"Generic flexibility" in the botanical world...

We love the idea of offering all sorts of botanical materials to help recreate realistic representations of natural aquatic habitats. There is a lot of interesting material found in the waters of the world, and our primary mission is to help you recreate some of it!

In general, if you look at some of the stuff that falls into the streams and waterways of the tropical world, a lot of the leaves are from various rainforest trees. Some are unobtainable; others can be "represented" by the use of other leaves.

Catappa, Guava, Jackfruit, mangrove, and the many palm-derived items we offer here at Tannin Aquatics are great "facsimiles", as mentioned above, but are not 100% authentic to exactly the species/type that you will find in nature in every aquatic habitat.

Kind of like "generic" botanical materials, if you will!

Now, I realize that there is a lot of interest (and rightfully so, I might add) in the aquarium world about maintaining some degree of "biotopical accuracy", be it geographic, ecological, or otherwise.

As I've indicated before, much of our materials originate from multiple geographic regions around the world, having been transplanted by man, although the "type specimens" of a given botanical (rather, the plant it is derived from) are found in a specific region. Examples would be Catappa and Guava, which are found all around the world, having been transplanted by man for centuries.

And I'll hazard a guess that most "critics" and "judges" in biotope competitions couldn't distinguish between an Artocarpus or a Jackfruit leaf, or a Yellow Mangrove from a Red Mangrove, once they've been down for a while!

Same with botanicals...

So, the idea that the materials we offer and use represent many of the things found in natural waters is important to consider. Now, I would never discourage those who want 100% accuracy to pursue it; and I certainly offer not criticism of this desire. 

Yet, I think we need to still be a bit open-minded, in terms of what we use in our tanks to represent materials found i na given aquatic habitat.

This gives you a certain degree of "flexibility", in terms of what botanicals you can use in a given setup. A lot you ask for materials that would be found in an "Asian blackwater pond" or a "South American rain forest stream"- more or less broad geographic descriptors, but we understand the desire to be a bit more accurate, particularly for more hardcore biotope enthusiasts and hobbyists entering competitions. 

We have made the attempt in our product descriptions to describe the point of origin or the botanical wherever possible, to give you some sort of a "guide" should you need it.

In the end, however, it's important to note that many of our botanicals should be thought of as "reasonable facsimiles" to the materials found in the wild aquatic habitats of the world. We think we have the most comprehensive collection of botanical materials, curated and tested for safe use in aquatic displays- ever assembled in one place!

Of course, it's nothing compared to what nature deposits in the waters of the world, but it's a good start! We can't offer tall, but we can offer some of it!

So, it goes without saying that we feel a little bit of "generic flexibility"- using what's available to represent whats out there- isn't a bad thing!

Yet it keeps us searching, sourcing...looking for more cool stuff for you!


Stay creative. Stay flexible. Stay excited. Stay curious...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics



Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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