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I’ve got a shallow tank (8 inches depth) that I want to convert to a blackwater biotope, for less maintenance and more so for a change.

I will have some frogbit or a similar floater on top with white sand, manzanita, and some oak leaves I’ve collected from outside. Maybe a HOB filter with something like hornwort for increased nutrient absorption (in addition to my canister filter).

3 main questions then:

1. My pH is around 6.5-7 (CO2 fluctuates it). Will changing to blackwater, with a pH of say 5-5.5, kill my beneficial bacteria? Will I need to cycle again (I’m using a canister filter)?

2. I want it to be dark, like the bed of an Amazon tributary. What kind of light can I use that will grow the floating plants, but won’t leave me fretting about algae?

3. Every blackwater tank I’ve seen is pretty spotless of algae. Is this because of the low light and high acidity?
 

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Carpe Diem
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7,563 Posts
Bacteria dies at around 4.0 pH.

End to end floaters will block most of the ligh, so, the light fixture is mostly for them. Low light and low nutrients help to keep algae away.
 
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