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Hi guys,

I have my betta in an unfiltered 21 litre (5.5 gal) tank. I do my best to monitor the ammonia levels, and I do partial/full water changes when necessary. I haven't yet decided if I want to get a filter yet, as I really have no problems doing water changes - It's not really a bother at the moment.

I'm just curious as to whether you guys think it wise to every now and then put a leaf, or two, in the aquarium, just to float around. Not for any reason in particular, but I think it would provide Marcel with some nice shade and comfort. I'm only asking because I'm curious what effects, if any, the leaves will have on his tank's contents, ie. waste, ammonia, pH.

These will probably just be either dead or green leaves that I find in my backyard. Nothing too dilapidated, of course. I will maybe put in one or two at a time, depending on the size of the leaf/leaves.

Could I just leave them in there for a few days, take them out, and then do an ammonia check?

Thanks a lot. I realise this isn't the most pressing quandary, and it's not really essential for Marcel's wellbeing, but I thought it might be a neat idea.

Cheers!
 

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Betta enjoy shade. But it might be better to try live floating plants or even floating silk plants, especially one with roots that they can hang-out and sleep in. My fish like that, anyway.

Dead vegetation will not enhance water quality. And you can't be sure what tannins, acids or toxins are in those leaves.

I don't run a filter either. But the anubias, aponogeton, anacharis, Java fern and marimo (moss) balls, all floating in a bare-bottom tank, make it pretty shady/cozy.
 

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Dried oak or Indian Almond leaves are the best leaves for bettas. However, I've never had any issues using Alder leaves either.

You don't want to use green leaves or leaves from anyplace that might have been contaminated by pesticides etc.

I float IALs in my betta tanks and replace them after about a week or so. However, I let dried leaves break down in my wild betta tanks and have never seen any rise in ammonia.

Dried leaves will release tannins, which in turn lowers your pH. Most males also enjoy building bubblenests underneath floating leaves.
 
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