12-13-2010, 05:45 PM
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One does have to be careful with some leaves. I use oak leaves and they remain in the tank until they are literally rotted apart. I have not noticed any discolouration of the water, but of course I only have 2-3 leaves in a 10g and 20g aquarium. I have never used Almond leaves, but many have, so presumably they are safe in themselves. I don't know if they can be left in the aquarium or have to be removed at some pint, I assume those linked articles might answer that [haven't read them yet]. As with wood, not all leaves are usable, so know the leaf.
Some leaves have toxic substances. Oak and similar leaves should be completely dried, not fresh off the tree [totziens, was this your issue perhaps?]. This way no fresh sap gets into the tank.
A friend of mine who is an acknowledged authority on dwarf cichlids once told me about collecting some rare cichlid in South America, along with the sunken leaves that cover its natural habitat streambed, and on which it spawns. After a few months in the aquarium, suddenly all the fish died, and it turned out to be due to the toxins released by the leaves. In the wild the stream water carries toxins away, but in the enclosed aquarium they remain and build up in the water to a lethal point. I have read that fully drying the leaves prior to use should prevent this from occurring.
A quick comment on the original question of cherry barbs/corys in water with a slightly acidic pH. These fish mainly occur in very soft water, with usually a fairly acidic pH (in South America) or slightly acidic to sometimes slightly basic (in SE Asia depending upon location). They will therefore be fine as long as extremes in acidity are avoided. And with hard water having a pH of 7.6 I would not expect a few leaves to have that much of an impact to create extremes in acidity; the hardness (mineral content) is likely to work again that occurring.
Last edited by Byron; 12-13-2010 at 05:50 PM..