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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to find a way to dose Fulvic Acid. I just want to see what it does. It's not like I have high expectations by using it. I've played around with peat moss in the past but that was a disaster. I can't find a source of Fulvic Acid that I know for sure would work. The closest I have come to finding something is Potassium Fulvate but I really don't want anymore Potassium. There are also some hydroponic products but I haven't been able to figure out which one would be good for an aquarium. SaltyShrimp makes something called Black Water Powder. There are various black water extracts but none of them look very good to me.

What I have decided to try are Catappa leaves. My Amano shrimp will probably approve. I put some in yesterday but of course I did it wrong. I boiled three leaves for five minutes and poured off the tannin water! I should have kept that and put it in the aquarium with the leaves. So now I'm watching Youtube videos about how to make Catappa leaf extract. I don't want to keep a stock solution. I just want to pour it in the tank. I ordered a pot and a bunch of Catappa leaves from Amazon.

The tea smells really pleasantly earthy, aromatic and kind of sweet. Does anybody here know how to handle Catappa leaves. All the videos suggest washing them but I'm more paranoid than that. Should I boil them and use the extract or should I just steep them and throw them in the tank? Any other thoughts about using Catappa leaves?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you @Deanna. It was your references to Fulvic Acid that got me started on this. I will definitely give this a try. I came across it in my searches and it looked good but I wasn't sure.

I love catapa leaves. I have boiled them for a minute or 2, let the liquid cool and dumped all of it in my tank.
Do you reuse the leaves for reboiling or do they go into the tank? Is this something you do regularly or just something you have tinkered with in the past? I'm thinking Catappa leaves will be a longterm addition because I just got Amano Shrimp.
 

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So...what are you paranoid about?

I literally just toss the leaves in the tank. That's it. Nothing else more.

If you're paranoid about pesticides or something...you'd probably toss the tea after boiling the leaves.

I use catappa and guava leaves from tannin aquatics in order to provide tannins, but my main concern is providing aufwuchs for my herd of amano shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So...what are you paranoid about?

I literally just toss the leaves in the tank. That's it. Nothing else more.

If you're paranoid about pesticides or something...you'd probably toss the tea after boiling the leaves.

I use catappa and guava leaves from tannin aquatics in order to provide tannins, but my main concern is providing aufwuchs for my herd of amano shrimp.
I'm paranoid about tank infestations. Just food for the fish I guess. There were some bad reviews on Amazon.
 

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I bought Matchimaa brand leaves on Amazon and they have been fine. They do preboil the leaves a bit as part of the prep process, but I find they still stain my water a bit and I don't use very much. I just use them for my shrimp to pick at and not specifically for tannins, so this didn't bother me.

Looking back now I see there are a couple reviewers that think they got detritus worms from the leaves, but I don't find them particularly convincing - more likely that adding the leaves grew the existing population or they had them all along, but didn't not notice.

But if you dose with straight fulvic acid like @Deanna suggests, let us know how it goes.
 

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I feel like very few things can survive dessication, so I wouldn't worry about certain pests. You could also just bake the leaves as well to kill any parasites, which I think might preserve the tannins in the leaves rather than have them leach out while boiling. But my info's coming from Snake Discovery about baking them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I bought Matchimaa brand leaves on Amazon and they have been fine. They do preboil the leaves a bit as part of the prep process, but I find they still stain my water a bit and I don't use very much. I just use them for my shrimp to pick at and not specifically for tannins, so this didn't bother me.

Looking back now I see there are a couple reviewers that think they got detritus worms from the leaves, but I don't find them particularly convincing - more likely that adding the leaves grew the existing population or they had them all along, but didn't not notice.

But if you dose with straight fulvic acid like @Deanna suggests, let us know how it goes.
I ordered the Matchimaa brand leaves too. I haven't opened them yet. I also ordered this one: Amazon.com : 10pcs 4”~7” Tantora Catappa Leaves Grd A Indian Almond Leaf KETAPANG Aquarium : Pet Supplies because I read some reviews about how great grade "A" leaves are. These will probably be the ones that infest my tank. The three leaves I put in the aquarium were CaribSea brand. I'm rolling in leaves right now. Black water is not my goal. They're for the shrimp to pick at like you said. The shrimp are new to me but they seem pretty tough. I'm keeping their GH up and getting them some food rich in minerals. I've only seen one molt so far and that might have been a stress molt. I think just steeping the leaves like tea should be good enough. I've seen Youtubers boil the #ell out of them. But that's to get the extract. I might boil a leaf once a week to give the fish a whiff of the tannins.

I plan on dosing 10 mg/l minimum dose of the Fulvic Acid since I already have Catappa leaves in the tank. I will use a half gram spoonful in my 20 gallon tank in the sump before the mechanical filter sponge. I want to bring the pH down about 0.1 of a point for the shrimp. I'm really sort of fighting against myself though because I'm the one increasing the pH by adding +2 KH Potassium Bicarbonate to my RO water. I just can't bring myself to having no KH. I really feel like having a little KH is necessary for aerobic bacteria to thrive. And like I said before, I just want to give the fish a whiff of the tannins because I think that will be good for them.
I've, personally, never had anything bad happen preparing the way I mentioned and I've used some pretty sketchy pet smart/ petco ones. Though I've never ordered any from amazon so I don't have a testimony for them at all.
Well this is encouraging. If you survived sketchy leaves then I should be fine. I will apply a little heat to them as you do. They can be boiled a long time. They smell really good like you're in a tropical botanical conservatory.
So...what are you paranoid about?

I literally just toss the leaves in the tank. That's it. Nothing else more.

If you're paranoid about pesticides or something...you'd probably toss the tea after boiling the leaves.

I use catappa and guava leaves from tannin aquatics in order to provide tannins, but my main concern is providing aufwuchs for my herd of amano shrimp.
I feel like very few things can survive dessication, so I wouldn't worry about certain pests. You could also just bake the leaves as well to kill any parasites, which I think might preserve the tannins in the leaves rather than have them leach out while boiling. But my info's coming from Snake Discovery about baking them...
Aufwuchs (German "surface growth" or "overgrowth"). Another one of those unique German words like Schadenfreude. Gross! But hey, whatever makes the shrimp happy. I plan on just letting the leaves rot away. I think the tannins will make the fish happy. Thanks for mentioning tannin aquatics. That's a good reference. Rachael O'leary gets her botanicals from them. I used to work at a LFS. My boss used to always say bacteria die off when their substrate dries out. I think your idea about baking things is a good one. It's even better than boiling because you can use more heat and you don't have to wait for stuff to dry out afterwards.
 

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I, personally, love the smell. The ones I got were very questionable (stapled shut and shoved in the hermit crab aisle for whatever reason). I got them a few times cuz they were cheap ($.50).

I've since moved on to native oak leaves as there's no longer any catappa leaves available locally. I prepare them the same way.
 

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Har har, I think I will put some Aufwuchs on my toast.
I think you'd be happier with vegemite...

That being said, I'd still just add them raw to the tank. If you're just worried about aufwuchs, then they're going to get in regardless, and more biodiversity is better IMO, at least for microbiota.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I checked out Tanninaquatics.com. They have so many botanicals it's hard to know which to choose. The Aldercones look good. There's also Cholla Wood. I'm not getting more stuff because my aquarium is too full of plants. Can your aquarium be too full of plants? It was for my Bolivian Ram. I had to thin out the plants for her. My Honey Gouramis and female Betta like a lot of plants. They get into them without any problems.

I was planning to leave the Catappa leaves in the tank for a long time to decay. But now I think I will remove them after a couple of months to keep the tank clean. I want the Aufwuchs but I don't want a mess that will contribute to algae. So I'll keep putting in new leaves and taking out the old ones. I'm not sure how long each leaf will get to stay in the tank. Once they start making detritus they're out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think you'd be happier with vegemite...

That being said, I'd still just add them raw to the tank. If you're just worried about aufwuchs, then they're going to get in regardless, and more biodiversity is better IMO, at least for microbiota.
Vegemite taste about the same as Aufwuchs. With fifty percent water changes I'm sure the detritus won't be a problem. I'll quit being paranoid now. Sorry. It's the Aufwuchs I've been smoking. Makes you hungry too.
 

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Checked out the pricing with the retailers being discussed here and... hard pass. What on earth? Y'all know they're just buying in bulk from ebay and other bulk craft suppliers and marking things up 1,000%, right? You're not buying anything special no matter how they present it. Having a pretty instagram presence does not make a seller great. One of the primary retailers gets their stuff directly from ebay.

Buy Indian Almond Leaves on ebay. (Don't link to ebay, though, as we prohibit it to eliminate promoting your own sales) You can tell who the good sellers are because they'll have specific feedback. A few of them also discuss their collection practices and post photos of the trees they pick from. They're also up front about what they're selling and don't try to deceive customs inspectors. Before I had my own mature trees dropping leaves, that's where I'd obtain mine. Doing it any other way when you don't have safe trees to use is wild.

If you have any concern, rinse them well or soak them in a bucket overnight. Almost never a need to boil beyond a minute or so - just wasting the good stuff when you do that.

Depending upon your location in the US, it shouldn't be too tough to collect oak or other similar leaves to use for tannins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Checked out the pricing with the retailers being discussed here and... hard pass. What on earth? Y'all know they're just buying in bulk from ebay and other bulk craft suppliers and marking things up 1,000%, right? You're not buying anything special no matter how they present it. Having a pretty instagram presence does not make a seller great.

Buy Indian Almond Leaves on ebay. (Don't link to ebay, though, as we prohibit it to eliminate promoting your own sales) You can tell who the good sellers are because they'll have specific feedback. A few of them also discuss their collection practices and post photos of the trees they pick from. They're also up front about what they're selling and don't try to deceive customs inspectors. Before I had my own mature trees dropping leaves, that's where I'd obtain mine. Doing it any other way when you don't have safe trees to use is wild.

If you have any concern, rinse them well or soak them in a bucket overnight. Almost never a need to boil beyond a minute or so - just wasting the good stuff when you do that.

Depending upon your location in the US, it shouldn't be too tough to collect oak or other similar leaves to use for tannins.
Yeah, I'm pretty Catappa leaf poor right now. My wife used to have a Catappa tree growing in her yard. I've seen deals for a thousand leaves. I intend to count every one of them too because I don't want to get ripped off. Why don't they just sell it by the pound? Some of the vendors probably do sell it by the pound. Why would Rachel O'Leary buy from these people? Huh? Hey wait a minute. She must be in cahoots with them. I'm so naive.

And what about the grading? I mean I got grade "A" leaves. It's like buying grade "A" maple syrup. How easily I get seduced by marketing psychology. I actually really like grade "B" maple syrup. It tastes richer. You probably saved me a couple of hundred dollars by mentioning this.
 
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