Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

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Jobro
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by Jobro »

TwoTankAmin wrote: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:00 am I brew the rooibos and add the liquid. I use about 2.5 tablespoon of rooibos in a quart of boiling water. I pour this into 20 gal rubbermaid with batching water. It has the probes from my monitor in it during water preparation. I add about 1.5 tablespoons of Kent Black Water Expert as well. Finally, I add muriatic acid to get the water down towards 5.5 pH. The exact number depends upon the tanks readings at changing time. The tank is a 55 gal. (I am planning to upgrade this to a 6 ft tank in the near future.) I do notice a small rise in the TDS from the acid.

I have never seen the TDS rise as a result of the tea being added but have seen the pH go up .1. I prefer using TDS to conductivity. I seem to grasp the ppm numbers more instinctively than microsiemens. The changing water tends to batch up between 50 and 60 ppm TDS.

One of the interesting properties of rooibos is it has a calming effect on the fish. With newly arrived altums this is often a great benefit. Once I figured out how to keep altums alive longer term, I have really only lost them due to health issues on my part. The fish do need weekly water changes. I was forced onto an every 3 week schedule for 2 months and that cost me most of them.

My experience is that the alder cones do more to lower the pH as does peat. I find the latter too messy. One can use rooibos in a bag in one's filter, but again, too messy for me. It is bad enough replacing the bag of alder cones when it has turned to mush. But again, the real key to lowering one's pH is to remove KH from the water.

One note- I cannot put my probes into the changing water when I am batching it when it holds only the ro/di water. The unit freaks out. I need to add warm tap water to get it up to temp and to some level of pH which is a "real" reading and TDS which is not approaching 0 ppm. Then I add the other ingredients.
maybe I will need to get a TDS probe then.

Don't forget about that super good scent, that rooibos emits :)

As to removing KH, my rainwater is often below KH 1° during summer, that's why I get quite low PHs(~6) in all my tanks pretty easily. During winter it sits at around KH 2° and I get mostly neutral waters in my tanks. Some tanks, like the community tank, manage to keep the PH lower even during winter. Not sure how it does that. As it is just another planted tank with driftwood. No special treatments. I have a hunch, that the huge amount of snails are using up all the minerals in the water and are a key to lowering KH.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

Several years ago, I was interested in an acidic dark water tank. I tried the peat balls in a bag wedged in my HOB filters. It worked. However I live on an organic pomegranate farm. If you have ever picked and juiced a large amount of poms, you would notice that the tannic acid in the shell quickly turns your bare hands a dark brown. I collected a few dry shells and put them in a small tub of water. Wahla! Dark acidic water. I, however, did not follow the system for a long time. I did put the shells in a cloth bag and again, wedged them in to my HOB filters.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by Lycosid »

For a completely different, possibly stupid, way to make blackwater, I've thrown instant decaf coffee into the tank.

The pros of this approach are that the room smells like coffee, it's cheap, and it's massively unpretentious. The cons of this approach are that the room smells like coffee, it looks cheap, and people may accidentally drink the fish tank water. However, since it's instant coffee, it will actually taste worse than regular tank water.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by bekateen »

b.reder wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:54 am...I live on an organic pomegranate farm.
You live on a pomegranate farm? You lucky duck! My family loves pomegranates. We've got one lone tree in our front yard. A season may yield anywhere between 80 pounds of poms and 2... not 2 pounds, 2 poms.... and occasionally zero poms in a year. I don't do anything fancy to maintain the tree other than annual trimming and every few years regular yard fertilizer (the tree is in my front lawn)... Although I'd like a better yield from year to year, I don't want my yield to exceed what I already get in good years - more than I can handle (like baby BNs).
b.reder wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:54 amIf you have ever picked and juiced a large amount of poms, you would notice that the tannic acid in the shell quickly turns your bare hands a dark brown. I collected a few dry shells and put them in a small tub of water. Wahla! Dark acidic water.
Do you think pom pealings would be eaten by plecos (maybe a source of dietary pigments to enhance color in juvies)? I can tell you that my plecos NEVER eat potato peals... not that they are the same, but maybe plecos don't like the bitterness (IF they can taste bitterness, that is).

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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

ERIC-
Just remember that, in humans, too much tanic acid is toxic to the liver. On the other hand, you might be onto something. If you have an extra tank and plecos, try some and let me know. Yes, I am lucky- 300 pom trees and 100 lemon trees. I just planted some grapes for personal consumption.
- Barry
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bekateen
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by bekateen »

b.reder wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:46 amJust remember that, in humans, too much tanic acid is toxic to the liver.
Indeed. I'm not wanting more poms at a time, just more consistency year over year. That said, the tannins are in the skin, not the fruit (aryls, if I spell that right), som my own consumption should be fine AFAIK.

Enjoy your grapes. :-)
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

Yes- The tannins are in the skin and that is what I used for acid dark water. My trees are the "Wonderful" clone. This is the common commercial variety. Different clones yield different results. Perhaps a regular water and fertilizer regime would give more regular results. On the other hand, you are quite north for poms afaik.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

Was it your mayor who announced a $500 per month give away to the "poor" no proof necessary?
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

Lycosid wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:32 pm The pros of this approach are that the room smells like coffee, it's cheap, and it's massively unpretentious. The cons of this approach are that the room smells like coffee, it looks cheap, and people may accidentally drink the fish tank water. However, since it's instant coffee, it will actually taste worse than regular tank water.
Lycosid- My wife's father's people are from Lincolnton and Hickory, N.C. The folks we met there might want to open a boutique fish tank/ coffee shop.... if you franchise it. :))
-Barry
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by bekateen »

b.reder wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:33 amWas it your mayor who announced a $500 per month give away to the "poor" no proof necessary?
Yup, that would be my mayor. The $500 has no strings attached. I don't qualify, but if I did, I'd buy some nice L174 or maybe Corydoras pantanalensis. :)) :)) :d
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by Lycosid »

b.reder wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:42 am Lycosid- My wife's father's people are from Lincolnton and Hickory, N.C. The folks we met there might want to open a boutique fish tank/ coffee shop.... if you franchise it. :))
-Barry
Throw in the word "organic" and it's probably already here.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by b.reder »

Yes- organic, tactical, and gluten free!
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by Jobro »

What happened to my thread? :D haha xD
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by TwoTankAmin »

I spent a couple of hours yesterday bagging alder cones, catappas and rooibos to bring with me to the NEC event in March. I use all of them in my Altum angel tank. I also put two of my sub-adult F1 H. contradens into that tank about four years ago. Unfortunately, I lost one a few weeks ago. but it wasn't the water quality at fault.
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Re: Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by Tony4143 »

This room is full of awesome knowledge
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Ideas on setting up and maintaining a black water tank

Post by MichaelItelf »

it looks like you are off to a great start with that tank as a planted tank
the light levels should be fine to grow a fairly wide range of plants, I have 2x 54w t5 lights over a 450L tank and I am able to grow a wide variety of plants under that light yours should be capable of improving on that range.
I notice you have a bubble ramp for co2 in the corner of the tank, could you give a few details of the setup you are using?
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