If you've been following our ramblings here at Tannin, you know that we're big fans of natural-looking substrates in stream and river biotope aquariums. Most of the Amazonian substrates that we've seen in nature are comprised of soils, bits of plants, bark, wood fibers, and other organic materials. Being fans of the authentic, we've long strived to replicate this substrate in our aquariums, which was difficult, because the right materials simply weren't available to us.
Finally, after a long search, much experimentation, and a lot of patience, we sourced "Fundo Tropical", a wonderful coconut-husk-based material that looks, feels, and functions much like the natural substrate materials found in tropical streams and rivers. It's turned out to be one of our most popular products, with our community using it for all sorts of applications. Of course, always seeking different stuff, we were looking for a finer-grained, natural product of similar quality. Sure enough, our supplier contacted us and told us about this stuff, which is essentially a very fine-grained version of Fundo Tropical!
"Substrate Fino" is a totally natural, sustainably-sourced, and highly functional substrate enhancement media that will give your biotope all the authenticity, aesthetic boost, and functionality that you'd want from a substrate material! It has a very fine, almost soil-like consistency, and We're thinking that it would be perfect to incorporate into a substrate of a planted blackwater aquarium, or to utilize with other substrate materials to create a realistic simulation of a tropical stream or pool substrate. It's so fine, that we think it could be a cool substrate for spawning fishes like Nothobranchius and other annual killifiishes!
It's completely pesticide and chemical-free, and is a clean, high-quality product.
Now, the first thing you need to know is that this material is NOT intended to replace sand, gravel, or other material as your sole substrate in most cases. For most aquarists, however, it's perfect as an enhancement to other, more "conventional" substrates, or for the above-mentioned annual killifish. One of our testers uses it in her vivarium, along with other materials, to help recreate a rain forest floor. You could even use it as part of your substrate in a brackish aquarium!
Preparation is required, which consists of boiling the material for approximately 30 minutes (plus or minus a few minutes), because it's a very lightweight material that doesn't sink unless it's properly saturated. (TIP: Use a lot more water than "Substrato" for easier preparation!) You'd also want to soak it in room temperature fresh water afterwards for a few days or so before ultimately using it, as the initial burst of discoloring tannins is quite significant! Replace the "soak water" periodically.
This extra step of soaking will also assure complete saturation and "sinking" of the material. It's a very fine, almost "sediment-like" material that can take some time to fully saturate, so don't rush the process. Of course, if topped with "heavier" materials (i.e.; conventional substrates, like sand, etc.) it will stay down much easier. Obviously, you can experiment if you want....It will continue to leach a small amount of tannins into the water for some time, but it will last almost indefinitely, decomposing very little while retaining it's form.
Alternatively, you could experiment with using it in a fluidized reactor as "media" to help add some tannins to the water, and then use it for substrate once it's fully saturated (this could take a couple of weeks at room or aquarium temps under continuous submergence).
"Fundo Tropical" comes in an approximately 1.5 oz package, which gives you enough material to easily enhance a nice section of a 10-20 gallon aquarium, depending upon the "richness" and density of coverage you're looking for. When mixed into a shallow layer of other substrate materials, either on their own, or with Catappa, Guava, or Loquat leaves, they really help you evoke the appearance of an Amazonian stream!
We are very excited about this stuff, and we think you'll be pretty happy to play with it in your biotope displays, too!
NOTE: This is a natural product, and display variation in color, size, and texture. Each botanical is unique! The photo serves as a reasonable representation of what to expect.
All of our aquatic botanicals are intended for ornamental aquarium or terrarium use only. Please use common sense and take the time to boil or soak all botanicals prior to using them, to reduce the possibility of problems. Always go slow when introducing any botanicals into your systems, so you can judge the effect they have on your fishes and plants. They are not intended for human consumption. DO NOT INGEST!
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
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