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Fish for a 20G Blackwater Tank with a Ph of 4.5-5.5?


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Heyo! So I'm currently in the process of starting a 20G Blackwater Tank (It's a UNS 60U if this helps with dimensions and things like that) It's 23.6in L x 14.2in W x 14.2in H.  Just like the title says, I'm aiming for the PH to be about 5.0-5.5 which is to suit the best needs for the stocking I've got so far on a list and I'm 100% intending on keeping. So I'm looking for a bottom dwelling/scavenger species and maybe a top dwelling if I could fit them in. all suggestions are welcome! 

Current list so far:

-4 Tweediei Licorice Gouramis (parosphromenus tweediei) (going to be a pair after I figure out which ones pair off once they age a bit more)

7-8 Dwarf Glass Fish (GYMNOCHANDA PLOEGI)

Ideas I have: 

-6-7 Marble Hatchet Fish 

-4 Dwarf Anchor cats or 6 Pygmy Cories of some species I'm undecided on yet 

 

 

Plants: Salvinia Natans, Java Fern Windelov, Water Lettuce (temporary), and a Crypt or 2 of some species. 

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Sounds like fun!

I’ve never kept a blackwater aquarium, but if I did, I’d spend a lot of time over on Scott Fellman’s site Tannin Aquatics. He’s got blog posts outlining a lot of ideas and interest observations. He spoke at our fish club a couple years ago — really stellar talk!

My one caution is that so many fish are kept and raised at a _higher_ pH, that when you add them to the tank, unless they are acclimated, it might be too stressful.

If you went with wild-caught fish, you might do better. But I’d recommend achieving your water chemistry by R.O. and not with pH down titration drops, tabs, etc. 

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On 6/7/2021 at 4:45 AM, Fish Folk said:

Sounds like fun!

I’ve never kept a blackwater aquarium, but if I did, I’d spend a lot of time over on Scott Fellman’s site Tannin Aquatics. He’s got blog posts outlining a lot of ideas and interest observations. He spoke at our fish club a couple years ago — really stellar talk!

My one caution is that so many fish are kept and raised at a _higher_ pH, that when you add them to the tank, unless they are acclimated, it might be too stressful.

If you went with wild-caught fish, you might do better. But I’d recommend achieving your water chemistry by R.O. and not with pH down titration drops, tabs, etc. 

Good call! As far to my knowledge, all the fish are wild caught (except the catfish maybe, I'll have to check again) but the gourami's and glass fish are wild so I'm hoping they'll have a smooth transition, I'm in Washington so we do have pretty soft water, but yeah PH does reach the mid - high-ish 7's out of the tap, my plan was to use botanicals to bring it down but that might be a better strategy 

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On 6/7/2021 at 7:29 AM, Aralia said:

I don’t have a black water tank but I do have dwarf anchor cats and hatchetfish (not in the same tank).  They are both really fun. I love the cats and they are slowly starting to make their way out more. 

That's awesome to hear! People told me that they always see there's only when they're feeding, and they never come out otherwise. I've kept the Marble Hatchets in the past, (until they got wiped out by my Ctenopoma 😬 when i was less experienced) but I feel like this setup would do well for them. But that's awesome to hear about the catfish! How long have you had yours so far for them to start coming out? 

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Posted (edited)

I have had them for a couple months. They do hide a lot but I often find myself looking at this tank (as one does) and all of the sudden realize I am looking at one fo the little guys. Most of mine are colors that blend into the mosses and wood so it takes me a few to catch on 🙂 and especially during water changes they love to come out and see what’s been rummaged up 😄

Edited by Aralia
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I have kept Discus, rummy nose tetras, cardinal tetras, hatchet fish, Corydoras, etc, in a large tank that was in the mid to low 5 pH range. I ran the water through a reverse osmosis system, then used a Blackstone 7916

image.png.06bef6f2de7a609358b1e6519f9f3c22.png

to dose phosphoric acid to maintain a stable low pH. All of that worked really well, but was expensive to set up initially. In the long run I am not sure the fish benefited much from depressing the pH so low. I think most of the fish would have been just as happy with a pH in the mid to low 6's. but it was a fun project and I am glad I tried it.

 

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