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are Magnolia denudata and Magnolia x soulangeana leaves safe for aquaria?

Aquaticloch

Active Member
Messages
152
Location
Canada eh
hey all,
I am looking for a good leaf for my aquariums that can be found readily near where i live.

I know many on this forum have used m.grandiflora leaves before in blackwater tanks, but i am wondering if Magnolia denudata and Magnolia x soulangeana can also be used, because the shape of the leaves IMO is more appealing than Oak or Maple. does anyone have experiences with this?

I have also read about an oily film on the surface of the aquarium whilst using grandiflora leaves, do you think it will be worse with these varieties? is there anything to worry about with these leaves, like laurels contain hydrocyanic acid?

also for future reference is there a rule of thumb for determining if the leaves are aquarium safe?

thanks all, sorry for all the rapid-fire questioning
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,870
Location
Germany
Yes, magnolia is safe.

I have also read about an oily film on the surface of the aquarium whilst using grandiflora leaves, do you think it will be worse with these varieties?
Biofilm (sometimes oily) always builds up on the surface of tanks with lots of leaf litter and I haven't heard anything about certain leaves being especially strong. With a good spraybar or an airstone there should be no problem.

is there anything to worry about with these leaves, like laurels contain hydrocyanic acid?
Make sure only to use brown leaves. Those have been shed by the tree, which should have removed everything possible from the leave before shedding. Nutrients and alkaloids are usually left in miniscule amounts.

also for future reference is there a rule of thumb for determining if the leaves are aquarium safe?
Again, brown leaves. Forego everything else.
 

Samala

Active Member
Messages
99
Location
Oviedo, FL
for future reference is there a rule of thumb

Beyond checking out resources to see if there is known toxicity to mammalian pets (like ASPCA's resource) I generally look up whether the plant or parts of the plant have an established usage in herbal and/or traditional medicine. My rationale with this is that many herbal preparations involve water (steam distillation, tisanes, infusions, decoctions and so forth) which hints at compounds being liberated by water. We can argue that the average aquarium wouldn't liberate as many or the same compounds, but it's my way of trying to assess risk.

M. x soulangeana is/was a hybrid of M. denudata and M. lilliflora. Both species' flowers/buds and sometimes bark are used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. I'd avoid those parts. My herbalist's books don't say much about leaves beyond historical usage in tea for some species. If you want to get nerdy (since you mentioned hydrocyanic acid!) this study and this study are interesting.

My memory of M. denudata is that the leaves are much finer/thinner, easily bend, and do not have quite the thick waxy coating we see on M. grandiflora (and M. virginiana). Is that right? That might make them less useful in an aquarium. Part of my love for grandiflora leaves are their long life and habit of weathering down to beautiful lacey skeletons.

If they don't have the thick waxy coating they might not produce as much oily biofilm at first. Or at least that's what I think makes up much of the film the leaves throw in the first few weeks underwater. Surface agitation doesn't seem to do much for this, only water changes, at least in my tanks.

If I had access to M. denudata or the hybrid I would probably soak the leaves in a bucket for a few weeks to get them to shed any initial biofilm. After that, would likely either run a very informal bioassay with something like snails or Daphnia, or only add one or two leaves to my aquarium at a time to see how things get on.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,735
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
but i am wondering if Magnolia denudata and Magnolia x soulangeana can also be used, because the shape of the leaves IMO is more appealing than Oak or Maple. does anyone have experiences with this?
I've <"used them">, but as @Samala suggests they aren't like M. grandiflora leaves, they <"skeletonize really quickly">, which is something I've found for all deciduous Magnolia spp.

cheers Darrel
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
563
Location
San Francisco
If they do break down or skeletonize quickly, that likely means they’re releasing tannins and humic acid at a faster rate, which could be good, depending on what you want. I tend to use M. grandiflora for structure and various oak leaves for tannins.
 

Julian

Member
Messages
51
Are you getting them from you garden,parks etc if so how are you going to prepare them
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,870
Location
Germany
Are you getting them from you garden,parks etc if so how are you going to prepare them
Generally as far away from the city/civilisation as possible. I got friends living in the countryside that send me some bags full of leaf litter in fall, I myself also do 1-2 trips to the woods during the season to get the bulk of it myself.

Preparation: If they are damp or even wet when collected nothing but drying is necessary. Bacteria films and fungi will decompose leaves in a tank anyway, and everything else that might be on them will die underwater so it's enough to maybe shake off some dirt and insects and the like before putting them in a container (I use zip-lock bags) for storage.
 

Julian

Member
Messages
51
Are there ok to use
 

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dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,735
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
Sorry but whats PYO?
Sorry "pick your own", just meaning picked up by you, rather than bought from ebay etc.

I've never bought any "structural leaf litter", Indian Almond Leaves (Terminalia catappa) or Alder (Alnus spp.) "cones" etc. I've always collected my own.

cheers Darrel
 

Julian

Member
Messages
51
I don’t live near all the office buildings and sky rises but I don’t live in the country
 

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