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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere on here that one can use rooibos tea as a source of tannin in place of almond/oak leaves or green tea, is this correct? We don't have any suitable green tea at my house, but I just found a box full of rooibos tea. It's Twinnings' "African Rooibos Red Tea" (not organic) and it says it is pure rooibos, so I'm thinking it would be safe to use.

If so, how do I go about adding it safely- make a cup of tea and spoon some in or can I just plop the tea bag into the tank?

I know about the supposed antifungal properties and more natural blackwater environment, but what affect do tannins have on water chemistry? My tank is completely uncycled right now so I'm not worried about a bacteria die-off, but does it have any effect on pH or other parameters?
 

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Rooibos tea is a great alternative for Indian almond leaves. As long as it's 100% pure rooibos, it's safe. I just plop the teabag in the tank and take it out when I like the color of the water- I like my tannins pretty dark.

The tannins can lower pH, but it depends upon your KH (carbonate hardness). A low KH is more prone to pH changes. A high KH is more resistant. I have a high KH, and with Indian almond leaves, mopani wood and peat moss in my soil (all of which can lower pH), my pH hasn't changed one iota.

The pH change is pretty slow with tannins and not a cause for worry, so I would just check pH on a regular basis to make sure you're not experiencing any swings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome, thanks. Since this will be my old guy's first experience with tannins I think I'll add some in a little at a time, but when he's acclimated in the future it's good to know I can just toss a bag in. :3

My pH is a bit alkaline to begin with (~7.7) so lowering it a bit probably wouldn't be such a bad thing. I have no idea what the kH is, would a pet store have the tests to measure that? Either way I'll be sure to keep an eye on pH but I like being prepared.
 

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The cool thing about just putting in the teabag is that it is released very slowly into the tank. It might be a good way to go if your worried about acclimating him to it.

A good LFS should have a GH/KH test. I don't think chains like Petsmart carry them. I had to order mine online. A good way to get a general idea is if you have hard water, then you probably have a higher KH, soft water is the opposite.

KH is the buffering capacity of your water, how much it is buffered against changing its pH and GH (general hardness). GH is how many minerals (magnesium and/or calcium) there are present.
 
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