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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is crystal clear water possible with a Natural planted tank, or is stained water a side effect of this method? btw Hi everyone:D
 

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Crystal clear water is not impossible.

Stained water is often from organic matter that is releasing tannic and other organic acids. Gradually these go away, and the water gets clearer.
You can make this happen faster by pre-treating the materials before using them in the tank. Boiling the wood or soaking (even in cold water) with lots of water changes, and mineralizing the soil are probably the most common ways to remove tannins ahead of time.

You can remove tannins from the tank water with activated carbon, or perhaps other chemical media (Purigen? Other?)
Doing lots of water changes in the first month or so of set up will greatly reduce the tannins, though some material seems to have a great reserve, and continues to produce tannins for a lot longer than a month.

I have used some oak bark that was really bad with tannins. Turned the tank water into red wine-like dark and cannot see into the tank.
I never tried boiling the bark, but I did pre-soak with lots of water changes (easy- set it up in a bucket under a down spout. Every time it rained there was a water change! I also tossed it into the pond and let it soak for a couple of months.
Even then, the tanks would show tannins, but a lot less (I could still see the back of the tank!) and eventually the water would be clear.
Loricariads seemed to like eating this bark, and I have none left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
so your saying it's possible but not likely?:( what if I mixed my own soil and left out any woody material?
 

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It is both possible and likely if you follow suggestions for soil preparation in the Suitable Soils sticky, or Mineralized Topsoil sticky in the Library. Of course, you also must follow other good practices of aquarium maintenance.
 

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My tanks have been clear of tannins for quite a while.
I do not use potting soil substrate. These products can work, but when first submerged they will release tannins. A lot less if you mineralize them before use.
I have older wood in the tank. New wood can release tannins, but this goes away faster if you prep the wood ahead of time, boiling or soaking to remove the tannins.

The little that are left after prepping the wood can be removed with activated carbon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've dealt with tannins from driftwood that boiling and power washing have eliminated but my concern is with the soil. I'm looking for that super-clear water were the water is practically invisible. Do you think this is possible with a 1" sub with a 1" (or less) sand cap? It's only a 5.5 gallon tank and I'm trying to stay away from that *deep substrate* look. IMO 2" of substrate in a tank that small is still too much but I don't want push my luck by going too thin.
 

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In a 5 gallon I would reduce the soil to 3/4" or 1/2". Prepare the soil well and you will have clear water after the tank stabilizes.
 

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I recently set up an low tech planted unheated and unfiltered tank. A layer of clay covered with a layer of pond soil capped with play sand.

Water crystal clear. 9 happy white cloud mountain minnows in that 20 gal long. Plus bunch of snails of course.

Sent from my SGH-M919V using Tapatalk
 

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Yes. Absolutely possible to have clear water with Natural tanks.

Depends on how much driftwood you use (and how 'mature' it is); how much tannins your soil releases and if you have some sort of filtering going on.

My brother has a small 5g and it has always had yellow water. He wants it that way. Its got soil, driftwood and no filtration at all. Just a little water movement.

I've done a bunch of tanks with soil and driftwood; got some minor yellowing at first; but then they become clearer as the wood matures. Even without mineralized soil. But I use filter with carbon for the first month or so.

So pretty much what Diana said.
 

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Yes. Absolutely possible to have clear water with Natural tanks.

Depends on how much driftwood you use (and how 'mature' it is); how much tannins your soil releases and if you have some sort of filtering going on.

My brother has a small 5g and it has always had yellow water. He wants it that way. Its got soil, driftwood and no filtration at all. Just a little water movement.

I've done a bunch of tanks with soil and driftwood; got some minor yellowing at first; but then they become clearer as the wood matures. Even without mineralized soil. But I use filter with carbon for the first month or so.
This is all very true. Can't agree more.

There is a pretty big drift wood in my 20 long. And there is no background. The glass is sprayed with a frosted glass finish. The wall it's against is burnt orange so it creates a brownish look. I don't like blue sky background. It's a planted not a swimming pool :).

But all in all, water is very clear. In my standard anyway. :rolleyes:
 

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I have used mineralized soil and driftwood bought on eBay and have never had tannins. If you use soil right out of the bag with all of the bark chips that might be in it, then I would suspect tannins are going to be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Guck said it best when he say's 'his standard' of what clear water is. I think most ppl will say that their water is clear even if it's a lil' stained. *Crystal* clear water IMO is color free.
 

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Guck said it best when he say's 'his standard' of what clear water is. I think most ppl will say that their water is clear even if it's a lil' stained. *Crystal* clear water IMO is color free.
Yeah. It depends what your standard for crystal clear is.

But i guess most importantly, depends on all the elements you have in your tank and how bad do you really want it (crystal clear water).

if you really want it, it can certainly be achieved without departing too much from a Natural tank.....
 
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