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TOPIC: Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums

Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21022

  • kmuda
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First batch of tank tea made. Brought my daughter over, had her close her eyes, I put a cup of it under her nose and asked her what it smells like.....

Her reply, "The Buffalo River".

The Buffalo River is in North Central Arkansas. Like Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon, it is a National Park, albeit much less know (like to keep it that way). It is the longest free flowing river remaining in the U.S.. No farming, ranching, or agriculture allowed anywhere along the river or it's watershed. It's left completely clean and wild, the center of The Ozark National Forest.

So for my tea to come out smelling like Buffalo River water..... I must have hit the mark.

Will start some testing tomorrow.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21023

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kmuda wrote:
I'll cover this subject in some detail when I get in front of a keyboard.... and I am continuing my research, but let me summarize what I am finding.

Our tanks are too damn clean.

I don't mean nitrate, poo, and goo. We are doing that part right. This does not affect our wafer changes, tbat does not change. What we are missing is dead organic matter that is releasing humic substances into the water. Decaying leaves. Decaying wood, peat, etc....

Our tanks are too damn clean.

I've learned that humic substances improve growth rates, increases immune system function, increases metabolism, combats algae, acts as a bacterial and fungal surprescent, aids recovery from stress, improves physiological condition, and impairs pathogens.

We are denying all of these benefits to our fish by insisting on our tanks being too damn clean.

The question is what to do about it? That is what I am working on now.

Can't wait!!!!! :silly:
-55 gallon with Red Lutino Oscar
-29 gallon community South American
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21024

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Humic substance, what is the best way to add it. Can fresh oak leaves be used by picking and drying them and what other organic material can be used? Don't mind changing the color of the aquarium much if it benefits Jennifer.
-55 gallon with Red Lutino Oscar
-29 gallon community South American
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21029

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oscarfan3124 wrote:
Humic substance, what is the best way to add it. Can fresh oak leaves be used by picking and drying them and what other organic material can be used? Don't mind changing the color of the aquarium much if it benefits Jennifer.

No.. green leaves of any kind cannot be used. I would not do anything until I have an opportunity to explain things or you've done your own research up front. You have to understand your water chemistry first as the process has the possibility of altering base elements of it.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21031

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??????are you testing the "tank tea" or are you adding it to the 40 g then testing?
210g,1-lutino tiger O, 1- red long fin lutino O, 1 red O,7 SD
120g,3 Discus various dither fish
60g reef,1 sand sifting gobie,1black&white wrasse, various cleanup crew and lots of corals:)
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21032

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I'm monitoring the 40g to validate I am not altering TDS, KH, or GH.... at least not to measurable levels. There is no escaping some erosion of the KH buffer but it should be minimal and no impact to the fish.

I know I can add 2 cups of the tank tea to the 40 breeder and not impact any of these parameters. Two cups per 50 gallons should be sufficient for what I am trying to do. Redoing the full dose each week after water changes.

Carbon had to go. Carbon removes the very things I am trying to add.

Since I am using the tea made from peat and cattapa leaves, there should be little to no softening of the water. The softening action of the peat involves ion exchange from the material itself. There is very little of the "material" in the tea. The tea itself should be perfect blackwater, no hardness and very low pH (have not measured that yet) but there is no peat in the tank to result in softening. Just the tannins, humic acids, and trace elements it contains.

On a side note FOR RUSH.... The discus tank has bypassed the brown algae stage and gone straight toe the green algae stage. Nothing on the tank or plants but the top level of driftwood is starting to accumulate green algae. Glad to see it actually. It's not ugly slimy stuff. Adds to the natural appearance.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21082

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Call it a symptom of my career path, where I get the problems no one else can resolve. This leads to a tendency to overlook the obvious. Call me "Captain Obvious Obvlivious".

The increased activity and overall vibe of the discus tank is primarily a direct result of daily water changes. Duh!!!!!! Further evidence that....

OUR TANKS ARE TOO DIRTY

Nitrates and other end resulting pollutants are the #1 factor in fish health. You have to deal with those. If you have lethargic fish, get busy with water changes. Change 20% a day and chances are the tank will become something completely different. The attitude and activity of the fish will skyrocket.

That does not take away anything from the continued research into the role Humic Substances plays in the physiology of fish.

OUR TANKS ARE TOO CLEAN

I've found additional studies, one in particular that reaches a conclusion that humic substances found in blackwater rivers in South America and India are what make fish life possible in those conditions. Without the Humic Substances, the fish would not be able to survive the extreme conditions.

Humic substances have a definitive physiological influence on fish and the epiphany I've had is that we are denying our fish from these substances. This may be why getting an Oscar through the 8 year mark is so difficult. Humic Substances interact with a fish's defense system in a manner that results in a fish with stronger immunity against environmental issues, bacterial disease, and parasitic infection. Humic substances have been proven to increase longevity in nemotodes by 15%. They have been proven to increase growth rate, survival rate, and stress recovery in fish.

Another tools for us to use. And why it took 30 years for this to ding my skull is a mystery.
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21084

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I just breezed through the last few pages quicky... I'll go back when I have more time but let me get this straight...

You are taking softened 'tea' water from the aging tank and adding it to the 40 breeder to see if you can add the 'good stuff' from the softer water source. Are the humic substances not specific to that set of water parameters? I guess what I'm trying to get at is... will the benefits be the same in a tank with different ph, kh, gh?
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21091

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I am not taking softened water from the aging tank. I am making what is basically a concentrated version of it.

I am running boiling water through a combination of peat and shredded cattapa leaves and then allowing it to seep overnight. This coffee colored concoction is then canned in Mason jars for later use. I am making about 12 cups at a time using my largest plastic tea picture that I stole from the wife's kitchen. B) She's going to be pissed when she discovers yet another of her utensils, pot, pan, or whatever has been confiscated for aquarium use.

I could further concentrate the stuff by boiling it down until a few tablespoons was the equivalence of a cup or two of the current mixture. This is exactly what the "Liquid Amazon" or "Amazon Extract" stuff is that can be purchased for outrageous amounts of money. Nothing new here. The only thing new, for me anyway, is the realization of how valuable and essential the presence of Humic Substances in our fish's water is.

As for "pH" and other chemistry...... the best study on the subject involves Swordtails being kept in hard water at a pH of 7.9. So the benefits and physiological impacts have been documented across the board of water parameters. The only remaining question is how much "Humic Substances" exists in your source water. Chances are not much, because it has a negative reaction to drinking water disinfection..... those chemicals that exist in your water report labeled " a result of disinfection". The amount of humic substances needs to be reduced before the water is disinfected and the disinfection process eliminates most of what remains, turning them into these "a result of disinfectant" harmful chemicals on your water report.

EDIT: My process of making "Peat Tea" has changed over time. See here for the final process:
www.oscarfish.com/forum/general-freshwat...html?start=130#66783
120g - Tiger Oscar, Parrot Cichlid, SDs | 55g - 24 Year Old Kissing Gourami
55g - Angelfish/Bolivan Rams | 40g GBRs - 20g Apistos
65g Blackwater Planted Discus Tank
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 Rat Terrier, 1 wife, 1 old lady, 1 sub-adult, 1 rug rat.
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Humic Subtances in Freshwater Aquariums 4 years 4 months ago #21095

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Have you tested the parameters of the 'tea'? I suppose it will be close to what the aging tank water is. Definitely keep us updated as to what happens. Most of the benefits will probably be anecdotal, but given what you've seen so far with the discus tank, it might be worth more than we think.

Perhaps start another thread about the Humic substances so we don't have to fight through the discus/plants/humic substance info. It's a lot to take in. :)
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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