Tea with the the Tetras

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AC Members
Jan 20, 1999
New Jersey
Green Tea is more natural than black tea because it doesn't contain caffein, never fermented, and won't stain the water as dark. There are hundred of green tea varieties and some are claimed to have certain medicinal effect. Many are packaged in tea bags and so they can be adminstered with the right dosage with no mess. They will lower the pH to around 4 and is close to many black water condition. If I were to keep black water fish, I will certaubkt explore tea as a simpler alternative to peat or RO filtration.


a.k.a. achu
Dec 1, 1999
Austin, TX
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"natural" is such a slippery concept. I hate it when people dub a chemical that is commonly found in nature as "unnatural" because it may be associated with certain health effects. :mad:

Caffeine is found in nature all the time. Standard black teas and their variations (such as Earl Grey) come with caffeine; it is not added to the product at any time in processing. In fact if you find a black tea that claims to be de-caffeinated, it means that the tea has been subjected to an extra process step as described in http://www.howstuffworks.com/question480.htm Depending on the process used, that would seem to me to be pretty unnatural.

And now I'll get off my soap box.
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AC Members
My 'Net research (and thanks for opening these questions, gang) is telling me that caffeine, an alkaloid, is not in fact very soluble.Apparently I released more caffeine when I poured boiling water on the teabagyesterday morning than I have released from the "used" teabag that has sat in the h.o.t. filter since then. What are leaching into the water are tannins and humic acids and other polyphenols, similar to substances leaching slowly from the beech-leaf litter.

The pencilfishes are working up to another spawning.

If I went out to buy unfermented green tea just for the fishes, that would be expensive. But if when I make green tea for myself, I were to drop the used teabag in the h.o.t. filter of one of my "blackwater" tetra tanks instead of throwing it out... hmm...


AC Members
No. I can't judge. I did it as a substitute for peat. Osmunda fiber (orchid-grower's medium) also releases a lot of strong-colored and aromatic tannins when you pour boiling water over it. Oak leaves too. There are lots of sources for these polyphenols.

RTR is right, of course... the "green tea polyphenol" cult at health websites does get baroque.

Harry Tolen

Cichlid Fan
Aug 17, 2000
Union, WA, USA
I have never liked Earl Grey tea, precisely because of the oil of bergamot component. I would think that an earthy fermented tea like Pu Erh might give the desired color and tannic benefits, however. For maximum effect, I would use the fresh leaves (no fannings or used teabags please) in a media bag in the filter.