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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a SA community tank with angels, tetras, corys, and rams. It is a planted tank. Is this an appropriate tank for a black water conditioner?

Do any of you use blackwater conditioners? If so, which ones?

I see that there are conditioners that turn the water a yellow/brown color and others that don't affect the color. Does the color change affect the light that reaches the plants? What about Keta-Peat Nuggets?

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

I'd love to see pictures of your blackwater tanks too.
 

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I would add a piece of driftwood and call it a day. The effect on water chemistry is gradual and dosn't need to be played with by you.
Tannin stained water looks like dark green tea , it grows on you and your fish will love it.
 

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the tannins in the water will reduce the amount of light getting to the plants.

so either you beef up the lights to allow more light to the plants, or you choose lower light plants (crypts, anubias, java fern etc)

something worth worth considering, peat is a huge amount cheaper than the blackwater extracts, and will add all the beneficial humic acids and tannins.

I have plans to set up a blackwater tank or 2, considering using peat as a substrate on its own, but not sure how that'll turn out. thinking it might be too easily disturbed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay - thanks for the replies. I have peat in the substrate and have some driftwood already in the tank. I have removed the carbon from the filter and will add peat to the filter as soon as I get some filter bags.
 

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the tannins in the water will reduce the amount of light getting to the plants.
Yes thats the case but,....it will filter out most of the blue part of the color spectrum so the growth of algea will reduce. You can simply let the lighting turn on for an extra hour and still have the same plant growth. It might take a couple of weeks for the plants to adjust to the diferent color spectrum dough. Using peat (or peat extract) will also add minerals to the water which increases plant growth.

Tannins do have a positive effect on fish health and behaviour. You can buy peat extract (black water extract) but you need to add one or 2 times a week a maintains dose. It is also quit expensive. As mentioned, driftwood also leaks tannins for a long long time. It will decrease over time. An other method is to take a barrel / spare tank, put some tap water in it, an air stone and peat. Let it sit for a week and you will have nice colored black water. This water can be used for water changes. The benefit is that you have aged water with tannins.

I have peat in the substrate
Be careful with that,.....a lot of peat in the substrate can couse decay and build up of gasses. Small amounts will contribute to the growth of plants becouse peat contains a lot of minerals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There is just a fine layer of peat - a dusting really on the bottom of the tank. The hope is that if the tank is planted heavily enough that the roots will keep the substrate at a healthy balance. I also have trumpet snails working through the substrate.

One regret is that I boiled all the tannins out of the driftwood before adding it to the tank. Will it still leach some tannins over time?
 

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I also have trumpet snails working through the substrate.
They work the substrate and decrease the change on buildup of gases. A thin layer of peat is no problem. Back in the 80's people used peat blocks of abouth 1 inch thick as plant substrate. It worked great for abouth 6 months and start to decay and causing lots of troubles. Small amounts are OK and increase plant growth.

I boiled my driftwood several times and let it sit in water for weeks. Some of the parts are over 5 years old and still leak tannins. Not much dough but enough to give the water a bit yellow color.
 

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You can get the jiffy peat pellets at Home Depot in the garden section - if you lay them out below your substrate before adding water they will automatically absorb the water and expand - one every 3 square inches or so - of course this is if you've got everything planned out first.

FYI a true black water biotype has no plant material at all - and is more consistent with driftwood and a lot of oak leaves for a substrate, they're very high maintenance tanks.

In the end, tannins don't really offer much for fish - unless you've already got pretty soft waters they wont' affect the chemistry much if at all, and aside from what driftwood and peat leach into a tank I wouldn't really recommend giving it a try.

Some people like it, but true black water biotypes look like murky dead waste lands to me.
 

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of course this is if you've got everything planned out first
:lol:

What is the size of those pellets DBS? Over here we can buy granulate at the size of abouth 1/5 inch.

FYI a true black water biotype has no plant material at all - and is more consistent with driftwood and a lot of oak leaves for a substrate, they're very high maintenance tanks.
I agrea although some floating plants may occur (like eigornia). If you go for a real blackwater biotope I would recommend floating plants. Those extract lots of nitrates and it also looks nice if the plants do have long root systems. At the same time they provide shelter for the fish. Some people would not agrea on the high maintenance. A planted tank is more work as a tank with leaves. You can scoop out the leaves with every water change. The biggest problem with the leaves is that they start to decay after abouth 4 weeks. So you need a huge bag of oak leaves to change them every month for new once. Blairo1 made a post abouth such a biotope somewhere around January if I remember it well. You can check old posts on the SA board. An other possibility is to add lots of driftwood and also small pieces of 1 or 2 inch. You can put in some peat fibres to create a natural look. Next a link with some real nice and interesting vids of natural habitats http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?u ... ezuela&p=r Those aren't blackwater habitats dough! You can also find some nice vids on youtube of blackwater habitats like this one
and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucu6224K ... re=related and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u3au59i ... re=related and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuSw2OyV ... re=related
 
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