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Anyone use Alder Cones from their yard? Safe?


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I have a ton of alder cones (trees) all around me. Wondering if you'd reckon it's safe to use them in my shrimp tanks?

Only use naturally fallen cones, or is it fine to pick them fresh from the tree (fresh ones have too much sap/tannins?)?

I do live right beside a main highway, and their is a "preserved" wetland beside my house (alder cones still on my property). Just wondering if any run off pollutants from the street would cause the alder cones to possibly be tainted?

Any potential for the cones to contain harmful micro or macro organisms?

Probably will just buy some from trusted sources, but always wondered.

There are a ton of alder trees in my neighborhood, so I could wake downstream or just further from the road, if road contaminants are potential dangers.


@Tannin Aquatics

While on the topic, do male flowers (catkins) of the Alder trees provide any similar use in aquaria as the female cones do?

If they do, only use naturally older fallen catkins (tend to be more flaky/soft if I remember correctly), or are the ones still attached to the tree still fine to use?

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Nothing can be considered 100% safe due to how we treat our environment.  My rain water coming off a steel barn roof is 6.2 Ph not 7.0 as it should be.  That said do your best to get away from the road , prepare the cones in a rolling boil for 5 minutes(kills bacteria) then simmer to reduce some tannin's if that is what your looking for.  I myself don't mind a slightly stained color to my natural tanks, while "show" tank are clear.  At least what everybody expects aquariums to look like.

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oem is right on the money. Although natural materials are great, and in my opinion, play a valuable role in our tanks, you simply cannot risk using them without some preparation. There is always the risk of contamination, etc., so you need to be careful when using them for an aquarium. That being said, I would be comfortable in using the ones you find in your yard, as long as you take some steps to prepare them first. In my experience, the only hobbyists I've seen have bad outcomes with botanicals like Alder Cones were those who either failed to prepare them before use (like the aforementioned soaking/boiling), or just dumped a huge quantity of them into their established systems without regard for their affect on the pH of the water, shocking their animals. Like anything else we use in aquariums, with a little common sense, patience, and care on our part, they can be wonderful. It's when we take those shortucuts that we get into trouble!

And like em, I'm rather partial to that brown color! LOL:geek:

Good luck!



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I had a similar question about loquat leaves! I have a massive loquat tree in front of my house. I live in the forest 100 yards off the closest road which is a 2 lane mountain road. Not much traffic. No pesticides sprayed and minimal contamination.

You think a solid boil and soak would be good? I was also considering steaming them to decontaminate the exterior before steeping in boiling water to try and maintain some of the leaves' integrity.

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