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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I set up a 15 Gal NPT on Monday. I used some inexpensive soil from Canadian Tire and pea gravel over top. When I filled the tank it had a very dark color and was cloudy. I added a Whisper filter and it has helped with the cloudiness but the water is still brown. I did a water change today. It is better but still dark.

Should my goal be to get the water clear by doing changes?

When can I add fish? I had an ammonia reading of zero yesterday.

Thanks
 

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If there are wood chips in the dirt that could be why. I would wait and see what happens doing the weekly water changes.
 

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Hi,

I set up a 15 Gal NPT on Monday. I used some inexpensive soil from Canadian Tire and pea gravel over top. When I filled the tank it had a very dark color and was cloudy. I added a Whisper filter and it has helped with the cloudiness but the water is still brown. I did a water change today. It is better but still dark.

Should my goal be to get the water clear by doing changes?

When can I add fish? I had an ammonia reading of zero yesterday.

Thanks
The brown color are tannins leached into your water. They shouldn't harm your fish, just unpleasant to look at. You can add carbon to your filter to help clear it up.

Do you have driftwood in the tank? Seems the most common source of tannins in the water, especially if it wasn't soaked before-hand. If your soil is heavy in organics, it can also leach tannins, just watch your ammonia reading as the soil adjusts to being submerged. Both causes will fade over time and with water changes.
 

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If it is in fact tannins, purigen from Seachem does a really nice job of taking it out. You can reuse it also.
 

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Hi,

I set up a 15 Gal NPT on Monday. I used some inexpensive soil from Canadian Tire and pea gravel over top. When I filled the tank it had a very dark color and was cloudy. I added a Whisper filter and it has helped with the cloudiness but the water is still brown. I did a water change today. It is better but still dark.

Should my goal be to get the water clear by doing changes?
The best time to get rid of cloudiness is when you set up the tank. That way, the little soil particles don't precipitate and form a coating on plant leaves. This coating blocks light penetration and can stimulate algae/bacteria growth on leaves--- something to prevent if you can.

In my last tank setup, water was cloudy (see photo). I removed this water and added fresh water. (When you add water, make sure that you use something to keep the gravel/soil from getting disturbed. Also, you don't need to fill up the tank.) The water was still cloudy on the second water addition, so I removed it and added clean water a third time. This did the trick. Water was acceptably clear.

I recommend that you try to start out with tank water that is decently clear and not full of soil particles. The second photo shows the tank where I got the water clear enough to officially complete tank setup.

This is why I set up my tanks starting at 8:00 AM in the morning. ;)

Now, the water discoloration (clear, but tea-colored) is from tannins. You can do water changes or use charcoal to get rid of this. While I've advertised NPTs as easy and don't need much cleaning, the first 6-8 weeks, you may need to do water changes and use charcoal filtration. Once the tank is established as indicated by good plant growth and happy fish, then you can relax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everybody for their help. I believe that the staining is due to tannins as there are a lot of bits of bark in the soil. Since my original post I have done an 80% water change 4 times and I have a whisper filter running. There is some carbon in the filter and it seems to be clearing up. I still haven't put any fish in. My hornwort and hygrophilla is doing well but the other plants are getting dieback in the original leaves but there is new growth in the buds.

I was wondering if I could swap filters with another established tank that I am running. The NPT tank has been running almost two weeks. I am afraid there may not be enough bacteria in the whisper filter. The reason I would do this is that the filter that I want to switch in is an aquaclear with a much larger carbon insert.

Thanks,

Alex
 

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I had this problem after adding 2 inches of aquasoil to my 10'gal: yellow water for 2 weeks no matter how many changes of water I did. Finally I recharged one of my old Seachem Purigen pouches and put it in my eclispe filter. Next day crystal clear water. Get one and try it.
 

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What are the effects of the purigen pouches on the health of the plants or nutrients in the water-long term effects? any?-are they okay to use in planted tanks?
 

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What are the effects of the purigen pouches on the health of the plants or nutrients in the water-long term effects? any?-are they okay to use in planted tanks?
I use Purigen constantly in a planted tank that is over two years old. I see no negative effects. IMO, it is amazing stuff.
 

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Good to know-I use one too..but wasn't sure about using one with a NPT to help with clearing-I am new to the planted tanks and reading/learning everything I can...Thanks
 
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