40 Breeder Blackwater Journey (Previously 29 Gallon Blackwater Journey) - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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As the lights came on today I noticed that the flow was nearly nothing. No surface agitation from the spray bar at all. So I disconnect to see the flow rate, and it had to be around 1 gallon per couple min.

The culprit was the foam pre-filter that I added. I realized I did not clean it this week, and it was pretty horribly clogged. The foam is also quite dense, maybe a little too dense for a pre-filter. For the time being I have removed it and instantly the flow went back to a decent rate. So now I have just the standard intake on, and no foam at the moment. When I have more time I'll need to experiment a bit and decide what I want to do.



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post #17 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 04:41 PM
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Search around for foam with larger pores and make your own. I really only use one to keep shrimplets in the display tank, so I'm not tasked with "saving" a few dozen from the filter at each cleaning = faster filter service. It's just a bonus that the media is way easier to clean / way less dirty because of the pre-filter. I use the Fluval edge sponge, but I'm thinking of looking for / building a pre-filter sponge using one with larger pores. Replace often because 1) sponges are cheap 2) keeps pores cleaner = more flow 3) piece of mind your filter motor is working slightly less.

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post #18 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Search around for foam with larger pores and make your own. I really only use one to keep shrimplets in the display tank, so I'm not tasked with "saving" a few dozen from the filter at each cleaning = faster filter service. It's just a bonus that the media is way easier to clean / way less dirty because of the pre-filter. I use the Fluval edge sponge, but I'm thinking of looking for / building a pre-filter sponge using one with larger pores. Replace often because 1) sponges are cheap 2) keeps pores cleaner = more flow 3) piece of mind your filter motor is working slightly less.
That is some good advice. For me using the sponge was two fold: 1) to keep the media/ filter cleaner longer and 2) if (hopefully when) the apistos spawn I didn't want any fry sucked up.

I think I ordered these current fine ones off the bay and they were insanely cheap. When I have some time later on I'll put a fresh one on and see what that flow is like. It might be as simple as changing/ cleaning one or two times a week.

If that is a no go I'll look for something a bit more course and go from there!
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post #19 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 05:48 PM
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That is some good advice. For me using the sponge was two fold: 1) to keep the media/ filter cleaner longer and 2) if (hopefully when) the apistos spawn I didn't want any fry sucked up.

I think I ordered these current fine ones off the bay and they were insanely cheap. When I have some time later on I'll put a fresh one on and see what that flow is like. It might be as simple as changing/ cleaning one or two times a week.

If that is a no go I'll look for something a bit more course and go from there!
I ended up having to DIY a filter guard as the edge filters are just too dense, cheap and easy to find yes. I happen to have some SS mesh from when I made a cover for my overflow. I made a SS pre filter for my Aquaclear 110 I have on a tank in my garage. Doesn't clog and when it gets close it it, it's just leaves sucked onto the screen.

300g 8' acrylic aquarium acquired, in process to build/setup/plan setup

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post #20 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-08-2019, 10:11 PM
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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.


Agassizii can be a bit tricky as they can be finicky when choosing a mate. I had some Fire Red and Abacaxis have successful spawns but with no grow outs. The biggest thing is to ensure they feel comfortable.

I have ordered from Tannin twice. Both times I just bought whatever pods I liked. FYI, I love the banana stems. For leaves I just use hard wood leaves from the yard.

Later on as the tank ages the tannins will fade to the point it becomes a “clear water” biotope. I chased tannins for the longest time trying to recreate black water with a small bit of success. When that happens Robios tea is your friend.

I’ll get some pics of the Panduro babes for you later tonight.


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post #21 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Agassizii can be a bit tricky as they can be finicky when choosing a mate. I had some Fire Red and Abacaxis have successful spawns but with no grow outs. The biggest thing is to ensure they feel comfortable.

I have ordered from Tannin twice. Both times I just bought whatever pods I liked. FYI, I love the banana stems. For leaves I just use hard wood leaves from the yard.

Later on as the tank ages the tannins will fade to the point it becomes a “clear water” biotope. I chased tannins for the longest time trying to recreate black water with a small bit of success. When that happens Robios tea is your friend.

I’ll get some pics of the Panduro babes for you later tonight.


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I suppose I'll give them some more time to settle in, and keep an eye on how thing progress. They get along just fine, but she usually looks at him a bit then swims away.

I'll likely place an order from tannin for some pods and things. Really it is for the looks vs. straight tannin adding. I also have been collecting oak leaves from the tree in my backyard to use eventually. Should probably grab a bunch more that are on the tree now before the completely winter over.

As for the rooibos tea was it as simple as making a cup of tea, cooling it, then adding to the tank after a water change? I should have a bit of time before I get to that stage, but figured I would ask what you have done in the past and have it documented here!

And can't wait to see the pictures of the little ones swimming around your tank.



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post #22 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 10:50 AM
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I just use hot water in a large glass and add it to the tank once it cools. I use 1 tea bag per 10 gallons and it works great. It gives it a great look without making it too dark.



Pictures aren’t the best. The little guys wouldn’t cooperate with me last night and stop darting around.


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post #23 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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@Nlewis Thanks for the advice on the blackwater. Later on when the tannins are not so present I'll give that a try. Also, very nice on the little apistos, it must be a blast to watch them grow and interact!

As I look around for botanicals, I have seen Tannin Aquatics. They seem to get good reviews, and praise on this forums well as others. Are there any other places people recommend? I am not looking for leaf litter, but more of pods and things of that nature to help enhance the look of the tank and the feel to the environment for the apistos.



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post #24 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 04:51 PM
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I’m unaware of any business that deals in botanicals like Tannin Aquatics. I do use other things collected from the yard like wall nuts and small branches.


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post #25 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Over the past week I ended up adding some more branches from the Japanese Maple drying in my garage. This time no boiling or anything, just plopped them in and wait a few days for them to sink. I think it is a decent look, though likely needs a little arranging. Doing that with a surface full of floating plants can be a bit tough, so maybe in a few more days I'll thin it out even more and do some arranging.

On another note I finally purchased a temp controller. Never have I ever used one, and knock on wood I have not yet had a heater issue. They are just cheaper Azoo units, the Micro Temperature Controller. My thought is to use it as a fail safe (set about 1 degree C above where I want the tank) and let the heater set the temperature. I am not sure if this is the proper use, but I have the blackwater set to 26 C right now. I also added a new sticker thermometer just to see where things were at. Really new, but so far seem decent. Would love to hear from anyone else who has experience with this unit, or temp controllers in general.

Here are a few pics on how things are looking.

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post #26 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Look what I just found. No wonder she didn't like my hands in the tank! Now let's see how they do, fingers crossed!



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post #27 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 09:35 PM
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Excellent! Great job!
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post #28 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent! Great job!
Super excited! I was not sure if they would pair. This is also my first apistogramma spawn ever.

Will be interesting to see what happens, but at the very least I know they are a pair!
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post #29 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 09:52 PM
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Got to love finding babies!!

As far as the temp controller, I have the controller for setting the tank temperature. I have the heaters set to about 5 degrees above (81F), in fahrenheit for my temp controller. The theory is that the actual heaters fail at the bimetallic strip device in the heater, from the opening and closing of the power across it. So if you can have it not get that arc from power on and off that should help the heater last longer. At least this was the logic I followed for using the controller to set the temp and the heaters as the failover.
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300g 8' acrylic aquarium acquired, in process to build/setup/plan setup

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post #30 of 146 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Got to love finding babies!!



As far as the temp controller, I have the controller for setting the tank temperature. I have the heaters set to about 5 degrees above (81F), in fahrenheit for my temp controller. The theory is that the actual heaters fail at the bimetallic strip device in the heater, from the opening and closing of the power across it. So if you can have it not get that arc from power on and off that should help the heater last longer. At least this was the logic I followed for using the controller to set the temp and the heaters as the failover.
Thanks for the temp controller feedback. I'll need to read a bit more but that makes sense as a safety to have ot cut the power at the set temp vs. the heater doing it.

And yes, exciting to find babies unexpectedly. Let's hope some make it through the first few weeks!
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