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Alder Cone questions


New Member
Hi all,

Does anyone have experience using alder cones. I have them in a few of my tanks right now - they are definately coloring the water - but not really affecting the PH. How long do you leave them in the tank before you put new ones in? The ones that have been in the longest are starting to get a bit of white fuzz on them. Should I take them out and put in fresh ones or just leave them in the tank? Any other tips on their use would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Andy Dixon
Living Water Hatchery
Ashland, KY

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
pH effects depend on the hardness of the water. The harder the water is, the less the effect. The white fuzz on the cones probably is fungus. I'd remove it if it were my tank.


Active Member
5 Year Member
I presoak my alder cones in aged tank water for a couple of weeks before adding them to my tanks. They get that slimy fungus on them but it goes away after about a week.


New Member
Mike and Slim,

Thanks for the insight. Slim - should I remove the cone, rinse the fuzz off and put it back in or do as Mike suggests - remove it and add a new one? How long do you typically leave the cones in your tanks?

Thanks again,


Active Member
5 Year Member
If they fuzz over, you might be well served giving them a rinse in aged, treated water. I have had mine in my tanks for six months. I am like others, I'm not sure if there is actual factual data that supports their use, but I use them, and I don't get alot of fungused eggs.

I think the fuzz is a result of the tank either not being cycled, or something inside the cone that is rotting. I have boiled mine in the past, but I'm not sure if that is recommended or not. Putting them in the oven at about 300 degrees for a few hours is probably better.

Hope that helps. I'm sure someone here has more experience and insight than myself.


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I've never had any alder cones "go fuzzy", but a couple of pieces of long dead Oak have, it was definitely fungal and the Otocinclus ate it. I wouldn't be too concerned, although I'm sure boiling or oven drying would stop it happening.
I leave mine in until they disintegrate, about 6 months usually.
One thing I have found is that I get a lot of small seedlings growing on the top of a sponge HMF type filter, and these have turned out to be Alders.
cheers Darrel


New Member
Hey Darrel and Slim,

Thanks for the insights - I think I will rinse it off just to be safe and I will "cook" the rest of them in the oven. So I may have alder tress growing in my sponge filter - cool. I think I'll plant them in the yard so I will have an endless supply of alder cones!! :wink:

Thanks again - I really appreciate it,


New Member
5 Year Member
I use alder cones in my Altum tank w/ some discrossus. I used to have mouth fungus w/ my altums and since I started using alder it cleared it up. I use one alder per gallon and every 5/6 days when I do a water change I just dump out the old and add another handful. From my experience I don't think it alters my ph because my ph sits at 6 and I have been using it for the past year. HTH


5 Year Member
The Alder cones will help lower pH but only, as Mike Wise pointed out, in extremely soft water. Soft water is a relative term so I would only expect to see a noticeable change if the carbonate hardness is almost 0.
If you begin with extremely soft water with an low pH I doubt if your Alder cones will support fungus. I wonder if your cones are fully matured and dried out before use?

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