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NoodleCats

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How do you get your 46 gallon so tinted with tannins? I have a tank with a whole bed of leaf litter yet I can't seem to get any noticable tint to the water.
Rooibos tea :D
Water change i boil a huge pot and let 6 bags steep for the day until I change the water in the evening, then I pour it in with the fresh water when I refill.
That combined with leaflitter and aldercones.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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Rooibos is good stuff. I learned about it when I began keeping Altums. I used to use teabags but they were more work and too pricey. So I found a tea supplier and bought 18 kilos of the stuff. When I was still actively selling fish and odd supplies and selling at fish events, I would sell it. Until Covid I would also bring it to my monthly fish club meetings for the auction.

For those who have never heard of Rooibos, here is the info handout I would use (the pictures would not copy paste):
Rooibos Tea
  • Is beneficial for fish, 100% caffeine and tannin free and you can drink it too.
  • Will stain water like peat, almond leaves or alder cones and can be used with them.
  • Will not soften water or lower pH. It is more likely to bump pH up by 0.1.
  • Can be brewed like tea and poured into the water or can be put into a bag in one’s filter. Once brewed it can be stored refrigerated for about a week.
  • When brewing, allow it to boil for a bit after the tea is added to the hot water.
  • It is hard to overdose. Start with about 1 rounded teaspoon per 10 gal. (38 L) of water and adjust from there to find the color you like.
  • Buying Rooibos helps to support the local farmers in South Africa.
Rooibos tea (meaning red bush in Afrikaans and pronounced roy + boss) has nothing to do with traditional tea, which comes from the Chinese plant Camellia sinensis in the family Rosaceae. Rooibos comes from the plant, Aspalathus linearis, a legume in the family Fabaceae- it is related to peas and beans. The bush is more like a broom than a bush. The top of the bush is cut off, dried and oxidized before packing in tea bags or sold as loose tea.

Wikipedia (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos) states:

Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves. Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones.

For fish keeping we are interested in the plant phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants and also as antibacterials (it won’t harm filters). This is similar to the humic acids found in natural “tea” stained water. Oak leaves contain a lot of the plant phenolic quercetin (from the Latin name for the oak tree, Quercus robur) and rooibos also contains some quercetin plus the compound aspalathin, which is closely related to quercetin.

Research at the University of Stellenbosch shows that rooibos also has natural stress relieving properties. It is entirely safe to use and is beneficial for keepers and fish alike. The "organic" label is unnecessary for rooibos as it is grown naturally without using insecticides and herbicides, they are just simply not needed and can actually harm the plant. Here is an email I got from an Altum keeper:

Hey Chris, just wanted to let you know that my big bag (almost gone, I guess we are using it more than my altum!) is NOT ORGANIC, just the regular.

Last night I wrapped some (rooibos) with sphagnum peat moss in a fine mesh bag that my wife made for the purpose and I simply put it in one of the overflow boxes. You gotta see how nice the water and the fish look today.
Like Noodle, I make it into tea, but I use the mircrowave for this, and I add it to my pre-batched changing water. I should also say that I am adding catappa leaves to the tank and bags of alder cones to the two AC hang-ons on the tank. Finally, I add some Kent Black Water Expert as well.

NoodleCats NoodleCats
I am happy to mail you some bulk rooibos, no charge, if Canada will let that in.
 
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NoodleCats

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Rooibos is good stuff. I learned about it when I began keeping Altums. I used to use teabags but they were more work and too pricey. So I found a tea supplier and bought 18 kilos of the stuff. When I was still actively selling fish and odd supplies and selling at fish events, I would sell it. Until Covid I would also bring it to my monthly fish club meetings for the auction.

For those who have never heard of Rooibos, here is the info handout I would use (the pictures would not copy paste):


Like Noodle, I make it into tea, but I use the mircrowave for this, and I add it to my pre-batched changing water. I should also say that I am adding catappa leaves to the tank and bags of alder cones to the two AC hang-ons on the tank. Finally, I add some Kent Black Water Expert as well.

NoodleCats NoodleCats
I am happy to mail you some bulk rooibos, no charge, if Canada will let that in.
Thats a kind offer, I may take you up on it after covid!

I like to drink the tea too, it's a very good one. Just a little honey and its good to go.

I tried putting a bag in the filter but the filter paper broke down and it made such a mess haha next time a media bag would be an option.

But ive found it to be the best black water option. Peat is great and all, but I cant stand behind the ecological impact harvesting has on it, so I dont like to go that route. Leaf litter is nice but as mentioned, it may not be as effective in the larger tanks (ive boiled leaf litter before to add to a 10g and got a nice dark ruby coloring lol, once almost like black coffee I couldn't find my fish!) And ive dabbled with different leaves.
Best tannins came from indian almond leaves, alder cones, oak, beech, magnolia, and elm. Also these are the longest lasting leaves too. Dried acorn tops give exceptionally good tannins too and great biofilm for grazers.
Others that can be used but are weaker or last shorter:
Maple, birch, cottonwood, ash, tuliptree, and sycamore.

I wish tuliptree lasted longer because its a beautiful gold-orange colour when dried and can really make an aquarium pop with colour for blackwater.
 
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Apr 2, 2002
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Just an fyi, if I get covid I will die. I am old, I had bypass surgery last fall and I have COPD from 45+. years of smoking before I quit. The only mask I use are N-95s. I will not send you Covid. If you Q the package for a week, any virus in or in it should no longer be a threat.

I have peat which I use rarely. If you ever change your mind about using it, the best is:

Peat moss softens water and reduces its hardness (GH). The most effective way to soften water via peat is to aerate water for 1-2 weeks in a bucket containing peat moss. For example, get a (plastic) bucket of the appropriate size. Then, get a large quantity of peat (a gallon or more), boil it (so that it sinks), stuff it in a pillow case, and place it in the water bucket. Use an air pump to aerate it. In 1-2 weeks, the water will be softer and more acidic. Use this aged water when making partial water changes on your tank.

Peat can be bought at pet shops, but it is expensive. It is much more cost-effective to buy it in bulk at a local gardening shop. Read labels carefully! You don't want to use peat containing fertilizers or other additives.

Although some folks place peat in the filters of their tanks, the technique has a number of drawbacks. First, peat clogs easily, so adding peat isn't always effective. Second, peat can be messy and may cloud the water in your tank. Third, the exact quantity of peat needed to effectively soften your water is difficult to estimate. Using the wrong amount results in the wrong water chemistry. Finally, when doing water changes, your tank's chemistry changes when new water is added (it has the wrong properties). Over the next few days, the chemistry changes as the peat takes effect. Using aged water helps ensure that the chemistry of your tank doesn't fluctuate while doing water changes.
from the FINS site
 

NoodleCats

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Feb 26, 2020
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Just an fyi, if I get covid I will die. I am old, I had bypass surgery last fall and I have COPD from 45+. years of smoking before I quit. The only mask I use are N-95s. I will not send you Covid. If you Q the package for a week, any virus in or in it should no longer be a threat.

I have peat which I use rarely. If you ever change your mind about using it, the best is:


from the FINS site
Nah I'm not worried about catching it. My worry is the international shipping is a major hassle and delay right now, so when it settles down itd be good. Just don't want anything to get stuck in transit for weeks and heck knows how long it would sit and in what conditions either.
Thats more my concern. Stay away from the covid though, we have been lucky on my end, but things are still in lock down here, actually my province has moved back a stage because of a spike in cases again. But since tea products are a "food" item, i just wouldn't want to chance them spoiling if kept in humid or damp conditions for an extended amount of time due to international delays.

Id feel bad if by chance it spoiled and wasted someone's kindness.

(I ordered a heater back internationally in April, I didn't get it until September!)
 
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