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RE: Newbie Design (week 2 update)

Finally, a question on this list that I might be able to offer some
experience ;)

>Warhau wrote:

>OMG Flourite Red is nasty stuff.

No doubt!!! :(

>I thought I had rinsed it "good enough", but what a mess. Carpet, walls,
>tank, all splattered and spattered.

I had exactly the same problem recently with Flourite Red (I tried Changing
Substrate in an established aquarium). I rinsed the Flourite Red reasonably
well (I thought) before putting it in. In my case, the filters (2 Magnum
350s) would clear it *mostly* overnight but I too was left with a thick
covering of silt and a very red tint to the water. Every time I attempted
vacuuming the problem got worse. (clogged my siphon and my sink several
times). I tried to plant and the problem got worse. Looked too hard through
the glass the problem got worse (not really. but that's what it felt like

I waited about 8 days hoping it would eventually clear. Each day I cleaned
"flourite dust" out of the filters two or three times (I was on vacation)
yet this problem persisted with zero noticeable improvement. When I was
nearly ready to give up I chose to try one more thing. I decided that the
substrate wasn't really deep enough anyway so I went and bought 3 more 15 lb
bags of flourite red (my wife thought I was nuts).

This time to be certain, I used a very large metal strainer and placed about
5 lbs at a time into it. Before actually rinsing it I shook it vigorously
until no more dust came out of the strainer. Then rinsed and rinsed and
rinsed and shook vigorously some more until the water ran clear (my three
month old daughter sat in her swing in the kitchen and was thoroughly
entertained by my vigorous shaking). Then I placed it into a large cup,
filled it with water and very slowly and carefully placed it in piles on top
of the silt (BTW I had removed all of the plants, driftwood, and most of the
fish to  buckets at this point). This process took about 5 hours and I made
a real mess of the kitchen and myself). After I had placed all of the new
flourite in I very carefully spread it over the nasty silt taking frequent
breaks to allow the water settle.

Believe it or not it actually worked and the water was crystal clear and
silt free when the lights came on the following morning. I replanted
everything (frightened at first about a re-occurrence

My lessons in all this: 1) I should have rinsed better in the first place.
2) I will never never never try to change substrate in an established
aquarium again. (It would have taken a lot less time and saved some
frustration if I had simply started from scratch and not hurried through the

On the bright side, my plants are doing better than ever before (of course
at the same time that I did the flourite change I joined this mailing list,
added CO2, increased lighting, and took some good advice on nutrients so I
guess it's to be expected. After the trouble though, I'd like to think that
it's all because of that really well rinsed and "vigorously shaken" top
layer of Flourite Red.

Good luck, and hopefully your water will clear without my help. Maybe you
rinsed a bit better than me in the first place?