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alder cones and oak leaves

Aquaticloch

Active Member
Messages
107
Location
Canada eh
hello everyone, I recently collected upwards of 1000 alder cones. Is there a specific method of usage and drying? how often do I change them etc, also would maple leaves be considered safe for my aquaria? thanks
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,207
Location
Germany
Cones: Air drying. I rarely collect them myself as the quality of the few trees in reach is rather mediocre. But when I do, I spread them on a colth and let them dry.
You only collected the the old ones, right? No newly grown ones? Here they are starting to grow new cones right now. Best time to collect is late December, early January.
For use: Neither put them straight in, nor in the filter. They take ages to rot completely to mulm, so adding some is ok, but otherwise they start to build up too much. Either put them in a filter bag somewhere in the back of the tank, or I extrect the good stuff by soaking them in RO water over night. For my tank and the preferred tint and pH I use 2 per 5 liters net volume.

Maple leaves are safe, but tend to rot extremely quickly. Just for conmparison: IALs take a month or two to be down to the skeleton, Oak still 3-4 weeks, maple is gone within 2 weeks tops.
 
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Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
346
Location
San Francisco
Definitely agree with MacZ to only use the dead alder cones.

For dosage, it may just be a matter of aesthetic preference. Through trial and error, you'll learn the correct amount to tint the water to the degree you want. For every 30% water change, I tend to add about 2 alder cones to my 10g, 3 to my 15g and 5 to my 20g, give or take (since they vary a lot on size). It's true that they will accumulate, but if I feel it's too much I just take some out the next time I clean the tank.

For leaves: I use a lot of different kinds of leaves, and found that the ones that decay more quickly tend to acidify the water more quickly. I think it may just be that thickness and waxiness of the leaves determines how quickly they break down. But it's the decomposition that generates the humid acid. Magnolia leaves, for example, decay very slowly but don't acidify the water quickly compared to IAL or oak. But they are useful for structure.
 

Aquaticloch

Active Member
Messages
107
Location
Canada eh
the cones i collected were almost black in colour and on the ground, is that what you mean by dead?

F5945F43 83B9 40D6 8C79 2A406F6DCB00 1 105 c
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,517
Location
Wiltshire UK

jordanstrango

New Member
Messages
6
I personally hate leaves after they clogged up my intake. I switched to fluval peat pellets in a mesh bag in the filter and it's far more effective at lowering pH without the brown water and the rotting mess. I have a lot of driftwood too.

Here is the article, it brings up peat several paragraphs into it:

 
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Bowluvr

Member
Messages
33
Location
North Carolina
hello everyone, I recently collected upwards of 1000 alder cones. Is there a specific method of usage and drying? how often do I change them etc, also would maple leaves be considered safe for my aquaria? thanks
I use alder cones, but I collect them already completely dry on the tree. I just store them in a large zip-lock type bag. I mainly use them for hatching fry, and I remove the cone as soon as I see wrigglers, mainly because it's no longer needed to get help the eggs hatch. The few times I have placed one or two in a tank, I've just left them. They take a long time to break down. I have had poor luck with immature cones, and ONLY use fully mature, dried-on-the-tree cones in my fish room. The dry ones don't get moldy, and they do a great job at releasing tannins without fouling the small volumes of water that I have in hatching containers. I also have used well-dried oak leaves (again, I collect my own from pesticide-free areas) with success. They take longer to break down than Indian Almond leaves, and discolor the water less, too. I let them break down in the tank, and siphon up the detritus if/when it starts to build up. I don't tend to use a lot of leaves at any one time, but I know others do. I don't use maple leaves since I have oak and a decent stash of IAL. I don't do anything special to dry them. I collect them dry and store them until I need to use them. They keep for a long time in a simple zip-lock type bag. Like, several years if kept dry and sealed up.
 

ARK93

Member
Messages
35
Location
East Yorkshire - England - UK
A slightly related question. I see a lot of recommendations for Alder cones, but never Alder leaves. Is there a specific reason for this? I'd imagine Oak, Beech and Indian Almond leaves last longer but I have access to lots of Alder trees. Collecting the other species would require some garden raiding or odd behaviour in public on my part.

While on the topic, are there any other UK species that can be used?
 

Bowluvr

Member
Messages
33
Location
North Carolina
hello everyone, I recently collected upwards of 1000 alder cones. Is there a specific method of usage and drying? how often do I change them etc, also would maple leaves be considered safe for my aquaria? thanks
I collect mature alder cones and dry, fallen oak leaves here in NC. I like to allow the leaves to dry a few weeks more before use but have used them immediately as well. I don't really do anything to either, as I collect in areas where pesticides are not used. I just drop them in my tanks as needed. I don't do much of anything to the alder cones. I make sure to grab them when they are mature and already quite dry on the tree.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,207
Location
Germany
A slightly related question. I see a lot of recommendations for Alder cones, but never Alder leaves. Is there a specific reason for this? I'd imagine Oak, Beech and Indian Almond leaves last longer but I have access to lots of Alder trees. Collecting the other species would require some garden raiding or odd behaviour in public on my part.

While on the topic, are there any other UK species that can be used?
Any brown, fallen leaves work. But some have disadvantages: Birch, Alder and Maple leaves decompose very quickly and they don't really develop humic substances (they don't brown much). Since they are not as popular.

Otherwise just make sure the tree isn't subject to regular use of pesticides or next to traffic. The species is irrelevant.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,517
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I see a lot of recommendations for Alder cones, but never Alder leaves. Is there a specific reason for this?
I think there are two reasons really, they are shed when they are still green, and they they are very palatable to invertebrates etc. and aren't at all persistent. I haven't tried them, but I would imagine they are a good food for Cherry Shrimps etc.

These (specifically Alnus glutinosa) are actually the leaves used by <"Environmental Scientists for work on invertebrate shredders"> in fresh water, partially because they are palatable.
While on the topic, are there any other UK species that can be used?
<"Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)">. Have a look at <"Best plants">.

cheers Darrel
 

ARK93

Member
Messages
35
Location
East Yorkshire - England - UK

Any brown, fallen leaves work. But some have disadvantages: Birch, Alder and Maple leaves decompose very quickly and they don't really develop humic substances (they don't brown much). Since they are not as popular.

Otherwise just make sure the tree isn't subject to regular use of pesticides or next to traffic. The species is irrelevant.

Thanks dw1305 and MacZ!

There's some useful information in your replies and in those links. Off the top of my head, I have easy access to oak leaves at work, or I can venture out into the countryside around my village and find plenty. I have access to Silver Birch in my garden which I gather will break down quickly, but would it be a good food source for fry? Lastly my parents have a large magnolia tree so I will get them to start collecting leaves next year and send me a bin bag full, I gather they last a long time in the tank.

Hopefully I can find some beech leaves somewhere, I'll keep my eyes peeled!
 

Bowluvr

Member
Messages
33
Location
North Carolina
Thanks dw1305 and MacZ!

There's some useful information in your replies and in those links. Off the top of my head, I have easy access to oak leaves at work, or I can venture out into the countryside around my village and find plenty. I have access to Silver Birch in my garden which I gather will break down quickly, but would it be a good food source for fry? Lastly my parents have a large magnolia tree so I will get them to start collecting leaves next year and send me a bin bag full, I gather they last a long time in the tank.

Hopefully I can find some beech leaves somewhere, I'll keep my eyes peeled!
From my experience, magnolia breaks down fairly quickly, especially compared to oak leaves and even Indian Almond Leaves. We have magnolias everywhere here, but, for that reason, I don't bother much with them for my Apistos (and I don't keep shrimp).
 

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