How to make a Blackwater Aquarium

Blackwater aquariums are really good for your fish and at the same time helps in controlling your aquarium water cycle. Blackwater extract reduces the pH scale of your aquarium, removes hardness of the water, and reduces the toxicity of heavy metals in your aquarium. All you need to do is boil some botanicals like, Indian Almond leaves or Catappa leaves, and alder cones to make a blackwater extract and pour 10ml of the extract for every 10 gallons of water.

Health Benefits of Blackwater Aquarium

Blackwater aquarium:

  • reducing the stress level of your fish, 
  • has anti-parasite features, 
  • anti-fungal features
  • and acts as a natural medicine for your fishes. 

Blackwater aquariums create an environment that is best suitable for the fish and your fish will thrive, breed and grow healthy as a whole. 

How to make the Blackwater Extract for Aquarium

Here are some simple steps you can use to make an easy blackwater extract which you can use to create a blackwater aquarium:

  • Catappa or Indian Almond Leaves: Use some dried Indian almond leaves or Catappa Leaves to make a 500 ml extract. Shred the leaves in a grinder or by bare hands.
  • Water: Pour 1 litre of RO water into the bowl of shredded catappa leaves or Indian Almond Leaves.
  • Boil the Leaves: Put the shredded Leaves in a steel bowl with 1 litre of water and leave them to soak for about 24hrs. 
  • Filter: Filter out the leaves and the extract, you will get around 500 ml of extract. Use 10 ml of extract for every 10 gallons of aquarium water.

How to setup a Blackwater Aquarium

  • Aquarium size: There is no particular size of aquarium needed to set up a blackwater aquarium, you can choose your choice of aquarium size.
  • Substrate: Pouring sand as a substrate for a blackwater aquarium is ideal as it gives a very natural look to the aquarium. You can also choose to put fine gravels, stones and river rocks and pebbles as well. 
  • Water: Fill the aquarium with water and no chemical is necessary or mandatory as long as it is RO water used for filling the tank.
  • Filter: Use a hang -on filter, or Power-head filters, pressure filters like canister filters or any kind of external filter if it is a big aquarium.
  • No-Co2 needed: You don’t need CO2 in a Blackwater aquarium as you wont be adding in many plants or moss culture within the tank.
  • Rocks and Driftwood: Make sure to add in some rocks like dragon rocks, pebbles, lava rocks, or any other bigger size of rocks to give it a natural river aesthetics. 
  • Botanicals: Collect and add a bunch of botanicals including some dried catappa leaves, Indian almond leaves, twigs, Alder Cones, etc. These botanicals will give out tannins after a few days and create a dark-brownish aquarium water. 
  • Water Heater: The water heater will help in maintaining a temperature between 75-80°F (24-26.7°C).
  • Lighting: There is no need for any kind of major lighting to be used for the aquarium in case you are not planning on creating a biotope or planting any natural plants. Any kind of aquarium light will work well.
  • Blackwater extract: Use 10 ml of extract for every 10 gallons of aquarium water. Any water changes should also include pouring an additional mls of extract depending upon the amount of water changed in your aquarium.
  • Suitable fish: Blackwater aquariums are ideal for all types of tetras, Discus fish, Corydoras, American Dwarf Cichlids, neocaridina shrimps and angelfish. 

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