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Cambodia Blackwater Pool Biotope

George Farmer

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UKAPS Team
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30 Jun 2007
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Cambridgeshire
Hi Kev

Thanks for the feedback and questions.

I started the PFK biotope series in the September 2009 issue. You can see three of them here -

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2 ... y=1&vol=-1

Silver sand or even play sand would be ok. Keep it shallow and well-maintained to prevent anoxic build-up.

You would be accurate to leave out planting to replicate a realistic discus habitat, according to Heiko Bleher. Some floating frogbit would work though and would provide additional shelter and biological filtration.

Over the series I have used a wide variety of wood from locally collected (Ireland, E. Midlands) to pieces available in shops such as Sumatra wood (Unipac). My biotopes are not 100% accurate, as I like to balance something that is achievable by mosy hobbyists with something that looks accurate.

I do not know what leaves you could easily obtain that come from a true discus habitat. You could apply some artistic licensing and choose from oak, copper beech or catappa (Indian almond leaves). Ensure they are dead and dried before using. Boiling them up prior to use is effective and allows them to sink immediately. They will also help with the blackwater tint effect.

Black brush/beard algae (BBA) is usually associated with fluctuating CO2 levels in combination with inppropriate lighting levels. Circulation, in my experience, doesn't influence it so much. I would say that it shouldn't be much of an issue in the kind of set-up you propose. If it does start then invest in some liquid carbon and spot dose 1/2 regular dose on infected areas and it will kill it right away before it takes hold. I would be surprised if you have a BBA issue with a non-CO2, low-light set-up with plenty of floating plants.
 

Kevina

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Joined
1 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Thanks george for the info, I've gained a lot of knowledge from this forum and am most grateful.
I already dose my 5ft planted tank with Excel along with fe CO2 setup so have the liquid CO2 incase BBA appears.
I'm looking forward to starting my discus biotope and think that my discus will be happier in it than in my well lit planted tank their in at the moment. I'll probably get started on it in the next few months! Gotta get a new four foot tank first.
I might even do a journal on here when I get the new kit.
I think I'll go with the Indian almond leaves as I can get them on Ebay and they give the water the blackwater effect that I'm gonna be looking for.
What lighting have you used for your blackwater tank?
Thanks for the links to the other articles by the way they look really interesting.
Kind regards Kev.
 

Kevina

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Sorry George, just noticed the lighting on the link you provided.
Cool.
Thanks Kev.
 

George Farmer

Founder
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
30 Jun 2007
Messages
7,083
Location
Cambridgeshire
Hi Kev

Lighting isn't really important for this type of set-up, as we're not after fast plant growth. Floating plants are near the light source and have as much CO2 as they need from the air, so one tube will probably be fine.

Choose a spectrum that suits your taste. In blackwater a pink/purple tube looks good as it really enhances the colours. I'm not usually a fan of these in 'normal' aquascapes, as the colour rendition looks unatural. However, the tannins alter the colour rendition of the tank's inhabitants significantly, so the pink/purple tubes work well in this case.

If you're using T5 then the Arcadia Pro Plant look great, in my opinion. T8s then the Grolux or Arcadia Original Tropical. If you're using multiple tubes then combining these with a daylight (4000-8000K) tube would work well.
 

Kevina

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Joined
1 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Yes, I think I will only be using 1 t5 as I want quite a blackwater, shady kind of feel and won't need too much lighting as am not intending to plant into the substrate. In my planted I use 1 reddish hue tube with 1 daylight spectrum.
 
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