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Accidental Experiments


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I started an accidental experiment by waiting too long to bring my tubs inside at the end of the summer. I ended up with a bunch of maple leaves in my tubs, covered in snails. I moved the tubs inside and dumped some leaves in each tub, but I had a bunch left. I put those in a bucket with a Co-Op Sponge filter to try to keep the snails alive, and see what would happen. I sampled some water a couple of weeks ago, and tested it last night:

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I decided to feed the test water to some houseplants.

 

Edited by Streetwise
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@TheDukeAnumber1, I was expecting pH down, like we hear about with tannins, and I see with Mopani Wood.

I think that this might be allelopathy in action. As I understand it, Sugar Maples change color as they draw chlorophyll back into the body of each tree, but they are also pushing other compounds into the leaves, to defend the forest floor. I am trying to do more research into this topic.

Edited by Streetwise
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  • 3 weeks later...

I tested again and looked at some other photos of test strips from this bucket, and I think I was misreading the pH because of massive tannins. I brought the bucket to my apartment, and moved it to a larger 5 gallon, and topped off the water. I will test again this week with my Apex probes.

Has anyone else tested tannin-heavy tanks with strips, and considered if the water color affects the color on the test strips?

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Edited by Streetwise
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@Garren B, I believe it is Peperomia Obtusifolia, or Baby Rubber Plant, or some close relative. I have found that I can grow out waxy-leaf houseplant cuttings in my water, if I keep the the bulk of any leaf out-of-the-water. The plants in the photo are wedged into wood, and have sprouted roots.

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Edited by Streetwise
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On 1/20/2021 at 9:04 AM, Streetwise said:

Has anyone else tested tannin-heavy tanks with strips, and considered if the water color affects the color on the test strips?

😲I don't think either the strips or the master kit would work with that many tannins--well, it works, but reading it would be difficult. I could probably figure out how, using serial dilutions with a known value, you could make a tannin color corrected chart, but you would have to do it again with each test, because you would have different amounts of tannins each time. I never thought of this!

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We were talking about tannins in one of my tank journals, but I wanted to continue it here.

When I visited my folks today, I realized that the tank had been more clear earlier, and got a second round of tannins when I thinned out the soil cap, so organic soil can definitely add to the tannins when stirred-up.

The tubs have had more water changed simply from being moved indoors last fall, and the few leaves that I left in the tubs have not made much visual impact, but they have provided a food source for shrimp and snails.

Edited by Streetwise
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I've read about maple leaves (acer palmatum variaties in particular) having a lot of antibacterial properties in them. I've been drying out a variety of leaves over winter. I have a few species of Japanese maples. I'm interested in trying various tests this summer. I wonder if there's a balance between too much tannins, or a good balance of antibiotics for insured improved health. For fish that like the brown water.

Edited by Pleasantly Planted Waters
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
2 hours ago, Streetwise said:

Can anyone suggest any very clear buckets, or food-grade containers, with handles and lids? I would like to get a better view, and still be able to take them outside.

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I don't know about food grade or a lid.

https://www.chemicalguys.com/heavydutyultracleardetailingbucket/ACC106.html

I hope I didn't just break a link rule.

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Ken linked what looks like a polypropylene (PP) bucket.  Thats similar to the plastic totes people use for quarantine and fry grow out.

If you want more clear You'll probably have to go to poly-carbonate (PC) containers.  They can be brittle but with the right plasticizers (PBA worked great! "BPA Free" usually means a more potent bisphenol instead.) they can also be indestructible like the nalgene bottles everyone loved in the early 2000's

https://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-Commercial-FG632200CLR-Storage-Container/dp/B000R8JOWK

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Two random updates:

I still have my maple leaf decomposition bucket, making sweet tannin water that lowers pH, not that I am doing anything with it yet.

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I have a hard time getting rid of any life from my tanks. I have filtered snails out to save them when doing water changes. I kept the hair algae that I pulled from my bow, along with some mulm from sponges.

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Edited by Streetwise
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