wood and leaves

the benefits of leaves

Hardwood leaves in the home aquarium provide many benefits for inverts and fish, especially fry and "sucker fish". Here are some tips on their use:
>leaves need to be autumn leaves, ie with the chlorophyll reabsorbed by the tree. Otherwise the leaves just decompose, the way a leaf of lettuce would;
>they must be "cide" free -herbicide, fungicide, pesticide - and not be treated with any other agricultural chemicals;
>they must be collected from low traffic areas, such as small side streets, local parks or private property. Check with your city re "cide" use on public land;
>use common sense- leaves close to the base of a pole or tree are likely to have dog urine on them;
>rinse and use if you wish to grow a lot of aufwuchs; or soak to remove some of the tannin;
>to store leaves, rinse and dry flat , then bag and seal;
>size the leaves to the tank- a tulip tree leaf will over power a 5gallon;
>some leaves last a long time and make a good substrate. Tulip tree and London plane are good (they break up into small bits towards the end and should be removed before causing problems with prefilters). Mulberry is popular. Oak, magnolia and maple are good choices. These leave little leaf skeletons and are easy to remove when spent. Maple breaks down quickly.
>peach tree leaves disappear very quickly, but shrimp go crazy for them.

Anti fungal and antibacterial:
>Indian Almond leaf and bark; green-picked walnut leaves; autumn banana leaves (and organic cinnamon sticks) have anti fungal/ antibacterial properties.

>hardwood leaves, driftwood, peat moss and alder cones will lower the pH of aquarium water, and stain it with tannins. 

 Special cases:
>horse chestnut and chestnut are recommended to be collected green.
>banana leaves may be harvested while green, then dried, for use as food for fish and inverts.
for detailed info,check out Crustaforum
for the BCA discussion, click here
for alder cone info, click here

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