Indian Almond Leaves can be boiled to create tadpole tea or can simply be added to the containers to release tannins and provide a snack for your tads. Indian Almond Leaves are also fantastic for betta breeding and other tropical fish. Boiling indian almond leaves in water is a great way to make a blackwater extract, which benefits many popular tropical fish. Many rivers in Asia and South America have a distinct brown or black coloration to them. This tea stained water, commonly referred to as blackwater, is the result of rainwater filtering through decomposing plant matter, which leach tannins into it. Blackwater is softer and has a lower pH, and also has many antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Directions on making Blackwater (we also call this Tadpole Tea):
1. Boil 5 Indian Almond Leaves in 1 gallon of water.
2. Let resulting liquid (blackwater concentrate) cool to room temperature.
3. Mix 1 oz blackwater concentrate with 1 gallon of water, or until water is slightly yellowish in color.
Indian Almond leaves are from the Terminalia catappa tree. According to Dr Robert J. Goldstein, a well known aquarist, Indian Almond Leaves have many benefits, as discussed in his 2002 paper entitled “Water Conditioners and Additives”:
"The large, leathery leaves are used in folk medicine to treat infections, indigestion, and other medical conditions. The water extract makes a pharmacologically powerful tea… In southeast Asia, betta breeders add a dried leaf to provide a surface for the bubblenest and to leach substances that protect the fry from diseases. As the leaves decay, they also provide detritus to grow extract-resistant infusoria for the babies. Of 35 aromatic (ring structure) substances identified from these leaves, noteworthy were benzene-acetaldehyde, acetones, and sabinen-hydrate. The first is strongly antimicrobial, and several of the 35 others destroy microbial cell membranes."
“So these leaves are not simply sources of stains and tannins and other acids as we would get from oak or hickory, but rich in many other kinds of complex and highly effective chemicals with a wide range of physiological and antimicrobial effects.”