3 Super Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Tannins In Fish Tank

If you are reading this article that means you also have a tannin problem in your aquarium. The good news is there are several ways to get rid of tannins in fish tank. We are going to find out those solutions one by one.

tannins in fish tank

What are tannins?

Tannins are natural organic materials which are left behind after the natural fermentation process. 

This water will generally create when passing through peaty soil and decaying vegetation. Tannins usually have a tangy or tart aftertaste to water. 

Further, these waters will have a musty or earthy odor.

How does tannin come to a fish tank?

Tannins usually enter your aquarium through some of the aquarium decorative leaves or driftwood. 

If you do not want tannins, you must avoid using Malaysian driftwood and African Mopani wood and do not use Indian almond leaves, oak leaves, or peat as your substrate. 

Are tannins bad?

Tannins, also known as tannic acid. Most people panic when their aquarium water color changes into brown or yellow. 

As scary as it sounds, tannins are suitable for most aquariums and will not cause any harm to your aquarium or its inhabitants. 

But keep in mind that these conditions will lower the pH levels slightly over time. Some hobbyists use these conditions to utilize the tannins to achieve soft water conditions preferred by many tropical fish.

How to get rid of tannins in fish tank? 

Getting rid of these tannins in your aquarium is easy. Below we have listed some of the best-practiced techniques for your reference.

1.Boiling The Driftwood

Initially, before introducing the newly bought driftwood into your aquarium, what you can do is boil the piece of wood for around 1 ½ hour and dry the piece of driftwood and then put it in the tank. 

Remember that you might still see a bit of brownish or yellowish color in the water even though you use this technique. 

With time, this color will disappear entirely after conducting necessary water changes in your aquarium.

2.Soaking The Driftwood

You can keep your driftwood in a separate water tank and let the piece rest for a few hours until the water in the tank changes its color. 

Once you have seen the water completely change its color into a brownish or yellowish color, you can repeat the process until the water gets clear. 

Once the process is complete, you can keep the piece of wood inside the aquarium. 

Always know that this method will consume more time and effort, but it will be worth your time and effort in the end.

3.Using Carbon

You can also use activated carbon and filling it into your aquarium’s filter. 

This technique will also take a lot of your time and effort. Always know that this technique is a very effective way of removing tannins from your aquarium. 

You can use one teaspoon of activated carbon into every gallon of water in the tank to achieve better efficient results. 

How do you get rid of tannins fast?

The fastest way to remove tannins is by boiling your driftwood in a large pot, encouraging more tannins to leach out faster. 

Instead of boiling the water for 1 ½ hour, you can boil the wood for five to ten minutes, and when you see the water has changed its color completely, change the water and start to boil the wood again for five to ten minutes shortening the curing process.

How long does it take for tannins to go away?

Time purely depends on the wood or the decorative item

It might take you sometimes a few days or weeks. And usually, most wood will have leached the majority of its tannins within ten days.

Does filter floss remove tannins?

Yes, poly filter floss will catch the free-floating tiny particles looming in your tank. And will clear the water.

Reasons for too much tannins in fish tank

The below-mentioned statements might be the reason why your tank has too many tannins.

1.Fish waste

Fish poop is another waste material that will make your aquarium’s water dirty. Keep in mind that these types of waste can be very harmful to the aquarium and its inhabitants. 

Another form of fish waste is from uneaten food, which the fish leave. This leftover food waste in the tank will start to decay in time. 

So it is best to do a regular clean-up of your aquarium. This way, you will get rid of agents that change your fish tank water to brown or yellow.

2.Decaying plants

Decaying plants will also make your aquariums water brown or yellow. In the process of decay, the plants will turn the water in your aquarium to brownish or yellowish color. 

You can tell whether your plants are dying or not by their color. Suppose the plants are changing into a yellowish color. 

Or notice the leaves of these plants are falling. Your plant’s time is up.

Decaying of plants is a massive issue for aquatic tanks with many plantations because these plants can generate and increase the fish tank’s nitrates, which will worsen the health of the living animals in the aquarium.

3.Other causes of brown or yellow waters

In some cases, the water in your aquarium will change its color without any proper reason, which is a very common thing to happen. Keep in mind that, and you must not overlook it.

If your tank water is a brown color and strong, which makes it hard even to see through, that is a big issue. And quick action has to be taken.

You can do a slight water change to your tank to avoid such situations.

How can I remove tannins in fish tank without removing driftwood?

You can use activated carbon or charcoal. Keep in mind that this will help you solve your issue somewhat, but it will not completely remove it. 

Always try to do a 50 – 75% water change in order to remove tannins from the tank.

How are too many tannins in fish tank

Many of the tropical fish originate in these blackwater conditions, which are naturally a little bit acidic. 

Having tannins in your water helps them to recreate their natural environment. There are no limits on tannins, but if your tank water is dark and discolored, the leading cause is tannin, which will not harm the aquarium inhabitants.

 Always keep in mind that this will reduce the pH levels in time.

Benefits of tannins in fish tank

Tropical fish live in slightly acidic waters, and tannins will help the water recreate those marine animals’ same natural habitat. 

For instance, if you have a South American water source, these water conditions are slightly acidic between a pH level of 5 – 7. 

Many of these waters are soft. So, keeping any fish originating from South America can easily adapt to tannin-filled water (blackwater) since the environment is the same as theirs.

tannins in fish tank

How to remove tannins from pond water?

These are few methods for removing tannins from your pond, and below we have listed some of the most commonly used techniques.

1.Polywood Filter Media

You can directly add this filter to your filter box. 

Still, you must constantly monitor the pressure building up carefully. It’s fine material can highly reduce the water flow and slowly build pressure inside your filtration system. 

If you face these pressure issues, you can always place your poly-wool filters straight below the filter outtake hose, fountains, or any waterfalls. 

You can place a container or a basket with holes fitted with poly-wool and let the water pass through it to catch tannin and debris. 

You must change the material once it is clogged until you get the desired clarity you want. It can take a few days or a week, depending on the amount of debris and tannins in your pond. 

Ensure to start with a 12 -15mm thickness and then slowly increase the thickness as the water clarity improves. 

2.Using Activated Carbon Treatment

You can also use activated carbon to remove any organic pollutants such as tannin from your pond. 

Using activated carbon is one of the best-recommended methods to remove all types of harsh pollutants where your biological and mechanical filter media will not remove by itself. 

You can also remove chemicals such as pesticides, chlorine, and perfumes, where these tannins will be removed by adding activated carbon to your pond filter system.

You can mix activated carbon and the poly-wool mentioned above for best results. It will help if you place these materials within a mesh filter bag inside the filter box. 

When the water passes through the mesh bag, chemicals and tannins touch the surface of the carbon. 

These offset chemicals will stick onto the outer surface of the carbon, so keep in mind that the activated carbon has to be changed frequently as possible until the tannin is gone. 

You must always have a large surface for chemical neutralization to take place. That will allow a faster and much more efficient chemical removal.

3.Water Change And Treatment

After doing the above mentioned two treatments and still not removing the color fast enough; It would help if you considered a water change. 

Doing so will reduce tannin levels in the water. Keep in mind to keep this technique as the last option over filter media or activated carbon. 

A water change will reduce beneficial bacteria populations and introduce chlorine into the pond system. 

A water change will work just fine as long as you remember to use a dechlorinator afterward to remove any residual chlorine, which can harm the fish and kill the pond bacteria.

How to get rid of tannins in driftwood?

You can use these two methods to remove the tannin off driftwood.

1.Boiling The Driftwood

Initially, before introducing the newly bought driftwood into your aquarium, what you can do is boil the piece of wood for around 1 ½ hour and dry the piece of driftwood and then put it in the tank. 

Remember that you might still see a bit of brownish or yellowish color in the water even though you use this technique. 

With time, this color will disappear entirely after conducting necessary water changes in your aquarium.

2.Soaking The Driftwood

You can keep your driftwood in a separate water tank and let the piece rest for a few hours until the water in the tank changes its color. 

Once you have seen the water completely change its color into a brownish or yellowish color, you can repeat the process until the water gets clear. 

When the process is complete, you can keep the piece of wood inside the aquarium. Always know that this method will consume more time and effort, but it will be worth your time and effort in the end.

drift wood

Related Questions

Can you filter out tannins?

Yes. You can remove Tannins by self-cleaning automatic tannin filters. 

These filters will use ion- exchange, an ion exchange media,  chlorine, or ozone, followed by a good filter that can remove tannin.

Will activated carbon remove tannins?

Yes. You can also use activated carbon to remove any organic pollutants such as tannin from your aquarium or pond

Using activated carbon is one of the best-recommended methods to remove all types of harsh pollutants.

What filter will remove tannins in fish tank?

You can use Polywood filter media to remove tannins from water.

What are the side effects of tannins?

Significant amounts of tannic acid can cause side effects such as dark brownish or yellowish color in the water. 

The pH levels will slightly reduce in time, and a lousy odor can come from the water.

Can tannins kill fish?

No, tannins will discolor your water but will not harm its inhabitants

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.