The botanical factor: Keeping it "in play..."

Another one of those questions we receive from time to time from our community concerns how to add additional botanicals to an existing aquarium.

On the surface, this question seems almost overly "simplistic", but the reality is that it's a pretty important process and one of the keys to maintaining a stable blackwater, botanical-stye aquarium environment.

For the most part, once you set up your aquarium and add your botanicals, they begin to break down. If you are trying to keep the "visual tint" in the tank at a certain level, that will probably be one of your first indicators that it's time to "top off."

And in my opinion, the best way to "top off" your botanicals in your aquarium is the same way you added them in the first place:


Add few leaves every day over the course of a week. Throw in one or two seed pods a day along with the leaves. Take your time.

The processes in nature which deliver leaves and botanicals into the water are constant (like wind, leaf drop, water currents), and, with the exception of storms, typically happen steadily on a daily basis.

Besides, in the closed system aquarium, as we've discussed repeatedly- soon things slowly and consistently is the key to a stable, healthy aquatic environment. Sure, once in a while you might want to simulate a "wide event" and drop more leaves than usual into the tank- perhaps in conjunction with a weekly water exchange- but for the most part, slow, steady, consistent.

And of course, you could always drop a few leaves into your water aging containers- perhaps a couple per every few liters or gallons- and evaluating both he visual tint and the pH impact (if any) on the water. It ives yo ua sort of "pre-tint", if you will.

None of this is really "rocket science" of's more akin to cooking or making a good cup of coffee...a sort of basic "recipe" that you adjust as you go. And that is the beauty of the blackwater, botanical-style aquarium, isn't it?

No "absolute rules" on how to do anything- just adjustments based on observations and testing.

The one "rule" is to deploy patience.

But you knew that already, right?

Stay calm. Stay engaged. Stay observant. Stay curious.

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics 




Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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