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Discussion Starter #1
I've read all over that loaches like leaves on the bottom of the tank to hide and root around in. Now, I hope I'm not being ignorant here but, are we talking about regular leaves from outside... like the ones covering my lawn right now, or are there "special" leaves for fish tanks. I'm looking to set up a loach tank and I want it to be as good for them as I can make it. If I am being dumb, I apologize, I just don't know and nothing that I've read specifies what particular type of leaves are good or bad. Thanks
 

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You can use oak leaves from your yard (provided you don't normally use pesticides and fertilizers or live in an area of high air pollution) or you can buy leaves online. Indian Almond Leaves that are normally sold for bettas work just fine. If you do collect leaves from outside, you have to be sure you are identifying them correctly. There are many guides to tree ID online. Often times your state natural resources website will have something like that. Now is the best time of the year to collect because you only want the leaves that have fallen to the ground naturally and are dried.

A word to the wise about the leave, they will add tannins to your water which will tint it brown. How dark it will get depends on how many leaves you add. Some people don't mind this, but others think it makes the water look dirty. And I can tell you from firsthand experience that a floor littered with leaves makes it pretty hardy to see kuhli loaches. That's how I QT'ed mine, and I never got a headcount until they went into the main tank.

Not all loaches come from waters littered with leaves, tho. Kuhli loaches do, but loaches like the yo yo loach tend to live in rivers with rockier substrate. It's difficult to make generalizations about all loaches because they come from such varied habitats.
 

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I agree with both posters, but wanted to add. . . it isn't *always* the case that you won't see them with leaf litter - for some reason I saw my Pangio babies MORE often when I had a nice carpet of leaves for them to squirm around in! Worth a try at any rate!

Too, you may want to bear in mind that not only do the tannins add color to the water (personally love the tea-colored tint!) but they can also soften it. How quickly depends on the Kh of the tap water you're using to begin with (water with a lower kh will allow the pH to drop more easily) and the type of leaf you end up using, lol as well as how many per gallon >.<. My understanding is that Indian Almond leaves contain more tannins, and so will have a greater affect on parameters with far fewer leaves than Oak, but please double check to be sure. (I have only used IAL in my tank)

I strongly recommend that you run a few bucket tests, with a handy Gh/Kh test kit - as well as the Ph one that you *may* already have in the API Master Freshwater Kit (good deal on that right now ^_^), just to get an idea of how the leaves/tannins will effect your water, and how rapid the change will be. A rapid shift in pH isn't healthy for the critters, so best to be wary and test first!



ETA: There are so many different kinds of Oak trees in the world, do either of you know if all oak leaves are safe?! Ricky mentioned White Oak, specifically. . . for some reason I was under the impression that all were okay, but I'm not sure. I also know other types of leaf are okay, but these are the two I most often see used/recommended. . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks

thank you all for your helpful posts. i have oak trees in my yard i belive the species is Eastern Oak. i'll try a few in my spare 10 gal. and see how it affects my aquarium water. definitly dont want to use ant if it will color the water. im so proud of my crystal clear water i couldnt imagine having to explain that the color is acceptable and natural.
Thanks for the help.
 

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you may be able to gently boil some of the tannins out of the leaves to remove most of the tannins then allow the charcoal in your filter to filter out the rest... maybe an experiment is in order to try and make a batch of white oak tea;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
experiment

I have some leaves and aquarium water in a 10 gal with aeration. I'll test the water tommorow morning!
 

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test results

I have some leaves and aquarium water in a 10 gal with aeration. I'll test the water tommorow morning!
test strip readings remained about the same, slight rise in ph, which is ok. problem with coloring the water though, slight yellow tinge in under 24 hours. thanks for the help all, but i think i have to go without leaves.
 

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test strip readings remained about the same, slight rise in ph, which is ok. problem with coloring the water though, slight yellow tinge in under 24 hours. thanks for the help all, but i think i have to go without leaves.
OK so now dump the water and repeat the test... see if it happens again...or did the leaves release the tannins in the first 24 hhours...you have nothing to loose.. you're allready comitted...
 

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ETA: There are so many different kinds of Oak trees in the world, do either of you know if all oak leaves are safe?! Ricky mentioned White Oak, specifically. . . for some reason I was under the impression that all were okay, but I'm not sure. I also know other types of leaf are okay, but these are the two I most often see used/recommended. . .
White leafs are very similar to IAL chemically, the only Oak that I have been warned not to use is BlackOak and that could be old time fish lore, The term tannin is from the German word for oak tree.

R
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
experiment2

Ok, same leaves, new aquarium water out of my 75gal, now I'll give another 24 hrs to see what happens to the water. Tanks for the input guys.
P.s.I work for an english department in the state university system of new york and I love word origins thanks
 

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Found a year-old Rooibos tea-bag yesterday evening. Tossed it into my plakat's 5g. Nicely golden water this afternoon. Bubblenest under the tea-bag, where he spent most of the day building and guarding. Not much appetite, which was worrying. Otherwise behavior was normal --- active, curious.

It lowered the pH from the usual 8.2 to an astonishing 7.4, the same as my sourcewater pH. About the same pH lowering as IAL. And I have what I consider a pretty hard well (sorry, no readings). Just a data-point for y'all.

Tomorrow is Oak leaf gathering day.
Oh, Tannenbaum.
Oh, Tannenbaum.....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The twice- soaked leaves still color the water, no leaves for me.
 

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Not sure you can get the benefits without the tannins. I'm not a big fan of brown water, myself. I'll remove it over the next few water changes.
 

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If you have squirmy loaches, they'll still like the leaves, even tannin-free!
Just curious. . . how many(ish) leaves do you have in your 10g?
Depending on how many you put in, you might not even notice much of a color shift in the larger tank. . .
 

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I use dried leaves from Live Oaks, and I've never once had a problem with tannins.

I'm very paranoid though, and I boil the leaves in a big ol' pot on the stove for quite a bit of time, somewhere between 20mins to an hour.

If the water in the pot gets really dark, I'll dump it, add fresh water, and boil again. I think it also helps the leaves toughen up a bit (which sounds like the opposite of what should happen, I know.)

This way they're already full of water and sink right to the bottom of the tank. You can use dechlor'd water if you want, but I use plain old tap water and haven't had an issue.

I have a solid inch thick layer of live oak leaves on the bottom of my 35 gallon for my hoarde of Kuhli Loaches. I see them pretty often, they remind me of kids in a ball pit in all honesty ;p

Hope that was helpful!

P.S. - I personally ADORE my leaf litter, as it really strikes home the natural look I like in m tank. Leaf litter substrate, crazy over grown plants, floating plants, fallen sticks...*dreamy sigh*
It's just a bonus that my kuhlis love it too!
:)
 
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