Does anyone have a blackwater tank? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone have a blackwater tank?

Ok, here's the problem. I'm trying to convert my 55g Amazon tank over to blackwater. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Well, apparently it is. After searching for peat moss for a month, I put it in my Penguin 330 Bio-Wheel filter (with carbon removed). No pH change, no blackwater, nothing. So then I boiled some in a large pot of water to make some "peat tea". As a sidenote, you should consider yourself fortunate when your significant other looks at the pot of boiling brown goop on the stove and then pats you gently on the head on his way to find Dominos' phone #! :) Anyways, I strained the "peat tea" and tested the pH.... except now the water is so dark that I can't tell what the reading is.

So my question for those of you who have/had a blackwater tank, how do/did you do it? Am I using the wrong stuff? I bought it at Lowe's and the package says "Sphagnum Peat Moss".

Thanks all! :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 04:38 PM
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I have/ keep a few blackwater tanks and it sounds like your using the same peat moss that I am.
How much are you adding? The rule of thumb is about 1 QT. per 25 gallons of water. This should last about 2-3 months.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 08:56 PM
There are, on the market, packets, like charcoal packets. to fit power filters. I also use Blackwater Extract, I think it's from Tetra. One can also use the reusable filters for power filters and use sphagnum moss. Sounds like you are trying to use peat humus. Thats messy!!! It is also better to start with RO water and add buffers to get the pH down. A softening pillow, a bag of peat in the filter, or a nylon bag to keep the peat from going all ober the tank works best. Your water should be a golden color from the tanic acid, not black with floatys.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 08:58 PM
PS. Did you boil the peat in a bag like tea?
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, this big bale of crumbly stuff was all I could find. I read on some websites that sphagnum moss was a no-no, so is that false? So I'm supposed to get crafty and engineer some sort of peat tea bag huh? I'm really trying to avoid using the blackwater extract stuff because it's fairly expensive here and I'm not overly keen on lots of chemicals (just a personal preference). Also a R/O "machine" is a bit out of my price range at the moment, though that may change later on. I do use a water softener pillow once in awhile.

I also read something about boiling oak leaves to get a similar effect and then using them on the floor of the tank... has anyone heard of this? If so, is there any particular species of oak tree whose leaves should be used? It sounds like it would look neat with the leaves scattered here and there on the bottom of the tank, though it may be a pain to keep it looking clean once they start to decay.

I'm sorry if it seems like I've got A.D.D., but there's a lot going on in my little head. :)
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soco1125
I also read something about boiling oak leaves to get a similar effect and then using them on the floor of the tank... has anyone heard of this? If so, is there any particular species of oak tree whose leaves should be used? It sounds like it would look neat with the leaves scattered here and there on the bottom of the tank, though it may be a pain to keep it looking clean once they start to decay.
You have come to the right place. Ketapang or Indian Almond leaves are your choices. I've used them and removed them after a week.:) Dead leaves also release humic acids like driftwoods do although the leaves should not stay too long in your tank as decomposition results into production of ammonia. On the side note, the presence of ammonia fortunately does not appear to affect the fish if water has low pH caused by dead leaves, etc. High pH just makes ammonia more toxic.

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post #7 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 10:04 PM
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ok here's how I make peat water for when I have the need for it. I have a big rubbermaid container sitting in the corner of a room. I fill it up with water (this one holds about 40 gallons but you could use any size depending on your needs). I bought granulated peat for ponds from the lfs (about 10 bucks) and some filter bags (1 dollar tops). Pour some of the peat into the filter bags, tie em closed, and chuck em in the container with the water. Then I run an airstone in there to circulate the water around. It doesnt take very long for the water to take on the golden tea color. I just replace the water I use with new tap water. Pretty simple really.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 10:15 PM
Now Blue, where in the world are we gonnafind kenapang leaves. By the way I erred in saying to use sphagnum, use humus. And yes, I use it like a tea bag. Filter bags like FD152 was talking about run about $2-3. They are reusable. And Blue, tanic acid turns the water a golden color. I have never heard of humic acid. Is that some new "mod drug" over in the Phillipines?
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-23-2007, 10:19 PM
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I should have used the word 'tannic acid'. Humic acid is the same as tannic acid though the former is one letter short.

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