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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started this tank around 10 days - 2 weeks ago. First time I've tried using potting soil as the base substrate. I added about an inch of soil, then covered it by an inch or so of pool filter sand with some gravel mixed into the very top layer of that sand. The sand and gravel were washed until there was very little particulate left and the water ran clear.

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Also added 2 pieces of driftwood. The dw was soaked for a few days, however, I didn't boil it due to its size.

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The water is extremely cloudy and murky brown in color. I know some of this is probably leeching from the dw and is normal/will clear up slowly over time. However, this just seems overly cloudy/murky. You can't see the back of the tank from the front and can't even see half way down the tank from the top, let alone the bottom. I've ordered some polishing pads and put on a secondary HOB filter (normal filter is a canister that is also running). Any tips or recommendations on ways to help it along clearing up a little quicker? Thanks in advance for the help!

Water metrics: ~7.2 pH, 0.0 ammonia/nitrates/nitrates so far.

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Purigen would help clear the water. I would still boil the wood as a first step though.

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When is the last time you changed the water?Why is the water level so low? Why are your plants still in pots?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When is the last time you changed the water?Why is the water level so low? Why are your plants still in pots?
Last water change 2 days ago, around 60%; Water level was kept about an inch below the top of the rim since I was reaching in to clean the glass and gravel vac across the top of the sand to get any soil that worked up through the sand during install (I get my hand and elbows in) and didn't want the water to overflow; Plants still in pots since they were just introduced a few days ago and the water was extremely murky. Wasn't sure if it was related to soil substrate - didn't want to plant them then end up having to pull them up to redo the substrate if the water wasn't clearing. Figured that would be stressful to the plant.
 

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Last water change 2 days ago, around 60%; Water level was kept about an inch below the top of the rim since I was reaching in to clean the glass and gravel vac across the top of the sand to get any soil that worked up through the sand during install (I get my hand and elbows in) and didn't want the water to overflow; Plants still in pots since they were just introduced a few days ago and the water was extremely murky. Wasn't sure if it was related to soil substrate - didn't want to plant them then end up having to pull them up to redo the substrate if the water wasn't clearing. Figured that would be stressful to the plant.
Ok, is the wood and the substrate that is leeching this. Keep changing some water every day, it should settle down after a while.
 

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It took my dirt tank about 2 weeks undisturbed to mostly clear, I ran a canister with only polishing pads for this time. There was still some residual faint haziness that only cleared after a couple 20% water changes. I would plant your plants now if I were you, bc disturbing the substrate will re-cloud your water :) Might as well get all the cloudiness reasons out of the way now!

I did not have wood. Unboiled cholla for me has seemed to get that white scum pretty easily when it's first put in, so I'd suggest pulling it out and scrubbing it off just once to get rid of the worst of it, bc I think that's probably contributing as well.

It's just a time thing, dont clock watch :)

I'd also suggest ordering some fast growing stems like water sprite/wisteria or floaters like mini water lettuce. 4 little potted plants won't go too far in filling your tank. A floater like the lettuce will shade and keep algae down. Put the sword in the back, bc it will get large and you won't be able to move it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It took my dirt tank about 2 weeks undisturbed to mostly clear, I ran a canister with only polishing pads for this time. There was still some residual faint haziness that only cleared after a couple 20% water changes. I would plant your plants now if I were you, bc disturbing the substrate will re-cloud your water :) Might as well get all the cloudiness reasons out of the way now!

I did not have wood. Unboiled cholla for me has seemed to get that white scum pretty easily when it's first put in, so I'd suggest pulling it out and scrubbing it off just once to get rid of the worst of it, bc I think that's probably contributing as well.

It's just a time thing, dont clock watch :)

I'd also suggest ordering some fast growing stems like water sprite/wisteria or floaters like mini water lettuce. 4 little potted plants won't go too far in filling your tank. A floater like the lettuce will shade and keep algae down. Put the sword in the back, bc it will get large and you won't be able to move it.
Awesome, thanks so much! I've actually got more plants on order right now :)

I'll remove the dw and see if I can clean and possibly even boil (at least parts of it) on our outdoor burner.

Thanks again!

80% water change, all filters cleaned, purigen installed on canister, dw removed to boil (somehow... still have to figure that one out since they are so large)

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Will see how it looks in 24 hours. More plants are arriving in a day or 2 so I'll start planting once I've sorted out the dw.

Thanks for the help everyone!
 

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If you can't boil the wood at least soak it in water in a big bucket so the tannis can leech out. It will just take longer without boiling.
 
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