Indian Almond leaves have been used for many years by tropical fish breeders. When added to water the leaves leech many beneficial substances into the water including humic acid and tannic acids which help lower pH naturally. The Indian Almond leaves also release compounds that have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The leaves will turn your tank water a brown color (intensity depends on how many leaves you add). If you do not want your water to darken you can presoak them for a couple of days to leech out some of the tannins.
In shrimp tanks these leaves are often used not only for their pH lowering ability, anti-fungal, or anti-bacterial properties but also as a food source for shrimp. When the leaves are left in the tank a multitude of microorganisms will begin to colonize the leave and break it down. These microorganisms create a biofilm which is the preferred food source for shrimp, especially shrimplets. Increasing the biofilm in a tank will often result in higher survival rates for shrimplets. These leaves can be left in the tank until they are fully eaten (the stem is usually left behind) and they will not have any negative impact on water quality.
Besides shrimp these leaves are idea for betta’s, discus, gouramis, killifish, tetras, arrowana, angelfish, South American dwarf cichlids, corys, plecos, and any other species that comes from blackwater habitats.
Indian Almond leaves also go by the following names: Indian Almond Leaves, Ketapang Leaves, Tropical Almond Leaves, Sweet Almond Leaves, Wild Almond Leaves, Sea Almond Leaves, Catappa Leaves
We use Catappa leaves in all of our shrimp tanks. Leaves generally last 2-4 weeks. We add an additional leaf to the tank during this period, to ensure there is always a leaf available in the tank, whether for the anti-bacterial properties, increased surface area for feeding, or hiding space for moulting females. We recommend boiling leaves for several minutes before cooling, and then placing these into your tanks, as this assists in the leaf sinking once placed in the aquarium.