Nano blackwater aquarium with neon tetras

Setting up a nano blackwater aquarium for the first time

This is my first time setting up a Nano Blackwater Aquarium, the neon tetra biotope is something iv always wanted to recreate.

YouTube video I created at the bottom of the page.

By nano, I mean 60 litres. Its a special tank, one that’s meant for turtles. So its long (80cm) but not very wide or high, its 30cm wide, and only 24.5cm high! That’s very shallow.

Nano Blackwater aquarium with neon tetras

Considering such small dimensions, this tank is great for a small, fast swimming fish. I thought neon tetras. They’re small and have really nice flashy colours, perfect for a nano blackwater aquarium.

Buy this tank on Amazon.

A blackwater aquarium consists of a tank that has a lot of tannin’s, making the water dark, a sort of, tea stained colour. Of course this can vary, very light, or very, very dark, almost unable to be seen through. Another characteristic is the fact they usually have no plants, as they don’t grow well in such dark waters. So this means wood and rock only. However, iv seen a lot of Blackwater aquariums with floating plants, so I’v done the same. I’ve also added Pothos, you can’t go wrong with pothos. A great vine plant that will feed off the nitrates that the fish produce. Read about why I always use Pothos.

Pothos in a blackwater aquarium

Buy Pothos plants on Amazon.

I’ve used the All Pond Solutions HOB filter that I used to have on the 60L aquarium that I recently took down. This is a great filter that holds a lot of filter media for its small size, and also has the advantage of sitting outside the tank.

Aquarium hang on filter 600l/h for blackwater nano aquarium
Aquarium hang on filter 600l/h for blackwater nano aquarium

Buy this APS HOB filter on Amazon

For heating, I used a small 50W Dennerle heater. Its rated for 10 to 150 litre aquariums.

I was going to go without a light, as the tank is situated in a well lit room, but I think I will have to eventually as the floating plants will probably die off eventually without one. This will cause a mess, and ill have to fish out the dead leaves.

substrate and rocks for the blackwater nano neon tetra tank
A more natural substrate than what I usually use.
bogwood for the blackwater nano neon tetra tank
Bogwood and Indian Almond leaves will release tannings into the water causing it to turn a dark yellow/brown colour,

I used wood, and also Catappa (Indian Almond) leaves as these will provide the most tannin’s. After 24hrs of tha tank being set up, the water started to become stained which is what I was aiming for.

matrix filter media for the blackwater nano neon tetra tank
Matrix filter media is supposed to help reduce nitrate.

Buy Seachem Matrix on amazon.

After I set the tank up and arranged the wood and rocks, the water was very dirty from the substrate. So I packed the HOB filter with filter floss just to catch all that dirt. After 24 hrs I removed the filter floss and added some seeded media from one of my established canister filters. In the HOB filter, I added filter sponge, ceramic rings, some Matrix and then filter floss on top.

This means that the tank is now seeded and can house fish, however i’m going to wait a week before doing so.

Nano blackwater aquarium with neon tetras
The tank 24 hours after set up. the tannings are already present.

Acclimating new neon tetras for the blackwater tankAcclimating new neon tetras for the blackwater tank New neon tetras added to the blackwater aquarium New neon tetras added to the blackwater aquarium

Youtube video I created below: