Curious about using oak leaves? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Curious about using oak leaves?

I am just curious about people using oak leaves or other leaves that are safe in the aquarium. What is the purpose of the leaves? Are they just for looks or do they serve some other purpose? I have about 10 oak trees in my yard so I thought about maybe using the leaves since I have soo many available to me.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 03:10 PM
they can add a nice natural touch to the tank. Fish are shrimp really like them since they are full of goodies to eat when you first add them. After a few days they are mostly ignored though. If you add a bunch it can cause some tannins.

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:19 PM
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They are particularly useful in fry tanks. Infusoria will be plentiful on the leaves as they begin to break down (which is quite slow), an excellent first food for fry. Snails relish them too, same reason.

You need to have them completely dry. Collect them after they have been on the ground a while, not from the tree, so the natural sap/juice is gone and the leaf is "dry." After you collect them, spread them out to complete the drying. Then put them in a plastic bag and use as needed. They will float for a few days at first, but then sink to the bottom.

Oak works very well, as do beech leaves.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:19 PM
I've also heard it helps some fish feel more comfortable for mating. I don't know if it's because of the tannins or something else just what I've heard.

Can you grab oak leaves off the ground and just stick them in the tank or should they be cleaned somehow first?
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:23 PM
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I forgot the spawning; some substrate cichlids spawn on or under leaves, so this is, as SomeDudeAtHome said, another use. Some tetra will pick leaves up to search for food, much as birds do in the garden.

If you collect them from your yard you can feel safe, provided you don't use sprays (insecticides, fertilizers, etc). Or collecting them in a forest will likely be safe. Not along streets though, where oils and chemicals might gather.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
They are particularly useful in fry tanks. Infusoria will be plentiful on the leaves as they begin to break down (which is quite slow), an excellent first food for fry. Snails relish them too, same reason.

You need to have them completely dry. Collect them after they have been on the ground a while, not from the tree, so the natural sap/juice is gone and the leaf is "dry." After you collect them, spread them out to complete the drying. Then put them in a plastic bag and use as needed. They will float for a few days at first, but then sink to the bottom.

Oak works very well, as do beech leaves.
I have 2 questions Byron, 1st being how long does one need to let them dry for after collecting them? The 2nd is how long should one leave them in the aquarium for?
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:36 PM
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I have 2 questions Byron, 1st being how long does one need to let them dry for after collecting them? The 2nd is how long should one leave them in the aquarium for?
I did this last year for the first time, and I have an oak tree in my garden. I suppose the leaves had been off the tree for 3-4 weeks. Then I brought them in and spread them out on a sheet of clean particleboard for maybe a week.

I used them for my Farlowella fry and left them until the fry were no longer in the tank. I now have a couple in another tank where I spotted Emerald Dwarf Rasbora fry swimming about. I don't know how long they are of use, they just sort of slowly disappear.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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So the leaves breaking down in the water doesn't cause issues with fouling the water?
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:49 PM
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So the leaves breaking down in the water doesn't cause issues with fouling the water?
I've only used a few, but I have not read from others that this is a problem.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-23-2011, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks for the info!!
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