Oak leaves in aquariums - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-22-2012, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Oak leaves in aquariums

So I see that this topic has been covered before in an old thread but I still have some questions about adding oak leaves to an aquarium. I read that shrimp love them, etc. but I am still not clear on how to prepare the oak leaves.

Would it be OK to collect old leaves now, in late summer? And do they need to be cleaned and by what method? I read boil them; don't boil them; dry them in the sun; store them in bags, etc. - lots of different ideas.

I would like to know if is would be ok to collect some in a local preserve where I know they do not spray and select some clean, dry ones - lay they out in the baking sun for a while and add a few.

OR do they need more preparation?

Are there any problems with adding oak leaves or other hardwood leaves to an aquarium?
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-22-2012, 12:13 PM
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I use leaves in pleco tank and gather them in the fall after they have fallen from the trees and are brown/dried.(don't use green ones)
I then take however many I plan to use in the aquarium and soak em overnight in bucket of plain tapwater.
Remaining leaves I keep in plastic 1 gal freezer bags until those in the aquarium pretty much dissolve into nothing but stem.
The use of these can stain the water with tannins but tannin's are harmless to fishes/shrimp's.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #3 of 4 Old 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.


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 4 Old 08-22-2012, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. I have added a couple oak leaves and my shrimp are checking them out.
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