almond leaves - best way to keep it from getting messy while using it as a food sourc
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
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Default 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
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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I have a pasta sauce jar that a few leaves at a time soak in along with indirect sunlight. This acomplishes two things. first the tanic acid is leached out (I don't like the blackwater look either) and it creates a perfect place for the infusoria culture to mature = plenty of food for your wee ones.

I replace 80% of the water a week with dechlorinated or RO water. Hope this answers your questions.

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Old 01-25-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
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I always boil my IAL a bit before tossing them in the tank....never trust how clean or what the seller says. It's perfectly fine, a little hot water will never come close to depleting all the beneficial tannins out of the IAL. I find that a single IAL can last for months and will still leach their tannins out.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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If your water is 7.4, it's probably somewhat hard kH wise and a few leaves will barely touch the pH, if at all. It's not like a few leaves will drop it to 5 pH or something. If lucky, you might, I repeat MIGHT get a 0.1 drop. The tannins are barely noticeable, if any.

I don't bother boiling mine, I let them break down in the tank. I rinse them off with some tap water and stick the stem in the substrate. I space them out a few weeks apart, so by the time 1 leave is starting to break down to it's skeleton, I take it out and the one next to it is starting to get soft. I put another one and by the time that one is getting soft, the other one is ready to come out and keep repeating that cycle.

Some people boil them to get the tannins out, but those tannins include humic acids and fluvic acids and other good things for the shrimp, so I rather have those in the tank, and as I said, I don't see a drop in pH because of a few leaves.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:45 PM   #5
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You do not feed the leaves to the shrimp like food, the leaves culture good bacteria to grow on them, bio film per say. Then the shrimps feed on that. As the leaf decays the biofilm will attach to the decaying part and the shrimps will end up eating the decaying leaf as they search for BIO film. It will not go all over your tank, as it does take a real long time to break down.

Also you might not like the Tannis look but it has very nutritional properties to it, anti bacterial, anti fungal and over all helps keep water soft. It is always good to wash them a once over with warm water before you put them in or boil them.

Search the forum for info on them and you will learn how and why they are used.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like a good rinse with warm water, and I'm going use some boiling water also so I get some, not all, of the tannins out.

I like the soaking of future-leaf-additions-in-a-jar idea. I'll give that a try.

Nice to know the pH is not drastically affected by the IAL (another acronym to learn!)

All good stuff. Appreciate the help!
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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1-2 leaves barely does anything to the ph.... lots of them will do the trick

the only thing is will be a little brown water ...

as for feeding the leaves...i usually drop it on the ground... but i think i will do another way next time by using a veggie clip
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