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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

The belief that I knew what I was doing because of my experience with my little friends from Lake Malawi quickly vanished in a deep red foggy flourite cloud 75 gallons in volume.

I had purchased a 75 gallon from cragislist for $130 bucks with stand. Bought my dirt, black and red flourite. I placed the dirt. I filled it with water. I am not exaggerating when I say that I couldn't even see my finger a half inch from the glass front of the tank it was so cloudy.

For those hobbyists who get so excited they forgot to listen to the LFS guy who said at least twice in a cautioning manner, don't forget to wash the flourite, here is how to get out of the mess [without repurchasing / destroying the substrate you already have by overwashing]:

1. Turn off any filters temporarily. If you were brave enough to run them in a muddy fog, give them a rest, especially if they are canisters.

2. Since you have spent time reading this and searching, the dust has been settling in the foggy tank. It may not look like it since its still a red deep fog of chaos and wonder. Still, DISTURB the top layer of your substrate by lightly tapping on it. I used an algae scraper to do this. It's like tapping in the dark since you can't exactly see the surface, so i just kind of tapped along until i felt the algae scraper hit the bottom. This will make sure you get all the recently settled dust up back in the water.

3. Use gravel cleaning contraption attached to sink, to drain some of the muddy water after disturbing the top layer of substrate. i used a python no spill, there is also lee's and DIY systems. In any event, get a good suction and lower your intake part to just above where you think your substrate is resting. Since you can't see it cause it's so muddy, guestimate. Make sure the vac isn't in your substrate but also that its not just at the top of the water. You wanna get down and dirty but not too dirty and not too down.

4. Run the sink to suck out that muddy water. I am thinking there is a song reference here quoting a blues musician who died near where he grew up in Mississippi. But more importantly, KEEP AN EYE ON THE SINK. It may not be used to dirt. Mine wasn't and my cat was not happy about the mess.

3. Once you have sucked out about 30-50% of the water. Refill. I know you lost some mineral and good stuff here, but just letting the tank sit wasn't an option otherwise next plant will be a fog and it will be like that forever [at least the posts on this site said so].

4. Once filled, it's MECHANICAL FILTRATION time: I recommend getting a hang on the back filter, I'm using one from aqueon that was like $55 - it says good for up to 90 gallons. My tank is 75. Don't use your expensive canister filter to get rid of your mistake cause you might bust it constantly changing the filter fiber.

5. USE FILTER FIBER. Fill your hang on the back with fiber [make sure its not near impeller]. If you are like me, you put in the aqueon cartridges and then between them stuffed it with filter fiber.

6. Run filter. Replace the filter fiber every 7 hours or so by turning it off and replacing with fresh white fluffy filter fiber. I kept the dirty cartridges in the filter and only replaced the fiber.

6. Within 2 days, you'll have dirty filter fiber that cost you nearly nothing. A hang on the back filter you might not have bought otherwise and clean water.

This was how I got out of the messy flourite cloud. I know it may not be optimal, but, I got a rude welcome to the world of planted tanks.
 

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Got to admire your sense of humor--as well as being willing to admit mistakes. A bit of public shaming has been known to set things firmly in my mind!
Something like saying, " There has to be a better way!

Sounds like tough sledding but it all worked out.
 

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Glad you got through it. I've used multiple bags of Flourite over the years. Here's an easy approach that works for me for cleaning it.

-place a partial bag of flourite in a plastic storage container (long and flat) and wash with hose.

-continue to tip container, to let cloudy water run out, while adding more water from the hose. Complete multiiple times, until water runs relatively clear (around 20 minutes per bag). Use approach to wash entire bag(s).

-place Flourite in tank and place a plate on top of it.

-pour clean water onto plate, so as not to disturb Flourite.

-when full, add nothing but filter floss to the filter. Also use Seachem Clarity (H2O clarifier). Run system overnight.

-Toss out the dirty filter floss and add new filter media.

Good to go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting technique. Have you tried it without the Seachem clarifier? I am always weary of products like water clarifiers and beneficial bacteria.

Bump: yes, it was a battle. now on to the next battle: C02.
 

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Interesting technique. Have you tried it without the Seachem clarifier? I am always weary of products like water clarifiers and beneficial bacteria.

Bump: yes, it was a battle. now on to the next battle: C02.
Product I referenced was Seachem Clarity- water clarifier. I works great and doesn't compromise water quality.
 

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Hahah! Reminds me of my first intro to flourite. I found a bag at a pet store, bought it, and tossed it in the tank I was in the process of setting up. No fish yet fortunately, but there was water and plants. I've seen clearer mud puddles. I frantically went to one of the various aquarium forums (that probably doesn't exist anymore, haven't checked) and asked if I was supposed to rinse it. I'd mostly found that process a waste of time as regular substrate doesn't usually have much dust. Everyone told me that no - I wasn't. Ok...now what. I got a whisper HOB, and a quarter yard (I think) of white sheeting or similar, cut it to fit around the frame, and...yeah; that took several days of changing the cloth very regularly to clear out.
 

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I have flourite in my main tank. I don't see the big deal about washing it. Took me about 10 mins of rinsing it in a bucket and I got no clouding. The only thing you lose is the tiny particles, which I guess would make planting a little easier. But flourite is basically inert, so its not like your losing any nutrients. I prefer flourite to ecocomplete or floramax as it is heavier, so it is easier to plant in. I will never use floramax again.
 
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