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beanbag

How come my Indian Almond leaves don't break down?

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beanbag

I've put in leaves from two different stores, for at least more than 1 month each.  The leaves don't break down, and the shrimp don't eat them.  There doesn't seem to be any obvious or thick biofilm growth on them either.  I see lots of pictures on the internet of leaves that only have the veins left.  How long does it take to reach that stage?

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jayc

Dunno. Haven't really stopped to notice how long it takes. 

However, if you want them to break down faster, boil them ! 

I do that to extract the tannins from dried leaves. Let it cool and put the whole thing into your tank - water and leaves. The tannins help reduce pH and is antibacterial. The longer you boil them the faster they break down. So boil a bunch and remove a few at a time at the 5 minute, 10 min and 15 min mark.

Now you have leaves that breakdown fast (15min boil), med (10min boil) and slow (5min boil). Leaves that you don't boil will last the longest obviously. 

While the boiled leaves break down faster, I have not sat there to count how many days it starts breaking down. So don't ask :crazy:

 

 

Edited by jayc

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sdlTBfanUK

I use various DRIED leaves. The Indian almond leaves seem to last about a month until they are just skeletons and then I remove them (because I don't like the look that's all) and put a new one in, there are usually a couple of shrimp on these all the time (especially babies)

Whatever type of leaves (even wood) they are they will break down but each type will be different so (as long as they are shrimp safe) you should just leave them in the tank, they will be doing some good (even if you can't see it), and you may not be able to see it but biofilm will be growing on them.

I have just looked at your other posts and they may all be related. You probably don't see any biofilm as the shrimp are constantly eating it before it gets enough for you physically see, especially if it is growing slowly due to insufficient light? But in my tanks the one where the biofilm (and algea) grows fastest is the one with natural (and electric) light. Biofilm does grow in the tank in the (dark) corner but definitely slower and that is the tank with the electric light on a timer as it gets no natural light. You may find that the leaves are decomposing slower if you don't have sufficient light, and again they do break down quicker in my tank with the most light??? Another thing I recently noticed in the tank with natural and electric light would seem to confirm the light issue-I have a really beautiful piece of rock in that tank but it got completely covered with green (algae I assume) which I couldn't get off, but then the Java fern grew in front of it so it got almost nil light and I couldn't even see it and forgot it was even in there. I removed great clumps of the Java fern a few weeks ago, that was in front of it and saw it was its beautiful self again, no green covering whatsoever - they only variable being the light.

Hope all this helps and apologise for waffling on..................

Simon

Edited by sdlTBfanUK

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beanbag

Thanks for the useful info and anecdotes.

I guess I'll try boiling the next one and see where it goes. Maybe save the boil water and dump in a little bit at a time in the future?  Don't want to acid things up too much.

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