I don't rinse, some people do. Either way, it'll be cloudy for a day or two but it'll clear up. If I were you I'd lower the water level down to about 6" and then just dump it in... Unless you still have fish in there? Substrate changes might be kinda rough on the poor guys if they get gravel dumped on their heads!
Keep in mind though - cloudy water doesn't kill fish. Ever seen the Mississippi? :hihi:
My tank looks worse than the Mississippi right now!!! It is slowly clearing up. There is a lot of O2 trapped in the soilmaster. Whenever I stir it with my hand big air bubbles come racing to the top. I nocticed that soilmaster is really light weight. Will it hold my plants down or do I need plant weights or some sand to mix in with it? Thanks.
It is light, but after awhile it compacts down (not too much, but enough so that it doesn't go POOF! when a fish swims by). Plants may take awhile to get rooted, but once they do it holds pretty solidly. It is certainly not as dense as something like EcoComplete and I actually kinda like that about it. I have several fine foreground plants growing in it and they don't have any trouble once they get established.
Now if you have geophagus or something like kuhli loaches that like to dive headfirst into the substrate and really kick it around... well... you might want a layer of gravel overtop
Thanks! I rigged up a 2 liter bottom with filter floss in it with a pump pumping water into it. The floss in the 2 liter is getting a dark brown so I think it is helping! DIY is the best way to go these days, especially if you are on a student budget like me!!!
I have come to the conclusion that soilmaster is the biggest pain in the butt ever!!! If is nearly impossible to get the tank to clear up after it is in it. The dust will settle to the bottom, but as soon as you go to put a piece of driftwood in it or try to plant your plants, the dust just fills the tank up again! Then you have to wait until it settles again to continue planting your tank. Further more, I took some out and put it in a container to rinse it, but no matter how many times I rinsed it, the water was not getting any clearer. I conclude that when you touch the stuff it starts to break down. My opinion of it is that is is just a bag of dirt that looks like gravel and when you put it in your tank you get the dirt results!!! Maybe I am wrong and there is a trick to get this stuff to work, but so far I have not figured it out!!!
It took maybe 3 days for mine to clear up after I planted, but after that I didn't have any problems (and this is without rinsing). When I pour in water change water or pull up a bunch of plants I do get cloudiness but it will be gone by the next day. Be patient with it - pretty much every rich substrate is the same way to some degree (Flourite, Eco, Aquasoil - all get cloudy but eventually clear up).
THanks. I just took it all out and tried to rinse it....which is not really working. So I am just going to put it back in I guess. All my plants are in a 5 gallon bucket with water until I can get the tank cleared up and planted.
I put mine in a big tupperware storage bin (about 30"x18"). I added 3 inches of soilmaster at a time and put it under the garden hose on full blast. After the second or third rinse the water ran clear... Don't know what all the fuss is about. You may be trying to rinse too much at once, or something. If you have 18" of Soilmaster in a bucket the bottom 12" will never get clean. Same with the kitchen strainer and sink faucet.
I use several methods. One method is using an old window screen. Lay it out on that run water over it and it rinses almost clear. (I never could get a full clear rinse)
The other method I have, is I have my waste water from my RO unit hooked up to a 10 foot 4inch piece of PVC with a stocking at the other end, fill the pipe up with SMS, and then put the stocking over it to hold it all in place.
Every time I need to make water, it gets rinsed. This way I will always have some ready to go when ever I need it!
I put the stuff back in my tank. It's like the Mississippi in there now. I do not have the time to mess with it. I graduate tonight. Party is tomorrow. Then Sunday I am going up North for my cousin's graduation. People staying here over night this weekend so my mom is making me clean all my fish stuff up. All my plants in the 5 gallon bucket will probably be dead after this weekend. Oh well, what else can I do...
I've had great results with rinsing it and using a piece of plastic to cover it completely as I fill the tank. Maybe you got an off bag?
More details ~ I put about a large coffee can's worth in a bucket and run water in it as I stir it with both hands, letting the water overflow the top of the bucket and pouring all the water out and refilling a few times. This shouldn't take more than five minutes. It never will run completely clear, but the water will change from being almost coffee-dark at first to being more like weakish tea. Drain and dump in the tank. I used three or four coffee cans' worth for a ten gallon tank about 3" deep.
Next, I took a hint from Jen ~ I laid a piece of plastic wrap across the top, all the way to the edges on all four sides. Then I filled it using my gravel vac, putting the bucket higher than the tank of course and letting it slowly siphon into the tank. I put the end of the hose in the middle of the plastic. Once full, the tank was almost totally clear! No more cloudy than a light new-tank bacterial bloom.
I did three tanks that day and the other two were a bit cloudier, I think because I reused the same piece of plastic I'd used on the other clear tank. Since it was wet, it was harder to get it to spread out flat all the way to all four edges. But they were still nothing like the tank I did a month before using a plate to fill it. THAT one took DAYS and a few clams to clear.
This tank has been running. It already had water in it before I added the soilmaster. I have fish in there, and I could not drain it and start over. It is starting to clear up. I think I will just put the plants back in. All my lights are already on timers. Thanks for all the help.