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Oak Leaf Litter

Discussion in 'Plants, Ponds & Planted Tanks' started by abcdefghi, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. finzz

    finzz CCA Members

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    'Makes me glad I'm out in the woods away from civilization. If they sprayed my neighborhood they'd take away agood share of my free fish food.
     
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  2. abcdefghi

    abcdefghi CCA Members

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    Same here, no concerns walking out back and grabbing bag fulls of leaves.
     
  3. FishEggs

    FishEggs CCA Members

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    I've heard of using cedar to keep the mosquitos away.
     
  4. DiscusnAfricans

    DiscusnAfricans Vice President
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    I have a huge Magnolia treet in my yard, but never considered harvesting the leaves. A few weeks back I had to cut back many of the branches from blocking the sidewalk, would've been a great opportunity, but unfortunately they were already picked up as yard refuse. Huge tree though, so will be tons of leaves available in the near future. We don't live close enough to anyone that would be spraying for mosquitoes, so I'm sure its safe, but would wash them regardless. I'll take a picture of a leaf later as I know nothing about trees and how to identify them, and don't trust google for images. I'll post when I can, if motivated enough I'll collect some to bring in, I don't think I really have any fish that would benefit from or appreciate leaf litter, plus I'd likely be lazy and end up with dirted tanks. Interesting topic though, I know I'd never buy leaves.
     
  5. abcdefghi

    abcdefghi CCA Members

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    From what I have read, even if your fish won't benefit directly from the tannins, lower pH etc the leaves provide anti fungal and anti bacterial properties that would benefit all fish.

    I hear you on the dirt though, have about 15 oak leaves in the tank as if yesterday, watching the fish and water parameters closely.
     
  6. abcdefghi

    abcdefghi CCA Members

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    Well, been a few days with the leaves and no problems. The fish, especially the Apistogramma, and Corys love them. The female trifasciata has turned a really bright yellow, and the tefe seem to like swimming through the leaves as well.
     
  7. Sonny Disposition

    Sonny Disposition Active Member

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    Like Becca says, the leaves tend to break down after awhile. If you have time, you might soak some in a bucket for a week or so, and then pour the water in the tank. I think the tannins from the leaves protect fish from bacterial infections and they increase the hatch rate of certain species-- particularly those from soft, acid water.

    A quick work around that I rely on is to boil water for a couple of cups of decaffinated tea. The tea stains the water as dark as any oak leaves would.
     
  8. abcdefghi

    abcdefghi CCA Members

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    While I definitely understand not wanting to have the leaves breaking down in the tank, as well as the tips on getting the tannins, I personally like the look of the leaves on the bottom of the tank and the fish certainly enjoy swimming through, over and around them, so for me I am happy to toss a few in and deal with vacuuming out the decaying leaves as necessary.
     
  9. finzz

    finzz CCA Members

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    Corydoras fry seem to fare better when there is a layer of oak leaves in the bottom of the tank. When only a couple days old, they graze on the tops & bottoms of the leaves on what I assume are micro foods of some kind caused by the deterioration of the leaves. By the time the fry are old enough to siphon the leaves away, all that remains are bits & pieces.
     
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  10. CSnyder00

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    Then I'm going to pull some oak leaves and try this. I'm sure my apistos would love them, too.
     
  11. mchambers

    mchambers Occasional Corydoras Breeder / Board of Directors

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    I've also had good results with tree bark. I usually use bark from crepe myrtle trees, the varieties that have peeling bark. It holds up well, better than leaves, but looks nice.

    If you go this route, I recommend testing the bark first. Tannin Aquatics has a piece up today about bark:

    https://tanninaquatics.com/blogs/news/the-bark-has-bite
     
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  12. CSnyder00

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    I’ve also got crepe myrtles, but the oak leaves are right out the door and more plentiful.
     
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  13. mchambers

    mchambers Occasional Corydoras Breeder / Board of Directors

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    I don't think it's an either or situation. You can use both. They have different characteristics. The bark breaks down much slower, which I like, especially in tanks where the appearance is an issue.
     

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