Re: NANFA-- Newbie/Oak leaves/Coir/Coffee

Terri Vance (
Sun, 06 Oct 2002 19:03:36 -0400

Hey y'all,

Though I've been an aquarist for nearly 13 years, I'm fairly new (as of
just this summer) to collecting & keeping natives (many thanks to Mike
Thennet & Bob Bock for the introduction to this side of the hobby!) &, as
of today, to this list. Needless to say, I'm likely to have a plethora
of questions in the months to come...thanks in advance for y'all's
answers :-)

Rob Denkhaus, et. al. were discussing leaves. I know that a number of
Apistogramma (genus of S. Amer. dwarf cichlid) breeders in my local club
have had success w/ oak & other local leaves. In addition to this &
peat, a number of them also rely on coir (an item I'm familiar w/ from
herpetoculture) for acidifying/softening their water, w/ excellent
results. It's my understanding, however, that the use of leaves is often
preferred as their presence provides the fish w/ additional hiding

I was wondering, are there any deciduous leaves (particularly Virginia
species) that could pose a threat to aquatics? I know to avoid areas
that have received any sort of chemical treatments when collecting leaves
& such for addition to tanks/ponds. Is there anything else one should be
especially careful of (i.e. certain types of insects, fungi)?

On the subject of worms & coffee, both of my grandmothers used coffee
grounds in the garden for acid loving plants (bushes, flowers, &
veggies). Both had been gardeners throughout their lives & their thumbs
were the richest, darkest green you could ever imagine. I recall many
instances growing up where my hand &/or spade unearthed loads upon loads
of worms while "helping" (playing, more like it) my grandmothers in their
respective gardens. Having acquired my own gardening skills in my adult
years, I know now that the planting areas w/ the greatest number of worms
were those around the acid loving plants...the ones that received regular
infusions of old coffee grounds. I never seemed to find anything nearing
that amount when "helping" w/ the more base, rose-grown areas. Anecdotal
information, at best, but it seems to be amassing on the side of worms &
coffee grounds being compatible.

Terri (in Virginia)

----Original Message Follows---- From: "Denkhaus, Robert" Reply-To: To: Subject: NANFA-- Oaks - was - nightcrawlers:
predators? Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002 11:00:40 -0500 Red oaks tend to have
higher tannic acid contents than white oaks. That's one reason they use
white oak to make barrels and also why if you are going to eat acorns,
white oaks are a lot easier to use without a lot of extra work removing
the tannins. Having done a lot of preparing acorns for consumption, burr
oaks appear to have the lowest concentrations of tannic acid. Live oaks
seen to have the highest. I assume that the same would hold true for the
leaves. Rob Denkhaus Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
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