How To Make Your Fish Happy with Indian Almond Leaves

How To Make Your Fish Happy with Indian Almond Leaves

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Indian almond leaves (IAL) are traditionally used by breeders in Southeast Asia to mimic Betta’s natural habitat. It is believed that they help fish recover from fights and heal their digestive and immune systems. 

 Unfortunately, this has not yet been scientifically examined, and we can only base our conclusions on reports from other fishing and farming companies. It isn’t easy to separate truth from myth, but I can speak from my personal experience as a fisheries farmer and as an expert in fisheries management. 

Can aquarists use Indian almond leaves in fish tanks? 

Fish often have a hard time living in captivity in different habitats and adapting to their respective habitats. While some fish survive under sub-optimal conditions, there is a big difference between thriving and mere survival. Indian almond leaves are often referred to as water conditioners for the poor because they can alter the aquarium’s water chemistry. 

 If your fish come from a habitat where leaves and other plant waste regularly fall into the water and decompose, they will use this type of environment. We strongly recommend that you copy this type of environment in your aquarium, but only for a short period and only under the right conditions. 

 Indian almond leaves release abundant driftwood and peat tannins into the water, and the aquatic animals adapt to the availability of these various compounds. If you put your fish in a clean, somewhat unnatural aquarium, you deprive them of the multiple substances that occur in their natural habitat. Indian almond leaves are a way to make fish happier and more tolerant of different water conditions, even if they are native to an environment described above. The leaves fall into the water and decompose in different ways, for example, through the use of saltwater or the presence of other plant waste. 

 Tannins also influence the pH value, depending on how much the water’s buffer capacity depends on driftwood and peat and the amount of saltwater in the river. You will also see the water getting darker, just like the Blackwater River, but with a much lower pH. 

 The so-called Blackwater habitat is created when rivers flow through heavily forested areas with fallen foliage, driftwood, and peat. Of course, fish species from such places in the wild appreciate tannin – that is, rich water. For more information on the chemistry of Indian almond leaves, please visit our chemistry page. 

 This page also contains a section on Blackwater habitats and how dark the water gets depends on tannin’s concentration in it. Some aquarists try to remember that dark water is the normal state for fish in the Blackwaters habitat. The aquarium’s water gets a yellow-reddish – tint with almond leaves, but some aquarists do not like this color, which they find unsightly. For him, it is entirely unnatural – which, as many of them prefer to do for themselves, is suitable for their fish and the environment. 

Can The Indian almond leaves prevent and cure diseases in aquariums? 

 For this reason, it was speculated that the application of almond leaves in an aquarium would reduce the risk of disease in the aquarium and even help the fish. The leaves of Indian almonds are produced by trees that protect the tree from bacteria, fungi, and similar organisms. 

 As far as we know, no one has carried out a scientific study to confirm this claim. However, the compounds contained in the Indian almond leaves have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties. Besides reducing the risk of developing certain cancers, some flavonoids found on Indian almond leaves have antioxidant properties and are considered anti-inflammatory. 

Indian Almond Leaves

 As an aquarist, it is therefore difficult to determine whether Indian almond leaves cure or prevent disease by killing bacteria and fungi, or whether it is merely because the leaves strengthen the fish – as does the immune system – by providing them with ideal water quality in terms of pH and tannins. Fish that are kept in an environment modeled on their natural habitat tend to be more resistant to disease and ward off malignant microorganisms. 

 Normal hiding places 

 Indian almond leaves are a matter of chemistry and feeling in a long line of fish. You might think leaf litter looks ugly, but the leaves themselves make the environment more natural. 

 Bottom fish like to hide in underwater leaves, while the upper and middle water inhabitants appreciate the feeling of safety that floating leaves offer. Indian almond leaves are also useful for snacking on fish and invertebrates. The leaves are food for insects and are also a good source of protein for fish. 

Can Indian almond leaves increase the male sex ratio of Betta fish? 

 Indian almond leaves, rumors that Southeast Asian betta growers use them to increase men’s ratio to women in each batch, abound. However, there is no difference in the gender ratio when you use them as long as you use the same amount of male and female leaves in a single beta batch. 

 What fish will love Indian almond leaves?

 Indian almond leaves are not for fish like hard, alkaline water, so you need to explore this particular species to see where this kind of water comes from. Indian almond leaf is the right choice for fish that come from an environment where the water is rich in leaf debris, such as the Great Rift Valley lakes in the Himalayas and the Mekong Basin in China. But it is not the only one of these fish that likes hard and alkaline water. 

 Examples of conditions when Indian almond leaves are usually used 

 If aquarists feel that their fish need a little more indulgence, they can use the leaves in a variety of ways, such as as as an alternative to fish oil or as a substitute for oil.

  1. When a fresh fish is put into an aquarium,
  2. Inducing breeding, expressly in Bettas
  3. When the fish is ill, significantly when the disease affects the skin,
  4. In a plastic travel container, like a fish moves to a new tank
  5. Keeping delicate fish species that are found difficult to maintain and raise in captivity
  6. When you establish a new aquarium
  7. When setting up and managing a cool aquarium


If you continue to use them, remember to wean your fish if you plan to sell them to aquarists who do not use them. Fish raised with Indian almond leaves or that have spent long periods in an IAL tank may not cope well with rapid environmental change. 

 How to use Indian almond leaves? 


 If you want to use Indian almond leaves, you can keep them in the fridge for a few days or even overnight. The dry leaves can be stored in an airtight or watertight container that prevents light from entering. 

 Because some trees are sprayed with pesticides and grow in cities with high air pollution levels, they can be washed into the tank before planting. The Indian almonds’ leaves must be stored in a watertight container for at least two weeks before putting them into your tanks. 

 Those in a hurry can cut off the leaves before planting because they leach out their water content more quickly. Do not use moldy Indian almond leaves; remove activated charcoal purée and the like from your aquarium before adding the almonds and leaves. 

 How to use Indian almond leaves in fry tanks?

 In addition to the positive effects described above, the leaves are a great source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. Moreover, many breeding species tend to hide in an infertile breeding tank and feel safer and less stressed (if not infertile). Due to its size and nutrient content, Infusoria is the right choice for the freshly hatched fish fry and other fish species. Indian almond leaves are fried in the pan and are beneficial in many ways, but not only for fish. 

 How many to use?

 The following dosage is based on a sheet of 15 – 25 cm, but you can adjust the number if your hands are smaller or larger or if you want. 

 Bed growers usually use one leaf and 20 l of water in the breeding tank, but it is a good thumb rule to use two leaves and 50 l of water. Betta owners use 3-4 leaves of Indian almonds (1 / 2 leaf) in their tank every day. Be prepared to adjust the dose for your fish and consume as much or as little water as you like. 

 The breeding tank uses 1 leaf and 40 l water for 1 / 2 leaf of Indian almonds (1 / 2 leaf) every day and uses 2 leaves and 50 l water every other day. 

 Indian almond leaf for a hospital tank 

 It is not a quick fix, but you should be prepared to leave your fish in the hospital tank for at least 2-3 weeks. As always, your hospital tank must be very similar to a standard aquarium in terms of temperature. Otherwise, the fish will be shocked. 

 For how long to use Indian almond leaves? 

 When the leaves are anchored to a stone or similar, they float away from the water and sink. It is natural and does not mean that they need to be changed, but it does mean that they will go under. 

 The leaves are usually replaced every 2-3 weeks by aquariums that do not like the sight of torn leaves. It is for purely aesthetic reasons, and there is typically no need to change them more often than in any other month. The leaves can break off at any time, depending on how actively the fish try to destroy them. 

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