Are every leaves and wood safe to use?

Barry Tetra

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I was wondering if any twigs and leaves safe to use in blackwater aquarium? We have mango and jackfruit trees in the backyard, maybe I can use their leaves?

I am asking a lot of questions regarding if anything safe to use or not, because I’m going to enter biotope aquarium contest in January. Need to know what material I’m using are safe.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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No.

Wood
Whilst many woods, especially those sold by aquarium stores, are usually deemed safe to use, problems can still arise if they aren't prepared properly beforehand.
Usually, soaking in water for a fortnight will help the wood stay submerged, drown any unwanted critters and remove some of the tannins.
That said, there can still be fungi that you'd need to be alert for and, whilst most of this will be harmless, some can be extremely toxic to fish, when decomposing or growing in your aquarium.

If using your own wood, avoid anything with resin, such as pines, etc. and anything that is considered toxic to humans.
Most of my wood is bogwood, which has been plundered from bogs and has been effectively 'pickled' for decades, if not hundreds of years.

Leaves
Many leaves are fine, although, as with woods, it would be better to use those that are known to be safe.
I've compiled a list here.

NOTE that I am unfamiliar with Thai vegetation. ;)
 

Colin_T

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You can use most branches and leaves from fruit trees but make sure they haven't been sprayed with anything. And make sure they have been dried before using them.

As a general rule, avoid plants that produce a white sap, or are known to be poisonous, like angels trumpet and oleander
 

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