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How To Use Indian Almond Leaves In Your Aquarium

How To Use Indian Almond Leaves In Your Aquarium

Keeping an aquarium healthy takes more than just routine cleaning. Did you know that Indian almond leaves could be the key to boosting your aquarium’s health? 

In this guide, we will explore the various ways Indian Almond Leaves can be used in your aquarium setup. From improving water quality to providing natural shelter and promoting overall well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Indian almond leaves have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can benefit the overall health of your aquarium.
  • These leaves can lower pH levels and soften water, creating a more suitable environment for certain fish species like bettas and dwarf shrimp.
  • Indian almond leaves provide natural coverage for shy fish, reducing stress levels and promoting exploration. They also create an environment similar to tropical streams, lowering stress in pet fish.

What are Indian Almond Leaves?

Indian almond leaves are natural leaves sourced from the Indian almond tree, also known as Terminalia catappa. These leaves have been utilized in the aquarium hobby for many years due to their effectiveness and natural properties.

They are known to provide various benefits, such as reducing stress levels in fish, promoting breeding behavior, and improving overall health. Additionally, Indian almond leaves can create an environment that mimics the natural habitats of certain species, making them feel more comfortable and secure.

How to Use Indian Almond Leaves

There are 3 ways you can introduce Indian almond leaves into your aquarium.  You can simply put the leaves directly in the tank, shred them and add them, or create an extract by soaking the leaves. 

1. Put the leaves directly in the aquarium

The easiest way is to add a few leaves into your aquarium every couple of months and let them do their magic.

2. Shred the leaves and put them in the aquarium

Shred the almond leaves before adding them to your aquarium. This helps to spread the tannins throughout the water.

Shredding the leaves makes them less noticeable and promotes faster decomposition, releasing beneficial properties more quickly into the water.

3. Create an extract

If you’d prefer not to have leaves in your tank, you can always make an extract to add to your aquarium water.

To create the extract:

  1. Boil approximately 2 quarts of water
  2. Place 1 to 3 medium-sized Indian almond leaves in a jar
  3. Carefully pour the boiling water into the jar
  4. Allow the jar to remain open for a full day
  5. Remove the leaves from the jar
  6. Place a lid on the jar and put it in the fridge for a couple of months

When the extract is ready you can start to add it to your aquarium. I recommend one ounce of extract for every gallon of water. 

Recommended Dosage of Indian Almond Leaves

As a guideline, use 1 medium-sized Indian almond leaf for every 10 gallons (38 L) of water. Adjust the dosage accordingly for blackwater tanks. Make sure you remove any Purigen or activated carbon from your filter as these lessen the effect of the leaves.

What if I Use Too Many Leaves?

You’d have to add a crazy amount of leaves to the tank for them to have a negative impact on the overall water quality. 

As long as you’re being sensible, the main thing that will be affected is the aesthetics of your tank. The water will get darker the more leaves you add. 

If you want to reverse the side effects, you can always do a partial water change or add a small amount of activated carbon to your filter.

Benefits of Indian Almond Leaves

Indian almond leaves have a long history of use in aquariums and offer numerous health benefits for fish and shrimp.

Antifungal And Antibacterial Properties

Indian almond leaves offer potent antifungal and antibacterial properties, which make them a highly beneficial addition to aquarium environments. Their natural compounds help protect your fish from harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause problems like fin rot.

Used widely in the field of aquaculture, they help prevent infections in fish and shrimp populations

Lower pH Levels And Soften Water

Indian almond leaves perform a critical function in lowering pH levels and softening water in your aquarium. These distinct properties are especially beneficial for certain fish species that thrive in these environments.

As the leaves slowly decompose they release tannins into the water which not only naturally lowers the pH level and softens the hardiness of the water, it also keeps ammonia toxicity under control.

Keep in mind, specific types of fish will not favor these changes because they have a preference for hard or high pH water. 

Fish that won’t mind you adding Indian almond leaves to your tank are:

Hiding Spots & Protection

Shy fish often hide to reduce stress and Indian almond leaves can offer a great solution. These leaves create a dark, natural tank environment that mimics their natural habitats and provides camouflage that helps these fish feel secure and at ease.

Encourages Spawning

By providing a comfortable and familiar setting for breeding, these leaves act as natural spawning inducers. They can enhance fish reproduction, stimulate spawning, and serve as effective breeding aids.

The leaf litter created by these leaves also provides a substrate for fish to deposit their eggs on.. 

Protects Fry After Breading

For fry, these leaves act as a nursery, offering extra protection within the foliage. These leaves act as a shield, providing a safe haven for the newborn fish to grow and develop. 

Not only do the leaves create a nurturing environment, but they also serve as a source of nourishment for the fry and help defend against potential infections.

A Food Source For Shrimp

If you keep freshwater shrimp in your tank, they will love the addition of Indian almond leaves. Grazing on plants and leaves is a favorite pastime for shrimp and these leaves would be an ideal menu option. 

There is nothing like a tasty decomposing leaf to entice your shrimp.

Creates Blackwater Environment

Using Indian Almond Leaves in your aquarium can cause the water to turn brown, and for some provide a more visually appealing and natural environment for your fish.

This change is a result of the leaves releasing tannins and other substances into the water.

The amount of color will depend on how many leaves you use – too many can make the water very dark brown, making it difficult to see your fish and decor. Think of it like a tea bag steeping in water.

Over time, even if you only use a few leaves, the presence of Indian almond leaves will give your aquarium water a subtle yellowish-brown tint.

Alternatives to Indian Almond Leaves

A couple of alternatives to Indian almond leaves are oak leaves and beech leaves.

Like Indian almond leaves, these leaves also release tannins and provide antibacterial and antifungal properties. They won’t however decompose as slowly as Indian almond leaves.

Where to Buy Indian Almond Leaves

Indian almond leaves can be conveniently purchased at local pet or fish stores. If you’re looking for a specific product, SunGrow offers “50 pcs Catappa Indian Almond Leaves for Betta” that can be used in your aquarium.

These leaves are widely available and come at an affordable price, making it easy for you to enhance the water quality in your aquarium naturally. So, whether you prefer to shop locally or online, finding Indian almond leaves should not be a problem.


How do I use Indian almond leaves in my aquarium?

To use Indian almond leaves in your aquarium, simply place a few dried leaves into the water. The leaves will release beneficial compounds that can help create a natural environment for fish and promote their health.

How much do Indian almond leaves lower pH?

Indian almond leaves can lower moderately hard water to a pH of 6.0 and soft water to a pH of around 5.0. 

Lowering the pH levels will be gradual but you’ll notice long-lasting results.

How long do Indian almond leaves last?

While the longevity can vary, some leaves can last up to a couple of months before completely breaking down, depending on their size. You can always replace them when needed.

What are the benefits of using Indian almond leaves in my aquarium?

Using Indian almond leaves in your aquarium can provide several benefits, such as lowering pH levels, reducing harmful bacteria growth, preventing fungal infections, and enhancing fish coloration.

Wrapping Up

Indian almond leaves are a valuable addition to any aquarium. With their natural antifungal and antibacterial properties, they help create a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic friends.

The leaves also lower pH levels and soften the water, which is beneficial for sensitive species. Additionally, Indian almond leaves provide comfort to shy or stressed fish by mimicking their natural habitat.

Whether you choose to put the leaves directly in the tank, shred them and add them as substrate, or make an extract to add to your aquarium water, these versatile leaves offer numerous benefits.

Overall, using Indian almond leaves can enhance the well-being of your fish while improving water quality in a natural and effective way.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...