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Blackwater Water Change

xSparkleZ

Member
Messages
54
I've been out of the game for a while and wanted to test how others may be performing water changes in a blackwater tank.

I currently prepare water in plastic buckets and age them for a week as I typically perform my water changes weekly and top off through out the week.
I have an airstone and heater in there to match the temperature of the recieving tank and float some savu pods, jackfruit leaves, guava leaves, and mangrove leaves until parameters are aligned.
Once the water has been used, I make a series of new batches of prepared water and transfer the botanicals to the new water to go through the aging process again.

Wondering if there are other efficiencies I can implement?
I read people use Rooibus Tea to add tint, but it seems controversial.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,055
Location
Germany
Rooibos is only controversial because it has to be flown around half the planet from South Africa, making it almost as unsustainable as peat. And peat is the really controversial stuff in my opinion.

Technically it is easier to change water in softwater tanks (because let's face it, even with the best RO unit it is near impossible to recreate true blackwater conditions at home, and no, pH is not the deciding factor, it's conductivity.) Just by bringing pure RO/Rainwaterto temp and just add it to the tank when changing water. I'm one of those that have layers upon layers of leaves and botanicals in their tank, the humic substances leach out from that stuff all the time.

I use a brew of RO with rooibos (organic, no aroma additives), elder cones and leaves regularly additionally to the botanicals and leaves in the tank. I add the leaves each time and use the cones 2x.
 

xSparkleZ

Member
Messages
54
That makes sense.

I also have a bunch of leaf litter and other botanicals in the tank.
I was never a fan of peat, but rooibos sounded like an easy way to get the tint consistent in the main tank with easy top offs while I wait for the botanicals to leech out on their own.

Are all rooibos tea blends made equal?
Is there a specific brand or just make sure it's organic and additive-free?
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
571
Location
San Francisco
I think you can get sustainably farmed rooibos. A different "controversy" of rooibos is that tinting a tank quickly is mostly cosmetic. By contrast, botanicals that are permitted to decompose in the tank both leach tannins and provide substrate and sustenance for other fauna. So, rooibos isn't harmful but also doesn't do that much functionally if the color isn't important to you.

Like Mac said, the most important part of blackwater water changes is that the EC is low. I don't worry about treating the water outside the tank. I just add RODI water and botanicals directly to the tank as needed.

If pH is important for your fish (which for most apistogramma it is likely not) you can lower the pH of the water outside first to avoid drastic changes in your tank.
 

Apistoguy52

Active Member
Messages
295
Seems like a reasonable WC program. I store and agitate at room temperature (heated room) for a day or two. PH manipulations are made in the storage tanks. Day or two before use for “stable” conditions, day of use for “rainy season” intentional PH fluctuations.
 

xSparkleZ

Member
Messages
54
Seems like a reasonable WC program. I store and agitate at room temperature (heated room) for a day or two. PH manipulations are made in the storage tanks. Day or two before use for “stable” conditions, day of use for “rainy season” intentional PH fluctuations.
Sounds like we are in the same boat.
I also set the heater a couple of degrees lower than the main tank when I want to mimic the rainy season and attempt to induce the spawn.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,776
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
That makes sense.

I also have a bunch of leaf litter and other botanicals in the tank.
I was never a fan of peat, but rooibos sounded like an easy way to get the tint consistent.
I tried Rooibos tea to drink, let's just say I'm sticking with coffee.

In terms of tannin tint, either @MacZ Alnus ssp. Alder or Oak (Quercus spp.) will give you tannins and tint.

Cheers Darrel
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
5 Year Member
Messages
316
Location
Finland
Blend? Honestly, I go to the local aldi supermarket and take the generic pure organic rooibos without any additives. 2€ a pack of 25 bags. Lasts me 3 months. It's mostly for cosmetic reasons as it gives the water a reddish tone I can't achieve with alder and beech alone.
Hi,

Thank you MacZ for this! I´ve been looking for years to get that tone. Any ideas on how many bags for 240 litre tank?
 

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