Your purchase is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long-lasting relationship between the two of us! For questions about our products, help planning your next aquarium, or if you need us for any related reason, we encourage you to reach out to us at:


In the meantime, here's a list of questions we're frequently asked, along with some helpful answers!


How can I pay for my goods? 

Tannin Aquatics accepts VISA, Mastercard, DIscover, American Express, Apple Pay, and Paypal.


Is your site safe?

You betcha! Nothing to be worried about! We have bunches of super high tech encryption thingamajigs in place so that your payment is secure and your details remain 'secret squirrel'. For you techno nerds out there – we us the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available). 


I love your products! How do I order stuff from you guys?

Just go to tanninaquatics.com (hint: you’re already here) and click on a products you like and add to your cart. Then just follow the easy checkout process and soon you’ll be “getting your tint on!” (welcome to the family). 


How do I make changes to my order? 

Ok so here’s the deal, you can simply shoot us an email, or messenger us on Facebook or Instagram (we're usually online) with your order number and the changes you need to make. Unfortunately we can’t add products to your order via message (you'll need to coordinate with us- it's not a problem, though), but we can change address, shipping or sizes prior to us shipping your order…We’ve got your back! What are you still doing here? Quick! Contact us! 


All prices are in U.S. dollars, right?



Okay, I received my stuff, but I kinda, well..hate it. What can I do?

Oh no :( but that’s ok- we understand. We know that occasionally, you may purchase something that that’s not what you really needed, or the wrong quantity, or maybe we screwed up (we're human)…whatever. That’s why we have a no-questions asked return policy within 7 days of the date of receipt. We only require that you return the item in it’s original packaging, in undamaged/unused condition. You’ll need to contact us first in order to receive a shipping label, and we’ll send it to you. Bottom line: Take a deep breath. Contemplate the transience of all things. Take another deep breath...Just contact us; we’ll help figure out the best way to fix things. NOTE: Returns are only accepted within the United States at this time.


Hey, you forgot to enclose the____ with my order! 

Arghh...we screwed up. Being humans, we will occasionally forget to include something in your package. We hate to admit it, but hey- it does happen now and again. maybe more often than that, even! What to do? Simply contact us and we'll make it right- be by sending out the missing item, refunding the price, or offering a credit against future order. We'll take care of you, no problem. Just give us a chance to make it right before you unload on us online, okay? :)


Are the pieces in the photos the actual botanicals I'll receive?

Unless indicated, such as in the case of our wood pieces (which are "WYSIWYG"), all botanicals are photographed as representatives of what to expect. Each pod, seed, etc. has its own unique natural variations...and we love that! Besides, if I had to photograph every leaf, pod, or seed, I'd go berserk, right?


Scott, you're a bit weird, but we'd love to have you speak at our club meeting. How do we do this?

I'll give you that. Yet, I've given over 300 presentations at clubs and events worldwide over the past decade, and I'd love to do one for yours. Just shoot me an email (tannin aquatics@gmail.com) and we can work out the details!


Where do all of these cool “aquatic botanicals” come from?

We have great suppliers from all over the planet that we’ve vetted out in order to find you the best quality stuff around. We make sure to do business with suppliers that we know to be committed to sustainable, ethical practices. And we’re always trying to source new stuff that we feel you’ll love!


Are these botanicals dangerous to my fishes? Will they change the water chemistry of my aquariums?

While the introduction of any organic material into your aquarium can affect the water chemistry, these botanicals are not dangerous in and of themselves. Look, if you dump a large quantity of these materials- of ANY botanical materials- into your stable, long-established aquarium, they will most certainly affect the environmental parameters rapidly, which will cause stress for many fishes. Let's face it, however- there are some fishes- including, but not limited to- Discus, wild Angels, Apistos, Geos, and some wild Pelvicachromis that are quite sensitive to any environmental changes, and you need to be careful when adding botanicals into their established systems.

And check our blog for a lot of articles on this topic. There is always some risk with such sensitive fishes, which you should be prepared to assume. Our advice is to follow our instructions about their preparation before using them, and to go s-l-o-w-l-y when adding these materials to your aquariums (for ANY fishes, really). You should gauge for yourself the effects they have, and never assume anything. Go slowly and carefully.


How do I prepare botanicals for use in my aquarium, vivarium, or terrarium? 

Glad you asked! We created a page with everything you'll need to know to prepare each one of the aquatic botanicals we offer, and our blog has numerous articles about how to use them, what to expect from them, etc., so you'll want to check it out regularly!


Can you put together a custom package for me?

Well, yeah. Sure. Why not? Like, we're fish geeks...we get this stuff...So, if you're working on a special project and need to use certain numbers, sizes, or shapes of aquatic botanicals, we'll be happy to do it for you...we've even been known to toss in a few extras now and again on these "custom jobs..!" You can either order an "Enigma Pack"  at a set price point, or contact us to configure a package within any budget you might have.


Can I get some samples of your aquatic botanicals before I purchase?

Sure. Sounds like a good idea! We get it- this is kind of new stuff for a lot of hobbyists, and you'd like to see what this is all about. Besides, what other vendor would do that? We want you to be comfortable with the botanicals that you purchase, so we’re happy to send you FREE samples of up to 3 three varieties at a time of eligible specimens of pretty much everything we offer, with some notable exceptions. (Savu Pods, Jungle Pods, Rio Fruta, Sino Xicara, Tapete Pods, Ra Cama Pods, Monkey Pots, Cholla Wood, Palma Abrigo Pods, Sappucaio Pods, and Magnolia Seed Pods come to mind at the moment...We reserve the right to add more to this list in the future, of course). Just shoot us an email (tanninaquatics@gmail.com) if you're interested. Sorta like paint swatches, right? Oh, we can only do this in the U.S. (shipping is just too crazy costly to do it for our international fans- sorry!).


There's a guy on another site who has some of the same stuff you do, and it's a lot cheaper. Won't you price match?

Nope. We are a premium brand. We offer high quality botanicals, sourced worldwide from carefully vetted suppliers, which we batch test with our own fishes. We offer superior customer service, and detailed information on our products and about this hobby speciality that you won't find anywhere else. We offer support for the hobby, aquatic community, aquarium clubs, researchers, museums, and charitable organizations. We have a free daily blog and a very active content production stream...We are here if you have questions. That's got to be worth something, right? If you're willing to support "Joe's Leaf Emporium" to save $2.00, then we're probably not the right fit. Sorry about that. 


How long do your leaves last?

Good question; one we receive a lot. The reality is that, depending upon water conditions, Catappa leaves tend to last about 3 weeks before really breaking down, Guava leaves, often a bit longer. And longer-lasting still, Loquat leaves, often going a month or more before decomposing. Mangrove leaves are somewhere in the middle. Like it or not, they will decompose, just like in nature, and you may or may not like the aesthetics. However, we can tell you that naturally decomposing leaf litter is harmless, and helps spur the reproduction of microfauna which many fry and small fishes consume.

So, when you're creating a "leaf litter" zone in your tank, you can incorporate the longer-lasting materials to compliment the more transitory leaves. We tend to look at the leaves as "consumables", much like we'd consider activated carbon or other filter media as such, requiring regular replenishment as they decompose. Think of botanicals like you would carbon or other "consumables."


You know, I can find some of the items you sell in my back yard. Why shouldn't I use them?

Hey great question! And the answer is- you SHOULD. Despite believe to the contrary, we don't have some super-secret awesome factory here in L.A. which spits out all sorts of cool botanicals. Nor do we claim to be the only place in the world to get this stuff. What we do is source, aggregate, test, study, romance, and make them available to hobbyists worldwide. As our mission statement says, no one invented this stuff! 

If you have access to some leaves or pods locally, and they're from a clean, unpolluted area, free of pesticides or industrial chemicals, and you want to add them to your aquarium- we say go for it! Just make sure that you prepare them in a similar manner to what we recommend for our botanicals, and test them with a few fishes first before placing them (slowly...) into your display aquariums! 


Im getting this kind of "gunky stuff" on my botanicals. Is this normal? Are they rotten?

This is actually a pretty common occurrence, and we've written quite a bit on it. What you are seeing is a bacterial "biofilm", which attaches to the surfaces of the botanicals. This is completely natural, and is not harmful in any way, except perhaps, to your sense of aesthetics! It is most assuredly a "phase", and will often disappear within a couple of weeks with minimal, if any intervention on your part. The only reason to toss you botanicals would be if they are taking on a nasty "rotten egg" (hydrogen sulfide) smell. And of course, if you need to toss 'em, contact us and we'll send you some replacements if you'd like.

The biofilms, and eventually, some algae, are natural, and are very much part of the aesthetic of these types of systems. In the absence of other plants, algae will opportunistically colonize "undefended" surfaces, such as botanicals. If you see images and film of natural blackwater systems, you'll see this in many locales. You can, of course take steps to eliminate or remove the "offending" algae, but it can also be a very interesting and natural part of the aesthetic, providing grazing opportunities for many of the animals we keep. It's all in how you look at it!


I would like to order from you, but the website says that you don't currently ship to my country. Am I out of luck? What can we do?

Sorry about that! We've been slowly but steadily expanding into several parts of the world, including Europe, but we're not everywhere- yet! We would love to do business in more countries! However, keep in mind that there are two possible obstacles to overcome: 1) Shipping can be expensive, and 2) Your country may not allow the importation of some of our items, such as dried botanicals. 

If you reside in a country that our website indicates we are not currently shipping to, please contact us, and we'll discuss with you if we can work out a shipment! Obviously, some restrictions on imported items may not make it possible for us to ship to you. However, if there are no restrictions, we'll do our best to help you place an order! We want you as a customer! Our goal, as we've said many times, is to "Tint the world!"- and that starts with YOU!


May I make a suggestion?

Of course! Suggestions and new ideas are always welcome, and we've incorporated many of your suggestions into our business during the past few years! Just hit us up via email, or Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our goal is to be your most trusted source for aquatic botanicals and other specialty aquarium hobby stuff, and YOU are what it's all about!


Do you make substitutions of botanicals in your variety packs?

That's a really good question! Here's the deal: We try not to! We really hate when we have to substitute something from on of our variety packs, yet it is inevitable that it might happen every now and then. Why? Botanicals are a natural product; some are seasonal, and availability can vary. While we make every effort possible to include everything indicated in our product descriptions in every pack, occasionally supply will dictate that a substitution is necessary. When that happens, we'll make our best effort to use botanicals similar in both form and value. If you ever have questions about what was included, let us know. We want you to be happy with everything you receive from us!


Some of your fishes are only available in groups? Can I purchase an individual specimen?

We're glad you asked...The reason we sell certain fishes (such as characins, Rasbora, and certain small cichlids) in groups is because this is how they live in the wild. We understand that there may be a situation where you want "one more Cardinal Tetra", for example, to round out your shoal...but we're not the ones to turn to for that. Ouch, right? But it's one of the things we believe in very strongly. We've learned over the years that the majority of people who purchase certain fishes tend to purchase more than just one or two- and in the interest of benefiting the widest variety of customers- and most important, the fishes- we will only offer certain fishes in groups.


What acclimation procedure do you recommend for the fishes I just purchased from you?

Giving your new fishes the best possible start in their new home is of paramount importance, so we highly recommend a simple, yet effective acclimation procedure. And it might be just a bit different-perhaps even radical, compared to than what you’ve done in the past…but it works! We’ll give credit to the great aquarist/author Rachel O’Leary for this one…it’s super smart and very beneficial. Oh, and super easy!

It all starts by opening your package in an area away from bright, direct lighting. Remember, your new fishes have literally been “in the dark” for the last 12-20 hours, and immediately subjecting them to bright lighting is a sure recipe for stress!

We tend to avoid floating the bags in the aquarium for any appreciable length of time, despite the time-honored instructions to do so. Why? Well, when the temperature increases in the bags, the dissolved oxygen available to the fishes in the bags decreases rapidly, potentially causing them to suffocate. And, opening the bags while floating them can result in a rapid increase in pH in water in the bags, which converts non-toxic ammonium to ammonia, which can literally burn the gills and tissues of your fishes while they’re “acclimating!” 

Here’s what we feel is a better way:

Open the bags, and immediately add a few drops of your favorite water conditioner (like Novaqua, Prime, etc.) to the water to detoxify any ammonia that should manifest itself for the duration of the time the fishes are in the bag.

Next, gently pour the fishes out into a soft net over a bucket or other container, and immediately add them to your aquarium. It’s that simple. 

Yes, this is a pretty radical departure from the typical drip acclimation or “float and match” techniques which have been used for decades, but we feel that any trauma that your fishes will face as a result of this quick “extraction” from their shipping bags will be minimal compared to the stresses and real long-term damage from ammonia that may be incurred by floating them in the bags for an extended period of time. Personally, we’ve almost never lost a fish while utilizing this method, and the fishes seem to adjust and settle in extremely quickly, often showing normal colors- and even feeding response- within an hour after being introduced.

We are huge fans of quarantining all fishes for a minimum of two weeks before adding them to the display tank, as even fishes receiving the best of care are subjected to stresses and diseases that could put your aquarium's other inhabitants at risk...but in the end, it’s your call! 


You really guarantee your fishes for 14 days from the date of arrival? I'll receive a credit for any fishes which are lost during that period of time? How can you do that?

We've been in the hobby and retail industry for a long time, and we've seen and experienced many different things-good and bad. We want your experience to be better than good! We want it to be as worry-free as possible, so we have a simple, dependable guarantee. Guarantees are important, because they help give you complete confidence in our company, and cement a relationship between both of us that's built upon trust. We trust you to be honest and not abuse our guarantee policy- and you trust us to keep our word! It's that simple. If you lose any fish during the 14 days after you've received them, contact us to discuss your situation and the refund process. Fish are not just a "product" to us, and we understand that it's painful to lose them. Our promise is to make this lousy situation just a bit less painful.