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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
no updates because of effing photobucket, but check the last page for the most recent update.

So here's my tank journal. I remember seeing a blackwater setup years ago, back in the 80's and thought it was the coolest tank I ever saw. I still think that, and finally got around to doing one. But I wanted to do it right, and it took this long before I could do things exactly the way I had in my head.

Gear:
Marineland 75g with glass lids
2x Marineland Advanced LED light
Hydor 350 canister filter, set up with spray bar, filled with foam, Seachem Matrix and Seachem Renew
Hydor inline heater

Scape:
Pool filter sand, mixed with locally sourced reddish-brown sand and gravel about 2-1 ratio
Various rocks I've collected and purchased over the years
Several different woods I've acquired
Various leaves and pods from Tannin Aquatics

Fauna:
10 Cardinal tetras
2 marble hatchets
14 Metae cories, maybe more, they keep making more!
8 Emperor Tetras
1 Otto (yes, I know, it's the last one of a school I purchased years ago)
1 clown pleco
2 Colombian plecos
1 blue angelfish
1 21-year old Raphael catfish
8 laetacara araguaie
Ramshorn snails
Malaysian trumpet snails
Pond snails
Mini-ramshorn
Limpets (yes, I don't mind snails)
Unknown amount of caridina culls.

Flora:
Brazilian pennywort
2 red tiger lotus, struggling right now
Stunted red Rubin sword, slowly growing since placed in tank
Echinodorus angustifolia, Thanks to @Method and his class for the proper ID!

Water has a pH of 5.8 and tds is around 50.


I'm not the best photographer, so please bear with my pics. Here's the whole tank, more to come. I'll be updating somewhat regularly, especially with the ever-changing aspect of the leaf and other botanical natural degradation process.
 

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Looking good daddy...I have always wanted to do one as well. Maybe I can take some inspiration. Will look better once it's filled in a bit. Are you planning for more angels? What are water parameters? Good luck n keep us posted. Cheers..

Bump: Have you thought of a darker background? Will add to the effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looking good daddy...I have always wanted to do one as well. Maybe I can take some inspiration. Will look better once it's filled in a bit. Are you planning for more angels? What are water parameters? Good luck n keep us posted. Cheers..

Bump: Have you thought of a darker background? Will add to the effect.
Thanks! I hope I do inspire you, as I've gotten plenty of inspiration from others here. Filled in? I don't plan on it being much more planted than it is, other than the lotus developing, but we'll see. :wink2:

I edited in water parameters, but I'm at pH6.4/6.5, TDS is 50 give or take on the day, and nitrates have been Less than 5. I've been changing 25% or so 2-3x a week, to deal with any new tank issues, although I used my old biomedia, and the plants, some rocks and wood were actively in use before moving to this tank. My wellwater is pH 6.5/35 TDS, so it makes a great soft water base. Some purists would say I should have even lower tds, but I'm happy doing no work at all to adjust.

I recently picked up a girlfriend for this angel, but they didn't hit it off. One day, she's attackig him, and the next day he's the aggressor, neither of which resulted in mating, just missing scales and a scratched cornea. She's currently hanging out in my spare tank. Matchmaking worked well for me before, but not this time. I've been debating getting some juveniles, as there shouldn't be any aggression toward them from the big fella. Otherwise, I'm going to move toward more small fish, maybe a huge cardinal school, or smaller schools of others.

I tried some experimental backgrounds on small spare tanks, and was not fully happy with them. It looks a lot better in person, except for the tubes showing. I may try a non-permanent background at some point. Although I love it when the sunlight shines through and makes a lovely tannin-tinted shade on the wall behind.

Bump:

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I really like the tank setup. Do you have the Hydor 350 spray bar setup to go the length of the tank (e.g. left to right) or front to back? I just got the 350 for a brand new 60 gallon setup (48 x 15 x 17) and I'm struggling with how to place it. If I go the length of the tank I'm going to have to cut the spray bar a bit to get it to fit the width of the tank (2 sections are slightly too long). Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I really like the tank setup. Do you have the Hydor 350 spray bar setup to go the length of the tank (e.g. left to right) or front to back? I just got the 350 for a brand new 60 gallon setup (48 x 15 x 17) and I'm struggling with how to place it. If I go the length of the tank I'm going to have to cut the spray bar a bit to get it to fit the width of the tank (2 sections are slightly too long). Thanks!

I have it blowing from back to front, I think it had 3 or 4 sections, and each one is at a different angle. I'm surprised yours only has two.


This is really pretty.
Thanks!
 

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I have it blowing from back to front, I think it had 3 or 4 sections, and each one is at a different angle. I'm surprised yours only has two.
It came with 4 sections, but I would only be able to use 1.75 if I ran it the length of the aquarium (width is only 15"). With it blowing back to front do you find you have too much flow (what is the width of your aquarium)? Any dead spots? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It came with 4 sections, but I would only be able to use 1.75 if I ran it the length of the aquarium (width is only 15"). With it blowing back to front do you find you have too much flow (what is the width of your aquarium)? Any dead spots? Thanks!
Oh, I didn't realize the size of your setup. Mine is a standard 75 gallon 48" left to right, 18" front to back, and 21" top to bottom.

I have the four sections all pointed on different angles, although all generally point forward, rather than down. The return comes in about 2/5 from the left. The left side of the tank is a little bit more still, particularly in the front, but I don't believe that I have any truly dead spots. I have the outflow cut down to about half, and the current is very brisk. Wide open, and it would be fine for a reef, that's how strong these filters are. I'm thinking of drilling out the spray bar holes a bit to slow the current, as I don't feel comfortable throttling down the outflow any more.
 

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Oh, I didn't realize the size of your setup. Mine is a standard 75 gallon 48" left to right, 18" front to back, and 21" top to bottom.

I have the four sections all pointed on different angles, although all generally point forward, rather than down. The return comes in about 2/5 from the left. The left side of the tank is a little bit more still, particularly in the front, but I don't believe that I have any truly dead spots. I have the outflow cut down to about half, and the current is very brisk. Wide open, and it would be fine for a reef, that's how strong these filters are. I'm thinking of drilling out the spray bar holes a bit to slow the current, as I don't feel comfortable throttling down the outflow any more.
Thanks for the description and makes sense. I probably will not know what to do until the tank is actually full of water. Looking forward to watching the progress of your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Interesting observation. Consistently the water has been testing at 1* KH, I think from a rock, as neither the PFS, nor the local sand produced any KH when I was doing some trial runs. I'm not really concerned about it, as it might give me a little stability to counter piles of decaying vegetation. What is interesting is that the snails are doing much better than in my previous tank, which was always had no measurable carbonate, but the water parameters are nearly identical in all other aspects.

Ramshorns always struggled for me, but now they are getting larger than I had ever seen. The Malaysian trumpets actually have points on the back of their shells. I've had them for years, and I never saw points, just blunted ends. And the pond or bladder snails, whatever they may be, are breeding like crazy, and the bigger ones are much more robust than in the tank from which they came.


Forgot to add that I added 8 emperor tetras and the Colombian pleco you see above in the beginning of November, all doing well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm liking it, fish must be happy, get your catfishes's some buddies but don't over do it.
Glad you like!

Friends for cats? A dozen cories aren't enough? :wink2:
Or are you talking about the plecs? It's in the plans. At least for the Colombian. The clown is a little older, so I'm somewhat leery of getting some more.

And the Raphael, well,I'd like to not have to worry about including the new ones in my will. I might have to do that with this one, and I'm only in my 40s!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Some updates, found two baby cories, but couldn't get pics, they really dive into the leaves. The plants have been getting holes in the leaves, I'm hoping it's a potassium deficiency, and not the snails eating them. So I picked up some potassium and have flourish complete. I'm going to begin dosing small increments, I get enough nitrogen and phosphorus from the fish waste and leaves deteriorating. Also, the Frogbit hasn't been doing too good, not sure if it's low nutrients or physical conditions, so I'm going to try some floating pennywort as a surface cover.

Some pics:

Cardinal


Emperor


Caught this pond snail with its mouth open
 

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Looking good!
I just set up an amazon blackwater biotopish tank myself. I have a harem of apisto agassiziis now and a small school of hatchets. Got all my leaf litter and pods from Scott @ Tannin Aquatics as well!

Are you running rodi for the soft water? I'm pretty much identical to you hovering around 50 tds. Feel free to jump into my journal from time to time I'd love to trade ideas with you since not many of us are running tanks like this. My tank is super dark from the tannins too.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Looking good!
I just set up an amazon blackwater biotopish tank myself. I have a harem of apisto agassiziis now and a small school of hatchets. Got all my leaf litter and pods from Scott @ Tannin Aquatics as well!

Are you running rodi for the soft water? I'm pretty much identical to you hovering around 50 tds. Feel free to jump into my journal from time to time I'd love to trade ideas with you since not many of us are running tanks like this. My tank is super dark from the tannins too.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
Thanks!

Hey! Coincidentally, I was looking at your thread at lunch today. :wink2: I'll make sure I subscribe and comment.

No rodi, my well water comes out around 35 and pH of 6.5. I know some backwater Purists will scoff at that, but the less work I have to do the better!

Yeah, we should definitely discuss our experiences, as it's close to not us on here with a botanical tank.
 
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