Various leaf litter - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Various leaf litter

I've thought of collecting and testing out some various leaves in the aquarium as a substitutes for buying IAL.
I'm curious to hear anyone's findings on specific leaf types and how much tannins they releases (severity of water staining) and how quickly they broke down?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 08:04 PM
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I just put in a couple of oak leaves about 2 weeks ago in a 50 gal tank so far some of my amano shrimp have grazed on them, and one actually molted underneath one of them as a shelter. We'll see how long they last before disintegrating. As for staining the water 2 leaves in a 50 gallon isn't going to effect it much. I might add a few more.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 08:30 PM
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Can't say that I have tried many of these.
But I did research on Alder Cones before for my shrimp tanks.
Take a look at this info here detailing the rate of release and pH effects using Alder Cones
Alder cones - How alder cones affect pH and color in aquarium water

I've used Cholla wood, although on a large tank, and I didn't notice any tannin tinge to the water at all, but driftwood would release enough tannins to turn the water a light tea color.
So as far as tannins, my sourced Cholla wood didn't release much at all, but the "wood"/cactus itself has been in the tank for over a month and hasn't "dissolved"/broken down much at all (then again these are in a tank with fish who show no interest in it, no shrimps in tank, some snails, but haven't seen them munch on it). And well, drift wood lasts a long time. I have found Mopani to leech a ton more tannins than Malaysian driftwood.

As for medicinal properties, I've heard Cattapa is not as good as Indian Almond Leaves.
Supposedly Banana leaves are fairly good for medicinal purposes.
I've seen Cattapa bark as well, but don't know much about it, but it should last longer and have more tannins.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 08:45 PM
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I've done maple leaves, which didn't seem to stain the water much and disintegrated within a month or two.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 02:01 AM
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I use leaves from copper beech and shag bark hickory. I add 5-6 leaves every week or two in a 20 gallon. My well water has a ph of 7.8-8.0 gh 10 kh 8. I'm seeing a ph drop of 4 ish. I can't describe the amount of tannins released, my background is brown so it's not noticeable till I do a water change and look in the bucket.

If your doing testing I'd like to see you use white pine needles.
They shed a portion of their needles yearly.
I keep reading about bad pine can be. High acidity ( isn't that the point) it's a fungicide / pesticide ( but I have more mushrooms and worms it my pine straw than anywhere) but of course I lack a education in this area.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 04:08 AM
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I have added the leaves and small twigs (about 1/4" diameter) of Quecus lobata.
The tank already had peat moss substrate, so the tannins and chemistry of the oak leaves was not noticeable. They may have lasted a month or longer reasonably intact, and seemed to take a couple of months to break down until I could not tell they were bits of leaf. The twigs lasted until I moved the tank a few months later, but fell apart when I touched them.

I have also used the bark of Quercus douglasii, the Blue Oak. This releases a LOT of very deep red material. The water in the tank looked like red wine for over a month. I was doing a lot of water changes, to keep on removing the tannins etc. from the bark. When it finally quit I added fish. The Loricariads really liked it. My Royal Pleco (Panaque nigrolineatus) reduced one slab of bark from almost 2" thick down to 1/4". Then the bark broke apart. It took a couple of years.
I still have some bark, but I soak it outdoors in some tubs or my pond, not in the aquariums.

Grape wood does not have anywhere near as much tannins, though the tanks I have used it in are a bit tinted.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 04:16 AM
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Apple, pear, and mulberry leaves don't affect the water too badly in terms of tannins. Make sure they're all fallen off of the tree, or you risk there being residual sugars in the water, causing problems. They also break down pretty quickly, even with small shrimp populations.

Fruit tree leaves in general: few tannins, break down quickly.
IAL, oak, and I'm assuming most "nut" trees in general: many tannins, break down relatively slowly.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 04:10 PM
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I just started a temporary set-up in a new 75 while I experiment with substrate options in a few of my smaller tanks. Plants are all in terra cotta pots and I added quite a bit of leaf litter to hide the otherwise bare-bottom of the tank. The leaves are mostly red and white oak, with a few sugar maple and basswood for variety. I've used a few in some smaller tanks before, and have yet to notice any significant tannin leaching. I steep them in boiling water prior to adding them in the tank.

I will keep this set-up running until I'm ready to scape the 75 or the leaves start adversely affecting water quality, whichever happens first! Should be at least a few months either way.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 04:27 PM
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A one-of experience-

Cherry leaf, brown and fell off tree about 2.5 inches long
Lasted over two weeks in spec 3 tank before RCS ate it all up
Enough to tinge water slightly, very weak tea colour

Have not done it again because I have lots of IAL now. I'd probably do it once every 2+ weeks if I run out of IAL.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
As for medicinal properties, I've heard Cattapa is not as good as Indian Almond Leaves.
Supposedly Banana leaves are fairly good for medicinal purposes.
Catappa and Indian Almond are the same species.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 04:38 PM
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Oak and birch leaves are only leaves I have used after they have fallen from the tree's in my yard an are very dry.
The shrimp's ,pleco's,and snail's made pretty quick work of these large leaves which were all but gone within a month.
Filter material was a little dirtier.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 04:47 PM
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I tried maple leaves, mine did disappear after a couple of weeks only.

Oak leaves stay for many months.

Plants and algae grower.
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