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Old 09-25-2007, 08:04 AM   #1
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Substrate leaf litter preparations

Hey guys,
I'm intrigued as to how some of you go about preparing leaf litter for use in your substrates. I've always been steered away from their use due to the beliefs of colleagues, that they can often cause the build-up of anoxic pockets and the production of toxic Hydrogen Sulphide. For those of you who do it routinely, I would like to know:

What species you use?
How much is safe?
Their effect on water chemistry?
Pre-use treatments required?
Sited natural occurrences in freshwater ecologies?
Life span in the aquarium?
And any little tips or tricks you've found handy when using it?

The more specific you can be, the better
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:54 AM   #2
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As far as I know, most of the members here aren't using leaf litter as a substrate.

The main use of leaf litter that I've encountered in my research was with growing crypts emersed. I haven't heard it used in an aquarium with fish. You'll have to be careful, as some will be extremely acidic (to the point of breaking down plastic). A lot of testing is recommended, so that you can determine whether the leaf litter you're considering will be appropriate for your goals.

Currently I'm waiting for a member of AGA to write up an article on leaf litter preparation for use with emersed crypts. You might want to check their forum for more information.
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:06 AM   #3
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Well seasoned oak leaves can be used to grow benificial bacteria for shrimp to graze on.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlitcH
Well seasoned oak leaves can be used to grow benificial bacteria for shrimp to graze on.
What do you mean by well seasoned?
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:09 PM   #5
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Sorry........I was in a hurry.

If you gather dried oak leaves from an area that does not receive any applications of pesticides/fertilizers and such. You can soak them in water for a few weeks then add them to your shrimp tank to be used as a bed for growing microorganisms that dwarf shrimp like to feed on.
A handful of leaves is all you need.....on top of your substrate.
After they've been in your tank for a while you'll see your shrimp grazing on them more often than not.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:42 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys. I wasn't imagining that you could safely keep more than a sparse scattering on the surface of the substrate (which is how I probably should have worded my first post :P), however, the applications you have both mentioned are quite intriguing.
Purrbox, you wouldn't have an idea on the species of leaves used in the crypt cultivation, and indeed, the species of crypts you have observed benefiting from this? Also, the types of acids produced (if you have the knowledge on hand)?

Thanks again for the info guys, it's much appreciated
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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I've never actually used leaf mould with Crypts. I'm waiting on that write up so that I know how to test and prepare it! Generally it benefits the blackwater crypts that are more accustomed to acidic conditions. These are the types of crypts that are much more difficult to grow and you wouldn't be likely to find for sale at your LFS. Here's some more information. Midway through the article you'll see that Beech Tree is mentioned as the prime leaf mould for crypts. There are others that have been used sucessfully, but there's not a lot of documentation and that particular tree is in Europe and not the US as I understand it. Thus the reason why I'm waiting for information on how to properly prepare and test leaf mould, since I'll need to experiment with other varieties that I have available to me.
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Old 09-26-2007, 05:49 PM   #8
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Another use I have heard of for leaf litter is as a substrate in an apistogramma breeding tank. Oak was recomeneded. Supposedly, the leaves provide a 'natural' breeding material and harbor microrganisms for feeding fry. I think you just leave the leaves in till they get thin & transparent, then keep adding fresh. But don't go by my way over 40 memory. lol

I can't remember where I read this, maybe apistogramma.com?

Never talked to anyone who has tried this, but sounds interesting.
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