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Leaf litter confidential...

Tannin Aquatics

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As you know, we're about the biggest fans of using leaves in aquariums as anyone out there. We've utilize large quantities of a significant variety of dried leaves in a lot of different aquarium situations, and we've developed quite a "feel" for the characteristics and applications of them.


We've gotten to the point where we are fairly comfortable recommending approximate "numbers per gallon", types you should use, and the most controversial topic related to leaf use in the aquarium, how to prepare them for use in the aquarium.


I'll be the first to admit that we're pretty conservative when it comes to the preparation of leaves for use  in aquariums. As a matter of practice, I recommend rinsing them, steeping them in boiling water for at least 10 minutes, and then an overnight soak in freshwater before tossing them in your tank.


I have actually received some criticism in some circles for recommending this practice, having been told by a number of hobbyist that steeping leaves in boiling water before use is unnecessary, that it is being "overly cautious", and actually and will "deplete a lot of the tannins" bound up within the leaves. This is the "rinse and toss" crowd, and they report equally successful results by applying this technique. (click to read more)

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