Supplier product spotlight - Sera Catappa Leaves

blackwater Catappa leaves leaf litter

This month our supplier spotlight shines on Sera, the red and yellow brand from Germany. Each month, we will pick out one of the best selling products from our ‘Brand of the month’ and take a closer look at what makes this particular product so great. 


So, let’s take a look at Seras Catappa Leaves, also known as Indian Almond Leaves. What are they, why do we use them and what are the benefits of using them?

First of all, it's probably worth noting that the leaves actually come from The Terminalia catappa tree and, like most trees, the leaves fall to the ground naturally. They are then gathered up and dried out before being added to the aquarium.

Why add old leaves to your aquarium? That is a good question, after all, are we not meant to remove old dead leaves from our fishtanks during maintenance? While that is correct, there is a difference between plant leaves decomposing and what happens when we put Catappa leaves in our aquarium.

The first and probably the most common reason so many people add these leaves to their aquariums is to benefit from what slowly leaks out of them when they settle on the substrate. Inside each leaf is a little substance called tannin. When the leaf begins to decompose, it releases its tannin which, due to its colour, will begin to turn the water a light brown colour. When enough leaves are used, the water can get quite dark and this is referred to as a blackwater aquarium setup.

This brown display is a very natural process that is often found in nature too and much ornamental fish are found living in such conditions all year round. In actual fact, species such as the Neon Tetra display much more vibrant colours when kept in these conditions.

Catappa leaves are capable of lowering the pH level of your aquarium water, which makes them a fantastic and natural method of conditioning your aquarium.

Another major benefit to adding Catappa leaves to your aquarium is actually health-related. Tannins are naturally produced by trees to ward off bacteria infections and this ability is also present in these leaves. In the home aquarium, we can benefit from this natural defence too. The tannin leaked from the leaves will produce antibacterial properties which can assist with fungal problems like fin rot in fish.

When an aquarium substrate is covered with Catappa leaves, naturally they begin to decompose. During this process, the leaves become home to microorganisms. This is a natural food source for many fry and other smaller fish. In fact, many fish breeders place these amazing leaves in their breeder aquariums to provide a food source for newly hatched fry. They are also commonly used to prevent fungus from growing on eggs during breeding too.

To add Catappa leaves to your aquarium, we advise you to boil them in advance. This will allow them to sink to the bottom of your aquarium straight after adding them. Alternatively, you can add them directly into the aquarium. They will sink by themselves within 48 hours. Each leaf will last about 3 weeks until they are fully decomposed. You can replace them or leave them for a great natural effect.

We stock Sera Catappa leaves in the following sizes.

$20.99 Small

$23.99 Medium

$33.99 XXL

We also offer Catappa leaves as part of the Blackwater Combo special, containing 

1x Sera Catappa leaves (you pick the size that suits you)

1x Sera 50 pack of Alder cones

1x Sera Aquatan Blackwater additive.


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