A couple blackwater questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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A couple blackwater questions

So I'm in the process of turning my 20 gallon into a blackwater tank, but I have a couple questions I couldn't really find answers to.
1. Is there a special procedure for acclimating fish to blackwater? (When you first bring them home)
2. How often should the peat moss in the filter be changed?
3. I've heard that because of the lower pH, it will cause the bacteria to be weaker, so there should be a smaller bioload, is this true?
4. I wanted to do Java Moss, but after researching, I found that most people never do this, I'm using play sand so can't really have any rooted plants, so now what? (In term of plants)

P.S. It's a 20 gallon long and all I have planned is just Pygmy Cories


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 01:49 AM
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Normal acclimation for temp, hardness and alkalinity will be enough for adjustment to the extra acidity. Unless you scoop them straight in by hand like I do, depends on the price of the fish, eh? I've used wood for black water, never had a problem with bioload, it isn't really needed if the plant load is strong and the fish load is reasonable. Don't know the other answers but you can certainly grow stems and other rooted plants in play sand. I've only had a real problem with some carpeting foregrounds.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 01:57 AM
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Put some fert tabs from www.rootmedic.net in your substrate and you will be good to go.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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How slowly should I add fish to it? (I used same water so it's good to go) I'm only adding pygmy cories, also, what's a good number? :S


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 06:26 PM
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You should do some testing on the peat affecting the water. It didn't do much to mine besides make it a little darker.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 06:48 PM
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I would drip acclimate your fish when you bring them home.

You can use Java moss in the tank if you want, IMO that, Java fern, and Anubias are some of the few plants that have the best chance of surviving the low light level that makes it through the tannins.

Yes, you do want to keep a low bioload, as nitrification stops below a pH of about 6.0-6.5- free ammonia is converted into ammonium instead, which is less toxic than ammonia. The risk is that if the pH should fluctuate back, that ammonium will convert right back into ammonia and could kill the fish.

The safest way to maintain stability in this tank would be to pre-make your blackwater in a separate aerated holding container, and monitor the pH, kH and gH to make sure that they always match that in the main tank before you use it for water changes. The only way you can know when it's time to replace the peat is by monitoring those levels.





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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, my pH is in the 6.4 range, went out and got 5 pygmies, just to test if they would bode well in my tank, here's a pic of them drip acclimating, I think I'm dripping too fast, can anyone tell if I'm doing something wrong?


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 09:10 PM
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There is no problem with plants in play sand alone. You can add some kind of plant tabs to help out heavy root feeders but most plants grow fine in sand.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentK View Post
Ok, my pH is in the 6.4 range, went out and got 5 pygmies, just to test if they would bode well in my tank, here's a pic of them drip acclimating, I think I'm dripping too fast, can anyone tell if I'm doing something wrong?
When I drip acclimate I pour the water from the bag into a container and then set the drip to about a drop/second. I regulate the flow by tying a knot in the airline tubing or adding a airline tubing valve. I drip acclimate until the volume of tank water that is dripping is equal to the volume of LFS water in the container. Most of the times I do it longer than this. So far no losses using this method on about 20+ fish.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffgong View Post
When I drip acclimate I pour the water from the bag into a container and then set the drip to about a drop/second. I regulate the flow by tying a knot in the airline tubing or adding a airline tubing valve. I drip acclimate until the volume of tank water that is dripping is equal to the volume of LFS water in the container. Most of the times I do it longer than this. So far no losses using this method on about 20+ fish.
Thanks for the tip, it was my first time doing drip acclimation. I tried to get as few drops as possible, but it was constant dripping, not slow either, but it took about a hour for the whole process, once it got filled to the top, I took out half the water and let it drip some more.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 04:04 AM
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Yea, it's key to have the knot or valve to regulate the flow. Are you still doing a blackwater setup?

Oh yeah...that's the nicest drip acclimation container I've ever seen! Mine is an old plastic ice cream container. lol


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