Indian Almond Leaves aren’t necessarily an essential for caring for your axolotl but they do help A LOT! Indian Almond Leaves are great for helping prevent disease and promote water quality by producing “blackwater”. (Do not use if your water is acidic)
- Tannins– Just like driftwood and peat, Indian almond leaves release ample amounts of tannins into the water. The tannins affect the pH-value (how much will depend on the buffer capacity of your water) and you will also see how the water turns dark – just like a blackwater river. So called blackwater habitats are formed when rivers flow slowly through heavily forested areas where falling leaves and other plant debris end up decomposing in the water.
- Anti-bacterial & Anti-fungal– Indian almond leaves are rich in compounds produces by the tree to protect itself against bacteria, fungi and similar organisms. Because of this, it has been speculated that adding Indian almond leaves to an aquarium will decrease the risk of disease in the tank.
How to use Indian almond leaves?
- Keep your Indian almond leaves in a dry place at room temperature until you wish to use them. Dry leaves can be stored for at least 6 months in a suitable environment (preferably a container that is airtight, watertight and prevents light from entering).
- If the tree may have been sprayed with pesticides or grows in a big city with lots of pollution, rinse the Indian almond leaves well in tap water before placing it in your tank.
- Do not use Indian almond leaves that are mouldy.
- Remove active carbon, purigen and similar from the aquarium before adding your Indian almond leaves.
- If you’re in a hurry, you can cut the leaves into smaller pieces since this will make them leach their content into the water more rapidly.
Dosages below are based on 15-25 cm (6-10 in) leaves. If your leaf is smaller or bigger, you need to adjust the figures accordingly.
- Using 2 leaves per 70 L (20 us gallons) of water is a good rule of thumb, but be prepared to adjust the dosage to suit your particular tank.
- In hatchling rearing tanks, use 1 leaf per 40 L (10 us gallons) of water.
For how long?
- Unless you anchor the leaves using a rock or similar, they will normally float for 2-3 days before sinking. Sinking is natural and it doesn’t mean that your have to change the leaves.
- The leaves will normally disintegrate after a month or two, depending on how actively your axolotl tries to destroy them. Aquarists that dislike the sight of torn leaves normally replace the leaves every 2-3 week, but this is purely for aesthetic reasons. There is usually no need to change the leaves more often than every second month.
Brewing Indian Almond Leaves
- Take one or two leaves, place in a container suitable for hot water.
- Add boiling water and allow to steep overnight
- Add cooled Indiana Almond tea to your tank (This method will give all of the beneficial properties without the leaf debris in your tank)