What is the effect of Oak leaves on nitrite/nitrate levels
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:54 AM   #1
evilhorde
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What is the effect of Oak leaves on nitrite/nitrate levels


Hello everybody,
I was reading somewhere that as leaves decompose in water they lower the level of nitrates in the water. I can't find the article now, nor can I find anything else backing the claim. Does anybody here have any idea what I am talking about?

As I recall the article was regarding cherry shrimp and how they eat the bacteria that lives on the rotting oak leaf. The article siad that one shouldn't have a plant like hornwort in the tank with the leaves because the hornwort would outcompete the oak leaf bacteria for the nitrate.

Last edited by evilhorde; 02-15-2012 at 05:05 AM.. Reason: did a bit of homework
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:36 AM   #2
Chlorophile
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I don't think they would lower nitrates - they would raise them as they decompose, probably.
If you have a cycled tank they shouldn't leech any ammonia fast enough to have much of an effect.
Bacteria and other things will grow on the leaf and break it down.. microorganisms and the like. All of which will be shrimp food.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:42 AM   #3
evilhorde
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I really wish I could find that article. The claim it made was that the leaf breaking down used the nitrates present in the tank , lowering them "just the same as decomposition in a compost". I don't know anything about composting either, I just recall that snippet.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
lochaber
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I'm not at all certain on this, but I think leaves are generally considered low-nitrogen in terms of composting. I forget how the whole deciduous leaves things work, but isn't most of the nitrogen in leaves involved in chlorophyll? -Is the process of leaves changing colour the chlorophyll (and other phytopigments) the plant reabsorbing the nutrients, or is it just breaking down/wearing out?.

Anyways, I could possibly see that some microbes would set up camp on the leaves, using the carbon in cellulose, lignin, and what not, but be somewhat nitrogen starved.

I'd also be interested in reading a summary of that paper/the article itself if you happen across it again.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:31 AM   #5
evilhorde
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I found the source that I read before and I am a trifle embarassed now. It certainly wasn't a paper. Not even an article. A quote by someone from a different uncertified source. I'll post the link to the thread here and I'll see if I can trace it further but it is starting to seem like a bunch of hooey.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ank-95165.html
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting that.

Yeah, I'm thinking either the person reposting is slightly confused, or maybe the original posting is a bit off.

I've heard of people putting in alder cones and (I think?) almond leaves. I think the claim was that these specific leaves/cones had anti-fungal properties, and were good for breeding tanks, as it would lessen the risk of fungus damaging eggs.

*shrugs* That's about the only thing that comes to mind as to "conditioning water" with leaves- and maybe a bit of a blackwater effect.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:14 AM   #7
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people use those leaves to breed fish lower ph and to create blackwater or use the leaves for shrimp tanks as the shrimp eats it as they decompose. very beneficial. the amazon rivers are loaded with leafs on the bottom creating a leafy substrate. i often put a a load of indian almond leaves in my altum tank to create that amazon biotope. just gets nasty when they start breaking down. but the first couple of weeks i like the look of it.
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