- The truth about phs and blackwater tanks
- Ok, this will be a tad controversial, as with a lot of fish keeping habits. The idea that the topic is important has been ingrained into the minds of fish keepers. In almost every care guide, you can find recommendation of some level of ph that is perfect for your fish. In almost every testing kit, there is a way to determine ph. While ph is important, it’s not important in the way most think.
- Ph of life
- The first and most basic organisms that were discovered were reportedly found at the ph of 7.6, and since then, it has been found that every life form can live, and will gladly breed at 7.6. On many fish forums, it is said that fish require either blackwater tanks, or lower ph to breed. I have even said this in some of my wikis, as I’m aware that is the typical answer given by most. However, this is pretty much incorrect. The trick to ph is not having a specific ph count, but keeping that ph stable.
- Blackwater tanks
- What is a blackwater tank? A blackwater tank is a tank that has an especially high tannin count. Tannins are darkening elements formed when plant matter decomposes and leaches tonic acids into the water, that can stain your water a darker color, bringing the ph lower, and making a tank look closer to the natural environment. It should be noted that a blackwater tank should only be done if that person expressly desires the look of darker water. People may claim that fish will live happier lives, be immune from diseases, and will breed more readily in blackwater tanks, but I’m here to disprove that.
- The health aspects
- I recently got into a small argument over whether tannins are healthy for a fish. I’m aware that betta keepers readily advertises adding tannins into a tank to cure common diseases such as ick, and fin rot. While tannins do have an affect on these diseases, people do not fully understand why they do. I’ve heard arguments that this is how plants naturally deal with fungus and bacteria, but that is untrue. The reason why tannins may have an effect on diseases is because different funguses and bacteria colonies live in super 7 and sub 7 phs, or phs above and below seven. So while lowering the ph below 7 of a betta that caught fin rot in a 7.2 ph tank may help cure that fin rot, different strains of fin rot can easily be caught at sub seven phs. Rather than having to deal with that, antifungal medications such as Erythromycin and Methylene blue will solve the problem without the need of tannins.
- Breeding in blackwater tanks
- As mentioned above, breeding fish does not come down to specific phs, but stability in those fish tanks. Fish such as discus, non betta splendens, and wild caught apistogramma at 7.6 ph, can successfully be bred at super 7 phs, which are all fish that are said to require sub 7 phs. The trick is maintaining a single ph, so that your fish can relax and breed.
- So now you know what phs actually do in the aquarium. For your fish’s ph, I recommend a super 7 ph, as basic phs are healthier on most inverts shells, such as snails. Blackwater tanks are a big misconception within the hobby, and I am glad I have the chance to inform some people on what they actually do.
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