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Old 09-27-2011, 07:04 PM   #1 
Sakura8
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Cloudy With a Chance of Screaming (NPT Tank)

My first attempt at fancy NPT tank is not going well. It's a 3g tank and I decided to go high-end and put down ADA Amazonia plant substrate. I followed the instructions and didn't rinse and put down a plate when pouring in water etc, etc, etc. This is day two of cloud city in that tank. I can't even see the plants in the back. And the tank has kind of sour swamp smell.

What do I do now?

I put a small pump-driven box filter in there to see if that cleared things up but so far the bubbling noise is making me batty. I did a water change but that clouded it up even more. I'm at a loss.

Do I really need this fancy plant substrate after all? Maybe just gravel would work. These are the plants currently in there:

bacopa monnieri (Moneywort)
echinodorus amazonicus (Amazon Sword)
blyxa japonica (no idea what its common name is)
bamboo (no leaves underwater, sticking straight up, there for nitrate control)

I was thinking of adding glosso or baby's tears for a carpet later on.

Also, in case you're wondering, the piscine resident of the tank was relocated to different quarters prior to the big makeover. No bettas are being harmed in the clouding of this tank.

Advice would be most helpful. Please.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:58 PM   #2 
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My ADA Malaya went really cloudy when I first added water.

The only thing that solved it was water changes really. I suppose using Purigen and very fine wool in your filter to polish your water could also work.

A better way than using a plate, is to damp newspapers, scrunch them up and then add your water. I've found the plate method still causes substrate displacement.

ADA Amazonia puts out a heck of a lot of ammonia (around 8ppm) so I'm not sure if you are aware of that or not. It will leech for several weeks and most people use that opportunity to fishless cycle their tank.

ADA soils are great at growing plants. I would definitely recommend it if you are doing a carpet at some point.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:01 PM   #3 
fishy friend2
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When the water is cloudy, what do you do? Water changes can solve anything!!!!!! yeahhhh
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:22 PM   #4 
Sakura8
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LittleBetta, I didn't know it put out a lot of ammonia. O.O I know it's supposed to lower pH though. Okay, I guess I'll keep doing water changes. Oh, does it ever stop clouding when you mess with it? The substrate, I mean.

fishy friend, when the water was cloudy, I did a water change. And it stayed cloudy. But I'll keep doing more water changes and see if that helps.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:03 AM   #5 
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Four water changes later. Still cloudy. How many water changes does it take? I'm starting to feel bad wasting water. >.< Does something like Seachem Clarity work? I don't like using chemicals like that usually but I'm willing to this time. My poor betta is tired of living in a "motel" and he's ready to move back into his tank. Too bad it's so cloudy still.
Here's the original tank before the change:
Sherman's Tank
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Sherman's Tank, Two Hours After the Big Switcheroo
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Sherman's Tank Currently
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The moneywort is sagging a lot and the blyxa japonica doesn't look so good. I really wanted echinodorus tenellus but my LFS doesn't carry it. X( And I may have to remove his cave. Everytime I put it in, it floated up. No matter how much I tried to bury it in the dirt.

Anyway, any advice on the cloudiness or on the plants? If I got Amano shrimp or a Malaysian Trumpet Snail, would they crawl out of the tank? There's about an inch gap in the cover at the back for the heater/light etc. I'm worried a critter might climb up the walls and just climb on out. Any advice?
Here's a pic of the gap. It goes all the way across the tank.
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Last edited by Sakura8; 09-29-2011 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:24 AM   #6 
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I'd drain the tank out until only the substrate is damp and then very carefully (and slowly) re-fill it. If you have spare newspaper around, use that, if not, use the plate method and siphon the water out of the bucket and onto the plate.

Have you tested for traces of ammonia? High ammonia readings can be damaging to plants, as well as encourage the wrong bacteria to grow, so you might have to do a few water changes to get it under 8ppm if it does spike.

Blyxa can be a sensitive plant. Mine showed signs of melt until it established itself. The pennywort is also probably still adjusting. I had some floating in one of my tanks and around 60% of the submersed growth died off before it finally started sending up new leaves.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:07 AM   #7 
Sakura8
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>.< I did drain all the water out until there was just damp substrate. Twice. I couldn't find any newspaper (of all the crazy things - trash day today so all the recycling was collected and not a piece of newspaper to be found) so I had to use the plate method. :( I poured it in sloooowly with a measuring cup.

I had no idea the blyxa was a more difficult plant till I got it home and looked it up in the plant book. Grr. Next time I'm taking the darn book with me. So far, the only thing looking decent is the bamboo and that's because 90% of it is sticking up out of water, haha.

Okay, just got the results of the ammonia test. Looks like I've got a level of .50ppm so it's not too bad yet.

Thanks for all the advice, LittleBettaFish, I really appreciate it.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:54 AM   #8 
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No worries. I definitely recommend ADA Africana next time around if you go the aquasoil route. I just poured water straight in with a bucket and there was essentially no clouding.

I know some people have had issues with Amazonia continually clouding, but hopefully that's not the case here. You could try a water polishing product in your filter and see if that improves it somewhat.

The only other thing I could think of is a bacterial bloom because of the presence of excess nutrients and ammonia in the water column. If it is a bacterial bloom, it should probably clear itself up.

I've found my Blyxa prefers soft water and medium-high levels of iron. Mine has been in for a couple of weeks now and is only just starting to send longer roots down into the substrate.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:35 PM   #9 
Sakura8
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Thanks. If I can't get the water to clear up, then yeah, I'm tearing down the tank and trying a different substrate because I don't want to be dealing with cloudy water every time I do a water change or prune a plant or move a granule of substrate. The guy at my LFS said he likes Amazonia because it has the most nutrients so that's why I chose it. But then again, he's also really good at putting NPTs together. >.<

Fortunately I do have soft water and I can add an iron supplement to baby my blyxa along. Thanks again, LittleBettaFish.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:57 PM   #10 
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I use Eco-complete on top of my soil, and it's never clouded my water, even the first day. My plants seem to be growing well in it. Maybe you might want to try it. I hope your tank settles and clears up soon :)
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