When it comes to leaves that you can utilize in your aquarium, it seems like almost everyone has heard of, and even tried, Indian Almond Leaves (Catappa). Of course the Almond Leaf is popular- it's attractive, breaks down moderately fast, and does impart desirable tannins and their associated "tint" to the water.
Of course, the exhalted Catappa leaf is NOT the only one that we recommend- and might not even be the very best for every circumstance. Like so many things in the aquarium world, it's important to utilize a variety of leaves in many setups. Having different types of leaves provides both diversity AND the opportunity to achieve different effects.
Guava leaves have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their use as a food for ornamental shrimp. They are slower to decompose than other leaves, in our experience, and are aesthetically one of the most beautiful ones out there! When you incorporate them into your "leaf litter zone", they adda note of "jungle sophistication" that compliments the other more popular leaves and pods so nicely! They also seem to be exceptionally efficient at generating a nice "biofilm" for grazers to consume- more so than most other leaves, in our opinion!
They can be steeped in boiling water before you use them, or simply soaked and rinsed for some extended period of time...Mainly to get 'em to sink. They tend to hold their shape and form a long time...unless of course, you happen to have some hungry shrimp, which tear into them eagerly! They will give your water some of that tint, but not nearly to the extent of the Catappa and other leaves that we offer. This is nice, because you could conceivably use more in a given water quantity to achieve the effect that you'd get with just a few Catappa leaves, for example.Of course, they look awesome when mixed with other materials!
All in all, these beautiful leaves are both aesthetically and practically beautiful for aquarium use! We have a lot of frog enthusiasts who use them as a supplemental component of the leaf litter in their vivariums and terrariums as well, and they are equally in love with these cool leaves. If you're looking for something just a bit different, definitely check them out!