I bet your son will like it too.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 11:02 AM
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If you are going to replicate that rock stack, just make sure they are stable. Would suck if they fell over (water current, fish, you or someone else bumped the stack over) and it cracked or busted out the glass.

If the bottom stone doesn't keep it stable enough, people have attached décor to a large wider base piece of slate tile for example to better anchor rather unstable objects (you bury the slate in the substrate if desired). Haven't tried it, but egg crate (bonded to the rockwork) being buried in the substrate (so the substrate acts as a weight/anchor holding down the egg crate/rockscape) might work.

It does look cool, be sure to post pics when it's done!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well, my cairns did not work out. I tried like hell with putty and epoxy, but they simply would not stay together.

I know they aren't natural looking or traditional amano style, but it's a good compromise for my boy, who wanted a spongebob pineapple and an LED bubble volcano. Lol.

I may at some point do up a tank for him with all the crazy decor and neon. But not today...no sir, not today.

But, since I am unable to make my sculptures work, it'll likely end up more natural looking anyway
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