We're all pretty familiar with the wonderful Alder Cone, the diminutive fruit of the alder trees (Aalnus glutinosa and Alnus incana), which has been widely utilized by aquarium hobbyists for some time. You've probably not seen the incredibly useful cones from the Casuarina equisetifolia, or "Australian Pine Tree" before! We certainly hadn't, until our Catappa supplier told us about them! The native range of this tree is vast, extending from Southeast Asia throughout Oceana, and of course, Australia. Non-native introductions of these trees are found in Madagascar and India.
After some research and correspondence with some of our aquarium friends in Asia, we discovered that these little cones have been used fairly extensively in the hobby for years, much as Alder cones have, and they're pretty "high performance", from a tannin-producing perspective.
As with the Alder Cones, Betta and ornamental shrimp breeders will love the tannins released into the water by these cones, and their apparent anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Many ornamental shrimp seem to feed directly on the decomposing cones, so their use as a supplemental food source is yet another benefit! You can use them just like Alder Cones; they have the same "aggressive" pH and tinting capability per a given quantity, perhaps just a bit more- at least in our trials. Regardless, they're wonderful for applying the benefits of Tannins into your aquariums with a minimum of hassle!
Our Casuarina Cones are collected just for us in areas that are free from pollutants, insecticides, and pesticides, and carefully cleaned with water before drying again. They're larger than Alder Cones, and generally "fatter", and they tend to break down quite a bit more slowly, in our experience. Prior to using, we advise you give them a soak in boiling water to clean them and help waterlog them a bit, as they typically won't sink right away. Of course, if you're using them in a filter sock or a reactor (if you're truly a "power user!"), waterlogging them isn't as big a concern.
We recommend a starting quantity of about 6 cones for every 10 gallons of aquarium capacity. They will definitely lower the pH of the water and tint it brown, although the effect when used sparingly is generally not quite as rapid and pronounced as that caused by various leaves, or by Alder Cones, in our experience. Nevertheless, like the Alders, these cones can affect pH, so proceed slowly to gauge for yourself the effect that they impart to your aquarium water!
Regardless if you're using them directly in your tank, or in a filter, we recommend that you remove and replace the cones after 3-4 weeks, as they will start to decompose and break apart. This is harmless, and you might want to leave 'em in if you like the look. Tannin Premium Casuarina Cones come in convenient and economical packages of 36 cones, so one package can serve a small aquarium for several months!
All of our aquatic botanicals are intended for ornamental aquarium or terrarium use only. Please use common sense and take the time to boil or soak all botanicals prior to using them, to reduce the possibility of problems. Always go slow when introducing any botanicals into your systems, so you can judge the effect they have on your fishes and plants. They are not intended for human consumption. DO NOT INGEST!
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
NOTE: The photo is for illustrative purposes. As these are a natural product, expect variation in the appearance of the cones that you will receive.
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