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Black water tanks

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  • #706
    Cory
    Participant

    Alright, so I’ve been looking into doing a black water tank and hope to pull some of you along with me in my journey. I’ve been intensely researching the Amazon blackwater Rivers and really want to try and all-natural approach to recreating bottom of a River basin, 6 inches of leaf litter,broken limbs, tons of detritus, The works! To most this may sound disgusting or just plain carefree. But I really want to try to get to the roots of where most these fish come from it’s practically in their DNA. So let me hear your thoughts, experiences, or ideas.

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    #708
    Cory
    Participant

    Correction not “River basin” just the river in general lol

    #714
    David Mercer
    Admin

    I don’t remember where but I came across a Youtuber at one point that was doing something similar, I’ll see if I can find it again. I know I have seen Betta breeders do leaf litter tanks with catappa leaves but this sounds much more intense, very cool. What fish are you planing on doing and what size tank?

    David Mercer
    AAAA Board of Directors and Webmaster

    #716
    Cory
    Participant

    Plan on doing this with a 75, I already have the sand bed and 5 Amazon swords, wanting to do Cardinal tetras, maybe an angel or 2, couple of rams, most likely corydoras , haven’t quite figured that out yet but I am open to ideas, but I do plan on having snails and small freshwater organisms to help break down the detritus. I really want a thick layer of leaf litter and allow it to break down and naturally become part of the ecosystem

    #722
    Garrett Stoykewich
    Participant

    I was always under the assumption that clear water was good, however, I’m sure you already know that blackwater is pretty discolored BUT nutrient-rich. The biggest challenge I can think of will be obtaining soft water in Georgia. Wells are prohibited in my area and using chemicals to obtain the correct levels just sounds like a nightmare. I have heard though that collecting rainwater is an easy alternative. I do not have the link but I was watching a youtube video of a guy who had a rainwater 55g setup with no filter I believe, who bred neon tetras like crazy with little to none input.

    The water is so dark that the neon tetras naturally evolved to have such bright colors to see each other.

    I can, however, offer advice for obtaining river rocks. Any local landscaping company will buy back unused pallets of rocks and sell them on-site by the pound. I paid 25cents per pound for Tennesee Flagstone (Slate), and close to the same amount (I lost the receipt) for what was labeled as Indian-River Rocks. If you’re lucky you can find some stones that have terrestrial moss already growing on them and if you plant them above water they should spread nicely.

    As for your sand bed, maybe look into a nutrient-rich substrate other than sand, rooted plants are going to have a decreased growth rate in the sand. Maybe a soil substrate and a thin layer of sand on top. Or do what the aquascapers are doing and put the soil substrate where your swords are going and make a barrier with rocks and fill the outside with sand. I think a moss wall would look good too.

    #737
    Cory
    Participant

    Actually Garret blackwater ecosystems are very nutrient poor, the only plants in the tank are Amazon swords, I buy all my substrates and Rick from a local landscape supply store everything is about 15 cents a pound but thank you for the offer. My tap water comes out at 6.5 to 6.8 at about 6 to 10 TDS I am using root tabs for the swords and as far as using leaves I’m only using locally collected materials ie.oak leaves, magnolia leaves,acorn caps alder cones and limbs from oaks.

    And believe it or not Clearwater is just what we are accustomed to, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good. I cannot think of a lake river or stream that I’ve ever seen completely clear. I can usually see down to about the first foot but after that it’s a mystery what is under the water. What’s good to us isn’t necessarily good for them.

    so I have an update, as of 10/19/19 I’ve added botanicals listed above to tint the water in the tank is6 Venezuelan corydoras, a couple bristlenose plecostomus, and one angelfish allin the tank originally.
    I have a 300 watt hydroponics light over the 75g filtration is a small sponge filter and a marineland canister filter with an intake sponge and no carbon substrate is 3.5 lbs of aragonite (for pH stability) and about 100lbs of pool filter sand
    Let me know what you think!

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    #741
    Garrett Stoykewich
    Participant

    The only freshwater I’ve ever seen clear is glacier-fed lakes in BC. It almost looks like glass! Of course, only sturgeon live there lol. Sounds like a great setup, Had you considered C02? What height are you using that awsome light at is it LED? And have you used it before and what were the results?

    #748
    Jordan
    Participant

    I actually keep my apistogramma is blackwater. I have began to play with it a lot. It really makes the colors pop. I use mainly almond leaves I keep a bucket ( it’s a smaller tank than yours) with them soaking for water changes and top offs. A lot of people will use moss in their filter as well to maintain the tannins. I’m interested to know where you sourced alder cones locally if you don’t mind me asking. Birch cones can also be used instead of alder cones.

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    #1338
    Steven L Burton
    Participant

    Just wondering about the advisability of Angels with Cardinal Tetras. I guess it could work for a while if the Cardinals are large and the Angels are small, otherwise the Tetras will be eaten.

    #1340
    William Beard
    Participant

    Sounds like a fun project, are there any updates on how it is coming along?

     

    There are a number of streams and rivers that are naturally quite clear (meaning greater then 15-20ft visibility.) North Georgia has many that naturally hold trout and similar species. There is a number of lakes that have 40-50ft visibility up in the lake of the woods region and out in Colorado. I have also seen pictures from similar type waters both in the Amazon basin and further south in Argentina and Chile. The biggest thing is that they are typically entirely spring fed rivers, and natural suspended particles settle out or are removed from the water column.

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