Catappa Leaves in an Aquarium

Catappa Leaves in an Aquarium

Indian almond leaves come from the Terminalia catappa tree. Catappa leaves have been found to have anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and thus help to keep the water free from pathogens, resulting in healthier and stronger fish. Many breeders believe that the leaves induce fish and shrimp to spawn. They make great shelter and resting places for bubble nest building Betta fish too.

Benefits of adding Catappa Leaves to a Fish Tank:

Lowers ammonia levels - high ammonia can be lethal to livestock

Lowers pH levels, softening water - ideal for sensitive species like Neon Tetra

Encourages breeding and spawning, especially with shrimp and Betta Fish

Provides shelter by its large surface area

Has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, beneficial to fish health

Adds tannins to the aquarium water, a subtle brown tint

Creates a nice interesting feature in your aquarium


How many Catappa Leaves can I add to my Fish Tank?

There are no set rules about adding dried Catappa leaves to an aquarium, as they are not harmful to livestock. However, you must remember that each leaf releases tannins, so your water will discolour brown. The more you add, the darker the tint becomes. As the leaves degrade and break down, they may also clog filtration inlets or leave waste on your aquarium floor, which you will need to clear over time.

The generally recommended quantity for Catappa leaves is typically 1-2 large leaves (approximately 6" or more) for every 20 litres aquarium capacity, or several smaller ones for the same volume.


How do I add Catappa Leaves to my aquarium?

You can place Catappa leaves directly into your aquarium. They will float for a couple days, and gradually sink to the floor as they saturate. You can pre-soak them in cold water for a day prior to adding to ensure they sink, or soak them in boiling water for an hour before adding to your fish tank for the same effect. Doing this will also decrease the discoloration of your water.


What will Catappa Leaves do for my Fish?

Indian Almond Leaves are commonly used for conditioning and care of Bettas. They are believed to aid the fish by improving fertility, and have properties beneficial for fish health and vigour. Catappa leaves reduce Ph in water, aid in the recovery of diseased or damaged fish. They also provide shelter and hiding places for aquarium inhabitants.


How long do Catappa Leaves last in an Aquarium?

Indian Almond Leaves (Catappa) will typically last around 3-5 weeks in an aquarium, possibly longer. If you have shrimp or plecos in your fish tank, they may actively break them down more quickly.

To purchase Catappa Leaves online please click here.

Photo credit(s): M Chinnery, Real Aquatics


1 comment

Tim Rossiter

Tim Rossiter

If catappa leaves have anti-bacterial qualities, do they harm the benign bacteria making your biological filter work?

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