Can I use botanicals and driftwood without getting tannins?

In Question Of The Week 0 comments

I want to start using aquatic botanicals and create a shrimp Biotope aquarium but I don't like the brown tannins. Is there any way of using botanicals without the water turning completely brown?

Yes, it is possible with a little extra work. The tannins that botanicals and some aquatic woods produce are not to everyone’s taste. When we do large commercial freshwater aquariums for the likes of a mall or a restaurant we cannot have tannins. To non-fishkeepers, tannin-rich water is not appealing and most will think the aquarium is not clean or poorly maintained. So, in order to ensure the water remains clear a bit of extra prep needs to be done to the aquatic botanicals and driftwood before introducing them to the aquarium.

Castle Dawn Aquatics South American Blackwater Biotope Aquarium

Blackwater/Tannins are not everyone's cup of tea but with a few extra steps tannins can be kept to a minimum. 

The first step is to boil your botanicals or driftwood, this is essential even if you are not trying to remove the tannins. Boil for approximately 30 minutes (Foliage 15 minutes) , remove them from the water and rinse with cold water. Prepare a fresh pot of boiling water and boil the aquatic botanicals again for an additional 15 minutes then remove and soak in ice-cold water for 24 hours. Change the water and repeat the soaking process for another day. 

After boiling the aquatic botanicals or aquarium wood soak in ice cold water and leave for 24 hours. The ice cold water stops the aquatic botanicals from over cooking and becoming soft and brittle.

On the third day, change the water and introduce some aquarium bamboo carbon to the fresh water and leave the aquatic botanicals or aquarium driftwood to rest with the carbon for about 4 days. We use Bamboo carbon instead of standard bituminous coal aquarium carbon as we find it is more effective at removing tannins.

Castle Dawn Aquatics Highly Effective Bamboo Carbon For Removing Tannins

Bamboo carbon is highly effective at removing tannins from the water compared to the standard bituminous coal aquarium carbon.

By the end of the week (7 days) you will have a clear bucket of water with most of the tannins leached out of the botanicals or aquarium driftwood. Small amounts of tannins will leach into the aquarium when the aquatic botanicals or driftwood are introduced into the aquarium initially. However, To keep the water clear add Castle Dawn Aquatics ‘’Purity’’ to your filter which will absorb the stray tannins keeping the aquarium water clear.

Want to create a Biotope aquarium without tannins? Check out the products below.


  Castle Dawn Aquatics Highly Absorbent Tannin Remover Bamboo Aquarium Activated Carbon

Castle Dawn Aquatics Purity for Crystal Clear Tannin and Green Aquarium Water Remover


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