Category Archives: Basics

The Basic Aquarium video series.

Tannins in the Aquarium – Part 2

Here is the second part to the video set on using botanicals to infuse tannins into an aquarium.  Tannins are an important part of a soft water, black water aquarium.  Fish from these habitat really thrive in tannin-rich water.  They are more active and their colors are vibrant.  The botanicals that I feature in this video series came from Tannin Aquatics .  I am very happy with the products Tannin Aquatics sent me.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts

Tannins in the Aquarium – Part 1

I keep a lot of fish species from soft, black-water habitats.  I have visited some of these places in both Africa and South America, and have seen many videos shot by traveling aquarists.  The factor in those habitats that is the most obvious, and the least represented in most aquariums, is the amount of decaying organic matter that rests on the bottom of the habitat, be it puddle or stream.  I have waded into water netting fish and sunk to my knees in thick piles of leaves, sticks, seed pods and any other organic matter that hits the water and sinks to the bottom.  There are plenty of pretty, clear, sand-bottomed, fast running streams in the tropical world, but most of the fish we keep come from the mucky waters.

I started keeping botanicals in my aquariums several years ago.  After visiting Peru last year, I have greatly increased the amount of organic debris I put in with my dwarf cichlids, but nowhere near the amount that is in the natural habitat.  To match that I would have to fill a 10-gallon tank full from top to bottom with leaves, but I do not think that is wise in such a small volume of water.  The bottomlands we were collecting in had ponds with thousands of gallons of water over a thick layer of debris, but the water was still deeper than the layer of leaves.  If you tried it in a 75-gallon tank you would want 10-12″ of matter on the bottom with clear water over it.  Someday I will have the guts to try that!

This video begins a short series on using botanicals in the aquarium.  I will show you leaves, bark, seed pods and other things that I use.  I will also introduce you to a great source of exotic botanicals, Tannin Aquatics.  I shot this video just after getting a big box of items from Tannin Aquatics, many of which I had not tried before.  So far so good.  The first episode will show you how I prepare the heavier objects, such as bark, coconut husk and seed pods, before putting them into the tanks.

2 Comments

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 7: Lighting and Carbon Dioxide

Here is part 7 in the planted tank series, which will be the last episode for a few months.  At this point I am doing regular maintenance and waiting for the plants to grow.  Eventually I will add some more plants to the tanks and stock with with fish.  When that happens I will publish as update on the tanks.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 6 – Filtration

I had intended to try to cover filtration, lighting and CO2 all in one video, but it would have been too long.  Here is an episode on filtration.  You will hear me describe a new product my Boyd Enterprises… ChemiPure Green.  That product is not on the market yet, but I really like it.  I am sure that it will be released soon.

3 Comments

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 5 – planting the level bottom

Here is the follow up video that shows the planting of the level-bottom aquarium in the fish room.  The plants for this tank are all Tropica 1-2-Grow! tissue culture stem plants.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 4 – Planted Contoured Bottom

The plants finally got here and I am able to get these tanks running.  This video shares the steps taken to plant the tank with the contoured bottom.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 3 – Level Bottom with Manzanita

Here is a look at the other tank that I am working on in this planted tank project.  I apologize up front for the messed up footage of attaching suction cups to the piece of wood, but it is a pretty simple procedure.  Just tie suction cups to the wood, and leave some slack in the line to accommodate for the depth of the substrate.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, Uncategorized, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 2 – Contoured Bottom

The second part in this series on planted aquariums will focus on installing the soil substrate, the sand cap and the hardscape in the tank that will have a contoured bottom.  The tank that appears in the video is located in my living room, and will be the centerpiece aquarium in the house.

1 Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts

75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 1 – Soil Substrates

I am finally getting around to working on a few of the display tanks that are coming back home since closing the warehouse.  I decided to tear all the planted tanks down completely and start over with new substrates.  One 75-gallon tank will be in the family room and be the centerpiece display in in the house, so I am taking my time and being careful to get everything just the way that I want it to be.

The first step is mixing the soil substrate that will be on the bottom of the tank under a cap of fine sand.  The mixture I use is something that hobbyists here in the Madison, WI, area came up with years ago the works well for us:  3 parts clean topsoil, 1 part peat, 1 part calcined clay (Turface).  Some people will also put a medium gravel in the mix, but I do not (the calcined clay serves the same purpose).

This video is the first in a series of however many parts it takes me to tell the story.  Part one is about making the soil mixture….

2 Comments

Filed under Basics, video posts

Packing Fish for Shipping – Part 5

This is the last part of the series on packaging and shipping fish.  These videos are dedicated to the locking-wall styrofoam inserts for boxes.  I was turned on to these tongue and groove cut boxes a few months ago, and after working with them for a while I am sold.  These boxes are great.  Sourcing insulated boxes can be a pain, especially if you are shipping a lot of fish.  Solid foam boxes are best, but they are also expensive to purchase, plus the cost of getting them to you.  It is hard to keep the price down unless you order them hundreds at a time.  These locking panels are also expensive to ship, but their up-front cost is lower.  When the boxes are not assembled they take up a little less space than when assembled, so they are a little less expensive to ship.  But the biggest advantage, for me anyway, is to finally have a consistent packaging option that is the same every time.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics, video posts