I've wanted to convert to a planted tank for some time now and I finally attempted.  First pic is my before,  my water was crystal clear. 2nd pic is day 4 of dirted tank.  I have been doing all the water changes as Dustin's Guide states. I also added some wisteria and a few more swords since I took this pic.  I want to add my fish but am waiting as long as I can.  I dosed with prime and water conditioner.  My worries are the cloudiness, my ph and my nitrates.  I could not find the Miracle Grow potting soil but used an all organic potting soil and I sifted through and picked out all the chips and chunks until I had a nice fluffy powder.  I actually mineralized my soil for a few weeks.  I decided to go with gravel for a river bed look.  I LOVE MY DRIFTWOOD.  My ph is usually around 8 and my Nitrates are HIGH.  I check weekly and don't understand how my ammonia and nitrites are always perfect but my nitrates seem to be off the chart.  Even before I dirted my tank it was this way.  Any info or peace of mind would be appreciated.  Thanks FTTV

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Well I to went with a dirted tank. I am not sure of Dustins methods, I havent seen them. However My tank has been running for almost 2 months and I have yet to put fish in. This past sunday I redid my landscape and replanted everything and added another 50 or so plants. My water again looked like yours. I have done 3 90% flushes or changes this week. I think when I do mine on sunday it should be crystal clear. I cant tell you why your nitrates are so high. Sorry but I have no clue. I also used Organic potting soil (miracle grow). I was told by my LFS that I shouldnt put any nutrients(liquid) into the tank until it really establishes itself. I t has been a long 2 months and I am closer to putting fish in. All my readings are zero and my PH is always at 7. So the only answer I can give you is that maybe your nitrates are high because of all the nutrients. Mine was high the first month and my ammonia was high the first month, which seemed weird because I didnt have any fish. But now everything is balanced. I think just give it time. I was using liquid CO2 for the first month and a half. My LFS said that stuff doesnt really work. But now I have a complete CO2 sytem with an inline CO2 reactor on my Filstar pump and filter. I am also going to start dosing Flourish Excel. You might consider looking into that as well. Do you have CO2 and are you putting liquid ferts in?

Since I posted this my tank has cleared up and looks crystal clear now.  My ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates have leveled out. My ph runs high sometimes still but a lot better.  Can't complain to much about Dustin's methods but I did order some clay and plants from him and I must say I was sadly disappointed.  The plants were shipped in the same box as the 2 pounds of clay.  Not only were the plants demolished in the shipping process but NOTHING that he shipped me survived or ever "came back".  The package arrived WET.  I have ordered from various EBAY dealers some dwarf sag, corkscrew val and a tiger lotus and they are all thriving and I am seeing runners on my dwarf sag now.  I will try to take a pic of my tank and post later.  I put my fish in within a week of dirting but I also mineralized my dirt for a few weeks.  I am not running CO2 and I'm not dosing with ferts.  Fish are doing good.  I was very nervous at first but things are looking good. 



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