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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if it would be okay to put sticks, plants, roots and leaves I found in the yard in a tank.
Would this be safe as a temporary solution for not having many plants for fish to hide in?

As to why I would do this:
I have a group of female bettas in quarantine. My plan was to introduce them to the tank as a sorority. Their time in separation is about up. It's been almost week since I got them, and I planned on buying the last of the plants and gravel today, as all seem healthy. Unfortunately, my pond goldfish became very ill in the last few days, and all the money I had saved up for the last few items was drained to heal them. I want to get the bettas out of their small quarantine tanks as they aren't heated (imagine heating 7 -1gallon tanks!).

I know that the tank should have enough cover for them to hide while establing the pecking order, and to escape aggression. could I use organic matter found in the yard as long as it was clean and not in contact with any fertilizers? It's probably similar to what would occur in the wild right?
are there certain leaves and plants to avoid?

I live in south florida, as to reference any plant suggestions anyone may have.
 

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In short ....don't do it. Using things found in the back yard could lead to big water perameter problems. I would use things like coffee mugs....plastic cups....etc....untill you save up enough to get true aquatic plants and driftwood.
 

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Rivers, ponds, streams, and lakes in the wild have huge volumes of water. In a small enclosed environment (an aquarium), this would lead to water parameter problems. Check out some RAOKs if you can pay shipping.
 

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i wouldnt go nuts with sticks and everything. if you can find some dry oak leaves, thats perfectly fine. a lot of people use indian almond leaves (catalpa leaves).

make sure that the dry leaves you collect are free of pesticides and lawn ferts and crap.

you can order catalpa leaves from ebay
 

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I have oak leaves in my tank, and no tannins aren't harmful and don't need to be "eliminated" unless you hate the color. Here's a pic of mine with some oak I found in the backyard (and soaked in chlorine free water overnight):
 

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no need to take them out. use the dry ones though. and the tannins are good stuff, dont worry about them. in reality not many fish live in water that is as clean as we like it. they almost always live with leaves and sticks and tannins in the water
 

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Children Boogie
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I have oak leaves in my betta tank. Any hard wood is fine. Find dead wood, not green wood, strip/blast the bark and soak in a tub for weeks/months. How do you think those guys selling manzanita driftwood in the S&S do it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah I like the look of leaves in the tank. I knew tannins were okay, I guess what I meant was how long until one would have need to remove the leaves?

Is there any way to accelerate the process of prepping wood, say if I had smaller pieces that could be bolied, etc.
 

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I'm new at this whole thing, and only have java moss at this point, so it isn't exactly a "planted" tank. But I have a 30 gallon with a handful of stone cats, a banjo cat, talking cat, peppered cory, several danios, several white clouds, a pair of guppies, 3 cherry shrimp, 1 amano shrimp, 1 rhino pleco, & 2 "tiger limia". When I started this tank several months ago it was for aquatic salamander larvae. I had only oak and white birch leaves in it, no other substrate. Since then I have added natural creek sand/gravel from a nearby park, and a wonderful piece of wood from the LFS (I forget the name, it is an african hard wood). I leave the leaves in the tank until they essentially liquefy and the pieces clog the filter intake, when I pic them off.
The leaves I used were dried, but I dug into the pile to get moist leaves that would introduce natural microbes to the tank. The water had quite a dark tannin color, which I don't mind, but the activated carbon in my filter removed all of it rather quickly, now it is crystal clear.
I know the method I used to establish my tank is a bit against what many of you would consider safe or best practices, but I want to try to establish the most natural tank possible, with a varied cohort of microbes and invertes. So far it has worked very well for me. We'll see if the changes I plan in the future proove too much for my "system".

I hope this helps your leaf question a bit, and if anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them :) Be Well, Jason
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Dried Oak and Maples leaves are fine. Magnolias, too.

What tree leaves do you have access to? May be easier to start with that list... LOL

You want to avoid trees with high sap content (pine needles) and Melaleuca tree leaves especially. Be careful of tropcials, and especially shrubs like Oleander.
 
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