In the dark?

Every once in a while, I actually receive a question about how to make the water in your aquarium....darker. Like, people actually want their water to be more deeply tinted. In fact, I'll occasionally field emails from people who are kind of bummed out that some of the pods they placed into their tanks aren't helping them achieve the rich, dark tint they want!

I mean, this is were we're at now! 🤓

These are actually fun questions that I really never envisioned that people would actually ask when we started Tannin over 3 years ago. And it makes sense, right? So many of you have made the "mental shift" that embraces the dark water, the biofilms, etc. that it goes without saying that we want to do things that keep things "tinted!"

Now, it's important know that, although almost anything botanical you immerse in water will release some tannins which can tint the water, some materials are better at it than others! For example, many of the "tougher" botanicals, such as "Savu Pods", "Jungle Pods", and the like won't get you that nice dark color you want. Sure, they will release some tannins and humic substances (perhaps more than some "clearwater-centric" hobbyists might like), but the coloration will likely be less than what you had in mind. They're more about the aesthetics they bring based on their unique appearance.

To really get the "tint", you'd want to use botanical materials which more easily seem to release the tannins we want. What are some of the top "tinting" botanicals we offer? Well, in no particular order, here are a few faves:

*Leaves- Of course, just about any of 'em will do the job! (hint- we love Texas Live Oak and Mangrove!)

*Catappa Bark- Absolutely my top favorite botanical for serious color! 

*Coco Curls- These botanicals (perhaps by virtue of their fibrous structure?) realize a lot of color I not the water quickly!

*Alder Cones/Birch Cones- As one of my customers said about them, they're little "tint grenades!" You can employ them I the tank, in the filter, or in a reactor, as discussed in yesterday's blog.

"Rio Fruta"- Derived from the Nypa Palm, this botanical has a surprisingly large amount of tannins and imparts an almost reddish color to the water!

"Mariposa Pods"- Another cool palm-derived product, when steeped or boiled, these release a significant amount of tint and look really great in a leaf litter bed...Oh, and they're really durable, too!

Sure, there are a lot of others that can do the trick, but those are some of my favorite "go-to's" in this game. I didn't even touch on the substrate-oriented stuff, huh?

Now, like in every other aspect of the hobby, there are, dare I say..."Shortcuts" or "hacks" (gulp) to get the tint you like. Yes, you know my disdain for shortcuts, but I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the ultimate one- wood! Yeah, many of the types of wood that we use in our aquarium release significant amounts of tannins. I mean, this is the source of so many desperate calls for help in those planted tank forums ("Help! How do I get rid of the tannins that are making my water brown!")...Our favorite wood types? Mangrove, Malaysian, and the big surprise- "Spider Wood!"

So, yeah, embracing wood to help tint the water is one of the few shortcuts we can comfortably get behind! 

That's todays very quick and hardly comprehensive run-down on some of our fave ways to help keep your tank "in the dark!"

What are YOUR faves and tricks to get "The Tint?"

Stay innovative. Stay engrossed. Stay excited. Stay open-minded...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics 

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


Leave a comment