Indian Almond Leaves

Indian Almond Leaves: Keep Your Fish Happy and Healthy Naturally (Guide and Reviews)

One of the most challenging things for new and experienced aquarists alike is maintaining healthy water quality in their tanks. Most fish need specific pH levels, water hardness, and moderate levels of other compounds to thrive. These can be difficult to regulate which is where Indian Almond Leaves come into the picture.

Various chemicals can be added to your tank to help maintain balance. Still, most owners search for natural solutions that have a lower risk of shocking your tank or creating rapidly fluctuating conditions.

Indian almond leaves are one of the best natural solutions to imbalances in your aquarium, and they offer numerous other benefits to your tank inhabitants as well. Our reviews, buyer’s guide, and additional information below will help you understand the benefits of using Indian almond leaves and find the perfect ones to add to your tank.

Recommended Indian Almond Leaves:

Our Top 3 Picks For Indian Almond Leaves

There are many different Indian almond leaves available on the market, so it can be tricky to figure out which will serve your needs the best. We’ve purchased and tested numerous different Indian almond leaves so that you don’t have to do the research yourself. Below are our reviews of our top three picks for Indian almond leaves

Our Pick
SunGrow Mini Catappa Indian Almond Leaves

What we like

  • They arrive relatively fresh
  • Most leaves were whole and unbroken
  • Their size makes them ideal for smaller tanks
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1. SunGrow Mini Catappa Indian Almond Leaves – Best Indian Almond Leaves Overall

Our top pick for quality and freshness are these leaves from SunGrow. They are smaller than most other brands, which makes them ideal for lower-volume tanks. The size also makes them suitable for slowly introducing to your tank to monitor pH levels.

The leaves mostly arrived whole and added a beautiful, natural look to our tank.

Our fish seemed to love them, and we expect it’s because the leaves reduced our water pH and helped regulate the pH fluctuation during water changes.

These leaves are relatively expensive, but they seemed to be fresh when they were delivered.

Features

  • They add natural beauty to your tank
  • They provide good coverage to reduce fish stress

What we like

  • They arrive relatively fresh
  • Most leaves were whole and unbroken
  • Their size makes them ideal for smaller tanks

What we don’t like

  • They are somewhat expensive
  • They only come in small quantities
Great Alternative
Ocean Nutrition Betta SPA with Wild Almond Leaf Extract

What we like

  • It won’t cloud your water as much as leaves
  • It allows for precise adjustments to your tank
  • It’s affordable
  • It is suitable for use with non-natural decor
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 2. Ocean Nutrition Betta SPA – Best Indian Almond Leaf Extract

If you want the benefits of Indian almond leaves but don’t want to add whole leaves to your tank, we recommend this leaf extract from Ocean Nutrition.

This concentrate contains the beneficial tannins and acids found naturally in the leaves, but it won’t cloud your tank as easily and is suitable for use with any decor.

It’s very affordable and will last longer than full leaves. You also won’t need to worry about leaf freshness when using this concentrate.

It won’t release beneficial compounds slowly like leaves, so it may decrease your pH too rapidly depending on the amount used.

Features

  • Easy measurements for accurate treatments
  • It remains fresh for more extended periods

What we like

  • It won’t cloud your water as much as leaves
  • It allows for precise adjustments to your tank
  • It’s affordable
  • It is suitable for use with non-natural decor

What we don’t like

  • It won’t release healthy compounds slowly as leaves would
  • It may cause rapid changes to pH depending on the application
Dr. Moss Catappa Leaves - Indian Almond Leaves Medium Catappa 10-15cm for Betta Fish & Shrimps (50 pcs)

What we like

  • They’re suitable for small or large tanks
  • They add a beautiful, natural look to your tank
  • They can add quality to your water very quickly
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3. Dr. Moss Catappa Leaves – Indian Almond Leaves Medium

These leaves from Dr. Moss are slightly larger than our top pick, but they’re still suitable for just about any size tank. They’re also somewhat more expensive than our top two choices.

They give a very natural look to your tank, which your fish will likely enjoy as much as ours did. They seem relatively fresh, and they broke down more quickly than others we reviewed.

The rate at which they dissolve can help regulate pH quickly, but you’ll end up paying more for additional leaves sooner than you would with other options.

Features

  • They arrive fresh and whole
  • They offer a natural solution to quick pH regulation

What we like

  • They’re suitable for small or large tanks
  • They add a beautiful, natural look to your tank
  • They can add quality to your water very quickly

What we don’t like

  • They’re more expensive than other options
  • They dissolve quickly and need to be replaced sooner

What Are Indian Almond Leaves?

Indian almond leaves are leaves from the Terminalia catappa tree, more commonly known as the tropical almond or Indian almond tree.

These trees grow naturally in certain regions of Africa and Australia, and they’re very prominent in Asia.

The tropical almond trees produce edible fruit, but their leaves are often coveted, as they’re used in medicine and by aquarists.

The leaves hold numerous compounds that make them applicable in both medicinal compounds and fish tanks. They naturally contain several flavonoids, namely kaempferol and quercetin, the latter of which is a natural anti-inflammatory. They also contain several tannins, which have been cited as being healthy for humans and can lower the pH of your tank water.

For aquarists, the Catappa tree leaves serve as a natural solution for high pH, a common problem in many tanks. They allow for a natural pH stabilization without the need for potentially harsh chemicals, like pH down.


Why Are Indian Almond Leaves Used In an Aquarium?

The leaves’ natural ability to bring down pH is one of their more desirable qualities, so many people use them in their aquariums to stabilize water conditions. There are other benefits to introducing the leaves to your tank.

Many aquarists find that their fish respond very positively to Catappa tree leaves being added to their tank. They provide cover for your fish and have anecdotally been proven to reduce stress. The theory is that the natural habitat for your fish likely involves leaf litter and surface coverage, so providing that for them makes them feel more secure and comfortable.

Almond leaves are also introduced to tanks with sick fish. The leaves are used in human medicines for their anti-inflammatory qualities, and many owners find that their fish seem to be healthier and respond well to the leaves.

When Should I Use Indian Almond Leaves?

When you add Indian almond leaves to your tank depends on the benefit you’re looking to get from them. They can be added safely at any point, provided your water pH isn’t already low.

For general use, we recommend first adding one leaf for every 10 gallons of water following a water change. You should test your pH beforehand and make sure that it isn’t lower than your fish require. You can opt to add additional leaves during the next water change, but make sure you test your pH once again to ensure more leaves won’t bring the level too low.

If you intend to use Indian almond leaves to treat any fish sickness naturally, you don’t need to wait for a water change. Place them in your tank following the guideline of one leaf for every 10 gallons of water. You can add additional leaves, but we recommend introducing them gradually so that you can ensure your water quality remains suitable for your fish.

The leaves will degrade over time and need to be replaced. Regardless of your reason for using leaves in your tank, remove the old leaves and replace them with new ones once they dissolve.

How Do I Use Indian Almond Leaves In My Fish Tank?

Using Indian almond leaves in your aquarium is very straightforward: you’ll simply place the leaves on the water’s surface.

Some aquarists prefer to soak the leaves in the water so that they sink more quickly and don’t linger on the surface. Either method is acceptable, but letting the leaves float until they naturally fall provides some cover for your fish, which can make them feel more secure and can potentially reduce stress.

The leaves will just need to be replaced once they break down.

Where Do I Buy Indian Almond Leaves?

Many pet supply stores and online retailers sell Indian almond leaves, so they’re readily available for most aquarists. However, you do want to make sure you buy the freshest leaves possible. Older leaves will deteriorate before you can get them in your tank and might be less beneficial to your fish.

You’ll want to find a pet supply store that sells fresh leaves or commit to a retailer online that provides recently harvested leaves. Our top pick for Indian almond leaves online is the SunGrow Mini Catappa Leaves we reviewed above. They’re the freshest leaves we reviewed, and they’re most likely to provide all the incredible benefits the leaves have to offer.

Benefits Of Using Indian Almond Leaves

There are numerous benefits to introducing Catappa tree leaves to your aquarium. Some are backed by research, while others are supported more by anecdotal evidence. Either way, we’re confident that you’ll experience some, if not all, of the below benefits.

1. They help mimic your fishes’ natural habitat. Many freshwater fish live in areas where leaf litter from nearby trees commonly settles on the water’s surface. Adding Indian almond leaves to your tank helps recreate this natural feel for your fish, providing the cover and security they would enjoy in the wild.

2. They reduce the pH of your tank’s water. The pH of your tank water is a crucial factor to get right to keep your fish healthy, and many aquarists struggle to maintain a good balance. Keeping your fish in either extreme is detrimental, but more people struggle with high pH than low pH because of naturally basic water sources.

Catappa tree leaves release tannins and natural acids into your water as they break down, lowering the pH gradually.

3. They are unlikely to shock your tank. Many aquarists choose to use products like pH-Down that contain sulphuric or phosphoric acid. While these compounds are generally safe for fish and plants, they are very concentrated acids that can easily bring your pH too low if introduced improperly.

Indian almond leaves reduce your pH very gradually and are less likely to shock your tank and put undue stress on your fish.

4. They can reduce water hardness. Many areas have hard water sources that contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that can be potentially harmful to your fish. Indian almond leaves can lower your water’s hardness and create a more suitable water quality for your fish.

5. They can be used as a natural medicine. It’s believed that Catappa tree leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries as a natural anti-inflammatory. The leaves contain flavonoids, which are known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.

Many aquarists use Indian almond leaves as a natural remedy for fungal infections and other common fish ailments. The anecdotal evidence for medicinal benefits like these is robust and plentiful, and there’s some research to back up these claims as well.

6. They can aid in the breeding process. Many freshwater fish in the wild lay their eggs under leaf cover. This placement helps anchor their eggs to prevent them from being swept away and provides some protection from predators above. If you’re looking to breed your fish, Indian almond leaves may help provide the conditions for your fish to spawn.

Not all fish will utilize the leaves, but some common species, like bettas and gouramis, almost always lay their eggs on the surface of the water where leaf cover is prevalent.

7. They can provide food sources for baby fish. Indian almond leaves naturally attract infusoria, which is an umbrella term referring to a number of microscopic organisms that live in water. Most decaying vegetation will naturally attract infusoria.

The infusoria are the perfect food for baby fish – also called “fry” – because they’re small and plentiful enough to provide sustenance until they can eat larger meals. Many aquarists add an Indian almond leaf to any tanks with fry or eggs that are expected to hatch soon.

8. They are an ideal food source for shrimp. Many owners add shrimp to their tanks because they coexist with most fish species and help to clean up otherwise uneaten food from the substrate. Indian almond leaves are another excellent food source for these beneficial shrimp and will keep them happy and satisfied.

Things to Look for In Indian Almond Leaves

As you can see, Indian almond leaves bring quite a lot of benefits to your tank. However, not all leaves are created equal. There are many different sources from which you can purchase leaves, but you’ll want to choose the ones that will bring the most benefits.

Whether you choose one of our top picks or continue your search elsewhere, make sure you take the below factors into consideration, as they will affect your experience and how well received they will be by your fish.

Freshness

We think the most crucial factor to consider is how fresh the leaves are when you receive them. Fresh leaves will offer higher quantities of beneficial compounds, like tannins and natural acids, so the fresher the leaves are, the better they will serve your tank and its inhabitants.

Indian almond leaves are harvested predominantly in Asia, so they travel a long way before they’re introduced to your tank. Leaves are typically harvested after they fall from the tree as well, so they have a high chance of not being fresh when they reach your water.

Whether you buy them from a pet store or online, make sure the leaves look and smell fresh. Online sources can vary quite a bit, so go with a trusted retailer or one of our top picks to be sure yours arrive fresh.

Whole Leaves

Next, you’ll want to make sure you purchase whole leaves, as they will offer better coverage for your tank and will be more likely to reduce stress and promote a healthy environment for breeding.

Since many retailers sell leaves that aren’t quite fresh, they’re more likely to break or crumble in the package. You’ll still get many of the benefits from leaf pieces, but they won’t look as nice and won’t be as likely to provide comfort and security to your fish.

Indian almond leaves on a white background

Leaf Size

You should also pay attention to the leaf size. Some retailers sell mini catappa leaves, which provide the same benefits as larger leaves but are more suitable for and adaptable to any size tank. You can add whole, small leaves to provide adequate coverage while limiting how much and how quickly you lower your tank’s pH.

Smaller leaves aren’t exclusively better, though. If you have a large tank, you may prefer the look of larger leaves, and they’ll provide more coverage for your fish. You’ll have to choose a leaf size that suits your needs and your tank.

Quantity and Price

Lastly, make sure you consider the number of leaves you get and the price. Some options may look cheaper but can contain fewer leaves, so do some math and find out the price per leaf to make sure you get the best deal.

You can also opt for concentrates or extracts to get more bang for your buck. However, these solutions won’t provide any natural look to your tank or coverage and security for your fish to enjoy. They can be an excellent option for those looking for the benefits on a budget.

Good Alternatives for your Tank

Some aquarists look for alternatives to Indian almond leaves either for aesthetic reasons or based on availability in their area. There are some other options that can provide some of the same benefits.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is more widely available and can also serve to lower the pH of your tank water. It won’t provide your fish with security or anti-fungal properties, but it’s an excellent alternative for those having difficulty procuring Indian almond leaves.

Driftwood

Driftwood is another natural option for lowering pH, and it’s typically available in pet supply stores or online. Driftwood can serve as a beautiful decoration and provide a source of nutrients to some fish, like Plecos. Here is our pick for aquarium driftwood.

Alder Cones

Alder cones are another good alternative that can help lower your water’s pH. They also provide ample surface area for algae growth, and they add to the aesthetic of your tank. They’re known to have anti-fungal properties as well, so they can be an excellent addition to your setup despite not offering coverage for your tank.

Indian Almond Leaves FAQs 

How Long Do Indian Almond Leaves Last?

Indian almond leaves will last for several weeks in your tank. They will float on the surface for about 3 days and then sink to the bottom of your tank, where they’ll continue to release tannins and acids into your water.

You can safely let them sit until they fully dissolve, which usually happens in 4-6 weeks. They will begin to cloud your water once they start heavily dissolving. Some aquarists like to maintain clear water, but others believe that fish naturally live in murky water and would prefer some cloudiness in their tank.

When you remove the leaves is a personal preference once they begin to dissolve.

How Much Do Indian Almond Leaves Lower pH?

Indian almond leaves can bring your pH down to around 5, even if you use them excessively. This is too low for many freshwater species, so it’s recommended not to overcrowd your tank with leaves and to introduce them slowly while testing for ideal pH levels.

The rapidity with which the leaves affect your pH depends on your beginning pH and water hardness. We recommend adding one leaf for every 10 gallons and testing to see where the resulting pH is after 3-4 weeks. This should help determine how many leaves you need to bring your pH to the desired level.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good for Guppies?

Indian almond leaves are generally suitable for tanks containing guppies. Guppies thrive at a pH of around 7.0, so make sure not to use too many. A small number, however, will bring your guppies coverage as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal benefits.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good for Snails?

Most aquatic snails will love to snack on Indian almond leaves and the biofilm that forms on their surface. Provided you don’t add too many to lower the pH to a dangerous level for your snails, the leaves will be a welcome addition to their tank.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good for Bettas?

Betta fish benefit from Indian Almond Leaves

Bettas are native to many of the same regions as the catappa tree, so they are among the species that most aquarists believe benefit from the leaves the most. Bettas enjoy the coverage they provide and can thrive in tanks where the leaves bring the pH down to around 7.0.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good for Goldfish?

If you naturally have water with a high pH, Indian almond leaves can be the ideal solution for your goldfish tank. Goldfish need a pH between 7.0 and 8.4, but they don’t respond well to rapid changes. Indian almond leaves can help reduce the pH gradually, which is perfect for goldfish. Pairing the leaves and proper water environment with ideal goldfish nutrition will help your goldfish thrive.

Are Indian Almond Leaves Good for Shrimp?

Most shrimp do best in a pH of 6.5-7.0, and Indian almond leaves can help provide the ideal conditions. Additionally, most shrimp will go crazy for the leaves and flock to them for snacking.

Which Fish Don’t Like Indian Almond Leaves?

Most fish species won’t mind or will benefit from the leaves. However, they aren’t ideal for fish who prefer a higher pH or water hardness. These include some barbs, African cichlids, and some species of platys.

What If I Add Too Many Indian Almond Leaves into My Fish Tank?

Adding too many leaves to your tank can lower the pH of your water too much. If this happens, complete a standard water change and add some activated carbon to your tank to soak up the additional tannins.

Can Indian Almond Leaves Cure Fin Rot?

Indian almond leaves may help cure fin rot in your fish. Fin rot is a bacterial disease seen in many species of fish. Since Indian almond leaves have anti-microbial properties, they can potentially help kill off the harmful bacteria. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to support this.

Can Indian Almond Leaves Cure Ich?

Indian almond leaves might help cure ich. Ich is a protozoan disease, so the anti-microbial properties of almond leaves can help reduce symptoms. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that full ich cures as well.

Should I Boil Indian Almond Leaves?

For the best results, you should not boil Indian almond leaves before introducing them to your tank. Boiling the leaves rapidly releases and denatures the tannins and flavonoids, which are the compounds that are most beneficial to your tank water. Adding the fresh leaves directly to your aquarium is the best way to use them.

Conclusion

Indian almond leaves are straightforward to use in your aquarium, and they can provide a wealth of benefits for most fish. Their anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties can help keep your fish healthy, and their capacity to lower your pH naturally and gradually makes them ideal for maintaining optimal water quality.

Our top pick for the best leaves is the SunGrow Mini Catappa Indian Almond Leaves. They’re fresh and perfectly sized, so they can bring the most beneficial qualities possible while remaining suitable for most tank sizes.

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