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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I set up my first "el natural" planted aquarium a little less than 2 weeks ago. It's a 5 gallon tank. I used Miracle-gro Organic choice potting mix, with gravel on top. I have a whisper filter with charcoal in it... I'm still a little confused whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I have 4 different kinds of plants... I know I have Amazon Sword... but the rest, I'm not sure what they are. They are the plants you can get pre-packaged at petco. I filled the tank up all the way the first day because I didn't want my plants to dry out, the Amazon Swords seem especially prone to this. I didn't do the 3 inches of water, sit over night, poor off and fill up. The water was a little cloudy at first, but it settled out. After about 3 days I decided to get 2 mystery snails. After I added them the water started to look a little yellow, and by the end of the week it is tea colored. At first I thought it was snail poop causing it, but after reading a little here it sounds more like it's coming from my soil. It doesn't sound like the coloring is harmful, but it just doesn't look very good. It sounds like changing the water will help, but I also don't want to mess anything I've got good going on. I'm also a little unsure of how exactly to do a water change in a set up like this. I've got a gravel vacuum/siphon, but I don't want to stir anything up too much (obviously I wouldn't vacuum the gravel), or make it worse. It also sounded like adding some kind of emergent/floating plant would help, but I haven't been able to find any at the pet stores around me.

As soon as the water clears up I'd like to add a Betta. Which leads to another question, right now I have the tank right in front of an east facing window, and the water gets pretty hot, my stick-on-the-outside-of-the-tank-thermometer reads over 82. Will the plants get enough light if I move the tank across the room, less than 10'? I don't want to fry my future fish.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Just a guess since I have never used Miracle Gro - Organic but it may be the tannins leaching from the organic material in the potting soil. I'd do partial water changes until it clears.

As for the light issue...it would depend on how much sun reaches that particular spot. I would guess that your sword will need additional light but that is just a guess too.
Scott
 

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I used the Miracle Gro Organic soil mix for a 5 gal breeding tank and really liked the results (good plant growth and no fish problems). I plan to use it again to reset up my 55 gal.

The 82 temp is a little high, but all my tanks run about that high during the summer. If this is just a "summer temperature", I wouldn't worry about it or move the tank.

If the water color gets too brown, I would just change the water. This is just because tannins reduce the light intensity for plants. Tannins, which are released from soil decomposition, otherwise aren't harmful. They should become less of a problem over time as the soil "settles down".

I think that your tank sounds promising.
 

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You can change the water just like you would do with a "regular" tank, just don't siphon the gravel. I find placing a dish on the gravel an easy way to keep things from being stirred up.

82 deg. is the perfect temp for bettas and to keep them in optimal health, you wouldn't really want to go any lower. I keep my bettas between 82 - 84 deg. F especially if I want to breed.

Lastly, while tannin-colored water's beauty is in the eye of the beholder (I love the look of tea-colored water) bettas will thrive in it as it replicates their natural habitat.

-ricardo
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. I thought I'd give an update. I ended up doing a water change and it helped but now the water is colored again. But since it sounds harmless I'm just going to leave it since I lost my last betta in a water change accident (he jumped through the hole in the lid of the cup i had him in), which was part of the reason for starting this tank in the first place. I did end up getting a new betta, but he seems to be picking on the snails. I haven't seen them really out of their shells since I've added him, a little over a week ago. I feel really bad for them so I took them out yesterday and just have them in a cup for now. I'm thinking maybe I could put a tank divider in. I'm afraid I've traumatized them for life. What would you suggest?
 

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A tank divider wont work for keeping snails on their side , they tend to crawl all over. Set up another tank for the betta?
 
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