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I'm Going Blackwater

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I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Sun 14 Jun 2015, 12:39

It's taken me a while to make up my mind and get the right advice on how to go Blackwater but I've finally bit the bullet this morning.

From this



To this




It's very gradual as I don't want to go too far all at once but I plan to darken it further over the next day or so. I'm using RedBush Pure tea (all I could find is Tetley but I'm guessing there's other brands on the market) I took advice from someone who keeps wild Altums and he uses pure redbush tea to darken his water. It has lots of uses - the main ones being a natural anti-biotic and a natural de-stresser.
I decided to do it partly because I love the blackwater 'look' but also because my curvicep cichlid is stressed since losing his mate recently and I was hoping it might help him calm down and colour back up.

I know there are other ways to get this look - adding certain woods or leaves but I decided to go easy and add some tea to my clean water at water change time.
One thing I did notice was the calming effect it had in my fish almost straight away. My harlequins were darting about stressed out cos I'd been pruning and glass cleaning and as soon as the first jug of stained water went in they stopped darting about. I'm happy to keep you all posted with how this goes if anyone is interested. Let me know Very Happy
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 03:19

Mine prefer coffee, just kidding... they'd never sleep.

I like the mature look in the 'after' picture. I know natural peat does a good job at changing the water colour but I think it lowers the pH at the same time, which isn't always what's needed. Does tea change the pH? Keep us posted.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  wildreddeer on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 12:31

There is another on the market. For the minute I can not remember the name of it. I used to use it and it is very good, definitely recommend it. I used to get it on ebay from, I think Singapore. I don't want to stop you from what you are doing, but you may want to read up on ????? when I remember the name of it. It comes dried and vacuumed pack. Normally in batches of 25. Can also get it in the hundreds as well.

Now to put my thinking cap on.

Phil

PS>>>>Also aids breeding.
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 12:37

Hi Dean ... no the tea does nothing to pH (at least I'm told that anyway, I've not checked) I believe checking the pH now will be a little less accurate though as the stained water will make the test look different.

It's been 24 hours and all my fish seem really calm. I'm also seeing a lot more of my cories - they seem a lot less shy now.

The redBush tea comes from the Rooibos plant which is completely natural and pesticide free as it naturally resists pests etc. It is worth trying for any stressed out fish. My lot are well chilled now!
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 12:37

Rooibos Phil?

If so it's the same stuff Smile
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CATAPPA LEAVES

Post  wildreddeer on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 12:51

Remembered.
I used it years ago when I started to breed Bettas. Then when I turned to Angels I found out that it was the same for them.

Here a clipping from about them.

Terminalia catappa leaves ( OR Ketapang Tropical Almond leaf or Sea Almond or Indian Almond) are becoming very popular as a natural medicine and water conditioner for aquarium use. They are known to have anti-bacteria and anti-fungal properties. This guide provides 4 suggestions on how to use them. Fish Breeders are known to use these leaves to give their fish a spawning environment.  

INTRODUCTION

Indian almond leaves have been widely used by Asian breeders of tropical fish (Angel fish, Arowanas, Cardinals, Corydoras, Discus, Betta etc) to stimulate breeding and promote health and vitality in tropical fish.  They love it! We have feedback from customer that her betta is making bubble nest  immediately after she placed the first leaf into her tank.   Shrimps like to feed on the nutricious leaf after it softens in water.  
There are at least 4 ways of using them in the aquarium (apart from using them as beautiful leaf-litter in terrariums for frogs, hermit crabs, scorpions and snakes).

METHOD 1: DROP IT INTO FISH TANK

1. Dosage:  Put one leaf in a 10 - 15 gallon tank. Discard the leaf after 1 week and replace with a new leaf.
2. The leaf will float and then sink only after 1 to 2 days.
3. You do not need to change the leaves until they begin to disintegrate in about 3 weeks to a month. If you have shrimps or plecos, they will eat them when they start to disintegrate.

 METHOD 2: PLACE IT AT FILTER

1.Get a filter bag (laundry netting). Use 2 leaves for every 25 gallons, and stuff it into the filter bag. Leave the bag in a compartment of the Overhead Filter near the inlet into the filter. If you use a Canister Filter, leave it in a bottom tray. (Do not simply stuff the leaves into the canister at the top, or you may end up with damaged impellers).
2. The leaves will begin to tan the water in a couple of days. But it will disintegrate over 14-21 days and should be changed.
3. Activated carbon will affect any tanning or good properties from the leaves. The use of activated carbon is not recommended when using Indian Almond Leaves.

METHOD 3: BREWING BLACKWATER

To brew blackwater extract, follow the following steps:

1.    For 2 gallon water, use around 40 leaves or more
2.     Wash  the leaves over running water.
3.     Put 40 leaves per gallon of water in a pot.
4.     Let the leaves soak in the pot for a day.
5.     Boil the pot for 40 minutes.
6.    Leave to cool. The water in the pot should be as black as thick coffee and very fragrant.
7.   Filter the blackwater extract through a coffee paper filter
8.   Store the liquid in container.
9.   Refrigerate or keep away from sunlight
10. Dosage will be 1 ounce for 1 gallon of water in the betta tank. Do not use more than 1 ounce for 1 gallon of water.

METHOD 4: TEA BAG

1. Put the teabag or a large leaf crumpled up into a cup, and add hot water. Leave it to cool. Dosage:  Put one leaf in a 10 - 15 gallon tank
2. Add the water to aquarium.
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 13:35

yes, I'd heard of that too. You can use Alder cones aswell Smile
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Mon 15 Jun 2015, 20:41

You can use oak leaves too, they're free. Wait while they fall from the tree when brown in altum, aragh, can't spell I keep typing altum.. try again.. autumn, that's better! and don't pick from side of a busy road.

I wouldn't use too many though (I made that mistake) - maybe three or four for a 2ft tank.

I'm just sticking to plain old water for now, but it's always interesting to see and hear about what other people have done in the past or are doing now.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Tue 16 Jun 2015, 10:08

I tried oak leaves last autumn and they didn't stain the water at all ... I just ended up with planaria instead Rolling Eyes


When the day comes when I can move from this hell hole and have a brand new tank installed it'll be completely blackwater - with all amazonian fish, plants, decor .... the whole nine yards.... that day will come eventually but in the meantime I'll keep buying a lottery ticket so I can bring that day closer
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 15:32

80mg of roobios per L is obviously far too much! Not a good day in the fish house :-(

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 19:53

what did you do ... Shocked

I add 4 tea bags to a litre of boiling water then add a little bit to each bucket. My tank is 240 litre
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 19:54

a large water change will remove some and then the filter will remove some more over a week
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 21:08

My mixture was x5 stronger than yours and has done more harm than good.

I only added 100ml (one tenth of a L) per 70L but that level is potentially lethal.
(water colour stays reasonable and ph and kh are not affected to a great degree even at lethal levels)

Akasha:
Presuming your bucket is about 10L, how many doses would you get out of your 1L mixture?
and, do you intend to keep doses at the same rate, going forward?

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 21:30

it shouldn't be lethal ... I've not come across any research to show it causes harm - even at high levels.

My buckets hold 6 litres approx. I add 4 tea bags to a litre jug, pour in boiling water and leave it to stand for 10 minutes. I then remove the bags, squeezing them out before disguarding.

I remove 10 buckets of old water from the tank then I add a very small amount of 'tea' to each bucket - literally enough to cover the bottom of the bucket - I then fill the bucket with fresh water from the taps and add my dechlorinator.

I add back 10 buckets each with the small amount of tea in it. This stains the water lightly. I find as the week goes by the water starts to clear slightly so my filters seem to be removing some of the staining - it could be my phosphate remover that's soaking it up - that I can't tell you.

I need to do a water change in the next couple of days. Will photographing the process help any cos I can do that if it does.


Regarding what's gone wrong - just do large water changes until you get rid of it. Have you lost any fish as that is good to know. As I said - I've not found any research at all to show this is harmful and so if there is evidence that it is we need to know

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Mon 31 Aug 2015, 23:27

Rooibos causes harm and fatalities at 80mg of per L.

Within the first 24 hours, typical signs are:
1. Dulling of fins, which leads to erosion of tissue on the extremities
2. Slight body slime / mucus
3. Increased rate of breathing

Between 24-72 hours:
4. Slightly clamped fins
5. Loss of appetite
6. Reddened fins, particularly at base where they adjoin the body
7. Cloudy eye/s
8. Hanging around at the surface, failure to use pectoral fins
9. Raised scales
10. Loss of body colour, pale

At 72 hours expect:
11. Erratic back and forth movements (in recovery) with likely...
12. 75% death of smaller fish under 1 year

If you want evidence, there are now 12 dead fish in my bin. Some I paid very good money for, others were bought as presents, some I have traveled miles to collect, some I have raised from eggs, some which have flown around Europe before they landed with me, others have traveled by bendy-bus through the streets of Leeds.

As a rule I change 20% of the water each and every day. I changed 20% the morning after I added the mixture, 40% the day after and 60% today. Hopefully that will have reduced the concentration to 12Mg p L tomorrow:

(80.00mg/5*4) = 64mg L > Day 1, 20% water change
(64.00mg/5*3) = 38.4mg L > Day 2, 40% water change
(38.40mg/5*2) = 15.36mg L > Day 3, 60% water change
(15.36mg/5*4) = 12.228mg L > Day 4. 20% water change tomorrow

Also, for the skeptics the ph, kh and ammonia have been monitored and did not cause any concern or significant shift after adding the mixture and the mixture was added to 6 tanks, each with their own filtration system and it affected all fish to a greater or lesser extent. So unless you want to nuke your angelfish, I'd be very careful not to overdo it with Rooibos.

Those of you who know of me via this forum will know that my usual approach is quite mathematical so frankly I feel a bit of an idiot for not being as careful as I normally would be. Let's just say, don't believe everything you read on the internet, especially when a 'harmless' assumption is made.

Here endeth the research, which was not intentionally carried out. I just hope other people will not make the same mistake and assume that preparing your own Blackwater preparations are entirely safe, they're not entirely foolproof.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 08:40

aww Dean ... this is awful ... I'm welling up Sad


There are some cautions that I found in my research - the main one being be careful where you buy (internet best avoided) and to make sure it is pure rooibois and nothing added (again, avoid the internet and loose tea as you can't be sure what you are buying)

Having read your experience I'm now worried about adding any more myself even though I've not found any problems with it. I'm also worried about others reading this thread and making similar mistakes and then it'll feel like it's my fault


I'll leave it to Rob to read all this and he wants to take this thread down then I won't be offended at all.


Dean, I don't know what to say or if there is anything I can do to help but I'm here and I want to say I'm so so sorry for what's happened
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 14:01

Thank you for your kind words Akasha.

As long as you don't encounter the first 3 symptoms in the list, it should be ok.

I wouldn't stop what you are doing. I still intend to use it, but at a lower strength than it had been possible for me to prepare (and use without any apparent concern).

Yeah it is awful tbh but only have myself to blame. All I can do now is recover what is left and try to make others aware of what I've encountered when using what is obviously a strong mix.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 15:03

Where did you get tea leaves from Dean? Who's brand are you using? I use Tetley redbush myself as it was a brand I trusted.

I've seen no adverse effects in any of my fish, if anything what I have seen is a general chilling out of behaviour, less aggression from my angels and curviceps comes out in to the open much more often

I hope you can pull this back ... I feel awful Sad
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 17:46

Original Rooibos:

http://www.redbushtea.com/redbush_products.aspx

The only ingredient is: Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis).
Best Before End: Oct 2016

No deaths for the past 12 hours, so things are starting to improve.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Tue 01 Sep 2015, 18:16

this is what I'm using http://www.tetley.co.uk/our-teas/products?id=49

I have no idea about a latin name as it's not listed on the packet or on the website

So glad you've stopped losing fish now. I feel responsible in some small way and I've felt sick to my boots all day No
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 01:04

Some of the slime (floating around in the tank) was surprisingly transparent and jelly like when removed from the tank on my finger.

Cotton wool fungus has developed on some of the survivors (random places, tailfin, head, body) so I'm guessing that they've lost their natural protective coating. The survivors are having a course of Interpet anti-slime and fungus.

I'm fairly sure that both your brand and mine are pure, so although every plant / batch will be slightly different, they are much the same thing and of similar quality / potency. I'm considering drafting some guidelines, which is why I'd be particularly interested to find out your experience and the 2 key questions are:

When you've prepared your mix (4 bags in 1ltr of water)...
how much water do you normally, on average put in the bucket?
how much of the mix, on average are you adding to your bucket?


As you have suffered no side effects whatsoever, I'd say your way is within the safety zone. My way wasn't. You know what works, I know what doesn't. I also know why I made the mistakes.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 09:11

Hi Dean, if it were me I'd throw away this tea you've got and either replace it with some Tetley or ditch the idea completely. I'm really worried that from what you are saying you've been sold something that isn't what it's claiming to be. I can't get the gut feeling that something else is in this stuff to go away ... call it woman's intuition ... something doesn't sit right.

I've never had a film appear in my tank from the tea, the most I've noticed is a slight foam on the surface of the water in the bucket which goes away once stirred.

To answer your questions as best I can:

My jug hold 1000ml (1 litre) and I try to distribute the tea fairly evenly into each bucket so over 10 buckets that would be just over 100ml to each bucket. Each bucket holds roughly 6 litres ... so if you want to make an even easier mathematical calculation I remove 60 litres of water from my tank each week (roughly 25%) and so 60 litres goes back. To the 60 litres I add 1 litre of roobois tea.

Now that this has happened though I am going to add less. I was naughty and skipped my water change at the weekend (I wasn't feeling great and so wasn't in the mood) I've been aiming to get it done asap but I may just leave it till this weekend now. It'll mean the tank has gone 2 weeks without it's water change but this only happens occasionally so I'm not worried. This week I'm only going to add 3 tea bags instead of 4. The tank is still looking stained from the last water change and now this has happened to you I'm a little concerned about tea build up.

I'm now considering looking at other ways to stain my water and I may look into some of the other options that Phil (wildreddeer) mentioned earlier in this thread
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Akasha on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 09:14

just had a thought. Would you like me to cut open 3 or 4 tea bags and measure how much tea is in each - I could just cut open one as I would have thought that each tea bag will have equal amounts of tea leaves inside it

Let me know Smile
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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 16:57

Thanks for the information.

My packaged tea was 200grams and contained 80 bags. So, at most, there is 2.5grams of tea per bag. That will be typical of what is needed to make 1 cup of tea.

You used four bags, 2.5grams x 4 = 10grams (strength of).

So, in your 1L container, you have 10grams but you only use a tenth of that (1g) in 6L of water

1g equals 1000mg

1000mg divided by 6L equals 166mg per L.

Due to 25% water changes, there is somewhere between 42 to 166mg per L.
In general it can never be more than 166mg and never less than 42. The figure of 42 assumes that at the end of the water change, all the old tea has been 'used up', but whether that happens or not, I do not know. As I've said, it can never be more than 166mg per L so 'build up' can't happen.

What can happen, is that you start of slowly at 42mg (it gets diluted by existing water) but increases over four or more water changes to about 166mg per L.
____

Anyone want to buy some tea bags?
____

If you've have stuck to the same routine for over a month without any problems then I think it's fair to say that these levels are reasonably safe.

What I will have to do next, is double check my own mixture figures, as I expect that there's a mistake in them.

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Re: I'm Going Blackwater

Post  Deans_Angels on Wed 02 Sep 2015, 17:09

In short, you add 1L to a 240L system... all I did was add 1L to a 700L system, the main difference being that, you used 10grams of tea, I used 50grams  Embarassed

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