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Old 12-12-2011, 06:19 PM   #1 
BlueStar
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Question Oak Tannin use questions?

I want to use oak tannins to benefit my betta's health and have tinted water.
Another reason I want to use it is I have well water that is hard and very alkaline (high pH) even keeping the temp at 78*, which causes free ammonia to show up a day after a 100% water change so getting the pH lower will prevent free ammonia from showing up that soon. High pH will cause non-harmful ammonia to convert to gaseous harmful type and a low pH will cause the harmful type to convert back to the non-harmful type. Thus a lower pH helps since they are not in a cycled tank.

When they where in 1 Qt jars after I bought them this summer the Betta Bowl Plus kept the ammonia down, but it's to expensive to use now they have moved into 2 gallon heated homes. 2 are in plastic containers that can go up to 5 gallons, but until I get the ammonia down and not have to change water that often they are only getting 2 gallons which is needed for the heater to work. Other 2 are in 2 gallon glass aquariums which are my display/QT tanks for now. I will be checking into ordering some Prime, but that will have to wait till finances get to where I can order more than just it, plus would like to wait until after the holiday rush/crush.
I am 90 miles away from the city and cash strapped so I do the best you can. Would love to get 5 gallon glass when Petco has $1/gallon sale for all of them, but unless they put it on their web site I won't be able to catch it. Much cheaper than $10 2 gallon round glass containers from Wally World as summer homes.

Anyway Questions:
1. How many days max have you used water still steeping before making a new batch from new leaves? I let some steep for about a week and the smell was really bad so I trashed it, yet I've read the smell is okay? While trying to benefit the fish I don't mind a smell if it's not harmful to them and plus when adding it to the water for changes the smell gets diluted somewhat.
2. I prep 5 gallons of water each time I use it up for water changes and heat that to be 78* like the tanks are right before I use it. How much of the tannin should I add at first? .5 Qt to the first 5 gallons, then 1 Qt to the next, and so on until it effects the pH too much making it acid? In this I would be adding the tannin to this water & stirring it and then heating it to match that of the 4 tanks I have.
3. If I use a glass jar of tank water & compare that a glass jar of my prep water will that aide in knowing if ones tannin is more than the others? Esp when it comes to if the fish need acclimation to bigger changes? If one looks a lot darker then yes I would check the pH and accilmate them to the change.
Is this posted in the right section?
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #2 
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Yes, this is posted in the right section....

What kind of testing products are you using, what is the ammonia reading on the tanks and the source water and the pH, KH/GH of your source water.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:16 AM   #3 
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Are we suppose to only use tannins depending on what our readings are or be able to use them anyway as long as we don't have a pH that is acid enough to burn them?

My only source of a quick fix is anything you can buy at WalMart. I did buy some Jungle Ammonia Clear. As soon as I can get a list of other things I need, I'll order some Seachem Neutral Regulator that keeps the pH at 7.0 (prevents ammonia from coverting to harmful type which happens when pH gets over 7.0) along with conditioning/softening/binds ammonia, etc. and stimulates slime coat production if you think that is a better way to go with my water than just using Prime.
http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...Regulator.html

Testing is done with:
Seachem Ammonia Alert=registers only the Free/gaseous (NH3) which is harmful to fish
Jungle Ammonia strips and 5way Testing Strips (Ammonia being replaced for not working)
....Only method to test KH/GH
API Master Test Kit
----------------------------------------------------
Last week one night about 6pm I drew up a jar of water and had it tested at a Petsmart in Fort Worth, Texas the next day at about 2:30pm. Their report was that my water was fine, but on the hard side like all the other water in the area is. I didn't watch them do the test since I was in a hurry to grab what I needed and head home since my eyes where dilated and would have to face the sun setting all the way home. Stayed cloudy, but I've never driven with dilated eyes and had an 1+ hrs worth of driving to do.
----------------------------------------------------
Tonight I tested 6 different samples of water. Had to stop during it to feed the animals outside. Then found out when flushing my sink it was leaking under the sink so I had to clean that toxic mess up. If any of the ammonia/nitrate solutions (harmful to contact/breath) didn't make it straight down the drain then it backed up into a pan under the sink I keep there for leaks that had Mr. Clean or something in it.

KH/GH all from Jungle Test Strips which do read off compared to the kit.
....sometimes guide to which pH in the kit to use=High or regular
....Nitrite/Nitrate matched kits reading 0, but when present gave over/under ranges
....5-way strip seem good for quick check nitrite/nitrate and if not 0 you need to use a kit.
....Yet you are considering every strip in the bottle is a good one which may not be the case.

Tank
Ammonia=8.0ppm
pH=8.0
KH=300+ppm (strip)
GH=300+ppm (strip)
Nitrite/Nitrate=0/0ppm

Source Water=Warm checked immediately
Ammonia=0ppm
pH=7.0
KH=180>300+ppm (strip)
GH=300+ppm (strip)
Nitrite/Nitrate=0/0ppm

Source Water=set 45hr
Ammonia=4.0>8.0ppm
pH=8.4
KH=300+ppm (strip)
GH=300ppm (strip)
Nitrite/Nitrate=0/0ppm

Source Water=set 45hr 68*& Tetra Betta Safe
Ammonia=2.0>4.0ppm
pH=8.0
KH=300+ppm (strip)
GH=300ppm (strip)
Nitrite/Nitrate=0/0ppm
Ammona Alert=0.2ppm free/gaseous NH3
Water was suppose to be used tonight as a change

KH strip on a tank that is cycling with a filter read 40-80ppm...Same
300GH

Plants in 2 gallon glass jar since 12-06 from a water change of betta water:
Ammonia=8.0+ppm (Kit total black not see white of card at all)
pH=8.4
KH=300+ppm (strip)
GH=300ppm (strip)
Nitrite/Nitrate=2.0/5.0(maybe-forgot to log right away)ppm
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:01 PM   #4 
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I have been reading/searching for ways to naturally make my water chemistry better on this site for over a week now. There is talk of they will adjust to different types of water, people not wanting to over use medication or chemicals which is exacly how I have lived my life in my own health and the health of my animals, but that also includes being taught not to waste water (current drought shows just how VIP that is). If my pH is 7.0 or less gaseous toxic ammonia will not be in the water from the water itself (no fish in it) which is what I'd like my fish to start out with as water (acclimating them to the change).

The more I learned the more stressed I became, thus it is highly affecting my health now due to having UC, probably more so than my animals. They say knowledge is power, well also true what you don't know won't hurt you. Yes I like many others fed my other animals tainted food, and this feels no different from that except I know a problem exists for which I guess there is no immediate help for from here on.
Having been in the military and been in a gas chamber or hit with gas I know every second counts in immediate action, well the same is true for our little fishy friends.

I know the tannins will not bring down my pH that much, but in the mean time they sure would help from the effects of the water they are having to deal with. So can you at least answer the question about them?
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:10 AM   #5 
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you could try getting a measuring cup that you only use for IAL water and record what you put in the tank. i use to wing it and be inconsistent witht he amount ive used and it messed with my DT's tail that fin loss was regular after most water changes. i used 800ml for a 2,5g to get 7.0ppm and 500ml to get a 2.7g to 7.2. the PH of the water here is around 7.4,7.6 and the water is aslo on the hard side.

id suggest you set an ammount of IAL water to put in the tanks and test the result on the tank water immediately after and also after a few hours. add more if the PH isnt low enough. i put an IAL tea bag into an old 1g milk jug, after a few days i get a PH of 6.4. you can probably get a ph that low if you put enough of that water in.

Last edited by nel3; 12-15-2011 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #6 
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I would recommend that you invest in liquid reagent pH/KH/GH testing products

The tannins can help lower the pH slightly-the organics as they decomp will produce CO2 and the CO2 will lower the pH-but you also can have the byproduct ammonia with the decomp and live plants will take care of this-but you have have active plant growth with the right lighting and enough of the right species of plants for this to function.......this is a closed system-but you can limit water change needs with the right type of setup.....
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:16 PM   #7 
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OFL
1. Since my API Master Kit already tests pH, wouldn't their KH/GH kit be okay instead of a reagent or is the reagent a better kit?
Thanks for the info about the oak tannin being able to increase the ammonia which I have read but forgot about. I have read tannins will soften the water so I will test some freshly made treated tannin water mixed in with treaded water for the tanks I use before adding fish to it and compare that to my regular tap water when I get that test kit.

I do have some moss balls in 2 of the tanks though one may not be very well.
I also have some anacharis that has been in a 2 gallon unheated glass bowl under a CFL (9w=40watt 550 lumens) light on 24hr in the bathroom for 2 weeks. I don't know if it's the cold or warm type though and neither did PetsMart. It's still shedding some leaves and was just changed out to some fresh water and tank water plus poop this morning so it should be getting plenty of ammonia. I was going to use this to float on top of their tanks. Also need to buy some fertilizer for it and the moss balls when I order the KH/GH kit.

2. Should I go ahead and put some anarcharis in their tanks now or wait until I've trained it to less light to see if it sheds more by covering the glass bowl with a towel? I know as a kid they can loose every leaf yet the green stalk will grow leaves back when it adjusts to different lighting/water chemisty.

3. To make water changes/clean up easier I don't want to add gravel thus I wanted a top floating low-light plant and this was the only one I recall having had experience with though they where in gravel with only some floating as a kid (over 40 yrs ago).
So what would be the ideal setup for a 2-2 gallon glass and 2-5 gallon sterlite plastic containers kept at 78*, unfiltered, with top floating low light plants that are easy to manage? None of my water even in the tanks before the change reads nitrite/nitrates thus those that feed off ammonia are what I need the most.

4. Can you answer how many days max you have let oak leaves steep before using all of the water up and started using another batch? Should I leave the cap off the gallon bottle I use for steeping the oak leaves until I need to shake it up before adding it to the water so it can breath some (old distilled water bottles used)?
Like I said the first batch I mixed up capped for a week really smelled foul so I didn't use it, but later read the smell will not harm them. So that leaves the question of if it should be capped or not. I later read elsewhere you can compare the color of your tank water to the new water your adding to know if your getting more or less tannins in the water. Still I will always acclimate mine to any new change in water they get just to play it safe until I've pegged the differences in the waters long enough with the kits.

5. Can you use fallen dried brown oak leaves you gather any time of the year or only use those that are off the tree in the fall? I am only getting leaves under trees that stayed green during the drought and not the ones that had brown leaves on the tree during the drought since they are stressed and may even be dead.
When it stops getting moisture/rain I will gather more, rinse them off and dry them out, then seal them in a zip lock bag placed in a dark location until I use them...is that the right way to do it? I don't have a garage or location to dry them out except for in the house thus I want to wash them off asap to make sure there are not spiders/bugs that come in with them.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:18 PM   #8 
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When I changed them out this morning I treated 5 gallons of water with Tetra Betta Safe and added in a pint jar worth of oak tanning (no leaves) filtered through a fish net into that. When it's temp was the same as the betta's tank one by one I cleaned up the tanks (100% change) while the betta's where in a holding container. I slowly acclimated the betta's to the tank water and then netted them and put them in the tank water (didn't want any of the old water in the tank due to it's ammonia level). I did them one by one since I'm slow, only have one holding cup (attach side fish tank so can float in tank water or in low tank water weight or wedge them in so they don't spill out) and didn't want the water temps to get a lot different. House is 72* and tank water 78*.

Since the oak water is still steeping next time it will be a little stronger/darker.
I'll check the pH/ammonia level of my tank water and use a glass of it to compare to the tint of the new water I make in a glass and then maybe make it a little darker if I want the pH down a little more.
I'll check the pH/ammonia level of the new water to see how big of a change it will be but the only ammonia that will get into it will be from the steeped water thus it will be diluted.
Soon there will be floating plants in their tanks that will use any ammonia.
Even if it's not much of a change until I get use to this the fish will be taken out of the tank during the change and acclimated to the change in pH even if it's only a 50% change.

Even in the wild pH doesn't stay constant yet changes slow enough they automatically acclimate to it.
Since I will be using low light surface plants that feed on ammonia I will just let the tannin slowly decrease the pH level and not try to use it to get to a certain pH I have to worry about constantly keeping up to naturally since it may not be easy if you need a quick change and lack enough tannin to match it. In that case you could acclimate them to the change, but I'd rather keep things as constant as possible. I wouldn't want to acclimate to the North cold weather then hit warm southern weather all the time, thus I'm sure the fish would prefer as close to constant as possible also.

So I will just play chicken and slowly acclimate them to any water change until I feel comfortable that matching the pH, tannin colors and temperature before the change is enough.

I did mess up one time and changed them not checking anything except temp. and 3 blue ones made the change okay but my light colored one went into SBD so they all will get acclimation now. Guess the light colored ones are more prone to changes than colored ones.
Thanks to OFL I did testing and found out instead of letting water set even 24 hours (the ammonia level rises fast due to it being in the water after it sets with no fish) I need to use freshly drawn water matching temps and treating it in each change. The total amount of ammonia changes, but the Seachem Ammonia alert that only registers the harmful ammonia also says the harmful ammonia is rising withing a day of water with no fish.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:27 PM   #9 
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IMO/E...I found that both the test strips and the liquid reagent type testing products to be pretty close and I use both....strips for quick checks and liq reagent for full test if needed...except when I want to change the pH and hardness...I want more exact numbers.....

Since you have ammonia in your source water to start...the simplest and safest IMO...would be to use a product that will neutralize the ammonia...several on the market to pick from....Prime being one that is used a lot since it kinda gives you more bang for the buck...so-to-speak.....lol....

By lowering the pH and not the KH/GH you risk rebound and the easiest and safest way to do this is using R/O/DI water along with your source water-but since ammonia is in the source water and why you are wanting to lower the pH in the first place....you are back with the ammonia problem and while the Oak leaf can help...IMO...too many risk due to being unstable.....

I would make it simple by using Prime-for the source water ammonia and adding live plants to keep the tank stable between water changes....

A better stem plant that is great floating, low light...Naja grass or sometimes called guppy grass and even better water lettuce-one of the better floating plants....by adding naja grass in a 1-4gal tank.....water changes of 1-2 50% and 5gal 50% weekly should maintain water quality-provided that the naja is actively growing-and you might even be able to reduced them depending on the amount of plants you start out with and active growth state-especially if you also add water lettuce.....

One of the best water testers is the Betta and you by the power of observation.....

In my premixed jugs of Oak leaf tannins...I like to mix up a fresh jug 2-3 hours before I am going to use it on a compromised fish...the water will take on a foul smell after a week or so and I have tested and experiment with this water and have not found any adverse effects but the ammonia will rise and I use water lettuce for this...by adding an airstone can help the smell somewhat.

I collect my naturally dried and fallen leaves from my Oak trees....year around.....crispy, leathery, holey.....I don't even rinse them...but I have dirt based tanks so I don't stress over the leaf dirt and have never had any issue as far as livestock health and they even seem to enjoy picking at them and the stuff that fall off, however, I am not recommending other to do the same.....this is just how I do it......

I also wanted to add....I spawn outside in the summer and fill half the 5gal bucket I use with dried Oak leaves and other leaves that just fall in since I live in a heavily treed area....lol.....while the pH/KH/GH are really low since this is also rainwater-these fish come from my really hard well water-pH over 8.8-KH/GH well over 300-I do acclimate them over about 30min or so...more to their tolerance and then I bring them in the house in the fall or once the water temp stays under 70F for longer that a few days and found it harder or the need for longer acclimation up to 24h- when going from soft water back to hard water then going hard water to soft....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 12-16-2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:51 PM   #10 
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I wanted to add....It won't let me edit......my 20min is up....lol.....

For best Tannins-you want to collect and use leaves that have naturally dried and fallen from the tree...you don't want to use green leaves.....naturally dried is best......bag-em up and keep them dry until ready to use....
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