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Old 03-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #1 
TaylorW
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Question Preparing Oak Leaves for tank?

It's finally stopped raining, so I was able to pick up a few leaves to add to my little betta tank! But now I'm not exactly sure what to do with them...

Do I need to do anything special to oak leaves before I add them to my tank? I was advised to add some leaves to my tank to help my betta's fins (thanks Oldfishlady! ) but I am not sure how to prepare them...

Should I rinse the dirt off of them? Do the leaves need to by dry before adding them to the tank? How many leaves per gallon and can I reuse them after a water change

Thanks in advance for reading my post and giving advice!
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:25 PM   #2 
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Update: Umm... So I got a little impatient and dropped one in... sorry! I figure one small leaf can't hurt too much...But Victor is having fun playing with his new floating leaf toy and I wiped all the dry dirt of with a tissue before adding it... I'm hoping this is ok?
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:52 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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You want naturally dried and fallen from the tree (no green leaves)...give them a rinse if they are dirty...I don't but I also already have dirt in my tanks...laffs....so you can't tell..lol.....anyway.......if I use them directly in the tank...I use them whole so you can fish them out easier.....the number you use depends on how dark you want the water too and the longer they steep the more tannins will be released the dark the water.......I would leave them in the tank with water changes and add a couple of more...etc......since I have lots of live plants and live soil in my tanks I let them decomp...but in regular set ups I would remove and replace on a regular basis like every couple of weeks or so....remember as they decomp they will make ammonia(very small amount) live plants will use it up fast for food before it causes any problems for the livestock(it can take weeks for the ammonia to get to unsafe level)....you also need to have your replacement water fused with the oak leaf for the water changes so you don't have any big pH changes especially if you do any 100% water changes....the decomp also make CO2 and this can make the water more acid.......

When I use them for treatment I use roughly 10-12 crushed per gallon of water and since I treat in small QT containers (recommended) I also strain the water or try to keep the piece of leaf in my 1gal pre-mix jug....this is also a good way to keep your replacement water for water changes too....crush the leaf and keep it in a jug of dechlorinated water ready to use...

Oak leaf can take longer to release all their tannins and the water may not be as dark as when you use Indian almond leaf...but still just as effective IME......10-12 oak leaf is about equal to 1 med/lrg IAL...this also depends on the species of oak tree too in my experience......in how dark and what color the tanned water will be....but it has the same effects/benefits.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 03-14-2011 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:11 PM   #4 
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Thanks Oldfishlady! I have some Java ferns growing in the tank, so maybe they will like having the oak leaves too :)

I'll try to get some more leaves to soak in the new water before I change it! I didn't even think about the big pH swing, thanks! I really like the idea of putting the leaves in a jug, it would make water changes much easier :)

So I guess for now I'll just add a few to the tank, then find a container to soak some leaves in for the next water change :)

Thanks for the info, I'll have to write this down or something :P
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