29 Gallon Blackwater Journey - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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29 Gallon Blackwater Journey

Hi everyone-

I have been excited about my new adventure into a blackwater tank, and thought it was about time to document what I am doing in an exclusive journal vs. intermittent updates on it in my high tech planted journal.

My thought here is to bring some light to this side of the hobby for those on this forum who are interested, and to also learn from others all that I can. It has only been a few months that I have had the tank running in this capacity, so I still have much to learn, and I am sure change.

I'll try and give a brief overview of where things where previous to the setup today over the next couple posts, then will move forward from here. The tank started on November 5th, 2018.

Specs:

Tank: 29 gallon standard tank
Substrate: Black Diamond Blasting Sand
Filter: Sun Sun 702B with 603 prefilter canister
Intake has sponge filter over it

Wood: Mopani, local oak, local Japanese maple
Other: Leaf litter- mini catapa leaves

Plants: Amazon Frogbit, Dwarf Water Lettuce, duckweek

Livestock: 12 pencil fish, 8 oto's, pair of apistogramma agassizii fire red

Here are the very first pictures I have of the tank:



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post #2 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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November 12, 2018

When first putting all of the wood into the tank, especially the mopani, I boiled it, each piece for 10-20 min (cannot remember exactly how long for each. The water from after boiling was extremely tannin stained. I boiled the wood to try and decontaminate, not with the intent of removing tannins. I know mopani is notorious for leaching tannins forever, which is actually a selling point in this case!

At this point, just about a week into the tank, it is nearly black. I mean it is crazy how dark the water is, especially with running a 30" Beamswork DA FSPEC on top that puts out a TON of light.

It was at this time that the floating plants that were from @FishRFriendz were added to the tank. Beautifully package Amazon Frogbit and dwarf water lettuce. It was crazy cold the week we shipped them, but they made it in great shape, and immediately took to the water and started growing like mad!

It was here that I realized just how much nutrients these plants can suck from the water. I would test for N and there would be absolutely zero, none. I would dose 10ppm KNO3, and by the next week, zero, none. Crazy to me! More to come on this, but I have stopped dosing for a bit as I play around with things. Also, hope to have PAR reading sometime this week (but that is jumping in the future from this post! ha)

Here is a shot of what it looked like right when I added the plants:



And here is one from November 28th:



Amazing what nature can do. And here is a photo that I just love. I should take another one like it soon.

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Last edited by Grobbins48; 01-07-2019 at 08:08 PM. Reason: update
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post #3 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Today (ish)

The tank has been wonderful, and I am really enjoying having it part of my hobby. It is a cool contrast to the high tech planted setup that is two feet from it. People am amazed at the difference when they visit.

I ended up changing the scape quite a bit. I was not enjoying how things were lumped around the middle, no real theme or reason to placement, etc. I decided to try my hand at creating a more natural looking root structure, with some smaller intricacies with Japanese maple. I must say, I am pretty excited how it turned out.

The Oak and Maple are from my yard, cut down because I needed to prune the trees, then left to dry for a couple months.

Here are a few pictures of it quite recently. Now that I am caught up I'll work to detail in some more thoughts and plans going forward with the aquarium. For those following along, I would love to make this an area to share and discuss!




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post #4 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 08:12 PM
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Looks great, following along for sure!
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__________________________________

If it were easy we wouldn't be here

My 30g Journal:
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post #5 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:00 PM
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This isnt exactly like yours, but it has a very similar feel to it.
This is what Id like to do- it has altums and biotodoma cupidos- both fish I have. I love the way this looks.
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/8c/2b/4e/8...c77a3e3ce3.jpg

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #6 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
This isnt exactly like yours, but it has a very similar feel to it.
This is what Id like to do- it has altums and biotodoma cupidos- both fish I have. I love the way this looks.
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/8c/2b/4e/8...c77a3e3ce3.jpg
Oh wow- that would be/ is a beautiful and amazing tank! Are you making plans right now for setting up something like this?
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post #7 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:41 PM
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When I can convince my husband .

If I am not able to, I will convert my 60 gallon over to a black-water tank with just the 4 Altums (and probably a school of larger, deeper bodies tetras like an hypehessobrycon species. Something from Rio Orinoco. That will be all the 60 gallon can support.


Edit: The altums are juveniles right now, at about a half-dollar size. I will wait awhile until they get some growth on them before I convert the tank over and do too much disruption.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #8 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be sure to follow along if/ when you get something like that going!

Would you go true biotope setup, or a close replication of nature? The more I research, the true biotope 'rules 'are quite intense, and seem difficult to execute correctly. Maybe one day ill explore that as I learn more and have done more on this side of the hobby!



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post #9 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 10:51 PM
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I will do my best to do a biotope true to where the Altum are found- but, I will not be too upset if I have to make concessions. So, when you have an attitude like that you mostly put together a "biotope-ish" arrangement.

I haven't spent too much time doing research yet on the plants and tetras endemic to the area. But, when I do, if I cant find what I will need to do this, I will get as close as I can.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #10 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:14 PM
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Blackwaters are so nifty, I always wanted one, but quench my desire by just looking at everyone's online. Definitely following.
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My tank journal.

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post #11 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:49 PM
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29 Gallon Blackwater Journey

Black water tanks are awesome. I started mine about 2 years ago and itís by far my favorite style tank. It also helps that Apistogramma are my favorite fish.

Also, Iíve been looking for some water lettuce. If youíre willing to ship let me know and Iíll buy some from you.

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post #12 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nlewis View Post
Black water tanks are awesome. I started mine about 2 years ago and itís by far my favorite style tank. It also helps that Apistogramma are my favorite fish.

Also, Iíve been looking for some water lettuce. If youíre willing to ship let me know and Iíll buy some from you.

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Can we see a picture of your tank?



Like I said, we need a biotope/natural aquarium subcategory.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #13 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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@Nlewis yes, please feel free to share a picture(s). I would love to see what you created! I also enjoy the apisto thread that you started.

I'll send you a PM on the dwarf wate lettuce, I would be happy to share. In a week or two I should have a whole bunch extra. Hopefully we can find a week with decent weather too! It's getting cold again!



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post #14 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 09:39 AM
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Can we see a picture of your tank?



Like I said, we need a biotope/natural aquarium subcategory.
This is the tank in various stages, the top picture is of its current state. I wish I had more wood and less plants, but canít bring myself to remove the plants. Itís by far the easiest tank I have to maintain and my favorite. Itís currently housing several species of Corydoras, ottoís, green neons and several generations of Apistogramma Panduro.





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post #15 of 127 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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@Nlewis that really is beautiful. With being successful spawning the apistos, any recommendations? I have only had mine a few months, and do far no action. The female may still be a bit young? I am not sure. They are apistogramma agassizii fire red.

I too would like to have this tank create a few generations!

As for the botanicals- did you use tannin aquatics or another source? I really like the look of more natural litter on the substrate, but I have yet to place an order. Still trying to decide what I would want, or if I would go for the $25 mystery package they offer.



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