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Guava Leaves vs. Catappa

Cajun Charlie

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As I educate myself about caring for my shrimpies, I came across dried guava leaves as an improvement over catappa.  Thoughts?

Configuration:  I have an old Tropiquarium 88 tank, 130 liters or about 34.4 US gallons.  It has two F17 integral fluorescent fixtures, currently with ZooMed Ocean Sun 20W 10,000K bulbs. Filtration is a Fluval 40 gallon submersible that replaced the original wet/dry filter that came with the tank, and an old fashioned (like me) undergravel with a power head, under 40 pounds of river rock from the hardware store from a $5 bag, well rinsed.  Heat is a new Fluval 150W, maybe slightly undersized but we’re in the South.  There’s a little NutraMatic auto-feeder in the space provided in the hood, and a battery operated air pump that turns on when power goes out, also good to maintain circulation during bigger water changes when the heater is exposed.

Decorations include 6 pieces of petrified wood and 2 coprolites (petrified “road apples”) collected from the middle of the Arabian desert.  I have a dozen assorted plants, most well-established.  I don’t know most of the names, but the Anubias is blooming, Echinodorus is growing huge, Anacharis is spreading, all but one plant thriving.

Population includes a clown Plecostomus, a panda Corydoras, a Betta, three Cardinal Tetras, four Green Neon Tetras, four Black Neon Tetras, four Rummy Nose Tetras, four Harlequin Rasboras, five Glow-Light Tetras, five White Cloud Mountain Minnows, six Dalmatian Mollies, and six Nerite snails.  I bought three Amano shrimp and ten Red Cherry shrimp, but I seldom see the ones I bought, although I often see young, molted shells.  Two shrimp that I didn’t buy but see often area a gold colored shrimp and a bamboo shrimp.

I change 5 or 10 gallons weekly, adding Prime, Flourish, Flourish Excel, and a tablespoon of API aquarium salt, siphoned in slowly through an air line tube.  I also recently started adding Weco Wonder Shell weekly for calcium as my Nerites came with some weak spots in their shells, and an occasional ZooMed Banquet feeder block.  The Nerites seem happier, or friskier, since they’re leaving little white gifts everywhere.

I feed a variety including color flakes, micro pellets, big pellets, pleco wafers, dried tubifex, dried bloodworm, and dried Daphnia.

After fighting off black beard algae with Excel, snails, mollies, and shrimp a few months ago, the system has been very stable for at least two months.  I can’t remember the last time I tested any measurable amount of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate; and pH runs about 7.5.

I seldom see more than half of my ten Red Cherry shrimp, or more than two Amanos, but I have seen as many as seven clear juvenile shrimp.  A gold colored shrimp (didn’t buy any gold) is now sporting a bright yellow saddle, clearly gravid, now munching on a Banquet block next to the Plecostomus.  I have more Banquet blocks on order, this time the pleco kind with vegetables, arriving today.  Yesterday I received some bottom feeder Bug Bites.

I am excited by my shrimp and want to do all I can for them.  There are lots of plants to hide in, and more on the way.  When I looked into catappa leaves and also found guava, I thought it would be silly to buy dried guava leaves.  Instead, I took my kitchen scissors to the back yard and cut off a leaf from my guava tree.  I hope the shrimpies like it.

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It sounds like you've done your homework, but since you didn't explicitly mention it, be sure that your are allowing the homegrown guava leaf to dry completely before you through it in the tank. Either pick a completely dead and dry one from the tree, or pick on and let it dry out on its own. Otherwise you risk getting sap or other gunk you don't want from green leaves.

In terms of the type of leaves, my shrimp have never been picky. I just go out into my yard, pick some nice, dried-out leaves from the ground, wash them off, and plop them in the tank, Within a few weeks, all of the leaves are completely picked clean by the shrimp, so I'm not overly concerned about this approach. All of this to say, guava leaves should be more than acceptable, and you save both money and shipping time by using what you have.

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Thanks, y’all.  (Did I mention I’m in the South?)  I removed the fresh guava leaf and replaced it with  a couple of dried ones, weighed down at one end with petrified wood.  My Filipino parents-in-law make tea from dried guava leaves for digestive issues, so I have plenty, saved from this summer’s pruning.  I’ve had this tree only since March, bought after our unusual February long-lasting very hard freeze, and it’s grown from about three feet to eight.  We even got some fruit.  It will be interesting to see how the inmates react to these leaves and the new green Banquet block.

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