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Tannin Aquatics

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Tannin Aquatics last won the day on May 27

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About Tannin Aquatics

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    Advanced Member

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    Los Angeles, CA USA
  • Inverts You Keep
    Paracaridina sp; Blue Bee, Crystal White Bee, Orange Sakura, CRS, Black KIng Kong Panda.

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  1. Lately, we've been talking an awful lot about the environmental benefits of botanicals in our aquariums, and how they impart "functional aesthetics" to our systems. I think that's become not only more accepted in the hobby, it's backed up by a lot of scientific field studies. What is also studied by science, but a little more "esoteric" in the hobby (IMHO) is the use of botanicals as supplemental food for our fishes and shrimps. Now, it's known that most plant materials have nutritional value; or rather, they contain nutrients, vitamins, etc. which are known to be beneficial to aquatic o
  2. Thanks very much! It's a lot of fun to share out ideas and discuss them with the aquarium world. SO much to learn...it starts with sharing ideas and goes from there! -Scott
  3. Hey there. It's been a while. Like, too long! My name is Scott Fellman- owner of Tannin Aquatics. I'm sort of embarrassed. I mean, I started out like gangbusters here, posting blogs like every day. And then, like so many small biz owners, I got caught up in the everyday aspects of running and growing my business! Now, I started out here in 2015-16 with the best of intentions; I was going to never be "one of THOSE" sponsors, who simply has a forum as a placeholder. And after simply "renting my space" here for a couple of years, I realized that it wasn't all that c
  4. One of the things I find both interesting and frustrating as a reefer was all the gear that we tend to use to do stuff that you'd think could be accomplished naturally in an appropriately-designed system: You know, stuff like sulphur denigrators, algae light reactors, etc., etc. Now, I dig these gadgets, so don't get me wrong...and apparently, so does the reef keeping world, as there is no shortage of fancy gear released every month to accomplish many of the tasks that nature is supposed to! And I can't help but wonder, as we explore more naturally-functioning systems, if some of th
  5. As we get more and more into the botanical-style aquarium concept, it's interesting to study some of the niche environments that exist in nature, which are heavy influenced by terrestrial life. A prime example of this are the South American forests and swamp forests, which are seasonally inundated with freshwater. These forests are perhaps nature's finest example of the interaction between land and water, and how diverse and surprisiingly productive aquatic environments arise in these habitats. The two types of inundated forest areas are blackwater systems known as igapó, and the counterpart "
  6. As we see more and more aquariums devoted to botanical-influenced, blackwater environments, we're getting more and more questions about what botanical would be appropriate for a given region that an aquarist is attempting to replicate. Now, we've sort of touched on this before, and it bears further discussion at this point, I think. First off, many of the botanicals we work with are found in multiple tropical regions of the earth, and as such, could be suitable to represent a variety of habitats from around the world. Others are tied more specifically to a given region, and would o
  7. Ever get one of those ideas that, perhaps you mention in passing in discussion...or maybe in a blog, or whatever...and it just sort of sticks with you a bit? Well, I have just such a "thing" in my head, and I can't seem to let go of it! I mentioned in one of my most recent pieces the idea of a leaf litter-filled botanical tank as a sort of "botanical fry rearing tank" for some species, and I keep thinking about this. It reminds me of the "jungle style" aquariums I used to play with for killies when I was a kid..You know, overgrown planted tanks packed with Rotala, Water S
  8. "detritus is dead particulate organic matter. It typically includes the bodies or fragments of dead organisms, as well as fecal material. Detritus is typically colonized by communities of microorganisms which act to decompose or remineralize the material." (Source: The Aquarium Wiki) It's one of our most commonly used aquarium terms...and one which, well, quite frankly, sends shivers down the spine of many aquarium hobbyists. And judging from that definition, it sounds like something you absolutely want to avoid having in your system at all costs. I mean, "dead organisms" and "fecal mater
  9. Okay, you've seen the pics of all the cool tanks. You've heard the buzz all over social media. Seems like more and more people are talking about blackwater aquariums, botanicals, and real "natural-style" aquariums... And you want in on the action. Hey, who could blame you? This stuff is kind of cool! However, how do you start? How do you choose which botanicals to play with? That's a question that is kind of difficult for me to even answer...What I'd usually tell you when asked is, "It depends." (extremely helpful, I know...) We can hit on this topic in fu
  10. We had a really interesting discussion on Facebook the other evening that's sort of ongoing. I love this sort of stuff- the best part about the community we've fostered here at Tannin! One of our community members brought up the idea of utilizing more natural substrate materials, like clays and such, as opposed to more traditional gravels and sands. A discussion has ensued about which types would be interesting to use with botanicals to create rich and productive aquatic environments. It got me thinking, not only about the types of substrates that make sense to experiment
  11. I remember back in Tannin's "pre-startup" days, when I'd listen to all sorts of podcasts and watch videos of entrepreneurial "experts" talking about any number of subjects, as I'd attempt to glean any kernel of knowledge from the seemingly inexhaustible supply of vapid, regurgitated information out there. I recall one particular "expert" espousing the benefits of "niche markets" in a most cheesy way, with the comical affirmation that, "The riches are in the niches!" (obviously, the "riches" he referred to don't apply to aquarium vendors, lol) This of course made me laugh, because- w
  12. You've heard the time-worn sports cliches and how they apply to other areas of life: "The best offense is a good defense." "Offense scores points. Defense wins games." Well, which one is it? Both. Applied in the proper measure. At least, that's my take on it. We need to play "defense" in our fish-keeping as much as we play offense. "Defense", in our world, is the day-to-day things that we need to do to keep our tanks running well: Feeding fishes, observing, adjusting parameters to make sure that the system is running optimally, or reacting to a disease or ot
  13. Okay, I admit that I'm a huge fan of NOT chasing numbers and following absolute "recipes" to achieve success with aquariums. I mean, I know dozens of reef hobbyists who have literally driven themselves crazy trying to make sure that their calcium level is exactly ______ ppm, and their phosphate is ______ppm, or whatever. And yeah, I know a considerable number of freshwater guys who carry the same mindset. Like, matching the "numbers" from either some successful aquarium they admire or some article by some expert somewhere is the "Holy Grail" of success. And of course, objectively, we kno
  14. Okay, at the bit of sounding just a bit negative today, I'm pondering on a few things that have been on my mind lately when talking to a few people about creating and maintaining botanical-style aquariums. I'm thinking that I felt like writing this blog today because, as more an more hobbyists get into the game, they're attempting to start brand-new to the aquarium world, in less-conventional areas of the hobby, like the blackwater tanks, Rift Lake cichlids, or complex planted tanks, without any type of fundamental foundation. Or at the very least, starting down these specialized roads with ve
  15. It had to happen eventually: Someone asked me on a forum a few days back if I could provide some sort of "hack" to get their new botanical tank "looking like the one you shared on ________ more quickly." And if you read my stuff, you kind of know where I stand on "hacks", right? (Oh- and your tank should look like...your tank- no need to try to duplicate the exact work of someone else, right? Different rant for another time, lol) With all of the cool stuff going on in our little "tinted" corner of the aquatic world, and all of the cool blackwater/botanical tanks starting to show
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