Tea with the the Tetras

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Since I'm all out of peat til I make a trek down to the wholesale florist district, I decided to make a nice cuppa tea for the tetras this morning. (I know, but I've already done water changes.)

Twining's Earl Grey, I thought. That's nicer than a tincture of Melaleuca alternifolia. "An unusual blend of scented Oriental teas producing a delicate liquor of exceptional fragrance much appreciated in all parts of the world" Twinings claim on the box. Perhaps it will be appreciated in my Amazon basin.

I boiled the water and let a teabag steep until it was quite cold. Then I ladled golden cupfuls ("no cream, please") into my pencilfish, my "Amazon" mix, and the Q tank which currently has young Rams and Chilodus punctatus headstanders.

It may not be an "Amazon-in-a-Jar" blackwater mix bought at the LFS, but these tannins are endorsed by the present (sixth) Earl Grey.

So what did you do for your fish today?


Senior Member, Sophomoric Attitude
Feb 16, 2002
Syracuse, NY
Maybe I just don't know enough about peat and tea but are you sure "somewhat skeptical" shouldn't be "just plain nutty"? ;) :D :confused: :eek: :rolleyes:


Oct 18, 2002
Eastern Shore, Maryland
Hmm, here you go again wetman. Starting up another controversy. We've got enough problems here comparing types of filtration, whether to use carbon or not, and deciding if salt is any good for most fish. And now you're recommending Earl Grey. Sheesh, don't you know that Constant Comment is THE tea of choice for tetras.

I thought everyone knew that...




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Now, Josh asks in a concurrent thread, What's the idea behind peat filtering? How does it change the chemistry of the tank... is that just acidic?

Well, in spite of my foolishness, what peat and tea and oak leaves all have in common is that they leach tannins into the water... tannins and other humic substances. Besides coloring the water, humic substances act as natural chelators, detoxifying heavy metals and making some of them available to plants. They bind calcium and magnesium ions, thus they have a softening effect. And the same ion-exchangeprocess that softens the water somewhat, also tends to lower the pH.

Now I could be getting similar results from passing boiling water through peat (but I'm all out). Or I could go out in the cold and purchase "Instant Amazon" and"Amazon Vital" from Marc Weiss...

...but hey! Lord Grey is an earl, and Marc Weiss isn't even a viscount!