Thinking About Adding Indian Almond Leaves To Tank With Cardinal Tetras And Other Fish

Fahn

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Those fish come from tannin-rich, acidic waters in the wild. Though they're mostly bred in captivity, adding some leaves will definitely add some beneficial properties to your tank.

I put hardwood leaves such as oak, persimmon, and magnolia in my shrimp and betta tanks for the same reason.
 
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DoubleD80

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Those fish come from tannin-rich, acidic waters in the wild. Though they're mostly bred in captivity, adding some leaves will definitely add some beneficial properties to your tank.

I put hardwood leaves such as oak, persimmon, and magnolia in my shrimp and betta tanks for the same reason.
Would you suggest oak leaves over ial? Are they a pain when doing cleaning and water changes? Thanks for the help!
 

Fahn

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Would you suggest oak leaves over ial? Are they a pain when doing cleaning and water changes? Thanks for the help!
The main advantage is depending on your location oak is free. Both contain beneficial tannins and phenolic substances. Both, if used in large quantities, will stain your water anywhere from a slight shade of yellow to the color of dark tea. The choice is whether or not you feel like paying for the leaves and what you feel would be aesthetically pleasing. Since I have access to a wide variety of hardwoods I don't feel the need to purchase IALs.

Once leaves begin to break down they can be a bit messy to clean up, but if you have snails and shrimp they usually devour the leaves down to skeletons over the course of a few weeks anyway. So you get the benefits of tannins while providing your inverts with an all-you-can-eat organic buffet.

Magnolia leaves are a personal favorite. The underside of the leaves is covered in a silky, velvety "fur", and shrimp LOVE combing through it searching for food.

If it helps, here is a 55g blackwater tank at the pet store I worked at that I set up. Plants were Amazon swords, cryptocorynes, rotala indica, tiger lotus, and frogbit, with pothos in the filters. The fish were neon tetras, corydoras, bristlenose plecos, and there were also snails in the tank. Substrate was Eco-Complete and I dosed dry fertilizers. The tannins are from generous amounts of Malaysian bog wood and magnolia leaf litter on the bottom.

IMG_20180825_172801.jpg
 
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DoubleD80

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The main advantage is depending on your location oak is free. Both contain beneficial tannins and phenolic substances. Both, if used in large quantities, will stain your water anywhere from a slight shade of yellow to the color of dark tea. The choice is whether or not you feel like paying for the leaves and what you feel would be aesthetically pleasing. Since I have access to a wide variety of hardwoods I don't feel the need to purchase IALs.

Once leaves begin to break down they can be a bit messy to clean up, but if you have snails and shrimp they usually devour the leaves down to skeletons over the course of a few weeks anyway. So you get the benefits of tannins while providing your inverts with an all-you-can-eat organic buffet.

Magnolia leaves are a personal favorite. The underside of the leaves is covered in a silky, velvety "fur", and shrimp LOVE combing through it searching for food.
I don’t have shrimp but do have assassin snails. Not sure they would eat leaves though. Wonder if my bristle nose pleco and Farlowella catfish would enjoy them? I thought ial had more benefits than other leaves or is that just a marketing ploy haha?
 

Fahn

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I don’t have shrimp but do have assassin snails. Not sure they would eat leaves though. Wonder if my bristle nose pleco and Farlowella catfish would enjoy them? I thought ial had more benefits than other leaves or is that just a marketing ploy haha?
It's all down to marketing. They are used in betta breeding in SE Asia and while not necessarily a gimmick, there are many, many varieties of leaves and botanicals that provide the same benefits, some even more so. Magnolia, persimmon, oak, guava, pecan, banana, mulberry, loquat, various fruit and seed pods, palm fronds, acorn caps, cholla, coconut shell... the list goes on!
 
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DoubleD80

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If it helps, here is a 55g blackwater tank at the pet store I worked at that I set up. Plants were Amazon swords, cryptocorynes, rotala indica, tiger lotus, and frogbit, with pothos in the filters. The fish were neon tetras, corydoras, bristlenose plecos, and there were also snails in the tank. Substrate was Eco-Complete and I dosed dry fertilizers. The tannins are from generous amounts of Malaysian bog wood and magnolia leaf litter on the bottom.

View attachment 562606
Nice tank!

It's all down to marketing. They are used in betta breeding in SE Asia and while not necessarily a gimmick, there are many, many varieties of leaves and botanicals that provide the same benefits, some even more so. Magnolia, persimmon, oak, guava, pecan, banana, mulberry, loquat, various fruit and seed pods, palm fronds, acorn caps, cholla, coconut shell... the list goes on!
Thanks for the great info. Where do you get the magnolia and are they cheaper than ial?
 
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Fahn

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Thanks for the great info. Where do you get the magnolia and are they cheaper than ial?
I live in the Southern US, so magnolia trees are kind of ubiquitous! I just pick mine up from under trees that are away from highways and areas where pesticides are sprayed.

Also, give these guys a look. Rachael O'Leary and George Farmer (big aquarium YouTubers) both swear by them and they offer a wide range of aquarium safe botanicals aside from IAL.
 
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DoubleD80

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I live in the Southern US, so magnolia trees are kind of ubiquitous! I just pick mine up from under trees that are away from highways and areas where pesticides are sprayed.

Also, give these guys a look. Rachael O'Leary and George Farmer (big aquarium YouTubers) both swear by them and they offer a wide range of aquarium safe botanicals aside from IAL.
Cool thanks!
 

kallililly1973

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I almost always cut a few pieces of IAL off a big leaf after a WC. The small amounts i add never affect the water color. Being that i live in the North East I think my best chances will be Oak Leaves. Definitely going to keep an eye out and maybe do an experiment tank with some in the fall.
 
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DoubleD80

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Get Seachem Purigen if you still want to maintain crystal clear water. I love having driftwood and almond/banana leaves in my tank but just can't stand the stained water. Purigen has been a lifesaver for me
Already use it!

Purigen is for posers, real hobbyists have yellow water.

Just kidding
My next tank might be a amazon biotope! But I do like clear water!
 
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Fahn

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Yeah yeah I know. I would have to come to like the stained water which I think I could! Haha won’t know till I try I guess!
You could always allow tannins to build up, then if you decide you hate it, just hit the tank with a big water change and add purigen. I had a coworker who hated the tannin look but couldn't deny that it made the neon tetras' colors pop.
 
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DoubleD80

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You could always allow tannins to build up, then if you decide you hate it, just hit the tank with a big water change and add purigen. I had a coworker who hated the tannin look but couldn't deny that it made the neon tetras' colors pop.
I actually think it looks really cool with low light. But don’t know if it would work with my high ph hard chicago water haha! Would the ph swing to much every time I did a water change that might hurt my cardinals?
 

Fahn

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I actually think it looks really cool with low light. But don’t know if it would work with my high ph hard chicago water haha! Would the ph swing to much every time I did a water change that might hurt my cardinals?
You would need a TON of leaf litter and bog wood to even make your pH budge. I routinely did 50% water changes on my blackwater setup at work, every few weeks I'd just take out the mushy leaves and replace with new ones. I didn't boil anything, I'd let it float until it absorbed enough water to sink.
 
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DoubleD80

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You would need a TON of leaf litter and bog wood to even make your pH budge. I routinely did 50% water changes on my blackwater setup at work, every few weeks I'd just take out the mushy leaves and replace with new ones. I didn't boil anything, I'd let it float until it absorbed enough water to sink.
Thanks again for all the info.

Thanks again for all the info.
How did you clean the substrate with the leaves on the bottom without sucking them up? Pretty sure probably just use common sense but just curious on what you did?
 
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wintermute

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Expect your purigen to need recharging/replacing much more often if you have tannin's in the water! After I put my driftwood in the tank started darkening I put my purigen back in and it cleared up, but it is already after a couple of months, the colour it would have been after six months before I added the driftwood!

I'm also using Magnolia leaves in the tank (I only have three) I put them in for some additional hiding places for my Khuli Loaches. I have two magnolia trees, different varieties, I tried the bigger leaves from the second tree, but interestingly they break down much quicker than the first one (like they have almost disintegrated after a bit over a week). The leaves from the first tree lasted a couple of months!

Tony.
 
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