Document the journey...

We are so excited to see more and more hobbyists starting new aquarium adventures daily with our aquatic botanicals. And we are equally excited that many of you are taking the time to document the journey in photos, videos, and social media posts!

It's not only fun to see what you're doing- it's a very important and, well- crucial -part of the evolution of the "New Botanical" approach to blackwater aquariums. With each new aquarium that is built, our "state of the art" changes and advances. New hobbyists are inspired. Old preconceptions are put to rest. New challenges arise. And the growing portfolio of work done by you- our global community, is literally helping shape technique, aesthetics, mental approaches, and "best practices" for our craft.

As I've mentioned previously, since we're really sort of at the launching point for a new approach to the blackwater aquarium game, it's so very important to document- as publicly as you're comfortable- the journey from start to maturity (notice that I didn't say "finish?") of your aquatic feature. It doesn't always have to be beautiful, or perfect, or even exciting. Sure, we get all fired up when we see a cool tank, and it's totally inspiring. However, I think an even more valuable asset would be for you to document the mundane- perhaps even rather tedious- progression of your system from start to maturity...

Doesn't have to be a lot of sexy set of shots or anything, just some progress (a pic or two every couple of days or once a week or whatever), along with some basic water parameter results (pH, KH, nitrate, etc.) to see if we can spot any trends or issues. Observations about how fast the botanicals break down, how dark the water gets, any unusual behaviors (or DEATHS!) of animals are important to note. It would be important to document what materials were added, how they were prepared, and in what quantities (and when!). Seems like a lot of stuff, but you're probably already keeping some mental notes on it already, right?

I'm wondering if we should, at some point, establish a special page on our site where we can share our observations, pics, videos, and other data with "Tint Nation?" An ongoing, growing, open-source "Tint-i-pedia" of sorts! What do you think about that idea? Would you contribute? Would you find it valuable?

Documenting the process. The journey. The craft.

This may be among the most valuable stuff we do in the area of blackwater, botanical-style aquariums. When you're literally forging into new territory, every bit of documentation- every observation, every experience -counts! Something seemingly inconsequential to you might be a sign of something noteworthy, particularly if other hobbyists are making the same observations in their own tanks! It might be the "Eureka!" moment for some other hobbyist halfway around the world. This is how we can continue to develop and refine a set of expectations, "best practices", and key indicators of what happens in one of these aquariums. 

One area that is of particular interest is documenting the spawnings of some of your fishes (such as cichlids, Betta, catfishes, and characins) which occur shortly after the introduction of botanicals to your system. As previously discussed here in "The Tint",  I was thinking that much of this was just coincidence; however, it's happening often enough that it warrants more investigation and documentation! 

The other area of interest- and an area I know many of you are working on already- is to establish some datapoint on which aquatic plants seem to do well in blackwater, botanical-style systems. Obviously, there will be many, many variables, such as lighting, fertilization regimens, CO2 injection, etc. However, with enough data, I'm thinking that we might be able to establish some good recommendations as to which plants seem to fare best under the most commonly-provided blackwater conditions. This could be a big help to many hobbyists who wish to do more work with plants in a blackwater setting.

After more than two years of operation and a very large number of customers trying out this approach, we already have a pretty good "feel" for everything, but it can never hurt to have some good, solid information. And for those trying out some really esoteric, but important stuff- such as managing very low pH systems or other specialized approaches within the blackwater/botanical realm, this documentation and sharing is crucial, and may very well lead to some greater understanding- if not breakthroughs- in these interesting subspecialties!

Our "mission statement": "De tenibrus, lucem" ( Latin for "From Darkness, light.") . Kind of sums it up, right?

So that's it for today...a quick, concise request for....MORE!

"Tint-i-pedia." Hmm, I kind of like the name, lol.

Stay diligent. Stay Focused. Stay curious. Stay observant...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics 



Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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