Pet of the Month
🐶 POTM Poll is Open! 🦎 Click here to Vote! 🐰


Fish Herder
Aug 11, 2014
Reaction score
I very recently learned about black water aquariums and am trying to figure things out with a 10 gallon before possibly doing a 20 gallon. I decided not to mess with changing the pH but if it does change after adding leaves and driftwood, then that's okay.

So far, I've added a bunch of oak leaves and let them sit for a few days, then took most of them out. The HOB filter is rated for a 20gal and has mature filter media so I would say the tank is cycled. The pH became a little lower from 7.8 to 7.4-7.6.
black water1.jpg

Yesterday I went to the LPS and saw that they had some rater cheap drift wood (9$) so I decided to buy a piece along with a young long finned bristlenose pleco (5$). He/she looks to be of good health with a nice string of brown poo and healthy looking fins.
driftwood.jpg longfinplec.jpg

After boiling the wood for about an hour and picking off all the loose bits (while acclimating the pleco) I placed both in their new home. I also bought a new filter rated for a 10-15 gallon with an adjustable flow. All seem well, and soon I plan on attaching some anubias and moss to the driftwood. The lighting is really bad and the tint of the water doesn't help but oh well, it should be okay for anubias and java moss.

If all goes well, the 10 gallon will be a temporary home/quarantine for the pleco until I get the hang of black water tanks and set up the 20 long. Then the 10 will become the home/breeding tank for a new male plakat betta.
I would not have bothered boiling the wood, I love the tannins, I do not bother removing Indian Almond leaves from the tank, I leave them to rot, They make great food for shrimp ETC.

You can make your own Backwater extract .
DIY Blackwater Extract - Red Wine Bettas

With the right lighting you can hardly tell my water is yellow.
Thanks for the link on black water extract :) I'm making a small batch right now with oak leaves. The new tank is coming along well enough but I hit a bump in the road. The long finned bristlenose seems to have a mild case of ick which I didn't notice until after I put in a few corydoras. I have the pleco separated out in an 1.5 gallon pail with meds and an air stone.
For the record, the cories are in the 10gal because the 50 or so inch long African cichlid fry were nipping their dorsal fins so much in the 29. It looks like they like the tannins and driftwood really well. Their fins are almost healed and in the morning when I turn on the lights they are all resting on the driftwood. I cut off 2 short vines of pothos from the main plant and have them sitting on top of the driftwood with their leaves above the water. I would add some photos but my devices are not cooperating :(
If your BN has ich the tank mates will also have it you will have to treat the whole tank.
If your BN has ich the tank mates will also have it you will have to treat the whole tank.
I know, but I'm hopping for the best that they didn't contract it during the short time they were together. I've been watching them on and off these last couple days and they don't seem itchy or covered in salt. I was thinking that if I had to treat the entire tank, would I have to remove the driftwood so it doesn't get stained? I couldn't find any info on this, so basically that's the main reason I separated the pleco instead of treating the whole tank. Of course I could easily tank the wood out but who knows if there's any ich laying dormant on it?
Using ich treatments make me nervous because in the past I was treating my mom's platties but didn't pay any attention to the fact that the chemicals in the meds deplete oxygen. Needless to say, the BN that was with the platties kept coming to the water line and acting funny. I had no idea what was going on until I found the poor thing dead the next morning. That was a few years ago and I still have the sibling of that BN because I had him in a different tank during that time.

Anyways, I'll definitely be keeping on eye on everyone. I have the day off tomorrow and it's water-change day for the larger tanks.
Oh dear, hope its not a serious case, and hopefully its not actually Ich. Fingers crossed.

On a side note, once the tank has been completed treatments of possible ich, then you can get your project back on line.

Have you thought of the idea of rooibos tea, its is exactly what its is, tea :)

But this Rooibos tea must be natural and chemical free, this can be brewed just as you would normally but in a jug or whatever and leave it to cool and add to the tank to get the desired effect of blackwater look you want.

I did this a couple of years ago, worked a treat and has the added benefit that this is actually good for the stocking as it contains natural antitoxidents.
The best way to treat ICH is with heat , slowly bring the water temp up to 30 to 32 deg C for about 5 days. You should see results in 12 to 18 hours if not then think about meds
Last edited:
I thought about doing the heat treatment but we'll see if the ich comes back. I put the BN back in a few days ago and there all the white specs seem to be gone. The corydoras are doing their usual thing, looking around for food or resting behind the driftwood. So far so good :)

I've been adding a frozen slice of cucumber every couple of days but I haven't seen the pleco eating it. The cory cats and snails seem far more interesting in it. I'm guessing he might be munching on it when I turn the lights off but who knows. The pothos has sprouted roots and seems happy enough. The main problem that I have now is the new filter. It works great, super awesome....without stuffing it with filter floss. With clean filter floss it fine, but after a few days the fibers get just a little gunk and the water doesn't pass through it but backs up and over flows where the intake tube is. I know the bio load is a fair bit high with the pleco and corries but I didn't think it would be that bad.

Any ways, I can't wait to sell off my cichlid fry so I can move the corries and pleco into the 29 and get a male plakat.
The Ich has not returned :D Everyone is very energetic but as expected, they make a huge mess in such a small tank. I'm almost ready to sell the older batch of cichlid fry that are residing in a 20 gallon tall, so I plan on playing musical tanks and eventually getting the cory cats and the pleco into the 29 gallon, then buying a betta.

Btw NickAu, when I made that first batch of blackwater extract, I accidentally forgot about it on the stove and when I got around to remembering, nearly all the water was gone! It was a very concentrated black sludge. I ended up just adding more water and used it anyways ;)
I just found a new way to get photos on here, so here are some of the pics I wanted to add a couple weeks ago
IMG_2517[1].JPG IMG_2526[1].JPGIMG_2516[1].JPG
Just took a few more recent pictures. The BN looks great and is less shy when there's food :)


    116.9 KB · Views: 360
I haven't updating this for a while so here we go.

Went shopping with the family and we were running short on time, so I didn't get to go to Petco, which has amazing bettas in my area. I did get to go to petsmart, but they didn't have any plakats other than some pink/purple dumbos which I do not fancy. I ended up buy a lovely black female crown tail with metallic scales. She stayed with the corries and pleco for a week, and then went in with the other females, who have yet to bother her at all. They don't seem to care at all, even though she's still half their size. She's doing great and is super active and happy.

The corrie and pleco are as happy as ever, and it feels like the filter floss in the HOB gets full of gunk every three days. I like this filter, it's really quiet and has an adjustable flow but I don't think it can keep up will all the waste the fish produce. It's probably perfect for a 10gal with one betta, but not for my bottom feeders... I do water changes twice a week and always rinse the filter floss. The Pothos roots are really kicking off and the corries love to swim up and "smell" at them with their whiskers :)

I will get my male betta, when I see one I like. I will not settle for less than what I want in this.
I will get my male betta, when I see one I like. I will not settle for less than what I want in this.
I agree get exactly what you want.
I agree get exactly what you want.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I want. Definitely want a plakat, but I have no idea what color/pattern. I would love to get a koi/marble but I also want something that will match my favorite female so I can hopefully spawn them. An on going theme with all my tanks seems to be darker colors, and for some reason I tend to always lean towards any shade of blue when it comes to bettas. The vast majority of bettas I kept were blue-ish, and the new male will probably be blue-ish too ;) I suppose I'll know it when I see it, and there is a high possibility I will end up spending more than I plan to, as always, when I go fish shopping...
I may or may not of done what I said I wouldn't do. I think I settled for something less than what I originally wanted. While doing some Christmas shopping at Meijers (which is a chain store, much like Walmart) I was looking at the fish, as per usual. At the very top of the rack that holds the betta cups, I saw him. I lovely white male crowtail, with small patches of blue and a neon/sky blue sheen. His fins were in perfect shape, not curly either. Very active and healthy looking. His pectoral fins were clear with a little blue and his beard looked dark blue as well. That was the single most beautiful betta I've ever seen in that store, so I took him home.
I'm keeping and eye on his fins, because from what I've experienced, lots of long finned bettas end up developing finrot right after getting them settled in their new homes. I assume it's because of the sudden change but who knows? It looks like he has the marble gene, so I'm excited to see how his colors change :D

If I ever see the plakat of my dreams, I have a divider on hand, and I'm not afraid to use it ;)
IMG_2748.JPG IMG_2750.JPG IMG_2754.JPG IMG_2753.JPG

Most reactions