Oh to answer your original question.
The stone I chose for the background kept the water cloudy for a few days, I had to keep changing the batting daily for a week or so, it kept coming out yellowish until it came clear.
I have batting, then filter media https://www.amazon.com/Govine%C2%AE-...dp/B01H6J22S0/
then batting again in the first chamber, then heater then bio balls and pump.
Water is always clear and API reports all levels where they need to be. I do a 10% water change per week when I vacuum the gravel. Then I have to clean the filter media in tank water, replace the batting and vacuum the filter side.
Easy process and the only ugly part is the tubing that I didn't account for while building the tank and when gluing the stone. Everything else is in the rear and no one sees it