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Water changes color/gets cloudy after dosing Plantex CSM+B

3101 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  MoparMuscl
I dose dry ferts into the tank in the morning before I go to work. On the days that I dose Plantex CSM+B (opposite of the Macros), I come home to a tank with slightly iridescent blueish-purple cloudy water. The next day it is gone. Is this normal? I can't find anything about this on any forum or any where else on the internet about this. It's a 105 gallon and I dose 1/2 tsp x3 week. Can Plantex expire?
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I have occasionally seen a slight haze when dosing CSM+B, which disappears the next day. Seems to happen under two conditions:

1) When organics are high, like for a few days after I've done a rescape and stirred up a lot of detritus. Or when there's some other ongoing problem causing high organics. It might be reacting to organic phosphates, causing the iron to precipitate out.
2) When pH of the tank or a pre-mixed liquid solution is high, which against causes the iron to precipitate out.

The CSM+B powder should last pretty much forever when stored in normal room conditions.
I just checked my pH. It's 6.8, so it appears to be within an acceptable range. I guess I need to check the pH before the CO2 comes on as that's when I dose.

As for the organic solids, where would I start to track that down? I have minimal to light plant debris that will be cleaned out on Sunday. Would a gravel cleaning help? I have two larger pieces of drift wood. Would that cause any harm?
Unless you're having algae problems, the plants seem iron deficient, or the haze really annoys you; I wouldn't worry about it.


1) Checking the pH when you dose is a good idea. Here's nutrient availability at different pH levels:

The iron drops as pH rises because it converts to a non-chelated, insoluble form unavailable to plants; which precipitates as fine solids which cloud the water. Some iron loss is acceptable, it's unrealistic to maintain every tank at 6.0 pH.

But this is why people use distilled water to mix CSM+B solutions. Tapwater is usually at a high enough pH that too much iron precipitates out and becomes ineffective, long before it reaches the aquarium.

2) If it's a problem with organics, a good tank cleaning can help (although it'll probably stir up even more for a few days). Increasing plant growth or reducing excessive fish load helps long-term.

3) You can filter out the precipitated iron with a micron filter, or better yet a diatom filter.

4) You might be able to re-chelate the iron (make it soluble again) by adding EDTA or DTPH. Haven't tried this one myself, and know little about it.

5) You can use a flocculant, like AP's "Crystal Clear". This product is a weak ferric chloride solution, which makes small particles stick together; the resulting larger particles are both easier to filter out, and heavier so they tend to drop out of suspension. But in this case it works particularly well; as it also removes phosphates which may be responsible for the iron precipitating out in the first place, and even re-chelates the iron, turning it into soluble ferrous chloride.

Fair disclaimer about #5: Considering how corrosive strong ferric chloride solutions are, some people worry that even this very weak solution might have bad long-term effects on fish gills with regular use. On the other hand, there's people who regularly use large doses of it to reduce phosphates in sensitive saltwater tanks, with no apparent problems.
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I measured the pH this morning. It's ~7.0-6.9. Obviously not the problem. I had planned a good tank cleaning this weekend anyway. I'll see if that fixes it a week or two down the road.

Thanks for all the help and incite!
All right guys, I need help on this still.

I did my 50% water change on Sunday. I cleaned out all the tank's plant debris hoping that it would be part of the problem. I dosed my Macros Monday and my Trace this morning. I come home from work with cloudy water again.

I did a full water test, but I don't see anything out of line. This is what I have:

pH - 6.5 (drop checker a good green shade)
NO3 - 10 ppm
Ammonia - ~.1 ppm
NO2 - 0 ppm
GH - 6-7
KH - 3-4

More info:

I haven't vacuumed my gravel in 2 years (because of the sand in the substrate), but I have two Eheim 2217's on a 105 gallon tank (maybe 90 gallons of water?) and and a very low fish load (9 medium fish total). I also am not having very good plant growth either, nor do I have much algae growth other than some GDA. I have two large pieces of drift wood in the tank. For substrate, I have a mixture of EcoComplete, SeaChem Flourite (I think), and SeaChem Onyx Sand. This is what the owner of the local fish store recommended two years ago. I haven't touched it since and I haven't had any plants until a couple weeks ago. Also, I don't clean the back glass because I don't have a background or painted back glass. It is full of a brownish/purple algae that doesn't seem to do much. It appears to be similar to GDA in the fact that is doesn't get stringy or have much thickness. It does seem to die when it gets dry during my water changes (you can see this in the pics). For lighting I have four 54w T5 HO bulbs. Three are midday bulbs and one is an aquablue. My photo period is 10 hrs with the first two hours being the two midday bulbs, 6 hours with all bulbs, and the last two with a midday and an aquablue.

I attached two pics to show the water color, algae on the back glass, and the size of my drift wood.

Can anyone make anything of this? I let me know please!

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