Indian Almond Leaves For Betta: Everything You Need To Know

If you’ve been serious about fish-keeping, chances are that you will always want to keep the aquarium in tip-top condition. Apart from decoration items, you might want to look for natural enhancers, particularly Indian almond leaves.

These leaves have widely been used in Southeast Asia for many years. They are known to have medicinal properties, which are helpful for the ailment of Betta fish. Alongside medicinal properties, there are plenty of other benefits that you will notice once you start using these magical leaves.

If you’re interested in learning more about Indian almond leaves, you’re in the right place! This guide has everything you need to know, starting from the origin of Indian almond leaves to their beneficial properties.

What Are Indian Almond Leaves?

Indian almond leaves come from the Terminalia catappa tree, a tropical tree commonly grown in Southeast Asia. It is from the leadwood family. Although the tree isn’t from the same family as the almond tree we know, it gets the name from an almond’s taste. The tree produces fruit having an acidic taste, and the seed inside tastes similar to an almond.

As for the leaves, they are brown in color and can measure about 10 inches in length. They are usually picked up from the ground and dried before use. The leaves are enriched with chemicals, like flavonoids, tannins, saponins, and phytosterols. Because of the chemical abundance, Indian almond leaves have been used for treating medical conditions for centuries.

You’ll find Indian almond leaves in your local fish shop and online stores. Some stores even sell extracts that have the same potential benefits.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good For Bettas?

Indian almond leaves are proven to be beneficial for Betta fish. These are widely used by aquarists to eliminate skin diseases, toughen the scales, heal injuries, and provide protection. Indian almond leaves also act as a good hiding place and a food source for Betta fry.

It is worth noting that the usage of these leaves is not only limited to Bettas but also other fish, like shrimps, angelfish, platies, and rasboras.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Indian Almond Leaves In Aquarium?

Indian almond leaves offer numerous benefits once you add them to your aquarium. The benefits are as follows.

1. Improve The Water Quality

Indian almond leaves are known to improve the water quality of your aquarium. Once you add a leaf to the aquarium, it submerges and changes its color to brown or yellow. When you see a color change, you can tell that it has released tannins, a group of chemical compounds that are naturally present in leaves, stems, and fruit skin.

What these tannins do to the water, they lower the pH and reduce the water hardness. Typically, Betta fish are accustomed to the pH level of their natural habitat. When there’s a fluctuation in the pH level, they can fall sick and die eventually.

As tap water doesn’t provide the same water parameters as Betta’s natural habitat, the incorporation of Indian almond leaves can bring the right balance. 

According to a study, increased dosage of powdered Indian almond leaves caused a decline in the pH level of water.

2. Fight Bacterial And Fungal Infections

The tannins released by the Indian almond leaves have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This is the obvious reason why people have used these leaves for centuries to treat bacterial and fungal infections. When the leaves are added to an aquarium, the tannins also help fight such infections in Betta fish.

A study published in 2012 proved that red-colored Indian almond leaf extract inhibited the growth of bacteria in Betta fish.

An interesting fact is that healthy Indian almond trees aren’t prone to infections because they use tannins to get rid of microorganisms.

3. Reduce Stress

A weak immune system can cause your Betta to feel stressed. If this goes on, then the Betta will experience infections, particularly fin rots. Adding Indian almond leaves to the aquarium reduces stress as well as the risk of fin rots.

Apart from that, stress can also arise when the Betta is surrounded by lights. Bettas feel unsafe in this situation because they think that they are easily noticeable to predators, even if there aren’t any around them. Indian almond leaves turn the aquarium water to a darker color, hence making Bettas feel safe.

4. Provide A Better Breeding Environment

Typically, Betta fish prefer a dark and safe breeding environment where they can protect themselves from predators. If the aquarium doesn’t provide a suitable environment, Bettas will resist breeding. Indian almond leaves are an excellent option for providing a hiding spot for Betta fish. Since these leaves float, they help Bettas to create bubble nests underneath.

5. Provide Shelter For Fry

Baby Bettas also need a safe place to hide from bigger fish. Adding a few small-sized Indian almond leaves to the aquarium will create multiple hiding spots for fry.

6. Act As A Food Source For Other Fish

If you have shrimp or other fish fry in the aquarium, they will enjoy munching on decomposed Indian almond leaves. There won’t be any leftovers, so you won’t have to worry about removing them from the tank.

Do Indian Almond Leaves Lower Ammonia?

In high-pH water, the level of ammonia rises quickly. High levels of ammonia are dangerous for fish because they can burn the gills and cause breathing difficulty.

One of the most effective natural solutions for lowering the ammonia concentration is to use Indian almond leaves. The tannins leached out from the leaves lower the pH of water, which in turn converts ammonia into the less-toxic ammonium.

How To Clean Indian Almond Leaves Before Use?

The first and foremost thing you should do before placing Indian almond leaves in your aquarium is to clean them. Proper cleaning of these leaves will get rid of microorganisms that would otherwise contaminate the tank water. Here’s how you can clean them.

  • Take a bowl of water and add some wood vinegar to it. Stir the mixture.
  • Place the Indian almond leaves to the mixture.
  • Lightly rub each leaf using both hands to remove any dirt.
  • Remove the leaves and arrange them on top of a mesh frame. Place the frame under direct sunlight for a couple of hours to let the leaves dry.

Once the leaves have fully dried, they are ready to be used in aquariums.

How Do You Use Indian Almond Leaves For Bettas?

If you’ve bought Indian almond leaves for your Betta, you can use them in any of the following ways.

Note: Before using the leaves, make sure they are dry and stored properly at room temperature. Also, make sure to remove any insecticide and then dry the leaves. Always remember to use fresh leaves and not rotten ones for the best results.

1. Put The Leaves In The Aquarium

The simplest way to let your Betta enjoy the benefits of Indian almond leaves is by placing the whole leaves in the aquarium. Once the leaves are submerged for two hours, they will start releasing tannins. The leaves usually stay afloat for a couple of days before sinking to the bottom of the aquarium. They help Bettas to build bubble nests underneath the leaves as long as they stay afloat.

When the leaves sink, you can either keep them like that or remove them. Keeping the sunken leaves will help Bettas and fry to take shelter. If you have other fish in the aquarium then they can consume the sunken leaves.

2. Soak The Leaves To Make An Extract

Another way you can use Indian almond leaves is by preparing an extract. If you don’t like the idea of having leaves in the aquarium, this is a good option you can choose instead. Here’s how you can make the extract.

  • Take a big pot and add water. For every two gallons of water, use one Indian almond leaf. If you want the extract to be more concentrated, you can add more leaves.
  • Bring the water to a boil. If you see dust in the water, it is an indication that the leaves aren’t of good quality. In that case, you’ll need to start afresh with good-quality leaves.
  • Once the water changes its color to brown, remove the pot from the flame and let it cool down.
  • Take the leaves out.
  • Slowly pour the extract into the aquarium. Make sure not to pour all of the extracts at once, or otherwise, the tank will be overloaded with tannins.

If you’ve accidentally spilled the extract into the aquarium, you can change the water partially.

How Many Indian Almond Leaves Do You Need To Use Per Gallon?

It is recommended that you add one medium-sized Indian almond leaf to every 10 gallons of water. Before adding a leaf, make sure to remove any activated carbon from the tank. Doing so will allow the leaf to bring out its effectiveness.

What Happens If I Use Too Many Indian Almond Leaves?

If you’ve accidentally added too many Indian almond leaves, there’s no need to worry! All you need to do is to perform a partial water change and then add some activated carbon to the filter. Doing so will remove the excess tannins and bring the water parameters to normal. Not only that but also the activated carbon will lighten the water color.

How Long Do Indian Almond Leaves Last?

Most Indian almond leaves typically last between 30 and 60 days before breaking down. You can replace a leaf either when it starts getting thinner or after it has fully decomposed. It depends on your choice.

What Kind Of Leaves Are Good For Betta Fish?

If you don’t have Indian almond leaves nearby, you can go for alternatives. Although they might not have the same medicinal benefits as Indian almond leaves, they still have tannins to balance the water parameters.

1. Peat moss

Peat moss or sphagnum moss is the decomposed soil acquired from peat bogs. Like Indian almond leaves, peat moss also releases tannins into the water. You can either place it inside or outside the filter in the aquarium.

Peat moss usually turns the water into a tea-like color. If you don’t want that color change, all you need to do is boil the peat moss to remove contaminants and then soak it in a bucket of water for a few days before placing it in the aquarium.

2. Alder cones

Alder cones are cylindrical flowers that come from black alder trees. These are typically used in shrimp tanks. When placed in water, alder cones will slightly lower the pH of the water, and it takes more time for it to break down compared to most leaves.

3. Dried banana leaves

Dried banana leaves can also be used as an alternative to Indian almond leaves. The polyphenols present in dried banana leaves are known to boost the immune system of Betta fish. Many people claim that it is possible to use dried banana leaves and Indian almond leaves simultaneously in the aquarium.

4. Driftwood

Driftwood is basically a piece of wood that has been washed ashore. It contains plenty of tannins, so it is recommended that you soak it in hot water for a few hours before placing it in the aquarium. Even if there’s still a bit of tint, you can remove that by placing a small amount of carbon in the filter.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, Indian almond leaves are a must-have in Betta aquariums. The presence of beneficial chemicals causes the water’s parameters to become balanced while keeping your fish in its best health. Not only that but these miracle leaves can also be used as a good hiding place away from predators.

In exchange for these benefits, you’ll have to accept the color change of the aquarium. If that is an issue because of aesthetics, it is better to avoid using these leaves. And if you don’t mind the color change, make sure you pick good-quality leaves from a trusted seller!

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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