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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Allright, so this is my first endeavor into a truly planted tank, a few years back I had a a 55 gallon freshwater with fake plants, one or two live plants, a pleco, angel fish, ottos, etc, but I moved and had to give that to my neighbor.


About two weeks ago I went to my LFS and bought a top fin 15 gallon starter kit. Came with a topfin 20 filter, and the hood with two incandescent bulbs. I bought two bags of Activ-Flora™ Floracor Black Premium Planted Aquarium Substrate, poured the bag into the tank (black water in it and all), and smoothed it out. Then I poured in water using a dish to not disturb the substrate (roughly 13 gallons) and it was black as soot. If I stuck my hand in and put it two inches from the glass, I couldn't see it. I figured it'd all settle so I left it alone for three days and there was absolutely no discernible difference on the third day. After that I sucked out all the black water, added fresh water, and that gave me dark brown water. Let it sit over night with the filter running, no difference. After that I've done several 50% water changes, which has gotten me to where I am now.

Currently I have this odd brown looking water, I can not see any substrate at all floating around, but if I look turn off the hood lamp and shine in a white LED flashlight and look close enough I can see this extremely fine white/brown powder floating around. It's so fine it kind of seems like I'm looking at just plain water, but I know that isn't the case.

Since I've got to this latest state of water clarity I've done 3 50% changes and one 100% change, had the filter on about 75% of the time, and have noticed no difference what so ever.


All this has led me to believe that the cloudy-ness is coming from the actual substrate or it's the incandescent bulbs (which have a brownish hue) making the water look cloudy. I know it's not the rocks or plants as I've added them just a few hours ago.

What do you all think? Anyone have any bad experiences with Activ-Flora? Am I just being impatient? Maybe it is just the bulbs?

Thanks for the help and having me on the forum, it's great to be here.

edit; excuse my messy/beat up desk. It's temporarily permanent, heh :icon_redf
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is one that's pretty new on the market, and I've never used it. Sounds a lot like what Flourite will do if not rinsed first.

I'd probably keep up with the water changes, and get several micron pads for your filter.

It's not just the bulbs.
Allright, I'll just keep up with water changes and get some micron pads this evening.

I had left the filter on over night and woke up this morning and it got much worse, now it's so cloudy I can't see the heater at the back of the tank any longer. That confuses me.

Oh well, I'll just keep at it and hope for the best, I might get annoyed here in a few weeks if it's not resolved and just re do every thing.

For future reference, if anyone is considering using Active Flora, even though the bag says not to wash it you probably should.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Progress! Finally!

So I went out and bought some micron pads, they didn't have one meant for my filter (topfin 20 HOB), so I just bought three halfmoon pads and stuffed them in a the back. I also bought Aqueon water clarifier and used that, from what I understand it's kind of like glue that sticks the bits of dust floating around together making them larger and thus easier for the filter to snag. fifteen minutes later the water looks crystal clear now, but I still want to replace the incandescents with some fluorescents because they do give the water/rocks a funky look.

Anyones, it looks like I'm finally ready for fish and plants now. I'm going to order some HC, Italian val, and some kind of moss this evening. Figure my first fish should be 6 zebra danios to help move the cycle along?


Here's a photo of the tank 15 minutes after adding the micron pads and clarifier, compare it to the lights on photo in post #1

edit: it helps to mention that the wall behind the tank is tan, which is also giving the water a little bit of odd color along with the bulbs, I'm going to get some black latex paint for the back of the tank shortly.
 

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Anyones, it looks like I'm finally ready for fish and plants now. I'm going to order some HC, Italian val, and some kind of moss this evening.

Here's a photo of the tank 15 minutes after adding the micron pads and clarifier, compare it to the lights on photo in post #1
Where is the photo?
 

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Hi all new to the forum. Though i'd jump on here, I just used 3 bags of the activ-flora black sand and 3 bags of the red clay chips in my 75g existing setup with about 75% of the water still in there and with the filters running with filter floss, tank was back to normal within an hour or two. One thing I did was strain all the liquid out I much as possible. Still to early to know if it will enhance the amazon swords, but for what I paid it was something I couldn't pass up, $4.95 a bag at PetCo on clearance. Amazing deal.
 

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I used ActivFlora Midnight black (its pretty much crushed lava rock) in my 10 gallon NPT. I got it for $4 on clearance at petco.
It had a lot of really fine powder in it so it took forever to rinse but it worked great and I had no cloudiness from it. It came with some Water clarifier stuff that I added to the tank just to see what would happen and it made these snowflake like clumps all over the tank.
I tested params and the nitrites were off the charts. Its like the stuff was just pure nitrites! Don't use it if you get some.
I've heard that some water clarifiers will also bind to fish gills and suffocate them very quickly so watch out using those chemicals.
 
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