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RE: Top Soil substrate gone horribly wrong

Dear PT,

>About 4 weeks ago I tried to setup a 30g long tank with a top soil substrate. 
I >put about 1*" of top soil straight from the bag and 1*"of pea gravel on 
>The water has been really cloudy getting worse.

Don't worry, it will go away... eventually!  Just keep doing water changes, 
every few days if you want - it will gradually get less cloudy, and then one 
day it won't be there!  How long it takes depends on your soil - I used a high 
organic mix with lots of peat, and that made the water stay brown for a few 
weeks - round 3-4, I think.  Check out Larry Miracle's website at 
http://www.users.qwest.net/~laren/ , he helped me out a lot when I was in the 
same boat.

Just reread your email, pea gravel sounds pretty big - how about taking that 
out, and/or putting some fine gravel on top of it, either just a thin layer, 
to keep the particles down, or a thicker layer if you are replacing the pea 
gravel. If I am doing a major replant (I take the fish out first), and have 
stirred up a lot of sediment, I change the water so I can see what I am doing, 
and then add a thin layer of the fine gravel to cover up any loose soil 
particles.  After a couple of months, its not really necessary, as the 
particles near the surface get covered with their own biofilms and the 
cloudiness tends to disappear after a few hours, depending on how far down 
into the substrate you went.

Hope that helps,

>From cool and mostly rainy Vancouver