Adding tea for tannins??

Natabettas
Member
So I was reading somewhere that you could add in some types of tea bags for tannins in the water and it will have similar effects to IAL. My IAL won’t be in for another while and 6 bettas just came to me (I rescue fish in my area). They were a “sorority” but after looking at them for. Idk. 10 seconds I realized at least 2 of them are males. They’re all beat up understandably and some have minor fin rot at this point. I have them all in separate 5 gallon bins (I am paranoid now that 2 others may also be male and have developed false egg spots but we will have to see as time goes on) and I am giving them each a salt bath each day as well as cleaning their bins. Using a space heater to keep the room warmed up since I don’t have 6 spare heaters and at night hot water bottles and Saran Wrap to keep the heat in. It is a mess lol. But anyways I don’t have IAL on me atm and read you can use some teas. The only tea I have is orange pekoe. Does anyone know if that would work? I heard to brew it for a while then dump that out and that will remove any caffeine and what will be left over is the good stuff we want. Is that true? I don’t want to do anything that will hurt these poor souls anymore than they already are. Thanks in advance.
 
smalli
Member
Natabettas said:
So I was reading somewhere that you could add in some types of tea bags for tannins in the water and it will have similar effects to IAL. My IAL won’t be in for another while and 6 bettas just came to me (I rescue fish in my area). They were a “sorority” but after looking at them for. Idk. 10 seconds I realized at least 2 of them are males. They’re all beat up understandably and some have minor fin rot at this point. I have them all in separate 5 gallon bins (I am paranoid now that 2 others may also be male and have developed false egg spots but we will have to see as time goes on) and I am giving them each a salt bath each day as well as cleaning their bins. Using a space heater to keep the room warmed up since I don’t have 6 spare heaters and at night hot water bottles and Saran Wrap to keep the heat in. It is a mess lol. But anyways I don’t have IAL on me atm and read you can use some teas. The only tea I have is orange pekoe. Does anyone know if that would work? I heard to brew it for a while then dump that out and that will remove any caffeine and what will be left over is the good stuff we want. Is that true? I don’t want to do anything that will hurt these poor souls anymore than they already are. Thanks in advance.
Why dont you just boil the decor
 
  • Thread Starter
Natabettas
Member
Wait why should I boil their decor? All their decor is atm is a cup for hiding in and some plastic plants (passed the pantyhose test).
 
smalli
Member
StarGirl
Member
Natabettas said:
So I was reading somewhere that you could add in some types of tea bags for tannins in the water and it will have similar effects to IAL. My IAL won’t be in for another while and 6 bettas just came to me (I rescue fish in my area). They were a “sorority” but after looking at them for. Idk. 10 seconds I realized at least 2 of them are males. They’re all beat up understandably and some have minor fin rot at this point. I have them all in separate 5 gallon bins (I am paranoid now that 2 others may also be male and have developed false egg spots but we will have to see as time goes on) and I am giving them each a salt bath each day as well as cleaning their bins. Using a space heater to keep the room warmed up since I don’t have 6 spare heaters and at night hot water bottles and Saran Wrap to keep the heat in. It is a mess lol. But anyways I don’t have IAL on me atm and read you can use some teas. The only tea I have is orange pekoe. Does anyone know if that would work? I heard to brew it for a while then dump that out and that will remove any caffeine and what will be left over is the good stuff we want. Is that true? I don’t want to do anything that will hurt these poor souls anymore than they already are. Thanks in advance.
I think a lot of people use Rooibos tea. It should be caffeine free.
 
  • Thread Starter
Natabettas
Member
Oh yeah I’ve got some driftwood in other tanks. Just was wondering if the tea would be any good since we have tons of it lol
 
faydout
Member
StarGirl said:
It should be organic and caffeine free.
I use Rooibos, it doesn't have to be organic. It needs to be just Rooibos (which is naturally caffeine free), and not flavored. Here's exactly the type I put in my tank every week. It doesn't have the same properties that IAL or similar things have (no tannins, fulvic, or humic acids) and won't alter water chemistry. It's just about adding a similar faux blackwater look.
 
Vincentfong
Member
Hi, this probably a dumb question, but what are tannins used for in an aquarium?
 
Flyfisha
Member
I use rooibos tea . Is caffeine free because it’s made from a different plant to ordinary tea.
The story in my town is it has anti bacterial properties, no scientific proof?

. Natabettas you can’t use ordinary tea.
 
kellerjake2004
Member
Vincentfong said:
Hi, this probably a dumb question, but what are tannins used for in an aquarium?
They help the immune system of the fish. There are lots of articles about it.
 
Vincentfong
Member
kellerjake2004 said:
They help the immune system of the fish. There are lots of articles about it.
Okay, thanks! I will go look that up now.
 
Flyfisha
Member
I have never heard of Bay leave? Anyone used them ?

 
JustAFishServant
Member
Glad to see another Betta rescuer here on Fishlore! I've been rescuing splendens for over 8 years! Although I haven't been posting very much recently, youou can find some of the stories on my Imgur account

Anyhow, yes, you can use tea bags! I've always used "Lipton", I believe it's called? The best tea to use in a blackwater setup are black teas (no, duh) as well as herbal, but BE CAREFUL! I've had moments when I added far too much tea at once and it ended up killing the fish (that's how my best finned friend passed a few months ago. Put me in a depression for weeks).

I know this may sound like personification of aquariums, but they have to get used to the tea, otherwise you'll "overload the bio-load", creating a toxic environment. I know it's tempting to add everything at once (I mean, who doesn't want their tanks to look perfect instantly?), but you have to be patient!

Add a used tea bag. You'll probably see bacteria colonization on the bags (gross whitish, gooey, fluffy, moldy-looking stuff) and in the water, but wait for a few days and it should disappear. Once it's gone, start adding a little more at a time. After a month or so, you can finally add a full, unused black tea bag (for hospital tanks, I use 1 Lipton bag per gallon). Keep a close eye on the water quality, and make sure you have water flow to prevent organic material building up on the surface of the water, as this can be a death sentence for labyrinth fish.

Once you notice everything is just fine and dandy, you can start adding more and more tea! I personally gather oak/aspen leaves and pine tree bits from our hikes, microwave them in hot water for two minutes, let them cool, and add them right into the tanks! These work wonderfully, and provide a beautiful, naturalistic look!

Of course, you could also contact my friends at TanninAquatics and watch Tanner's (SerpaDesign's) videos! They'll provide helpful info for blackwater setups

Anyhow, I hope this helps you out a bit! This is all from personal experience over the years, so I'm more than willing to share more info, if you need! Good luck
 
YellowGuppy
Member
I've wondered about this recently!

Some info from my random tea knowledge: caffeine is highly water soluble, and so a good way of significantly reducing the caffeine content in tea is to steep it for 30 seconds. You'll lose the majority of the caffeine, and some (but certainly not all) of the tannins and flavour.

I would assume that same treatment would be a good approach for using a tea bag to introduce tannins to your tank. I'm not certain about the effects of caffeine on fish (I would assume it's likely similar to the effect it has on us?) or at what level it would be of concern, but it sounds like it's been done before.
 
  • Thread Starter
Natabettas
Member
Thanks for all the knowledge guys! I’ll definitely be checking out them tea leaves and methods you guys have recommended on these sick guys and gals! I’ll start in small doses as advised gonna run to the store tomorrow and check for rooibos tea and some Lipton. As far as I can tell these fullas are lookin at a full recovery with a bit of tlc and some really clean water
 
MasterPython
Member
YellowGuppy said:
I've wondered about this recently!

Some info from my random tea knowledge: caffeine is highly water soluble, and so a good way of significantly reducing the caffeine content in tea is to steep it for 30 seconds. You'll lose the majority of the caffeine, and some (but certainly not all) of the tannins and flavour.
I know a tea shop owner that says that does not really work. The caffeine is more evenly distributed in the leaf.
 
Flyfisha
Member
Rooibis has no caffeine Natabettas. It has none of the drug that ordinary tea has . Lipton tea is full of caffeine . I can’t see anyone recommending adding caffeine to a fish tank with the little research I did. JustAFishServant acknowledges the death of fish in tanks that have had it added.
 
MacZ
Member
I can only advise to NOT use actual Tea (Camellia sinensis). Residual caffeine is still a problem for many fish and can lead to complications nobody wants. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) has no caffeine, but is also pretty much useless as a source for tannins and humic acids. It's basically only good as a colouring agent.

To put it bluntly: Rooibos is just for colour, actual tea is a no-go. Period.

It's also not just tannins we want in the water. Those are basically just the brown stuff that gives blackwater its colour. What we all want are the acids: Humic, fulvic, tannic, gallic and dozens of other WEAK organic acids. Most of these acids are released during decomposition of the plant material and are not colouring the water. So after the visible tannins are diluted due to waterchanges and have been lost to light exposure, the good stuff is still released.

What they do:
- They lower pH, provided the KH of the water is low enough, to a level (of 6.0 - 6.5 pH) where the number of bacteria compared to neutral water (pH between ~6.8 and ~7.5) is down to half the amount.
Only if the KH (in the hobby this is not the actual carbonate hardness, but the acid binding capacity) is below 1°KH botanicals can lower the pH further than by 0.5 points pH. If the KH is above 5°KH they won't change the pH significantly. (Using more botanicals doesn't change that and may be detrimental as when decomposition starts first thing that happens is a reduction in oxygen. So don't throw in a whole bag of leaves in a tank with a starting pH of 7.5, you only get bacteria blooms, oxygen reduction and if present snail populations will explode.)

- The light acidity puts a bit of positive stress on the fishes immune systems, which helps bringing the system back to working condition.

Why is it good and sometimes even necessary:

Many tropical fish we keep, often even those that don't live in straight up blackwater, live in quite acidic waters with low hardness and mineral contents. This applies to most of the Amazonian species, as well as many from South East Asia and West Africa.
These fish live in often very acidic conditions, which forced them to develop certain anatomical features (mostly in the gills and kidneys) for osmoregulation, so they keep the mineral content in their blood higher than in the surrounding water. This may be stressfull for their bodies, but in exchange they live in an environment that lacks a lot of parasites and bacteria fish in less acidic conditions are exposed to.
And yes, before somebody mentions that: Farm raised fish are raised in less acidic conditions, and are more adaptable to a wider range of conditions. But those also and still profit from being kept in conditions close to what their ancestors in the wild lived in.
Clearwater species are also much more adaptable than those predominantly living in Blackwater.

It is also especially necessary to build up immune response for fish that come straight from the trade, because their immune systems are pretty much rubbish thanks to wholesalers and retailers chugging in meds in big quantities into their tanks, to minimize their losses. What happens to the fish in a home aquarium with normally harmless bacteria doesn't matter to them and is not fun: Normal, omnipresent, usually harmless bacteria become harmful to fish new to a home aquarium, as the fish don't have any immune response to them.
Using antibiotics in such cases only prolongs the immune weakness. It's better to get them through acclimation and quarantine with acidic conditions and big waterchanges, because that way they build up resistence to the bacteria in our tanks. Yes, some fish might not make it, but the rest will become bulletproof to most bacterial and fungal infections. Except when they have parasites that still weaken the system.
 
  • Thread Starter
Natabettas
Member
Okay. So Lipton. Orange pekoe. No go. Got it. I’ll have to just order a whole whole bunch of IAL and hope they come in fast. Thanks everyone! I couldn’t find much of anything on it online and didn’t want to risk anything
 

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