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tds and organic (wood and leaves) contribution.

martink

New Member
Messages
23
Hey so im starting a blackwater tank and im letting it cycle, i have plants rooting in the water, a bunch of dried vines and purchased driftwood, the dark wood kind. As in my old tanks i also add bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, because they are high q food grade and i know they have no bacteria.

My tds is climbing I think my water on its own is 100 tds ish and its up to 170. this is from all the contents im sure as ive tested the sand peat mix as the substrate. I put a weight to weigh down the wood but its solid marble, I may have acted too hastily as ive read marble adds to hardness, but its a solid pestle??. I bought an ro unit but need an attachment to fit to sink, but im interested to know:

A) TDS and addition of leaves etc, do you balance with ro water change? is it stable to do that?
B) Anybody know if cinnamon bark or bay leaves are bad, i personally havent any problems, but Im open to criticism as i can easily remove them.
C) Any other advice especially on the marble, but i think im already going to take it out?


thank you.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
379
Location
San Francisco
As for the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, I know people commonly add them to shrimp tanks, so I assume they're harmless. It doesn't make sense to say that they're bacteria-free, since:
  1. Your tank isn't sterile.
  2. One of the reasons for adding botanicals is provide substrate and food for microorganisms and fungi to grow.
Cheers,
Ben
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
As for the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, I know people commonly add them to shrimp tanks, so I assume they're harmless. It doesn't make sense to say that they're bacteria-free, since:
  1. Your tank isn't sterile.
  2. One of the reasons for adding botanicals is provide substrate and food for microorganisms and fungi to grow.
Cheers,
Ben
ok only answer this if you can be bothered, its only to resolve my misconception.. so if i go to the forest and dump in some bark immediately, why does it taint the tank? does it even? where as bought bogwood or cinnamon bark does not. why would anybody use bought wood otherwise? again just curious.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
379
Location
San Francisco
ok only answer this if you can be bothered, its only to resolve my misconception.. so if i go to the forest and dump in some bark immediately, why does it taint the tank? does it even? where as bought bogwood or cinnamon bark does not. why would anybody use bought wood otherwise? again just curious.
I'm not sure what you mean by "taint."

If you use green or live organics, it can pollute the water with nitrogen and/or sugars. If you stick to dry, dead bark, leaves and wood, it is nearly always fine to use. In nature, blackwater environments occur with trees and leaves falling into the water.

People tend to buy wood and botanicals out of convenience. Maybe they don't have the shapes or kinds of botanicals they're looking for. Maybe they're concerned about pesticides. Maybe they don't want to be bothered to collect it.

For reference, I bought a pound of live oak leaves for $10. A full pound is a LOT of dry leaves. For me, this was clearly faster than going to the park to collect that many, bring them home, and rinse/dry. But I also do that in the fall season. Some people have a tree in their backyard and have unlimited leaves and twigs.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
alright myth busted for me. i get it with the oak leaves ill just buy them too.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,439
Location
Germany
A. The botanicals add very little TDS to my blackwater tanks.
Same here. Filled to the rim with leaf litter and botanicals and DOC only make up less than 10mg/l of overall 40mg/l TDS.
I use 100% RO on the tank plus homemade alder cone extract, which usually has 30mg/l TDS at 10-20 alder cones per liter. So diluted in the net volume of 90l that should equal about 0.3 mg/l on the whole tank volume. Adding this weekly I guess I got it up to maybe 7-8mg/l.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,544
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
Hey so im starting a blackwater tank and im letting it cycle
How are you cycling it?
As in my old tanks i also add bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, because they are high q food grade and i know they have no bacteria.
I wouldn't think they will do any harm, but I wouldn't worry about their food grade status, as @Ben Rhau says it doesn't matter as soon as they are in the tank.
It doesn't make sense to say that they're bacteria-free, since:
  1. Your tank isn't sterile.
  2. One of the reasons for adding botanicals is provide substrate and food for microorganisms and fungi to grow.
where as bought bogwood or cinnamon bark does not. why would anybody use bought wood otherwise? again just curious.
Samee for me, I've no idea why people buy "botanicals", unless they have no access to the outside environment. <"Personally I use"> DIY Oak (Quercus spp.) bark/leaves, Alder (Alnus spp,) "cones", Beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaves etc.

In terms of the tannin stain? it is the <"thing you want">.

cheers Darrel
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
Hi all,

How are you cycling it?

I wouldn't think they will do any harm, but I wouldn't worry about their food grade status, as @Ben Rhau says it doesn't matter as soon as they are in the tank.


Samee for me, I've no idea why people buy "botanicals", unless they have no access to the outside environment. <"Personally I use"> DIY Oak (Quercus spp.) bark/leaves, Alder (Alnus spp,) "cones", Beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaves etc.

In terms of the tannin stain? it is the <"thing you want">.

cheers Darrel
im cycling it by just letting it run with the filter stuffed with peat; and all the cinnamon etc. im not sure if thats good but it seems to be working, oh and letting the plants develop a bit. Im trying to get it right for ivanacara adoketa, so i want the ec low. my water is quite soft but i bought an ro unit to get it within the ranges MacZ suggested for blackwater. My water is probably soft enough to not need to but id like them to fully colour up etc.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,439
Location
Germany
I would remove the peat and the botanicals from the filter and add them to the tank itself. The peat in a nylon bag, the botanicals out in the open. Otherwise when the stuff degrades the debris might end up in the pump. Instead make sure the filter has enough sponges. I found this working really well.
 

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I'm clueless. If I say something you can safely ignore it.
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I see that The Wet Spot Tropical Fish currently has the fire red A. agassizi you are looking for. Here is the link:
I've always had good experiences buying from them on line.
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