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The Nymph's Spring (EA900)

shangman

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Thanks! :D

It's from the fern Lophosoria quadripinnata, from our garden.

My dad collects ferns so we have all sorts, though not many seem tough enough to go in a tank. One of the things I'm really interested in now is collecting interesting leaves and pods which are a) free and b) unusual. They really add a new layer of complexity and natural feeling to the tank, especially as all my creatures love to interact with them. My dad is a walking plant encyclopedia so I'm lucky that he can easily identify plants and trees that could work for the tanks and not poison it, and where I might find them around London. Botanicals are one of those things people don't miss, since it's just picking up a few leaves/pods or trimming off a dead bit, so they're easy to gather. I got the palm flower stalk from my neighbour's garden!

A while ago I just went into the garden and nabbed all sorts of interesting dead leaves and this was one... it doesn't seem to affect the fish or water quality in any way and takes a long time to decompose. It's an evergreen fern so I think that makes it more tough, I'm eyeing up the green/yellow leaves now but they haven't browned yet... might have to wait until winter/spring. In the background of the tank are 2 Chaemerops humilis cerifera small-medium-sized palm leaves, I have a few extras of those if you want some, I trimmed off quite a few as nobody has trimmed it and the dead leaves seem to last years and years outside on the plant, they're very tough.
 

Wookii

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It's from the fern Lophosoria quadripinnata, from our garden.

Thanks - just looked that up to see if I could get one for future purposes - £110 potted! Doh! :banghead:

My dad is a walking plant encyclopedia so I'm lucky that he can easily identify plants and trees that could work for the tanks and not poison it

That’s really handy - that’s the tricky part, knowing what is safe to use. I’m fairly new to adding leaves and botanicals, so I’m currently only sticking to known varieties (Alder cones, Oak, Beech etc) but that Fern looks great, so it would be nice to be able to ‘branch’ out! (Pun intended 😂)

In the background of the tank are 2 Chaemerops humilis cerifera small-medium-sized palm leaves, I have a few extras of those if you want some, I trimmed off quite a few as nobody has trimmed it and the dead leaves seem to last years and years outside on the plant, they're very tough.

Cool - are those the same as you used in the holding tank for your apisto fry a while back (loved the look of that tank) - I do like the way the palm fronds look in a habitat style tank. Yes if you have some spare, put me down for some please, that would be great! Or if you have some spores from some suitable ferns your can send me, so I can try and grow some, that’d be an awesome mini-project?
 

shangman

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Thanks - just looked that up to see if I could get one for future purposes - £110 potted! Doh! :banghead:

That’s really handy - that’s the tricky part, knowing what is safe to use. I’m fairly new to adding leaves and botanicals, so I’m currently only sticking to known varieties (Alder cones, Oak, Beech etc) but that Fern looks great, so it would be nice to be able to ‘branch’ out! (Pun intended 😂)



Cool - are those the same as you used in the holding tank for your apisto fry a while back (loved the look of that tank) - I do like the way the palm fronds look in a habitat style tank. Yes if you have some spare, put me down for some please, that would be great! Or if you have some spores from some suitable ferns your can send me, so I can try and grow some, that’d be an awesome mini-project?
£110! :eek: He paid £30! I have no idea if our ferns or palms can be grown from spores but I'll ask for you :)

Definitely the safety is a big one, although I always check to make sure. Rhodedendron leaves look perfect, but apparently they're full of toxin even when dropped and brown. I've been thinking of documenting all the botanicals I try that are a bit more unusual so people know they can look out for more than just oak and beech, this fern is rare but not everything is! Some of the next things on my list are some different type of evergreen oak that drop small, tropical-looking leaves (thicker because they're evergreen, a bit like a tiny magnolia grandiflora). Would focus first on leaf and pod droppings from trees that you can find in nice parks all over the UK!

In my apisto baby grow-out tank I used only oak leaves and big catappa, if I did a blackwater now I would 100% use the palms though, they look super cool. Personally I don't really like catappa, they fall apart very quickly and make a big mess. Much prefer the magnolia grandiflora which has more structured and beautifully rich coloured leaves. Will put you down for some palm leaves, and ask about the spores too.
 

shangman

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I'm addicted to this camera now omg

IMG_6808_2.jpg


IMG_6899.jpg
 
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mort

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You've got me thinking today about ferns and mostly about royal ferns which I have in my pond. They die off gracefully over the autumn, like ornamental grasses (also wondered if some of these could be used although miscanthus etc might not add much texture or shape), and are still stood rigid by the spring when I have to cut them back. I'm guessing this rigidity through some of the worst weather might give them a similar appeal to your lovely fern.
 

Wookii

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I've been thinking of documenting all the botanicals I try that are a bit more unusual so people know they can look out for more than just oak and beech, this fern is rare but not everything is!

That would be really helpful, especially if your Dad can give you a list of attractive deciduous ferns - perhaps that we can grow ourselves - that would be aquarium safe and fairly long lived under water.
 

shangman

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You've got me thinking today about ferns and mostly about royal ferns which I have in my pond. They die off gracefully over the autumn, like ornamental grasses (also wondered if some of these could be used although miscanthus etc might not add much texture or shape), and are still stood rigid by the spring when I have to cut them back. I'm guessing this rigidity through some of the worst weather might give them a similar appeal to your lovely fern.
If I had a royal fern, I'd definitely try it!! I also agree, grasses and their flower heads are a totally interesting and probably very beautiful and natural looking botanical. I mean ponds are often full of grasses and rushes! The rigidity is definitely a good trait for a botanical to have, some do seem to melt away a bit too fast, I want ornamental things that last a good 2 months.

I must have dreamt that one then. I must have been thinking of this one, which always seems to come up when I search for biotope tanks:

02951115255_324603028252393472_n_1400x.progressive.jpg
Very nice! The one I have is a fan palm, I will have to source something with this lovely longer classic shape. 😂 I think the size of the palm leaves really gives some beautiful extra structure that's completely different than classic wood, rock and plants. A tank with just sand and botanicals could be amazing with a good few palm leaves providing a graphic structure that plays with light!

Can you tell I want another tank? 😂 A blackwater!! 👀

That would be really helpful, especially if your Dad can give you a list of attractive deciduous ferns - perhaps that we can grow ourselves - that would be aquarium safe and fairly long lived under water.
I will try all the ferns I have in my garden, and get an extra list of likely candidates that could be easily acquired. I have already collected a few interesting potential leaves from a big fancy country park last week to try! Waiting to completely dry some of them out. I feel like I 100% need this new tank for experiments! 😂
 

Wolf6

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I resurrected the thread about which plant leaves are safe to use just for this reason, I'd love to add more leaves like ferns to the tank if I knew they were safe and would last a good while. A sticky thread with a large table with botanicals/ plant species family leaf shape and duration, tannins released etc would be great.
 

shangman

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I resurrected the thread about which plant leaves are safe to use just for this reason, I'd love to add more leaves like ferns to the tank if I knew they were safe and would last a good while. A sticky thread with a large table with botanicals/ plant species family leaf shape and duration, tannins released etc would be great.
I think I could start a thread where the first few posts are all info which I edit with what we learn (hopefully including what others learn if people want to try what they have around them too). Would include
1. post table of species and what works in short form - start with what we know and then I'll add things as we try them, and an explanation of why I think it's worth it, preparation and simple things to consider/do.
2. Post of what we think won't work and why (eucalyptus, pine, rhodedendron) , with a list of things we'll try that we're not sure of yet,
3. More detailed post with photographs of each botanical type used in a tank, links to where to buy the plant to grow yourself or where you can find it (parks and stuff). Plus how creatures interact with them, as I've found different botanicals inspire different behaviour and I think that would inspire more people to try them when they know that!
4.Also maybe a post of what plants fish like best dried as food? For example I collect green walnut leaves in saying and dry them - this is the favourite food of my otos, they went off courgette once I started adding those. Something that can be tried in spring/summer.

Then we can just chat about things and suggest different botanicals and our findings in the thread after those posts?

It's hard to say which release a lot of tannins I find, as it really varies depending on the tank, the amount added, the pH, etc. I think botanicals last less long in tanks with otos and other vegetarian creatures too, as they're always having a go at them.

It's quite a seasonal project which is interesting, will collect as much as possible this autumn. I suspect that some things could be collected at other times of the year which is also interesting (will be part of the first table I think).

Going away this week for a little holiday, but will start it when I get back.
 

Courtneybst

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I resurrected the thread about which plant leaves are safe to use just for this reason, I'd love to add more leaves like ferns to the tank if I knew they were safe and would last a good while. A sticky thread with a large table with botanicals/ plant species family leaf shape and duration, tannins released etc would be great.
This guide was sent to me by a friend, it's a very good starting point. I agree, a collaborative sticky thread would be great!

 

shangman

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Above is a link to some STUNNING biotope aquariums, and there are all sorts of dried ferns, grasses, and weird rooty bits that people must've collected themselves and look brilliant!

This guide was sent to me by a friend, it's a very good starting point. I agree, a collaborative sticky thread would be great!

This is a great starting point, I really like that it includes lots of trees that are easy to find everywhere. The pH chart is super super useful, I wonder if I could just set up a test with that in 2 jugs of water so it's easy to do and remain consistant. Personally I think collecting leaves year-round is totally fine, especially as many of the plants that are worth collecting are evergreens that drop leaves regularly year-round, or have such strong structure (like the palms) that they last for many seasons outside well. Some of the trees they suggest also have great seedpods that could be used too!

I read this article when looking for which species would be suitable.
If you are able to ID the plant it's also worth referencing the RHS website, as they often have toxicity information.
This is my favourite article on the subject, and what got me to realise that I could just try things around me. Very comprehensive and excellent advice all-round. I really like the emphasis on the different types of oak, as there are quite a few, they're quite common and often they have more unusual tropical-looking leaves rather than the more obvious temperate leaves of the classic oak.
 

ScareCrow

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Personally I think collecting leaves year-round is totally fine
You have to be a little careful, if I remember correctly from my ecology lectures. English Oak Quercus robur produce a chemical in new spring growth. The chemical produced is a sort of pesticide to help protect the new growth. I don't know if it would be harmful to fish or if I'm making it up (I'll try to find the article) but I'd try to collect deciduous leaves in the autumn, this is generally the advice that's given anyway.
 

shangman

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You have to be a little careful, if I remember correctly from my ecology lectures. English Oak Quercus robur produce a chemical in new spring growth. The chemical produced is a sort of pesticide to help protect the new growth. I don't know if it would be harmful to fish or if I'm making it up (I'll try to find the article) but I'd try to collect deciduous leaves in the autumn, this is generally the advice that's given anyway.
Don't worry, I'm more thinking about evergreen trees (some oaks are evergreen) that drop their dead brown leaves year-round, another example is the magnolia grandiflora. These types of trees drop their old leaves as they produce new leaves year-round, rather than dropping them all in Autumn. I also think picking up leaves that dropped/dead in Autumn later in winter/spring is ok if the leaves are hardy enough to last for a long time, like my palm leaves which have been dead on the plant for years but still look pristine. I collected the fern leaves in the tank this year in the summer, they died last Autumn and are still great.

Many trees produce various pesticides and poisons to deter creatures from eating them - I've been reading up on it as I was collecting leaves last week - interestingly dead brown oak leaves are considered poisonous ... because of their tannin, which of course the fish love, so it is a difficult thing to guess sometimes (tannin is apparently poisonous to horses - walnut leaves & nuts are also considered toxic due their tannins). Some plants do have poisons which means I would not try them at all. Dead rhodedendron leaves look fantastic - great sizes and tropical look - but they produce a toxic poison in their leaves and flowers, and it's not clear whether they reabsorb all that poison before dropping their leaves, best not to just in case. You can produce toxic honey by keeping bees amongst rhodedendrons!

Remember I do have my dad the plant expert to help! I'm not going in blind ☺️ and of course do things with caution, I don't want to harm my creatures at all.
 
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ScareCrow

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Personally I think collecting leaves year-round is totally fine,
Don't worry, I'm more thinking about evergreen trees (some oaks are evergreen) that drop their dead brown leaves year-round
Just wanted to clarify, as if someone else was to come across this, it could be interpreted that it's fine to pick leaves at any point in the season.

This isn't the article I remember from uni but is more relevant to this discussion.

Remember I do have my dad the plant expert to help! I'm not going in blind ☺️ and of course do things with caution, I don't want to harm my creatures at all.
Fair enough, I didn't mean to suggest you were experimenting without care for your creatures if that's how it was interpreted.
 

shangman

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Just wanted to clarify, as if someone else was to come across this, it could be interpreted that it's fine to pick leaves at any point in the season.

This isn't the article I remember from uni but is more relevant to this discussion.


Fair enough, I didn't mean to suggest you were experimenting without care for your creatures if that's how it was interpreted.
Yeah I see what you mean, I think it's def good to have some big disclaimers at the top like don't just pull leaves off of trees at any time of the year, and then note the exceptions to that rule lower down in the more detailed part of the posts. It's a difficult topic because of course nature is varied and there isn't really one set of rules that works for everything, it'll definitely be important to work things correctly so people don't get the wrong end of the stick.

No worries :) that wasn't directed at what you said, just a general statement about intentions in the project, and how knowledge of poisons in these plants we like is really important to learn and understand for it.
 

ScareCrow

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Yeah I see what you mean, I think it's def good to have some big disclaimers at the top like don't just pull leaves off of trees at any time of the year, and then note the exceptions to that rule lower down in the more detailed part of the posts. It's a difficult topic because of course nature is varied and there isn't really one set of rules that works for everything, it'll definitely be important to work things correctly so people don't get the wrong end of the stick.

No worries :) that wasn't directed at what you said, just a general statement about intentions in the project, and how knowledge of poisons in these plants we like is really important to learn and understand for it.
Sounds like you've got it sorted. Hopefully it'll become a sticky and I can get hours of my life back from scouring the web for info :lol:
 
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