08-22-2012, 02:17 PM
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I do much the same, except I don't wash them, but then i collect them from under my oak tree in my back garden and I use no chemicals or substances other than water on my garden. It is important to make sure they are completely "dry" and dead, having fallen from the tree. I lay them out to completely dry any moisture, then into plastic fish bags.
I see no value to boiling them. There are a couple reasons for using leaves. One is purely decorative, as a litter of leaves on the substrate is authentic; some fish need these for spawning. But another value is the formation of infusoria which is a great source of food for fry, grazing fish like pleco, Farlowella, etc, and of course shrimp and snails.
I use oak, and have read that beech is also good. Other trees may be, I can't say. You can also buy dry almond leaves in some fish stores for this purpose, but collecting them will save you money.