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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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Water changes and carbon in the filter clear tannins real quick. Be careful with the water changes, if you stir the substrate you'll just get it all dirty.
 

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What he/she said. Water changes carbon, and purigen in your filter clear tannins. You will continue to have them until whatever is leeching them is all out and stops. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes longer. I have a large piece of malaysian driftwood in my 75 gallon that still turns the water tea colored now over a year after I bought it. I do weekly 50% water changes just to keep the tank viewable. My fish sure love the consistently good water quality.
 

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+1 I never did the carbon but I did do the Purigen. Works like a charm and is easily recharged. Has been about 18 months and just now there is no more leeching.
 

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Did you pick out the twigs etc before putting it in the tank? I've used the exact same soil in the past. I picked out as many twigs as possible, let it outgas for a few days, mixed in some crushed egg shell, and never had any issues w/ tannins. This was a few yrs ago, so I don't know if the soil formula has changed.

Anyway as stated, water changes will help a lot. I don't have any first-hand experience w/ Purigen but I've heard great things about it.

BTW, how deep is your Eco Complete top-layer?
 

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Hey ItsDubC, could you elaborate on the eggshell? How much did you put in?
Not much at all in my case. For a standard 10 gal w/ 1.5" of soil bottom layer, I crushed up about 1/4 of an egg shell's worth as fine as I could and mixed it in. The intent was to provide calcium long-term but honestly, I don't really know how it takes egg shell to decompose.
 

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Water changes are cheaper than regenerating Purigen. Just keep up the water changes because every time you do a water change you are removing tannins. When the problem is that bad (cannot even see the back of the tank) it takes a lot of carbon or purigen to help. I would save these materials for near the end, or when you have gotten rid of 99% of the tannins and want to set up the tank. Then they (either or both) are very good at removing that last little bit of tannins.

Another way to deal with this is before you use the substrate set up a flow through system where the outgoing water might irrigate your garden (to avoid waste). Or at least soak the soil in a container that you can change the water daily (Garbage can, 5 gallon buckets, plastic storage bin...). The more water you pour through the material the faster the tannins go away. You can do this now, sort of like washing the substrate in the tank. Stir it as much as you can before setting things up, and get rid of as much stuff as you can. When you are getting close to setting it up, then go ahead and add rocks and driftwood and sculpt the substrate into whatever hills and valleys you want. From then on, do not disturb it.

Ultimately your aquarium will still have some tannins when you have lost patience and want to get going with the set up. Go for it. The tannins are not harmful. As long as you can see through them to the back of the tank, there is light for the plants. Yes, some of the light is being reduced, but not that much. This is where the purigen or carbon are helpful.

You can add eggshell (well washed), coral sand, oystershell grit or any similar product that will add some minerals slowly, over time. The more acidic the water the faster they will decompose. In more alkaline water they do not decompose. So, the worse the problem (too-acidic water that is too soft) the better they work. I would do anything from a light dusting on the floor of the tank, to an almost solid layer on the floor of the tank. Then mix with the bottom half of the substrate. (I do not like the look of these white materials on the surface of dark substrate). If your tap water is pretty hard (high GH and KH) then you may not really need much else. But if you have soft tap water, then having the additional minerals in the substrate is a good idea. You can add these materials after the set up by placing them in a nylon stocking in the filter. The minerals will dissolve in the water, and the substrate can pick them up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am so sorry for not replying, I had to go out of town and the internet was not working there (small town in the middle of nowhere).
I will post an update today once I get home.
Thank all of you for your kind replies.
 

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I think some may be missing the fact that this "walstad" tank has no filter, you are relying on heavily planted and time to keep the toxins at bay. In this case, your option is water changes, carbon or purigen are not an option as they are used with a normal filter. I have a 1 gallon walstad bowl with miracle grow organic and a sizeable chunk of DW. My tannins still come back after 3 months, but I am doing a PWC once a week or so, I sometimes do two in a row to drop the tannins further... without soaking the materials first or boiling them (which takes away some of the nutrients) its something that will be there for a while, but the regular water changes are our friends,
 

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Hi I'm new here but I have a few things to say about purigen. It will clear your water quickly of tannins(if you are running a filter) but I found that the tannins from my mopani wood stained the purigen so I couldn't tell when it was exhausted. Water changes, an extra sponge and carbon from time to time is working for me. Seven months in and I still get tea water every so often.
 
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