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I read somewhere that you can use broken coconut shells as natural looking hiding places for shrimp and small fish. I recently added a piece to one of my 10 gallon tanks, and the water is slightly tinted. I boiled the shells twice to get rid of the tannins and it seemed to work because the water they were boiled in looked like tea. Honestly, I kind of like the color the coconut shell gives the water; I think the slightly darker water provides a nice contrast for brightly colored fish and makes them stand out more. Can the tinted water hurt the fish?
 

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it will not hurt the fish, some fish even like tannin in the water,

some people add indian almond leaves to make the water more darker
 

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If your fish like the soft water, than it's all good. But some fish need a higher pH, so it all depends on the type of fish you are keeping.

Thing you want to watch out for with the coconut shells is that they will breakdown. It can be kind of messy, but gravel vac'ing will solve that problem.
 

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I took a fresh coconut and cut it in half, cleaned out all the excess white stuff and let it dry, soaked it, then boiled it. Both halves have been in the tank for about a year and it's still too tough to push a push-pin into it. I drilled some holes in it to attach plants to it (java fern). It will eventually break down, but it looks like it will last maybe 5 or more years at this rate.
 
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