From almost the minute we released our first NatureBase substrates, we've been approached by Betta fans and other hobbyists who keep Southeast Asian blackwater fishes to develop a specialized subsrtate to replicate these habitats in a "functionally aesthetic" manner.
We've received so many requests for this, we simply couldn't help but add it to our line!
Unlike our other NatureBase substrates, "Borneo" is a sort of "two part" formula, consisting of a carefully formulated, hand-blended sedimented substrate mix, and a selection of fine botanical pieces. NatureBase "Borneo" is intended to be used either as a stand-alone substrate, or as an easy-to-use "starter" that you can blend into your choice of commercial aquarium sand substrates or natural silica sand, to create a functionally aesthetic substrate with ease!
Consisting of a carefully selected blend of soils, sands, clays, and minerals, it's intended to look and perform much like the peat-infused substrates found in Borneo and Southeast Asia. "Borneo" has a light, somewhat "soil-like" feel to it, and has a slightly higher nutrient content than our other sedimented substrates, so it is surprisingly effective at growing aquatic plants! It's hand-mixed from high-quality ingredients in small batches, and is intended for all sorts of interesting experiments! Because of the types of materials it's composed from, "Borneo" also tends to lower the pH of the aquarium water- an added bonus for many! The extent to which it will do this is dependent upon the water conditions that you're starting with, of course.
The other key component of the "Borneo" kit is a packet of selected small botanicals, which may vary in composition, but will typically contain small twigs, root pieces, bits of catappa or other bark, and broken pieces of seed pod and such. It's a natural-looking mix, which, when blended into the sedimented substrates and gently mixed into a standard aquarium sand, creates an amazing substrate layer that functions and looks more natural than anything you've used before!
HOW TO USE NATURE BASE-"BORNEO":
This product is NOT intended to replace more "conventional" substrates in a typical aquarium. Its physical characteristics will be far different than anything you've used in an aquarium before! We created this mix for experimentation in smaller, more easily-controlled systems. Of course, you could use it as the substrate in a larger system, if you can handle the aesthetics and understand the unique characteristics of this material!
Pour Nature Base "Borneo" onto your existing sand, and gently mix some of it into the sanded. The idea is to have some of it mixed in, and some of it scattered about the surface of your sand bed. DO NOT RINSE "BORNEO!"
The botanical component of "Borneo" should be boiled in fresh water for approximately 45 minutes, just like we recommend for all of our botanical materials. This will assure that they are thoroughly sterilized, and sufficiently saturated so that they will sink immediately. Be sure to discard the "prep water" in a responsible manner.
After you've either laid down your substrate in the aquairum, distribute the contents of the botanical pack into your sand, typically in the upper layer, although you can mix some pieces into deeper layers of the substrate if you wish. There is no set "rule" on how to do this; we advise looking at some images of wild aquatic habitats for inspiration.
NOTE: You will experience some siltation/turbidity in the water, which may clear over time. You should also expect some tint to the water caused by some of the fine botanical materials present in the mix, even if you're filling your aquarium with clear freshwater.
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