almond leaves - best way to keep it from getting messy while using it as a food sourc
I recently bought some almond leaves on ebay for my tangerine tiger/painted fire red shrimp (in a planted tank - 5.5 gallons). From what I read on the forum and other websites, almond leaves not only buffer the water with tannins but also provide nutrients/food for the shrimp.
Here's my question:
1) I don't really need the buffering or lowering pH. I was thinking of boiling the almond leaves and bleaching out some but not all of the tannins. I'm at 7.3-7.4, and don't mind the water dropping to 7.0 but it's not a must for me. the shrimp are all doing well and don't want to tempt fate. plus I don't like the brown color the tannins introduce to the water but this is a purely aesthetic preference
* if I boil the leaves, does that ruin the potential of the almond leaves as a nutrient source? I'm thinking I'm killing any bacteria that comes on the leaves when I boil, but that might be a good thing since I don't want to introduce any unknown bugs into my tank. can the almond leaves "recover" their potential as a nutrient source after they stay in the tank?
2) How do people place/feed the almond leaves to the shrimp. Do you use a glass petri dish and place the leaves on top. I am concerned about the leaves dissolving and disintegrating and my filter making the pieces fly all over the tank. I would like to find a neat/clean way of introducing the almond leaves as food for the shrimp