- Store any unused leaves in a dry place at room temperature. Thoroughly dry leaves placed in a dark, airtight and watertight container at room temperature will normally be fine for at least 6 months.
- Discard any leaf that is mouldy.
- Give each leaf a good rinse in tap water before using it if the almond tree may have been subjected to pesticides or grows in a polluted environment, e.g. a big city with lots of cars.
- If you’re in a hurry, Indian almond leaves can be cut or shredded into smaller pieces to make them leach their content into the water more rapidly.
- If you have activated carbon, purigen or similar in your aquarium, remove it before using Indian almond leaves.
How much should I use for my Betta?
- Different Betta keepers have different opinions when it comes to the ideal dose, but using 2 leaves per 50 L (13 us gallons) is common. There are however quite a few keepers that routinely use 2 leaves per 15 L (4 us gallons) in their Betta tanks.
- In Betta breeding tanks, the standard dose is 1 leaf per 20 L (5 us gallons).
- In Betta fry rearing tanks, the standard dose is 1 leaf per 40 L (10 us gallons) of water.
These recommendations are based on 15-25 cm (6-10 in) leaves. If your leaves are larger or smaller, you need to adjust accordingly.
For how long?
- Indian almond leaves normally disintegrate after a month or two, depending on how interested your fish is in actively destroying them. Betta keepers that shun torn leaves normally replace the IAL every second or third week, but for aesthetical reasons only. If your don’t have a problem with seeing decaying leaves in your tank you don’t have to change them more frequently than every second month.
- Unless you attach the leaves to something, they will normally float at the surface for 2-3 days before sinking to the bottom. This is a perfectly natural process and you don’t have to replace the leaves just because they sink.