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  1. #1

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    Default Leaf Litter, microbes, and Shrimp?


    0 Not allowed!
    A recent shrimp holocaust in my tank has a couple people encouraging me to add some leaf litter in my tank to encourage the growth of microorganisms. I am enthusiastic about adding some natural biodiversity, but I have never done this before, and I'm a bit uneasy about it.

    I have a small oak tree in my yard that could easily supply a winter's leaves. I've been told oak works fine. (Almond leaves are a bit hard to come by around here, and I draw the line at spending money on dead leaves to rot in my fish tank)

    But I have some questions.

    1. How many does one add at a time? It's a well-filtered 55g tank.
    2. Does one leave them there, or remove them once they start to decompose?
    3. Do the leaves add lots of tannin to the water, changing color and parameters?
    4. How do the leaves promote microorganisms? Just by adding extra nutrients and such?

    I have a pond that is extremely rich in microbes, and I am tempted to "seed" a bit of pond water into my tank. Something tells me this would be a bad idea.

    And while I'm on the air, a shrimp question:
    I had amano shrimp, sold by my pet store under the name "Japanese algae eating shrimp." They were VORACIOUS on the black beard. I would like to try red cherries--my tank has lots of hiding places, and I think their reproductive rate would overcome any predation. Do red cherries eat algae? It was fun watching the amanos go to it.

    Thanks!
    Tom

  2. #2

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by WhistlingBadger View Post
    A recent shrimp holocaust in my tank has a couple people encouraging me to add some leaf litter in my tank to encourage the growth of microorganisms. I am enthusiastic about adding some natural biodiversity, but I have never done this before, and I'm a bit uneasy about it.

    I have a small oak tree in my yard that could easily supply a winter's leaves. I've been told oak works fine. (Almond leaves are a bit hard to come by around here, and I draw the line at spending money on dead leaves to rot in my fish tank)

    But I have some questions.

    1. How many does one add at a time? It's a well-filtered 55g tank.
    2. Does one leave them there, or remove them once they start to decompose?
    3. Do the leaves add lots of tannin to the water, changing color and parameters?
    4. How do the leaves promote microorganisms? Just by adding extra nutrients and such?

    I have a pond that is extremely rich in microbes, and I am tempted to "seed" a bit of pond water into my tank. Something tells me this would be a bad idea.

    And while I'm on the air, a shrimp question:
    I had amano shrimp, sold by my pet store under the name "Japanese algae eating shrimp." They were VORACIOUS on the black beard. I would like to try red cherries--my tank has lots of hiding places, and I think their reproductive rate would overcome any predation. Do red cherries eat algae? It was fun watching the amanos go to it.

    Thanks!
    Tom
    How many to add is up to you...are they the large oak leaves?...there are HUNDREDS of varieties of American oak, I have found...

    They'll tend to float, so use a small pebble or two to hold them down

    You will leave them in there until the vein is all that is left, then you remove it. You WANT them to decompose in the tank, the microorganisms that break down the leaves aid in this decomposition, and those microorganisms are what you are trying to grow.

    The amount of tannins will be dependant on many factors, including what type of leaf and how many you start with.

    The leaves promote the microorganisms through the very act of decomposition; decomposition cannot occur without them.

    I would NOT add anything to my tank from a pond.

    RCS will nibble at algae, but they are not aggressive algae eaters.

    Hope this helps...
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  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by WhistlingBadger View Post

    I have a small oak tree in my yard that could easily supply a winter's leaves. I've been told oak works fine. (Almond leaves are a bit hard to come by around here, and I draw the line at spending money on dead leaves to rot in my fish tank)

    But I have some questions.

    1. How many does one add at a time? It's a well-filtered 55g tank.
    2. Does one leave them there, or remove them once they start to decompose?
    3. Do the leaves add lots of tannin to the water, changing color and parameters?
    4. How do the leaves promote microorganisms? Just by adding extra nutrients and such?

    I have a pond that is extremely rich in microbes, and I am tempted to "seed" a bit of pond water into my tank. Something tells me this would be a bad idea.
    There's an american white oak which is supposed to be not suitable. Most other species should be fine.

    1. 4-5 for starters
    2. up to you. If it's a planted tank might as wel leave them in it, they will slowly degrade to plant food
    3. parameters, maybe. If you're in soft water it can lower the pH a bit. In medium hard or hard water it's no issue. You can presoak the leafs for a few days in a seperate container and then add them, will reduce the tannin stains
    4. That and the surface structyre

    Hm, depends. if you want to do that run it trough some filter floss to get any critters and larvae.

    All depends a bit on what else is in the pond. I do know your indigenous crayfish can carry a disease that wiped out our native species.

  4. #4

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Slaphppy7 View Post
    I would NOT add anything to my tank from a pond.
    Hope this helps...
    Aw, where's your sense of adventure?! ha ha ha

    It does indeed help a great deal! Appreciated as always, Slap.

  5. #5

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post
    I do know your indigenous crayfish can carry a disease that wiped out our native species.
    On behalf of American crawdads everywhere, I apologize. :)

    Thanks for the info, Dutchie.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by WhistlingBadger View Post
    Aw, where's your sense of adventure?! ha ha ha

    It does indeed help a great deal! Appreciated as always, Slap.
    LOL, my sense of adventure stops at my tanks...you are welcome, dutchie provided some nice info, too

    The leaves from my neighbor's oak that I plan on using this fall are large, almost resemble maple leaves

    I may post a pic and see if anyone can identify...the neighbor doesn't even know what type of oak it is, lol
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  7. #7

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I'm pretty sure this is a bur oak. It's a kind of white oak. Hope it works, because it's all I've got! (Unless cotton wood leaves work--I have more of those than I know what to do with!)

  8. #8

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Tom, here's a good read on the subject: http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/a...ll-article.htm
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  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by WhistlingBadger View Post
    On behalf of American crawdads everywhere, I apologize. :)

    Thanks for the info, Dutchie.
    :) Point I was trying to make is that it might just also kill shrimp, I don't know. And the crayfish thing was also our fault, we imported them.

  10. #10

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    ha ha ha

    Yeah, I was (mostly) joking about the pond thing. It is full of water fleas and other such zooplanctonic microcritters, so it's a shame--they'd make great fish food.

    Thanks for the link, Slap. I might be able to use cottonwood leaves, after all. Sounds like the exact kind doesn't matter, as long as it's non-toxic.

    Bummer about RCS not being great algae eaters, though I think I remember hearing that before. It's always something, ain't it?

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