Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern BC, Canada
That sounds pretty cool. Ive always wanted to try a really authentic blackwater habitat. I always break down and add some incorrect plants, or a school of the wrong tetras.
Are you planning on having uncapped, bare clay as the substrate? Not capped with anything? I would think it would slowly dissolve (dissolve is the wrong word... it would form a colloid and cloud up the water and stick to everything) due to the motion of the water from the filter. You could get laterite which is already fired and is basically red clay gravel. Maybe you could spread some raw claw a cookie sheet and try to fire it in your oven, and then use this piece of basically ceramic as your bottom covering. Or crushed lava rock if you just want a red colour substrate and arent too picky. Lava rock is everywhere there are volcanos, including thailand, so its authentic.
I hear almond leaves are awesome for betta tanks. They would make good leaf litter. You can order them cheap on ebay or from some online fish dealers (I know the canadian ones, but youre probably better off with the american ones)
A little bit of peat in a nylon bag or pantyhose in the filter will be enough to turn the water a nice yellow shade. Just dont use carbon which will remove the colour.
That said, your question of where to get clay, the easiest way is to google your city name and "potters guild", and then click on the contact info part of their website. I did that when I needed some for my MTS, emailed them, got a response the next day, and picked up two pounds of free red clay the day after. I offered to pay, but they said it was reclaim and only worth about $0.50.