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Blog - IAL

Leaf litter, its just natural

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For as long as there have been trees, they have been dropping their leaves into the waters below. So it's no wonder why so many of us use leaves in our aquariums to replicate a natural environment. 

Many of today's aquarium fish come from natural habitats which consist of heavy leaf litter, bits of wood and other organic materials which release tannins into the water and provide loads of infusoria. For example in the Amazon basin it has been reported that several hundred different species could be collected per square meter of leaf litter. 

Tannins have been known to have astringent qualities providing the water in your tank with antibacterial and antifungal properties.Along with tannins, humic acid and fulvic acid assists in the decrease of heavy metals in the water, ultimately lowering the pH. This provides the ideal breeding conditions for a lot of fish. There are countless over the counter blackwater extracts available, however using leaf litter in lieu of the extracts provides another key benefit as a secondary food source for fry. As the leaves break down they serve as a place for microorganisms to grow, this in turn provides newly hatched fry a source of live food that replenishes itself throughout the day.

There are many types of leaves readily available however precautions should be taken while collecting leaves to ensure no pesticides or other contaminants have come in contact with the leaves. Tantora ensures all of its leaves are harvested safely from contaminate free environments. To add leaves to your aquarium, simply float them until they sink naturally. Leaves will break down over time, so periodically you can add more as the leaves disapperar, however be sure to keep an eye on the color of your water and pH tests to ensure you are not adding too many leaves. 

Hopefully you've found this to be informative and helpful. I would like to encourage you to try your hand at creating a blackwater tank with hopes for success and enjoyment from your fishy friends.

Special thanks to AmazonJoe at Aquaticcommunity.com for contributing this article!! 

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