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Indian Almond Leaves and Its Purpose for Aquarium Use

Discussion in 'Equipment and DIY' started by Lupin, Nov 9, 2007.

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  1. Lupin

    Lupin Registered Member

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    Scientific Name: Terminalia Catappa Leaves
    Common Name: Indian Almond Leaves, Tropical Almond Leaves, Sweet Almond Leaves, Wild Almond Leaves, Sea Almond Leaves, Catappa Leaves, Java Almond Leaves, Ketapang Leaves.

    Description:
    Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree in the Family Combretaceae. The tree's origin is controversial, and could have been India, Malay peninsula, or New Guinea. Common names include Indian almond, Bengal almond, Singapore almond , Malabar almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, and Umbrella tree.

    It grows to 35 m tall, with an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. As the tree gets older, its crown becomes more flattened to form a spreading, vase shape. The leaves are large, 15-25 cm long and 10-14 cm broad, ovoid, glossy dark green and leathery. They are dry-season deciduous; before falling, they turn pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown, due to pigments such as violaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

    The flowers are monoecious, with distinct male and female flowers on the same tree. Both are 1 cm diameter, white to greenish, inconspicuous with no petals; they are produced on axillary or terminal spikes. The fruit is a drupe 5-7 cm long and 3-5.5 cm broad, green at first, then yellow and finally red when ripe, containing a single seed. (Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org)

    Aquarium Use:
    Now this is where we shall start. You will discover that a lot of betta enthusiasts often use Indian almond leaves and actually rave for its benefits. The main reason is that their antibacterial properties minimize the chances of bacterial infections, improve health, stimulate the natural environment of fish who hail from soft, acidic waters, stimulate breeding conditions and harden scales in which case as mentioned before does minimize skin diseases and pathogens resulting in bacterial infections that dwell on the epidermis of the fish.

    The leaves are often harvested in many Asian countries hence the controversial name originating from various countries. These are considered organic and for aquarium use, they should be free from pollutants and chemicals that could kill the fish.

    Like driftwoods and peat, they release heavy amounts of tannic acids. You may not like the looks of yellow water but your fish will naturally benefit from its use. The tannic acids will considerably lower the pH level depending on the hardness levels. Allow one large leaf of 8-10 inches per 10 gallons although I admittedly do not follow what is often recommended as I really like the idea of having a leaf litter in my aquaria no matter the size. Removal of tannic acids is done by either use of activated carbon or doing plenty of water changes.

    For aesthetic reasons, I was asked in another forum how long the leaves last before they eventually disintegrate. To answer this, it will take a long time most often a month or two before they actually disintegrate although I admittedly try to replace mine every two to three weeks.

    Article will be continuously updated if any more things are not included.

    Pictures:

    My tank filled with three pieces of 8-inches almond leaves. The leaf litter has been appreciated as a home by kuhli loaches and corydoras.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Blackwater Extract by Tetra also contains tannic acids extracted from almond leaves.
    [​IMG]

    Dried almond leaf
    [​IMG]
     
  2. TwoTankAmin

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    I do not use leaves in tanks. However, my understanding is that for lowering pH there are much superior methods. The use of leaves, birch or oak are suitable, is most helpful with fish who live, spawn and hunt in leaf litter. They will add some tannins to already pH lowered water and they certainly will act as hosts to infusoria which fry feed on. Fry also will find cover in the leaf litter.

    I think the idea that you have to pay up for imported leaves rather than use what is available here in the states for free is an urban myth created to sell almond leaves. but thats just one man's opinion.
     
  3. FishyFry

    FishyFry Feeds low on the food chain

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    Well, folks trying to acurately recreate a biotope find them to be valuable.
     
  4. gmh

    gmh AC Members

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    Where do you get these Indian almond leaves? I wonder if I could find plant at a nursery that would have leaves that would provide the same benefit.
    I have heard that oak leaves will do the same job but I am reluctant to use our local species, the California Coastal live oak, as they have small sharp edged leaves and may produce unwanted by-products. I am not sure all oaks are the same.
     
  5. Lupin

    Lupin Registered Member

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    Hi gmh.

    I live in the Philippines so I get unlimited supplies of these leaves.:D
     
  6. echoofformless

    echoofformless Peat Advocate & Defender Of Snails

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    You should offer to ship some to us!
     
  7. msjinkzd

    msjinkzd AC Members

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