Can You Put Indian Almond Leaves In Aquarium?

A healthy aquarium with fish requires more than feeding them food pellets. There are many options to enhance the quality of your water, which will in turn ensure that your fish are happier, healthy, more hydrated, and feel more at ease.

Can you put Indian almond leaves in aquarium? Indian almond leaves can be found to be very beneficial in aquariums. Although you may not be aware that these leaves can dramatically affect the quality of the water in your tank.

In this article, we’ll guide you through all you need to know regarding Indian almond leaves, their benefits, and how to make use of them. Let’s start right now!

Can you put Indian almond leaves in aquarium?

If you’ve kept fish for a while is highly likely that you’ve heard of Indian almond leaves.

Indian almond leaves (IAL) or catappa leavesoriginated from Terminalia Catappa, which is a tree that originated in Asia and Oceania. However, it is now seen in subtropical and tropical regions across the globe. The fruit seeds are like almonds the leaves of which are widely utilized in herbal teas as well as traditional remedies.

The leaves are often described as a natural wonder.

There is a belief that Indian almond leaves can be capable of helping fish recover from the brink of extinction as well as helping betta spawn and reduce the stress of fish.

Do Indian leaves meet the expectations of their name?

You’ll discover what the solution to that question is, and much more as I show you everything you should learn regarding Indian almond leaves.

What exactly are Indian almond leaves?

For aquarium use, Indian almond leaves refer to dried leaves of the Terminalia catappa tree which is an indigenous tree to Southeast Asia, but they’ve recently been introduced to the Americas. It’s been used as a traditional medicine for centuries in the region. It is part of the family of trees called leadwood.

The leaves are usually picked by removing them from the ground. One tree could drop many leaves. After drying, they are suitable for use in aquariums.

You may also be able to hear Indian almond leaf being shortened to IAL or called catappa leaves, whose name is derived from the tree that it is derived from.

Fish keepers utilize Indian almond leaves for many reasons, but the most prevalent of them are pH decreasing and antifungal and antibacterial qualities.

It’s also important to note the fact that Indian almond leaves can be very beneficial for shrimp and betta fish tanks.

Pros & Cons of Using Indian Almond Leaves in Aquariums

Can you put Indian almond leaves in aquarium? Before we dive deep into the intricacies of the reasons and methods you should consider giving Indian almond leaves an attempt. Let’s take a brief review of some of the advantages and disadvantages of making use of Indian almond leaves.


  • Lowers pH levels
  • Provides a dark habitat for fish that breed in blackwater to reproduce
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Aids in promoting breeding
  • It can be used as a source of food for small fish or fry


  • The brownish hue could make your aquarium appear less attractive (however some people are enthralled by this natural appearance)
  • Fish can be a problem who prefer pH levels of high or hard water
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What is the reason Indian almond leaves are utilized in aquariums?

Let’s examine the five most popular applications for Indian almond leaves.

Enhance the quality of your aquarium water

If you add it to your aquarium When added to your aquarium, Indian almond leaves will slowly fall apart. In the process, it releases tannic acid tannins, as well as other substances into your tank.

Since the tannic acids are released, it decreases the pH of the water. If you are looking for an effective natural method to lower the pH of the aquarium you have, Indian almond leaf helps to accomplish exactly this.

The study also discovered it is possible that Indian almond leaves can dramatically reduce water hardness (GH) which could be beneficial to those who utilize hard water in their aquariums.

OK, what does that do to your aquarium?

The water coming out from your faucet might not exactly match the ideal conditions of those fish you have.

Indian almond leaves alter the water in a way that is closer to the environment that your fish inhabit, especially the ones from Southeast Asia and South America.

Fish that benefit from Indian almond leaves are:

  • Angelfish
  • Barbs
  • Betta
  • Cory catfish
  • Discus
  • Gouramis
  • Killifish
  • Platies
  • Rasboras
  • Tetra

Natural medication for skin problems

Many aquarists swear to Indian almond leaves to be natural remedies for illnesses or injuries to their fish’s skin, or more specifically their scales.

The antifungal and antibacterial benefits of Indian almond leaves are the primary reason you should incorporate them into your aquarium first.

When you add the right quantity of Indian almond leaves to your aquarium, they’ll serve as a natural treatment for your fish and help to treat any ailments they might be suffering from.

The most frequent ailment that plagues fish communities is fin rot. This as its name suggests will cause the fins on your fish to begin to decay. In the majority of cases, Indian almond leaves will help your fish rid of it unless there’s an extreme situation where fin rot has progressed to an entire body rot.

It is believed that the chemicals released from Indian almond leaves eliminate the fungus, bacteria, and viruses and allow wounded fish to heal more quickly.

It has even been suggested the Indian almond leaf could be a better alternative to antibiotics or other drugs to fight fungus and bacteria within commercially-run fish farms.

Within Southeast Asia, many betta keepers will add the Indian almond leaf to their betta’s water as they believe it helps toughen the skin of their fish and makes them stronger for fighting. It is also used to help heal a fish after a battle.

Although there aren’t any studies that show Indian almond leaf can help toughen the skin of betta, there’s ample evidence that suggests it can.

The case of Indian almond leaves being used as an anti-fish medication, however, is more convincing…

The reason is that Indian almond leaves are full of flavonoids.

I’m not going to go into the entire specifics the flavonoid chemical is the main ingredient that gives vegetables and fruits their hue.

However, there is one flavonoid in particular that we’re fascinated by quercetin. Also, Indian almond leaves have lots of them.

Quercetin has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties for humans.

Studies have also shown that tannins possess anti-fungal properties.

It’s possible that the flavonoids and tannins found in Indian almond leaves are the reason for the speedier healing of fish.

A green spot where your fish can lay their eggs

Many fish release eggs (spawn) in or under fallen leaves. This can help protect eggs from predators, or to prevent them from being washed away.

Tetras and Discus prefer to spawn on the leaves at the bottom of waterways. Betta and gouramis however create bubble nests on leaves that float over the surface.

Indian almond leaves are also a source of another advantage to spawning and this is one that I have discussed earlier.

A lot of fish only spawn under specific conditions of water. A lower pH and hardness of the water could be precisely what’s needed for your fish to spawn.

Reduce Stress

Stress is among the most common reasons your fish may develop an infection. Fish that are stressed are less immune-compliant and this can cause infections such as fin rots to persist. Indian almond leaves can dramatically reduce stress in your fish and thus improve their immune ability to fight infections.

How exactly do Indian almond leaves aid in making your fish feel less stressed? In simple terms, Indian almond leaves create an effect of blackout that will make your fish feel safe.

Most fish species don’t feel secure in aquariums due to the lighting surrounding them. They’ll feel like there’s no place to hide from larger fish species, even though there’s none in the tank.

The smallest amount of movement of the tank’s contents can make fish feel less at ease. For instance, the movement of a piece of furniture in the vicinity of the aquarium may cause water to move and cause the fish to believe that predators are approaching them.

In the event that you darken the water, the fish will begin to feel safer.

Protection and food for the fry (baby fish)

Indian almond leaves can be a gift that keeps on giving even after your fish hatch.

Many fish keepers include Indian almond leaves in fry tanks, an aquarium specifically designed for baby fish.

The leaves first give the fry a safe place to hide, which allows the fish to feel secure. Yes, there are predators in your fry tank, however, the tiny fish aren’t aware of that.

When the Indian almond leaves begin to disintegrate, microorganisms referred to as infusoria begin to appear infusoria and feed off the leaves.

Infusorias are so tiny that we can’t even be able to see them with the naked eye. To your fry, which is barely larger than the eyelash, infusoria may as well be the equivalent of a steak dinner.

The fry that has just been born happily chows down on infusoria until they get sufficient to be required to change to a different food source.

A feast for your shrimp tank

Shrimp are fond of Indian almond leaves. They will often infest any new leaf they find within their tanks.

What’s the draw?

The shrimp are awestruck by the flavor. The shrimp will happily gnaw off Indian almond leaves as well as the microorganisms that grow on them when they break down.

Shrimp are also happy to hide under the leaves after they’re full. Food and a house? It’s a lot better than this!

Important: Certain species of shrimp are suited to high pH and hardness of water. Indian almond leaves aren’t suitable for these species of shrimp.

Great for Creating a Blackwater Environment

Fish that live in blackwater are accustomed to soft water that has low pH levels. precisely the way Indian almond leaves impact the water in your tank. They can drastically reduce levels of pH and water hardness which will ultimately bring your blackwater fish to a happier place.

Can Be Used as a Substrate

Substrate? Yes! Substrates do not need to be gravel or sand. It is possible to create the perfect substrate made out of leaves, also known as a leaf litter substrate.

However, it wouldn’t be logical to build a substrate comprised of Indian almond leaves solely because this would create a dark aquarium. Instead, combine leaves from Indian almond leaves with other kinds of leaves to make the substrate, such as magnolia leaves and oak leaves.

What are the advantages of a substrate made of leaf matter? First of all, it’s more manageable as compared to gravel or sand substrates. In addition, you must dry the leaves prior to introducing them into the tank. This causes the leaves to take on an elongated shape, which creates areas to hide tiny fish and fry.

A leaf-litter substrate can boost how much infusoria is present in the tank, making it the ideal choice for the spawning process.

Slow Decomposition

In contrast to other kinds of leaves, Indian almond leaves decompose slowly which allows you to reap the benefits over longer durations before needing to replace ones.

Why do Indian almond leaves change the color of your water?

When Indian almond leaves break down and release tannins, they release them. The tannins may stain your water, causing it to turn to be brown or yellow.

It’s like dipping tea bags into the hot water in a cup. The tannins release into the water which gives the tea its colour.

For those who are new to the sport to the sport, this water’s color could be quite an experience.

When you visit a fish store or aquarium it is clear water, isn’t it?

It might surprise you to know that this watercolor can be a great thing for all kinds of fish.

There is no doubt that a lot of fish are caught in waters with dark brown in color.

The majority of streams and rivers are dark due to the fact that millions, if not thousands, of leaves, were washed into the water and smashed down.

Although you may not like its color this dark water could ease stress for timid fish such as discus.

Since stress is the leading cause of death for fish, even a small amount of water that is yellow is a small cost in exchange for the pleasure that your pet enjoys.

Indeed, many fish owners like darker water, which permits them to build unique and beautiful aquariums such as the one shown here…

If the water turns too dark for you Don’t fret – I have a solution to help those of you…

Carbon that is activated.

Activated carbon does the job for you. Based on the amount you utilize, activated carbon can reduce yellowness or completely eliminate it.

Be aware of the fact that activated carbon can retain tannins until it’s ‘full. Once this happens it is time to have it replaced.

It’s for this reason that I suggest buying an activated carbon bottle similar to this and making use of the filter media bags to keep it in place. It’s cheaper than purchasing disposable filter cartridges.

Note that completely eliminating the tannins also stops Indian almond leaves from lowering their pH levels.

If you’d like to preserve the best substance, a small water change can help to lighten the weight of your aquarium. Fresh, clear water will help to reduce the yellowness.

What is the reason Indian almond leaves are suggested for betta tanks?

Bettas are natives of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand as well as Vietnam.

Their natural habitat is shallow, slow-moving water that flows slowly like marshes and rice paddies.

If you’ve never come across an actual rice paddy it’s like the following…

Betta Fish Natural Habitat

Do you see the water? It’s not clear, but is it? Habitats like this are known as blackwater, which is water that is dark because of the decaying leaf litter.

Habitats in the Blackwater are usually acidic, with extremely low levels of hardness in the water.

Indian almond leaves help your aquarium mimic these conditions, helping your fish feel at home in the aquarium.

Bettas are usually placed in small aquariums (even when they shouldn’t!) Most often, they are kept by novices who do not know anything about them.

Because the small tanks can quickly become unhealthy due to these antifungal as well as antimicrobial qualities in Indian almond leaves can help to prevent illnesses such as fin rot.

Indian almond leaves can also play an important part in the breeding of Bettas.

Due to the fact that Indian almond leaves have a wide and buoyant, and they do not break easily they are a great base for the creation of a bubble nest.

The bubble nest beneath the leaf prevents it from sinking, even after it has been soaked.

If you’ve previously bred fish you are aware that the eggs of fish are infamous for the development of Saprolegnia which is a kind of mold that develops in water. The antifungal qualities in Indian almond leaves can stop this from occurring.

After the baby hatches the infusoria which grows on the leaf that is decaying is their primary meal.

As you can see, Indian almond leaves play an important part in keeping your fish healthy regardless of how old they are.

Some owners even make use of clips, like this one that transforms the Indian almond leaf into an organic betta hammock.

Take a look and see a better sleep on a leafy mattress!

What fish doesn’t like Indian almond leaves?

If your fish are fond of the hard or high-pH water of your tank, Indian almond leaves are not a good choice for your aquarium.

This covers the majority of species of African cichlids which naturally occur in waters that are more alkaline and have a high degree of hardness.

Why should you choose Indian almond leaves over other varieties of leaves?

The answer is yes, Indian almond leaves are unique in the sense that they break down more slowly than other leaves. They have large thick veins, which require a long time to degrade, even after the remainder of the leaf has been broken down.

The benefit of this is that you can take the leaf from your aquarium without it breaking into tiny pieces.

In addition in contrast to other leaves that emit tannins Indian almond leaves also contain medicinal properties – which other leaves do not provide.

Important: Never put any unidentified leaves that you discover in your yard within your aquarium. Some leaves are not safe for your aquarium and could cause harm to your fish.

What are the best ways to use Indian almond leaves?

Do you want to include Indian almond leaves in your tank?

The first thing you need to purchase is Indian almond leaves. I have found the catappa Indian almond leaves as well as the leaves I have are the best in their quality. I’ve used both and highly recommend these.

However, if you’re in a pinch it is possible to test these leaves.

If you’ve got the Indian almond leaves in your possession now is the time to include them in your aquarium. It is possible to prepare Indian almond leaves using two techniques…

Placing an Indian almond leaf inside your tank

The most commonly used method to use Indian almond leaves to use them is dropping them directly into the aquarium. It is generally suggested that you begin with a medium-sized leaf for every 10 gallons of water in your aquarium.

However, before doing this, you must remove any activated carbon and Purigen in your filter. The two filter media take out the tannins Indian almond leaves release which will reduce its benefits. it’s similar to running your AC while you have your doors and windows open.

Then, wash then wash the Indian almond leaf in clean water to get rid of any dust or dirt that could have escaped detection.

All you have to do is to drop the leaves into your aquarium.

If you are the first to add an Indian almond leaf into your tank, it will appear to float in the water. After a few days, it will become waterlogged and sink. Do you want to see the Indian almond leaves fall faster? Do it by weighing it with the help of a stone or gravel.

If you want to replace them with one’s leaves, you can do this whenever you wish. It’s acceptable for the leaf to fall down completely, and then remove the veins that remain This could take anywhere from two to three months.

In case you’re using a small aquarium perhaps one leaf is just too big for your aquarium. It is possible to cut the leaf into two pieces or soak it in water for a couple of days. The process of presoaking Indian almond leaves in freshwater (use a water conditioner!) can help release some tannins and produce less impact when placed within your fish tank.

The method is to soak and not cook in your Indian almond leaves. Boiling could release a lot of tannins, making the leaves less effective.

If this is your first time employing Indian almond leaves be sure you monitor the water in your aquarium using the test kits for aquariums to determine how they interact with your tank.

Create an Indian almond extract from the leaves

You might not want to include Indian almond leaves in your tank since it doesn’t go with your style. Perhaps you think they’re unattractive.

Whatever your reason, you’ll be glad to learn that you can enjoy the benefits of Indian almond leaves without adding the leaves to your fish tank.

The solution?

Create an Indian almond extract.

Simply boil 2 quarts (2 Liters) of water. Then, put an average-to-large Indian almond leaf into an empty jar and pour hot drinking water on it.

It should be left to stand for a few hours before taking the leaf. The liquid inside the jar should be dark brown. You might find small pieces of life that have broken floating around in the jar. You can get them out with the help of a filter.

Place the lid on and store the extract in the fridge It is expected to last for a number of months.

Incorporate this into your tank whenever you require. I recommend adding it each when you perform water changes since freshwater can dilute the tannins in the tank.

Dosage recommended 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of extract for 1 gallon (4 Liters) of aquarium water.

You can add more or less depending on your requirements.

The benefit of extracts is that leaves won’t continue to decay this prevents further coloration of the water. The extract lets you precisely regulate the amount of tannins that are present within your tank.

Making an extract may be less expensive in the long run however, it depends on being able to procure top-quality Indian almond leaves.

Be aware that if your water is of large general hardness (GH) as well as carbonate hardness (KH), Indian almond leaf has less impact upon your parameter. The high mineral content in the water will have a buffering effect, and will slightly counteract the acidity that comes through it. Indian almond leaf.

If you reside in an area where the water can be too hard to feel scalding after getting from your shower. You will notice lower changes in your pH, GH, and KH. However, the anti-inflammatory and antifungal benefits that are present in Indian almond leaves still benefit your tank.

What happens if I make use of excessive Indian almond leaves?

Have you added excessive Indian almond leaves to your tank, and now your pH is fluctuating like crazy?

Don’t panic!

Simply do a 25% water change, and then include activated carbon in your water. It will eliminate the remaining tannins and return your water back to its normal.

I’d be wary to make a bigger water change that is greater than 25%. Any greater and you could risk altering the pH of your water immediately which could be fatal to your fish.

Instead, you can use activated carbon to gradually eliminate the tannins.

Do you have alternatives for Indian almond leaves?

Are you, not you? Indian almond leaves? You can use these as an alternative.

Although the alternatives listed below may not offer the same medicinal benefits, they do add the tannins you need to keep your fish healthy, which softens the water and lowers the pH.

Peat moss

Sometimes referred to as sphagnum Peat moss can be placed in bags of filter media and then placed inside the filter to be hidden from your view. You can purchase organic, chemical-free peat moss at the section for the garden in your local hardware retailer. Be aware that this could cause your aquarium to become cloudy over the next few days or so. I recommend peat moss pellets such as these that don’t create the same problems.

Alder cones

Alder cones look like mini pine cones. They are a part of the alder black tree, which originated in Europe however, it is also grown across the United States. Alder cones are used extensively in shrimp tanks and as decorations. You can purchase these cones from here.


For aquariums, driftwood can be described as anything that’s safe for use in an aquarium fish tank. Due to this, there is a broad selection to pick from. Certain are tannin-leaching equipment while others only color your water. Driftwood needs to be heated prior to use. Examples include cholla wood which is a favorite driftwood for smaller aquariums, whereas spider wood is a popular choice for larger tanks.

Dried banana leaves

The dried banana leaves are less popular than Indian almond leaves but they can be employed in a similar way in tanks for shrimp and betta.


Are almond leaves good for aquariums?

The antibacterial and antifungal qualities of Indian almond leaves are the most important reason you should include them in your tank in the beginning. When you have added a sufficient quantity of Indian almond leaves to your aquarium, they’ll work as a natural cure for your fish and help to treat any infections that they may have.

Do Indian almond leaves raise ammonia?

Because Indian almond leaves also help in lowering the pH of water slowly and are believed to be a better option for keeping ammonia levels that are harmful under control, since ammonia is transformed into ammonium that is less toxic when pH is low (anything lower than 8.0).

What are the cons of Indian almond leaves?

The only issue with Indian almond leaves the fact that they can cause unwelcome dark hues to the water in aquariums that not everyone who is interested in the hobby is likely to like. The effects of these leaves must be addressed through several partial changes in the water and also through activated carbon.

How long does it take Indian almond leaves to work?

Catappa leaves take between three to five days to sink. following which they let go of most of their tannins before disintegrating. After sunken, they typically last for around a month in your aquarium prior to becoming degraded.

Are Indian almond leaves bad for snails?

A delicious snack for snails and Crayfish — Snails and lobsters from freshwater are enthralled to eat the delicious catappa leaves that are available from SunGrow. When these fresh Indian almond leaves soften, they form a delicious food layer that aquatic species of all kinds love.


Can you put Indian almond leaves in aquarium? To summarize, Indian almond leaves are certain to be something every aquarium proprietor should think about making use of at some point.

The primary guideline for fish keepers is to give the fish the impression that they’re in their natural environment This is exactly the goal Indian almond leaves are able to assist to accomplish.

In addition, the variety of benefits you can reap from your aquarium is astounding, from increasing your fish’s immunity to promoting breeding and making your fish feel safe.

Who would have thought that a dried leaf could offer so many advantages for your aquarium?

If you use it with care You can make use of Indian almond leaves for re-creating the natural habitat of your fish. Fish will surely be more content because of it!

Do you have Indian almond leaves in your aquarium? Tell me via the comment section below!

Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.