The Planted Tank Forum banner

Oak leaves

12861 22
I am starting an Amazon biotope housing corydoras. I want to mimic the natural habitat as much as possible and want to create a woody river bed with leaf litter. I am planning on using Manzanita branches and oak leaves scattered about the sand (neither are S.A. native, I know) to simulate this environment.

My question is if anyone has used oak leaves, what effect have you noticed on the water parameters and color?

I have the tank setup (water, filter, heater and lights) and I have had 8 medium oak leaves in the water for the last two days. I haven't noticed any change in water conditions at all. Same clear color, no tannins.

PH: 7.6
KH: 3
GH: 10
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,628 Posts
i would guess that two leave really wont do much knowing that they are dryed up possibly? Im guess though when you add more it will eventually lower the ph make the water a bit browner after a couple day. Never used them but im just going off what some of the lake at my place look like where the oaks are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,717 Posts
I have used several species of oak, native to California. Leaves, twigs and bark.
The ones I have used produced tannins, and the water turned red. The pH dropped.
I am starting with fairly soft tap water (GH and KH are about 4 degrees) so altering the pH is pretty easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My water tests show that it is a bit on the hard side. I suppose that means it might take quite a few leaved before there is a noticeable effect on the PH. Even if the PH is not affected shouldn't the water being showing signs of tannins leaching out? How many leaves does it take to tint the water?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,717 Posts
I used quite a few leaves (would have covered the bottom about 2 leaves thick if they had all been spread out).
Some leaves may have fewer tannins, or the tannins may have been leached or boiled out.

Hard water (high carbonates) will resist the changes in pH that the leaves may do.
If you want to see how acidic the leaves are, add a few to a glass of reverse osmosis or distilled water and monitor the pH.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think they are Black Oak leaves. I collected them in my backyard after they had fallen from a tree in my neighbor's yard. I'm certainly no arborist so I could be wrong.

It's fine if a PH change occurs from adding the leaves, but it is not needed. The cories are currently in a community tank with a PH of 7.6. I really want to achieve the tannin stained look to mimic the blackwaters in South America. If I have to add lots of leaves for that to happen that is actually better because it helps achieve the natural feel that I want to have.

For anyone with experience using leaves, how long do they take to break down (deteriorate) and can I just let them to do that or must I remove them after some period of time?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Oak leaves last longer than Indian Almond leaves. I prefer oak leaves.

I boil them and use the water to get increased color in my Amazon tank. I also put them in my tank for the bottom. I like them a lot. I just let them degrade naturally, no problems.

dbw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
516 Posts
Some prefer to let them break all the way down. Some siphon out the degrading ones.

Some people completely cover their floor with leaves and some dont. These are all valid options and depend on your preferences.

Apistogramma and corys come from the same environments and locations. If you want to see some really amazing biotopes(set up for apistogramma, but can double for a cory cat) go check out this.
http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/forums/south-american-biotope-aquariums.58/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
I've used them on several occasions over the years . Around me it seems to be mostly white oak , and red oak . Never used whole leaves , just crumpled up dried ones so they're like corn flakes and either just sprinkled them heavily in the tank or stuck 'em in a box filter . If you boil the leaves to get them to sink , let the water cool down and add it in the tank also , don't want all the good stuff that leached out during cooking to escape . Haven't noticed any great Ph/hardness changes in my hard , alkaline water ( Ph 7.4~ , GH 140ppm) . Just leave 'em in the tank till they fall apart. Pygmy sunfish and some killies seem to like tanks with oak leaves . The species I use will turn the water brownish , but it'll take some time to get there , maybe a few weeks .Adding the boiled water speeds things up instantly .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,433 Posts
Internet info is often suspect but this site seems to be okay. I cut and copied this for oak leaf ID. One has to do this frequently to keep the memory fresh!




Rub your finger lightly along the lobe of your leaf. If the end of the lobe is pointed, the leaf is from a red oak. A leaf with a rounded end is from a white oak. A black oak leaf will also have pointed lobes. The difference between the black oak and the red oak leaves is the width of the lobes. A black leaf's lobes are narrower than a red oak's.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_8071874_identify-oak-tree-leaf.html

For judging how much color you may need to dip some into a white cup so that the color shows better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
815 Posts
I use oak and other leaves in my 33 gallon. No change in water color or chemistry. I use them in a 10 gallon as well. The water in the 10 gallon is a shade tan, but I only really notice when I do water changes and dump the water in a white bucket.

It takes a lot of leaves to color the water in a larger tank. I also leave the leaves in until they completely break apart. Like someone else said, they hold together for a very long time.

Good luck. Sounds like it will be a great-looking tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Why not use Indian almond leaves. They will certainly create a ton of tannins and soften the water. They may break down faster than oak but at least you have the look you want.
Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I have used several species of oak, native to California. Leaves, twigs and bark.
The ones I have used produced tannins, and the water turned red. The pH dropped.
I am starting with fairly soft tap water (GH and KH are about 4 degrees) so altering the pH is pretty easy.

This is my experience, I have same parameters. Lowers my water by 1 degree. Few large leaves in 10g. The leaves are the size of Indian Almond.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the great suggestions! It sound like you can't really screw up the water chemistry unless you start with soft water. This is good news, because my water is hard and I would like to add a good carpet of leaves. Lots of driftwood and leaves with a good amount of plant matter on the water surface is the habitat I am trying to recreate (still, shallow blackwater riverbed).

Bump:
Some prefer to let them break all the way down. Some siphon out the degrading ones.

Some people completely cover their floor with leaves and some dont. These are all valid options and depend on your preferences.

Apistogramma and corys come from the same environments and locations. If you want to see some really amazing biotopes(set up for apistogramma, but can double for a cory cat) go check out this.
http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/forums/south-american-biotope-aquariums.58/
Thanks for the link, these tanks look great!

Bump:
Why not use Indian almond leaves. They will certainly create a ton of tannins and soften the water. They may break down faster than oak but at least you have the look you want.
Scott
I read that Almond leaves are better at leaching out tannins, but I have a backyard full of free oak leaves. I have not seen any Almond trees in Iowa yet.

The soft water is not as important to me as the blackwater tint. My cories are quite healthy in the community tank with tap water. A lower PH would be fine but not necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have been adding leaves to the tank every day for the last four days or so. I probably have about 15-20 leaves in the tank now, but the water clarity wasn't effected at all so I added a leaf mixture. I boiled a dozen leaves and ended up with about a quarter gallon of condensed oak leaf that I cooled and then added. It change the tint a little darker, but nothing major.

Water parameters didn't change much:
PH 7.4-7.6
KH 4
GH 9-10

I'm waiting on driftwood for the tank and I think that it might add more tannins. It's sandblasted manzanita so it might not. I'll find out after it arrives. The tank is starting to come together!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Global warming has not yet hit Iowa, huh?

You can add a lot more than that (picture) to have more effect. couple of dozen of that size leaf, easy!
Ha. No almonds here yet. Maybe next year...

I might add more oak leaves after I get the wood situated in there. I do want a good amount of ground clutter so I'll see what it looks like with the driftwood and then add more accordingly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
After about a week of oak leaves scattered about the bottom of the tank I started noticing some white ghostly looking "fungus" on and around some of the leaves. I think it is a fungus from what I read around the internet, but I am not sure. I took out about 75% of the oak leaves and put in a couple ghost shrimp to see what happens.

What kind of aquarium critter eats fungus? Would a couple assassin snails take care of this problem?
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top