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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have set up a 256 planted tank, its been up and running for weeks, easy cycle as I used media from established filters. Water was basically clear. I used mineralized clay, then worm castings, followed by Shultz aquatic soil as cap. My cap was not deep enough in some places and my cories have been moving through the aquatic soil, and disturbing the soil underneath, introducing it into the water column. Water parameters are exceptionally good with low stock and heavy planted. All very happy plants and fish.

I am running an FX5 with polishing pads, and a couple power heads with aquaclear polishing pad in the prefilter. 2 days of waiting I bough the Aquaeon water clarifier.

prior to it clearing, but within the hour of putting in the recommended dosage, almost all the fish began surfacing to take air, plecos, corries darted from the bottom to top and back. Angels and swords all hung in the far corner for about an hour.

This product cleared the water great! However as I am dealing with the tank getting cloudy I need a longer term solution.

Has anyone had problems with clarifiers and fish?
Can I just add more substrate over what I have to make the cap deeper?
Thanks so much!!
 

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Quit using a chemical to try and fix a problem that will only do short term good, and likely long term bad. Fix the problem, don't bandaid it. Do water changes and put a micron filter pad in, if necessary. I'd do a decently large water change NOW to help. 50% plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Water changes have not helped. 50% plus twice in one week one and then 4 days after then same day when I added clarifier. I agree I need to do something long term, I was starting to worry too many 50% + water changes might be detrimental in themselves. Without the clarifier to make the suspended particles large enough to be filtered out (as they were when the clarifier was added) Im at a loss for long term fix.. There is a micron pad in the FX5, but its very small particles, being worm castings its like a sediment when agitated in water column..
 

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You can also slow down the filters out flow a tad.
This can help to keep more of the particles in the pads longer
without them passing through so quickly.It should yield cleaner/clearer water. ;-)
 

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Most "clarifiers" are flocculants- clotting agents. They cause small particals to stick together so they get larger & are more easily trapped by the filter. You may be making it hard for the fishes gill's to work efficiently. I'm on board with the above statements, don't bandaid the problem, try to eliminate it. Chemical additives in an aquarium are rarely a cure, just a temporary fix.

Tommy
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have been cleaning the micro filtration pads from the powerheads and the xp on a bi daily basis, and they are filthy!! If I wait even three days the fx5 flow is slowed dramatically due to the blue pads and white pads being full. Believe me I bought the water clarifier with guilt, having kept planted tanks for many years this is the first time I have used a chemical to solve a water problem...

That being said I have never ventured into additional substrate beyond typical aquascaping soils. I believe the worm castings are being brought up by the cories and plecos into the water column.

Could I add more of the Shultz Aquatic soil making it deeper? Or is there another product I could/should put on top?
 

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I agree I wouldn't use that clarifier again.

And capping the substrate is the best thing I can think of at this point, too. Only thing is if you end up with too deep a substrate you can encourage anaerobic spots- and in a 265gal tank, that's a bigger risk than in a much smaller tank.

How deep is your substrate now, and what options do you have (cost-and color-wise) for capping? (ie, do you want a black substrate, could you afford to cap the whole thing with Flourite, etc?)
 

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Most "clarifiers" are flocculants- clotting agents. They cause small particals to stick together so they get larger & are more easily trapped by the filter. You may be making it hard for the fishes gill's to work efficiently. I'm on board with the above statements, don't bandaid the problem, try to eliminate it. Chemical additives in an aquarium are rarely a cure, just a temporary fix.

Tommy
You are correct. When I first setup my tank I used the same thing he did along with finer filtration for a quick&long term fix (mind you, at the time I didn't have fish in the tank). It's a clotting agent (says so on the bottle), kind of like pouring watered down glue into your aquarium, which I'm sure you can imagine can mess with your fishes respiratory system.

OP Ethier move your fish to a different aquarium and use this clarifier along with micron pads and don't put the fish back for a few weeks, or just throw micron pads in and do large water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How deep is your substrate now, and what options do you have (cost-and color-wise) for capping? (ie, do you want a black substrate, could you afford to cap the whole thing with Flourite, etc?)
Substrate is roughly 1-2 inches of Worm castings followed by 1/2-2 inches Shultz aquatic soil (similar to turface)

It was an even 2 to start but between it being a light substrate, planting, and digging corries and plecos it been shifted all over the place.

I capped two areas I could see were a problem with more of the shultz.
Its a tan/buffy orange colour. Its only $10 per 15 pounds. I can buy more and "fill" areas but as it's been addressed this could lead to problems with it being too deep.. Im embarrassed at the cloudiness to post pics, but will in the AM to show varying substrate levels.
 

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That's a lot of worm castings, but I wouldn't worry too much. Don't be embarrassed to post pics! We've all had cloudy water, biofilm, and green water. It's no big deal.
 

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You could assume that your tank has been set up for a year now, and you are tired of the layout, want to try something new, etc. Then, you just remove the fish to a holding tank, disconnect the filter, but don't clean or empty it, remove all that is in the tank and start over. This time, limit the worm castings to about a half inch or less, and put about three times that thickness of inert substrate on top, either pool filter sand or Turface or Flourite, or whatever you want to use. The mineralized clay is superfluous when you use worm castings, or you could mix a little clay with the castings. Then replant it, add new tap water and Prime or equivalent, and put the fish back in, after acclimating them to the "new" water.

I think you will find this much less frustrating than doing anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Its actually only been under 2 months. I put fish right in before it was crystal as I used media from well established tanks, plus heavy planted. I am embarrassed to say I just figured out an FX5 is NOT I repeat NOT set up the same as every other canister filter I have used, it is if fact the opposite... Very embarrassed, and now understand why the "polishing pad" became dirty in just one day.. It being used as the prefilter.. I am highly hopeful that with it all in the proper order within the chamber I will not be having this problem by tomorrow, at the very least it will be more efficiently filtered and I can move on to what ever the newest problem is:)

Thanks to everyone for your advice, barring filtration now rectified actually working I will definitely place fish in a holding tank while I fix any problems remaining...
 

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Activated carbon is the best clarifier you can use. It always works for me.

FX5, sweet. They look nice but really expensive for a canister. They seem really easy to clean and maintain but I've heard mixed reviews. Are you happy with it aside from this small mishap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Activated carbon is the best clarifier you can use. It always works for me.
Wont that only work for discolouration as apposed to suspended particulate?

really expensive for a canister. They seem really easy to clean and maintain but I've heard mixed reviews.
We did a group buy on a BC forum I am a part of, was very good deal:) And I know its loved by many on the site. I need to wait till AM to see how its doing.. perhaps not the best choice for a planted.. I need to play with it more..

Are you happy with it aside from this small mishap?
Oh yes!!! even backwards its been a real work horse, if and when I get a large Goldfish or Cichlid tank with no messy substrate I will trade out for even a couple XP's so It was a good buy.
 

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Wont that only work for discolouration as apposed to suspended particulate?
Activated carbon will pull out fine particulates, organic molecules and chlorine. The particulates get trapped in the small pores. Its your best option if you don't have a 25 micron or better filter. Its much safer that adding chemicals.
 

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The nice thing about activated is that it won't reduce your flow like the ultra-fine filter pads can.

In terms of a long term fix though, I am also thinking a bit of a startover might be the best bet. I used schultz aquatic soil in a pico tank and found that it actually clouded the water itself, i found it to be very "dusty" (and yes, I washed it;)) Because it's so light, I think it's actually best used under a cap, instead of AS the cap, I think with cories doing their thing rooting around no matter how much of it you put in they will uncover your worm castings because it's such a light substrate. Even if you just pull out the fish and plants and cap it with a thin layer of a heavier substrate you might be better off. And don't forget, the finer particles will settle to the bottom, so make sure you use a cap of a larger grain size than the shultz.
 

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That was my experience with schultz also. I can't imagine the cloud if you didn't rinse and just dumped it in the tank. I used some dirt once with a cap of crushed rock and that was better. If I was to try that again, I would just insert frozen bits of dirt in the substrate.

When my kitty litter experiment went South, the only way to get it settled was flocculent.
 

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I have a 220G tank and found it cloudied easier. I built a dedicated water polishing filter using a whole home water filter (cheap $25). I used a power head to pump water under the tank through micron cartridge can buy 1, 5, 20 or 30 micon cartridge in 2 or 4 packs for $8.

The cartridge also come in activated carbon version. The cartridges I use are fish safe with no chemicals (checked this out already). I've been using this setup for months and it works really well to get suspended stuff out of the water. Nice thing is it's not connected to main filters so no reduced flow through the bio-filter.

Here's a pic
 
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